3 positive Timberwolves trends are surfacing in the 2023 preseason

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Timberwolves News, Timberwolves roster, Leonard Miller
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

Third: Timberwolves are rebounding well

One of the confusing shortcomings for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2022-23 NBA season was the inability of the Timberwolves roster to dominate rebounding. The Timberwolves traded for veteran center Rudy Gobert, a player who dominated the boards and frequently hauled in 10+ rebounds per game.

That was not by accident. Players on the Timberwolves roster were not coached hard to play aggressively last season. Because the Wolves had thrown together a hodgepodge to form a 15-player roster, Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch allowed the team to play a bit more free-form than you may have expected. The results were that many players on the team were more interested in shooting than the physical work of hauling in rebounds.

And so too many players stood around and watched others, or were simply out of position to help the team in that regard.

Wolves will work the boards this season

The priorities for the Timberwolves front office appeared to make note of that weakness, and the shopping list for the off-season was reworked to prioritize rebounding skills. The result is not that the team has loaded up on rebound-heavy players. Rather, the team has infused players from the draft and from free agency who deliver a better-than-average effort at the boards.

As a result, the Timberwolves have claimed 187 rebounds in four preseason games, while opposing teams have hauled in just 175 rebounds. While that is only a small sampling from preseason games, keep in mind that the Timberwolves have limited the amount of play of both Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, two stars who will deliver rebounds this season.

The Timberwolves are particularly intrigued by the rebounding ability of rookie forward Leonard Miller, who flashes unbridled dominance near the basket of emerging with the basketball.