It was the summer of 2022, and the Minnesota Timberwolves were just coming off of their first playoff appearance since their 2017-18 run with Jimmy Butler. The team decided it was in win-now mode and made a big splash by trading Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, and a treasure chest of draft picks for perennial defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert to fast-track their championship window.
After an up-and-down first season with the Timberwolves, Gobert is thriving in his second year with the club. Thriving so much so, that he's the current favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year.
That same offseason the Wolves needed to make some moves on the margins to replace the plethora of assets they offloaded in the Gobert deal. One of those moves was signing forward Kyle Anderson to a two-year deal, poaching him from the team that eliminated them from the playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Slo-Mo" as many people have called him due to his... well... slow movement, was added as a high-IQ veteran to help mentor the younger Wolves and provide playmaking off the bench. However, last year Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns missed a majority of the season with a left calf injury, which paved the way for Anderson to start most games.
In his first season with the Timberwolves, Anderson provided exceptional playmaking, solid defense, and a crafty bag on offense that caters to his unique slow pacing. He ended the 2022-23 season with averages of 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and a career-best 41.0 percent from three.
After such a hot start, Anderson looked like one of the best free-agent signings in Wolves' history (we know.... there isn't a ton of competition for that honor, it's cold up here).
This season, however.... is a completely different story.
Gone are the astounding passes, the late-game clutch plays, and the connection between him and Gobert. Instead, Anderson has drawn the ire of Wolves fans everywhere, and rightfully so.
From a raw numbers standpoint, Anderson has regressed in every way possible. His current season averages look like this: 6.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game, but possibly the most concerning statistic is his dip in 3-point percentage. After shooting a career-best 41.0 percent from beyond the arc last season, Anderson's 3-point shooting this year is sitting at a paltry 19.4 percent.
Too many times this season Anderson has missed wide-open three after wide-open three. Besides the numbers, he's just looked like he has lost a step in the Wolves' offense. Additionally, he's costing the team with his emotions.
This season Anderson has already accrued seven technical fouls, compared to last season where he had just five on the year. The most egregious was this past game against the Chicago Bulls, where in a clutch situation with under two minutes left, Anderson received a tech while on the bench for yelling at a referee.
For most Wolves fans... this was the last straw.
From someone who is supposed to be a steadying veteran presence, Anderson has displayed immaturity far too many times this season when his team needs him most.
With his contract set to expire after this season, it would be in the Wolves' best interest to offload the struggling veteran to a team that can give them some value, perhaps for a sharpshooting wing. If not traded, it's like Minnesota loses the veteran for nothing in the offseason, because as it stands, it's looking unlikely that the Wolves bring him back as a free agent.
After a fun first season with the Wolves, Anderson has turned from hero to zero very quickly. While in the NBA, opinions can change fast, even in a span of a game or two, Anderson's inefficient and un-controlled play has been a lingering problem all season. It may be time to say goodbye to the former fan-favorite.