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, Troy Brown Jr., Timberwolves roster
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Second: The Timberwolves are playing well at the perimeter

The most glaring vulnerability that stood out from the Timberwolves 2022-23 NBA season the was futility that this team had in factoring in the perimeter strategy as the team trialed their Timberwolves Twin Towers roster.

What I mean by that is the fact that while the Timberwolves boasted two incredibly gifted bigs in All-Star center Rudy Gobert and All-Star center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns, the Wolves strategy failed to consider their flanks. In essence, opposing teams simply stood at the perimeter and launched three-point shots over and above the head of Gobert and KAT.

And there were clearly not enough perimeter defenders to halt that maneuver.

Making matters worse, the Timberwolves roster was rushed and stitched together after the Gobert trade with veterans who might be able to defend beyond the arc, and who could drop shots into the basket from that distance. The trouble was that many of the new faces failed to deliver in either regard. And that compounded a Timberwolves roster that offered little defense in 2021-22. Those players were solely interested in outscoring opponents.

Wolves deliver defense

But in 2022-23, not only did the Timberwolves struggle mightily to defend the perimeter, but formerly proficient perimeter shooters seemed to lose their ability to score consistently from the arc. That created a complicated challenge for the Timberwolves, one that has taken multiple steps to correct.

The first stage of the Wolves’ solution was dealing away offensively-charged D’Angelo Russell, and in return acquiring PG Mike Conley Jr. and SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker.  Conley delivered a stronger and more consistent perimeter shot than DLo, while both Conley and NAW have much greater defensive presences on the basketball court.

But the team was not done.

In the off-season, the Timberwolves added a top-notch defender in Troy Brown Jr., a pair of solid rookie defenders in SG Jaylen Clark and F Leonard Miller, and then bolstered the backcourt defense and perimeter shooting with veteran guard Shake Milton.

In 2022-23, the Timberwolves allowed an average of 115.8 points per game. So far in preseason, the Timberwolves have not allowed any opponents to score more than 112 points, and the team is averaging just 104.5 points allowed per game.