The more they change, the more they stay the same for the Wolves.
Let’s flashback to last summer in Wolves land.I just finished mowing the lawn on Friday afternoon in late June. I grab water and sit down on the deck and am surprised by around 30 notifications on my phone. From group texts, Twitter, Snapchat, and ESPN notifications. Rudy Gobert has been traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. All hail Tim Connley, he pulled off a superstar trade and everyone couldn’t be more excited. The Wolves now have a huge piece in rebounding that they were missing in the playoffs last year and their title odds have risen to 5th in the league to win the championship. Hope and optimism can be a hell of a thing huh?
Now back to reality… UnfortunatelyCurrently, the Wolves are 31-32 on the year and sit in 8th in the Western Conference playoff race. The twin towers approach we were all excited to see has only been active for close to 15 games. Karl-Anthony Towns has been out with calf strain for a total of 43 games straight. During that time we have seen some good, some bad, and some extremely ugly things from this Wolves squad.
During this frustrating season, we’ve seen bright spots. Anthony Edwards continued his rise to superstardom. Since the beginning of this season, he’s scored 30 points in more than 20 games this season. Finally being chosen for the All-Star game all while playing the most minutes in the NBA. He even gave a shoutout to Kobe while on all-star Weekend.Besides Anthony Edwards, Jaden Mcdaniels has been incredible on defense this year and has largely gone under-appreciated by most. Always guarding the top guy on the team while having to provide scoring and rebounding on the offensive end can wear a player out. For the most part, he locked up Kwahi and Paul George last night. He and Ant also played great defense against the Mavericks on the final possession to secure a victory. A Stone-Faced Killer, Jaden Mcdaniels will always be a favorite wolf of mine.
While being without Towns has reared its ugly head at times this season. It also cleared an opportunity for Naz Reid to show his worth in a contract year. From undrafted to being an offseason priority and dunking on everyone’s head this year. Naz has shown up and shown out for the Wolves. His emergence has been needed for this team on the court while Kat and Rudy have been banged up.
I could insert about 50 of these clips honestly. Naz is awesome. also S/O @WolvesClips on Twitter.
The Bad Wolves
Listen, I’m a positive guy and do my best not to rip the club. But the Wolves have been outright bad at several points this year. Bad game plans, bad shooting, and poor effort. If it wasn’t one thing it was another. The reality is it’s mostly been about effort for this team, they are lazy. There have been less than 3 games this year where I have said wow they outworked the other team it just wasn’t their night.Chris finch has been lazy in his own right. Picking not just bad but horrible end-of-the-game plays where the final outcome just doesn’t make any sense. He hasn’t got this team to lock in and wants to play hard consistently. Maybe it’s the lack of leadership in the locker room without Pat Bev to yell at everyone or keep them in check. It could be a lack of work ethic guys like Jarred Vanderbilt that would rather jump up and down to screw in a light bulb rather than grab a ladder just because he likes to work harder. When you take away a team’s glue guys and replace them with a veteran player that is comfortable with himself in Rudy Gobert. You’re not going to have the motivators you did.
I’ll leave this up in the air for the next year plus and not kill him right now… but Good God Tim “David Kahn 2.0” Connley. His start as the GM of the Timberwolves has been as bad as you can get. His standing pat throughout this offseason could have the Wolves and himself looking like world beaters in a top 4 spot in this bad western conference.
Trading the future for Rudy Gobert who largely needs the help of others to create a shot and can’t win a game on his own is a ballsy move and hasn’t paid off in the slightest. His trade for Mike Conley is set up more for the future than this year, but it led to much-needed wins turning to losses since the trade. Wolves fans want to win now.
The idea of building for the future has been sold to this franchise for 90% of its existence. If you aren’t from here you don’t get it. Tim Connley should have been forced to watch 82 regular season games each year from 2013 to 2018. Suffer through the 16-66 2014 season and the 29-53 2015 season as we all did. I don’t think he realizes what this franchise has gone through and what we are about. I hope he turns it around, but it honestly doesn’t look great.
Back to this year.
The Wolves’ late-game scoring had heavily leaned on D’angelo Russel throughout most of the year. His absence has led to a tired Anthony Edwards trying to will this team to victory. A 21-year-old who has played the most minutes NBA can’t do everything. Until Kat is back, they are stuck standing around and pointing fingers.
The Future Wolves
We’ve had a harder time finding Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury status and timetable than proving aliens exist this year. I honestly think I know more about weather ballons than when KAT will be back. A first reported 4-6 week absence has turned into a 2 1/2 month absence with no real solution on the horizon. No matter if you hate him or love him, the success of this current team relies on when he is back and how well he and Rudy play together. Anthony Edwards is amazing, but he needs some help.
With 18 games remaining, the goal should be to get a top 6 seed and stay out of the play-in game. Have a good run and have a respectable run this year and the playoffs. As we’ve said all year this team can beat anyone and lose to anyone. Let’s hope they lock in and lead us on a fun run over the next couple of weeks.
7th-year Senior at UND. (not a doctor). 2021 6v6 sand volleyball champion. Read my thoughts on the Wolves, Gophers, and USMNT.
Call me out on Twitter @RG__II