Celtics' superstars show how Timberwolves can win a title sooner than expected

Boston's best players are showing us that Minnesota may not be as far away from a championship as some may think.
Anthony Edwards, Jayson Tatum
Anthony Edwards, Jayson Tatum / David Berding/GettyImages

What many considered a dream season for the Minnesota Timberwolves ultimately ended in disappointment. The team took home their second-most regular season victories in franchise history and came up just shy of finishing with the top overall seed in an extremely competitive and loaded Western Conference.

It seemed like an NBA Finals appearance was there for the taking, but the Wolves ultimately could not overcome an extremely difficult matchup in the Mavericks to reach the Finals for the first time ever. While many fans in Minnesota will be watching Boston face off with Dallas with dismay thinking they missed their chance, there is still plenty of reason for optimism.

One reason to be positive about this team is that this was just the second year of the Rudy Gobert experiment, and the Timberwolves of course saw exponentially more success in year two than in year one. There is also the fact that Anthony Edwards is still just 22 years old. Many of the harsh criticisms of him over the course of Minnesota's playoff run were unreasonable, but they are also an indicator of how highly regarded he is, and rightfully so.

As Edwards continues to learn and iron out flaws in his game, he and the entire Timberwolves organization can be encouraged by what they are seeing unfold in real time while watching the NBA Finals. The Celtics' two best players, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, have been playing alongside each other for the last seven seasons in a row, and they have found themselves in the playoffs in each one of those seasons.

Anthony Edwards' playoff experience will pay off in due time

It has taken a long time for Boston to reach the mountaintop under Tatum and Brown, but the front office placed their trust in them, and now they are reaping the rewards of doing so. Part of what led them and the Celtics to achieving this level of success where they hold an incredible 14-2 record in the 2024 playoffs is simply experience.

Jayson and Jaylen have failed over and over again in the playoffs, and that is one of the biggest reasons they are succeeding now. They have been battle-tested against players like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Jimmy Butler in the playoffs over the years. So it is no wonder they are not nearly as rattled in going against the star power of Luka Doncic this year.

The fact that the Celtics' two best players spent years going deep in the playoffs and even making the Finals before they ultimately (potentially) win a championship is a big reason for optimism on the part of the Timberwolves. So far, Anthony Edwards has been to the playoffs three times in his four seasons in the league, competing in a grand total of 27 playoff games in just three years.

This year's Celtics are living proof that the experience factor absolutely matters. Edwards being surrounded by good teammates and having a stable coaching staff and team ownership over his first four seasons as a professional are all factors that have contributed to this outcome, and they are setting him up to achieve much more in a short amount of time.

When Ant and Minnesota do win their first championship, it will be in part because of his years of part-fought battles in the Western Conference playoffs.