Well, the Minnesota Timberwolves may have played a closely contested game to open the 2023-24 NBA season, but the fundamentals of basketball were decidedly in the favor of the Toronto Raptors. While the Timberwolves appeared to have a solid grasp of what each player needed to do throughout the preseason, those lessons seemed to fly right out of their minds when regulation basketball began.
It’s not the end of the world. The Timberwolves roster is loaded with seasoned NBA veterans who should have already realized the morning after what needs to be done by the team and will focus on incorporating those changes into their next game.
Unfortunately, this is not the same Timberwolves schedule as last season.
Wolves need to improve to win
The Timberwolves opened against the Toronto Raptors, a team that the Wolves have not beaten in Toronto for 19 consecutive years. Now the Timberwolves return home to take on the Miami Heat, a team that ascended to the top of the NBA Eastern Conference just last season.
There are no partial credits in the NBA. It’s a binary merit system – win or lose. The Timberwolves can have a much more competitive team than that of a year ago, but without stacking up more wins than losses, this is going to be a long and disappointing campaign once more. To win, the Wolves have to play much better than this team did in Game 1.
Can the Minnesota Timberwolves play better? I think so. The Timberwolves roster is slated to welcome back starting small forward Jaden McDaniels, a key cog in the Wolves plans for this season:
That will allow Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a player who has been noticeably struggling to start in McDaniels’ absence, to return to the Timberwolves bench where he hopefully will get his groove back. But here are three items on the checklist where the Timberwolves need to do better: