Last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves recovered from a 16-20 start to end the year 46-36, going 30-16 over their final 46 outings, which featured victories against a slew of playoff opponents. Eventually, they made their way into a first-round matchup with the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, who dispatched them in a competitive six-game series. Memphis undoubtedly earned those victories, but various second-half, self-inflicted blunders throughout a few different games helped prevent Minnesota from making its first second-round appearance since 2003-04.
To build upon that momentum of last season, Minnesota acquired All-NBA center Rudy Gobert this summer, pairing him with fellow All-NBA big man Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves sent out an array of future picks, as well as some key contributors from the 2021-22 squad, such as Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley.
Both Gobert and Towns, who signed a four-year, $224 million supermax extension this summer, are in their primes, as is point guard D’Angelo Russell. With Minnesota short on future assets to alter or improve this roster following the blockbuster trade, the time to win is now, and Towns is embracing the high expectations.
“Just wanna be great. It’s always talk about us being good and are we good enough?,” Towns said. “It’s not time to be good anymore. It’s time to be great. We made these moves. We made these trades, so we gotta be great. Good is not good enough anymore.”
More from Karl-Anthony Towns on the season starting tonight.
— Alec Ausmus (@A_TwiceKSTP) October 19, 2022
Tall-ball is not an unknown concept, but two All-NBA centers joining forces to promote that tall-ball approach is novel, at least over the past half-decade. Minnesota is an incredibly interesting and talented team, one that should contend for a top-four seed out West this season. We’ll get the initial returns on this experiment when the Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder kick off at 8 p.m. EST inside Minneapolis’ Target Center.