Timberwolves proving their best move in franchise history isn't what you think

The biggest reason for Minnesota's success is a bit buried beneath the surface.
Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We are in the middle of one of the most prosperous times in Minnesota Timberwolves history. After putting up their most wins in a regular season in 20 years, the Wolves have more than carried that success over into the playoffs. Winning each of their first six postseason games, Minnesota looks like world-beaters following two consecutive wins against the defending champions on the road.

The identity of this team is clear. They establish their dominance through hard-nosed, full-court defense, smothering opponents and severely frustrating would-be killer offensive players. The Timberwolves have gone from a mid-level playoff team to a legitimate championship favorite in a short amount of time, and many factors have contributed to this reality.

One is of course the rise of Anthony Edwards. The Wolves' clear best player, Ant has spearheaded Minnesota's offense while playing lockdown defense at the other end of the floor, even earning him some very bold comparisons to Michael Jordan. Another is Rudy Gobert, the now four-time Defensive Player of the Year who has enabled the team to reach a new level of defensive prowess.

But at the center of the Timberwolves' incredible run of success sits President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly. Coming over to the organization in May 2022, Connelly has orchestrated all of Minnesota's moves since then and has played an enormous part in building this team into the unstoppable force it is today.

Around six weeks into his tenure, Connelly already had a master plan in his head of how to turn Minnesota into a monster. It was at that point that he made the first, and undoubtedly boldest, step in his process, which was to pull off a massive trade for Rudy Gobert. At the time, most of the basketball world panned the move and dubbed the Timberwolves fools for ever thinking such a move could work.

Tim Connelly made the Wolves championship-worthy in just two seasons

But as all smart executives do, Connelly was playing the long game. His next big move was to discard some dead weight at the 2023 trade deadline. Not only did he accomplish that, but he ended up getting Minnesota a far greater return than they ever should have been able to get. The Timberwolves flipped D'Angelo Russell for Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round draft picks.

In a flash, Minnesota had completely changed the look of their roster and significantly raised their ceiling as well. Gone were the players that would ultimately hinder their capability as a high-level defensive team, and replacing them were switchy defenders that could play all over the floor.

The metamorphosis of this team's roster can all be credited to Connelly's team-building expertise, as well as his patience to continue adhering to his plan even when things did not work out immediately last season. But the best part of this whole story has to be the one held within the Timberwolves' second-round opponent.

Not only has Tim Connelly built the Wolves into a winner, but he does it after crafting a championship roster in Denver as well. Following his time serving as the Nuggets' General Manager and drafting Nikola Jokic which ultimately led to them becoming champions, he then moved to Minnesota and began crafting the perfect roster to take down his former team.

It is like Connelly is playing NBA 2K in real life. He is proving once again that his skills as an executive are among the most elite in the association, and hiring him back in 2022 may very well end up as the best decision in Timberwolves franchise history.