KPI III: Timberwolves must win the battle of the boards
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a tall roster. But height means nothing unless the players can leverage their vertical advantage to dominate the boards. That was not the case last season, and the Timberwolves lost more than a couple of games because poorer shooting opponents were able to get multiple shots off, thanks to their ability to grab offensive rebounds.
To win against the Raptors, the Timberwolves must rebound effectively. That will require more than a solid effort by Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert. The entire team must make an effort to grab and go. If the players can do that, the Wolves will compete well in this one.
KPI II: Karl-Anthony Towns must play a prominent role
Whether you consider him a petulant liability or a dominating contributor on the Timberwolves roster, the Minnesota Timberwolves need a dominating performance from Karl-Anthony Towns. I don’t want to single out KAT as the lone player on the Timberwolves roster who must play well, but his absence last season sets the stage for his comeback tour.
That comeback tour starts in Toronto. If Towns can score, nail his perimeter shots, and bring down a solid number of rebounds, that will not only help the team win but will place the NBA on notice that the KAT is back.
As long as opponents fear both Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards’s ability to score, the Timberwolves’ entire offense opens up in the game.