Tim Connelly and the Minnesota Timberwolves have had a hectic offseason as they try and gear up for a “championship or bust” mindset heading into the 2022-23 season.
Following the Rudy Gobert trade, many Wolves fans, including myself, have had their doubts about the makeup of the roster. But the Wolves look like the deepest team in the NBA just two months before training camp kicks off in September.
Minnesota has never been known as a free-agent destination, so building the team through trades and the draft has been the only way to improve the roster. For some reason, though, this off-season has been much different. Maybe it’s because the Wolves now have four All-Star caliber players, an offensive genius at the helm, or new ownership. Regardless of the reason, players now view the Wolves as a team that will win games.
Barring a trade, the Timberwolves rounded out their roster heading into training camp with the recent acquisition of Eric Paschall. The 25-year-old forward will be here on a two-way deal, incredible value for a guy who made All-Rookie First-Team just three years ago.
Signing Paschall confirmed my off-season view of the Wolves. They are deep, but just how deep are they? Before we take a look at the reasons why, below is a quick look at what I believe the depth chart to look like for the Timberwolves:
Incredible Shooting on the Bench
While Malik Beasley may not have been very consistent from beyond the arc last season, connecting on just under 40% of his threes, there was still a lack of shooting off the bench following his departure. Sure, guys like Jaylen Nowell and Taurean Prince have solid three-point strokes, but the Wolves still needed help on this front.
The Wolves obtained that by signing Bryn Forbes and Austin Rivers, who shot above 34% from three last season. So that makes four guys who can step into the game and provide a consistent threat from deep off the bench.
Depth at the 4 and 5
Not only is there shooting up and down Minnesota’s roster, but the blending of different talents at the 4 and 5 looks to be a great element of this Wolves team. Starting with Karl-Anthony Towns and Gobert, we all know that Gobert excels at what Towns lacks, and vice versa. Therefore, it’s not very hard to see that pairing working out for the Wolves.
The Wolves will also have Kyle Anderson and Naz Reid as a duo coming off the bench. Similar to Towns and Gobert, Anderson is a fierce competitor on defense. Naz Reid’s great post work on offense makes him one of the better backup bigs in the game today.
Josh Minott and Nathan Knight are works in progress for sure, but the raw talent they possess could make them a staple in Minnesota for years to come. While we’ve only seen Minott play in Summer League games, the flashes he showed earned himself a 4-year, $6.8 million rookie deal with the Wolves.
Knight was active for 37 games with Minnesota last season, showing his big rebounding chops and high-flying abilities. In response to that solid season, he re-signed with the Wolves on a standard contact after being on a two-way last season.
Last but certainly not least, the Timberwolves just flat-out have winners on their squad. Ranging from Gobert to Prince and Anderson, all the way down to Rivers and Forbes, this roster is loaded with guys who’ve won at a high level. They know what it takes to consistently be a threat in the league. It’s something the Wolves haven’t had for quite some time.
Patrick Beverley was beloved in Minnesota because he brought a winning culture to a team that’s been deprived of it for so long. Tom Thibodeau brought Jimmy Butler in to do the same thing, but we all know how that turned out for both sides. While Beverley will leave a leadership void, Minnesota did a great job getting players whole to fill his similar role. Maybe not in such a tumultuous way, but creating a winning culture nonetheless.
The Wolves experienced more buzz this off-season than they have in years. The Wolves have finally caught their opponents’ attention. Some may say it’s overzealous to call this team the deepest in the league. But in my mind, they’re the NBA’s Mariana Trench.