There have been many qualms about how the Minnesota Timberwolves have built the roster. But they are heading in the right direction in one respect; they are building a group with as many backgrounds as possible. This will ensure they have people with different perspectives because of their diversity both on the inside and outside.
Homogenous groups, or ones where executives, coaches, and players are surrounded by people like themselves, do not foster an environment where new perspectives and innovation are cultivated.
The Wolves have a roster full of players with different personalities and backgrounds. Whether that is different nationalities, pathways to the league, or even recent shortcomings, collectively, they bring an energy to this team that can not be replicated. Whether or not this was intentional when the roster was created, it will allow them to get through the hardships they will face this season.
The Young Guns
Anthony Edwards is one of the most eccentric players on the roster, let alone in the league today. His postgame interviews, Instagram live streams, and his highlight dunks and second-half scoring prowess make him an exciting watch at all times.
However, Ant has had his fair share of personal hardships. His mother and grandmother both passed when he was in eighth grade, both of whom played a significant role in raising him. He had to go to incredible lengths to overcome these challenges early in his life, all while becoming a mature five-star prospect out of high school. Recruited by schools across the nation, he chose to stay near home and attend the University of Georgia to stay close to family over schools like Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina.
Jaden McDaniels was in a similar situation when he came out of high school. He received offers from Kentucky, Kansas, and UCLA but committed to the University of Washington to stay closer to home. He still had to overcome a lot. He was projected to be a lottery pick, but his lackluster play landed him on the bench for the second half of the season.
As a result, his draft stock tanked. He fell out of the lottery and became a late-first/early-second round prospect. McDaniels still decided to enter the draft, putting critics of his effort to the side. And it played out well for him. He blossomed this past season and continues to show that his quiet nature is more about his personality than his work ethic.
The Core Pieces
Karl-Anthony Towns is the longest-tenured player and has gone through more adversity than anyone, both in his personal life and basketball career.
Still, KAT has done his best to be a positive voice in the locker room, looking out for his teammates and trying to raise their game. We’ve learned a lot about his character and personality because he’s given his all despite everything he has been through. We all know how vital he is to the continuity of this team.
D’Angelo Russell has also overcome a lot as he tries to establish himself in the league. As a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, he found himself in the middle of the Nick Young saga. Tensions flew publicly, and he was ultimately traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
He adjusted to his new surroundings with aplomb, putting up career numbers and leading an underrated crew of castoffs to the playoffs, jump-starting many of their careers along the way. The issue came when he was a restricted free agent and was moved to the Golden State Warriors via a sign-and-trade to clear the way for the Nets to sign Kevin Durant.
His Warriors tenure was short-lived because he didn’t fit well next to Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson was expected to return from his ACL injury. As a result, he found himself on the move again. This brought him to Minnesota at the deadline.
While he was reunited with KAT, one of his closest friends, he could only play in 12 games last season. He’ll have a fresh slate as this season kicks off, with few of the liabilities he had last year. Minnesota should be one of the best circumstances DLo has ever been in, which should elevate his play.
The Savy Veteran
Patrick Beverley found his own way through hard work and determination. Despite coming out as the best inner-city Chicago hooper in his class, he was not being recruited going into his senior season. Motivated by this slight, he wanted to prove he was a Division I player. This the attention of multiple programs, and he committed to the University of Arkansas. He proved his worth quickly, earning SEC honors his freshman year and following it with an outstanding sophomore season.
However, he left school when he ran into academic issues, hired an agent, and went overseas. The Lakers took him in the second round of the 2009 draft after he left Arkansas, but he was cut and played a year in Greece and Russia. After two seasons, he landed with the Houston Rockets, who turned him into the defensive menace we know today. To this day, he offers maximum hard work, determination, and intensity.
Having a veteran with that kind of experience and being around winning teams will always set things in the right direction. A group of players who have overcome things as individuals and as a team will only strengthen them, offering short- and long-term benefits that will manifest throughout the season. Things are still heading in a positive direction for this unique roster.