THE TIMBERWOLVES File
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Home court: Target Center
G.M: Tim Connolly
Coach: Chris Finch
Star: F Karl-Anthony Towns
2021 Season: 46-36, lost to Grizzlies in Western Conference first-round series in six games.
NBA Titles: None
Greatest Player: Kevin Garnett
Factoid: A contest to name the franchise in 1986 yielded two finalists – Timberwolves and Polars. The team then asked the state’s 842 city councils to vote on a winner. Timberwolves won by a nearly 2-1 margin.
Fast forward: On May 23, 2022 Tim Connolly was hired as Minnesota’s president and general manager. He wasted little time in making a huge impact.
Connolly sent Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt and four first-round picks to the Utah Jazz for center Rudy Gobert. Did we say huge impact?!
Gobert, a 7-foot-1, shot-blocking phenom, now teams with power forward extraordinaire Karl-Anthony Towns to give the Timberwolves one of the most formidable front lines in the NBA.
It’s a mega gamble. The NBA has fallen in love with the 3-point shot. Some teams place one forward and four shooters on the court to space the floor and create 3-point shot opportunities. The Timberwolves have gone in the complete opposite direction, leading some to question:
A. Can this work on offense? Can Gobert and Towns have the space to work?
B. Can this work on defense? When opposing teams go small, can Gobert and Towns be caught in mismatches?
Of course, the opposite is true as well. How does the opposition defend and rebound against a Minny team that’s maxi?
It’s not as if the Timberwolves don’t have quality perimeter players. D’Angelo Russell (26) is one of the best young point guards in the league. Anthony Edwards (21) might be the best young shooting guard in the NBA.
No one knows for certain if this Grand Big Man Experiment can work. But this is certain: Connolly obviously believes in it and the T-Wolves present a unique challenge for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Other teams are considered bigger threats to win it all, but no team will be bigger than Minnesota. And no team will be more closely watched than Minnesota.