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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Shake Milton, Minnesota Timberwolves, Timberwolves roster
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

First: The Timberwolves played cohesive basketball

Perhaps the most subtle, but most noticeable improvement in the Timberwolves roster this season is the very active manner in which this team moves the basketball around. These Wolves players were barely making their introductions to one another by the time the 2022-23 NBA season began. And thanks to waves of injuries, the Timberwolves roster played musical chairs for the duration of the 82-game season.

This year, the Timberwolves have all the benefit of that awkward and almost painful experience from last season. And that not only has resulted in much greater familiarity among the players but has allowed the Timberwolves coaching staff to realize that this team needs heightened structure and discipline this season.

Space, Pace, and Pass

One of the less obvious benefits of eliminating a free-flow structure is that players are not vying for similar roles. Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, in a more structured approach, do not end up in the same place at the same time.  Like a well-trained hockey team, moving the puck is vital to success. That same tactic of moving the basketball around is vital for the Timberwolves’ success, as the Wolves need to get defenders out of position to open lanes to drive to the basket.

Thankfully, the presence of Mike Conley Jr., Kyle Anderson, Shake Milton, and to a lesser extent Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Naz Reid allows plenty of basketball movement among teammates.

Okay, enough analysis. The Timberwolves not only appear to be a much more polished team so far, but they all genuinely appear to be having fun. Of course, success makes everything more enjoyable in professional sports. But there is an undercurrent of this team that has the rare combination of enthusiasm and passion for the game of basketball with a clinical almost business-like approach.

In the end, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not just a team that will enjoy success this season, but this team is very much of the mindset that they expect to win.

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