How will the Timberwolves fair after a massive offseason


Nathan Jerzak

As the new season approaches the Wolves will look to improve off their best season since the Kevin Garnett era. Over the offseason the Wolves made franchise changing moves, first acquiring Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly, the man who drafted Nikola Jokic in the second round, then only a month into his Timberwolves tenure Connelly makes the biggest move of the offseason acquiring 3x defensive player of the year 6x all defensive teamer and future hall of fame center Rudy Gobert.


The Wolves 4-2 first round exit to the Grizzlies showed that the team could only go so far. They showed countless mistakes in the clutch blowing multiple double digit 4th quarter leads that could have led to a 3-1 series lead. A large portion of those mistakes came from a lack of playoff experience from top players Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’angelo Russell who have a combined 10 games of playoff experience.


Dlo and Kat were both unreliable in their own rights. Dlo played himself off the court in the clutch in favor of Jordan McLaughlin with his poor shot selection, shooting 33% from the field. Kat on the other hand cost the Wolves key possessions in the clutch averaging a series high 4.5 turnovers a game. The final nail in the coffin was the loss in the rebounding battle 46.3 to 40. This lack of rebounding led to less possession for the wolves and a frustrating amount of second, third and even fourth chance buckets for the Grizzlies. Allowing 6’3 point guard Ja Morant and 6’8 center Brandon Clarke to 8.7 and 9 rebounds per game is unacceptable when looking at the height advantage of Kat 6’11 and Dlo 6’4. These issues ultimately led to their demise but did not go unnoticed in the offseason. 


The acquisition of Rudy Gobert wasn’t the only way the Wolves went all in this offseason, they also went out into free agency to acquire multiple veterans in Kyle Anderson, Bryn Forbes and Austin Rivers. The Gobert trade may have improved the overall team defense and rebounding but the free agent signings may have brought a more important skill, discipline. 


Last season the Wolves were inexperienced with an aggressive leader in Patrick Beverley who taught the team to play hard but that led to the team playing carelessly, fouling left and right and jacking up threes. So to help build off the experience gained from last season’s playoff run the Wolves signed some of the most disciplined players in the league Kyle Anderson and Bryn Forbes. 


First Kyle “Slo Mo” Anderson is the perfect change of pace point forward because he plays at his own pace, waiting for plays to develop and the defense to break down. Anderson should help the Wolves’ discipline problem this season as he can slow down the game when the young backcourt is struggling or overwhelmed. He can also be in the lineup when the Wolves are up big because he isn’t going to try to do too much like Dlo did in the playoffs, he will take care of the ball and take smart shots. 


Bryn Forbes on the other hand is a pure sharp shooter. Forbes has an astounding .413 career 3 point percentage making him one of the most reliable shooters in the league. His disciplined shooting should rub off on players like Dlo and Ant who shot .340 and .329 from three respectively. Forbes is an undersized 6’1 guard so for him to be a successful signing he will need to put up similar 3 point numbers to his career average. The addition of a sharp shooter should help the Wolves when closing out games because of Forbes’ consistency. 


And finally Rudy Gobert the crown jewel of this aggressive offseason should push the Wolves over the top. Aside from his previously stated defensive stats Gobert is a prolific rebounder averaging 11.7 rebounds in his career. Gobert’s rebounding ability should give the Wolves more second chance points, something that killed them in the playoffs. Finally Gobert’s sheer presence on the defensive end should boost the overall team defense dramatically.


Although the Timberwolves have had a rocky start to the season at 2-2 against teams on Wembanyama watch like the Jazz, Thunder and Spurs. We shouldn’t panic yet, there will be growing pains in the early season as we’ve seen playing two near seven footers, especially Towns who needs to adjust to defending quicker 4’s on the perimeter. So with all that being said the Timberwolves are looking at finishing anywhere between 4th and 8th in the packed west. I’m leaning more towards a 5 seed for the Wolves, the Gobert and KAT duo will take time to gel but when it does the NBA better be ready.