Out of the blue: How the T-wolves found their teeth and silenced all of their critics


The Minnesota Timberwolves are arguably the NBA’s biggest success story so far this season, earning a 24-8 record that sees them at the top of the Western Conference.

This is their best-ever start to an NBA season in franchise history. However, it came completely out of the blue.

Keep in mind, that many predicted that the franchise wouldn’t even make the playoffs ahead of this season’s tip-off.

There was also the narrative surrounding the Timberwolves making the wrong move in July of 2022 when they gave up a lot of their future in order to trade for French centre Rudy Gobert.

It was a gamble that the Timberwolves felt like they had to make to maximise their chances of winning a first-ever NBA championship. Despite the initial backlash, Minnesota is reaping all the benefits right now, and there are many reasons as to why that’s the case.

Minnesota is the only team in the NBA that hasn’t lost back-to-back games so far this season and they boast a dominant 14-1 record at home.

Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert have all played a very large role in the Timberwolves’ resurgence on the court, which sees the team 17 games above .500.

Rudy Gobert. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Edwards has been sensational so far this season. The first overall pick in the 2020 draft continues to evolve into a potential superstar player, showcasing exactly why he is the face of the Timberwolves franchise.

The 22-year-old is averaging a team and career-high 26 points per game (PPG), while shooting a career-best 37.6 per cent from three-point range and 83.9 per cent from the free-throw line.

The chemistry established between Towns and Gobert (currently fourth in the league at 12 RPG) has caught most people by surprise, especially when you consider the struggles that the pair had in trying to understand each other’s game last season.

Towns’ ability to recognise where Gobert is on the court by simply driving into the paint and providing Gobert simple alley-oops is one of many examples of how the team get so many easy buckets.

Towns is close to averaging 50-40-90 (the gold-standard shooting split) so far in 2022-23 as he is averaging 50.7 per cent from the field, 40.6 per cent from three-point range and 89.1 per cent from the free-throw line, all while averaging 21.1 PPG.


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— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 1, 2024

The relationship between Gobert and veteran point guard Mike Conley also needs to be mentioned.

Their connection originated at the Utah Jazz where they spent three seasons playing together, finishing top of the Western Conference in the 2020-21 season.

Conley epitomises an NBA player who knows exactly when the right time to pass is and when to score the ball.

The ownership deserves a lot of credit for trading away guard D’Angelo Russell to acquire Conley, which has brought a lot more structure to how the team plays.

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— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 1, 2024

Jaden McDaniels is another talented youngster in the starting line-up that fits alongside Conley, Edwards, Gobert and Towns.

The 23-year-old forward is already a very good defender who has a high chance of making an NBA All-Defensive Team sooner rather than later.

Coach Chris Finch also deserves a lot of credit for getting Minnesota to where they are right now.

Despite facing criticism around his ability to take the Timberwolves to the next level, Finch has constructed a perfectly balanced roster that incorporates everything needed to establish a winning culture.

The expectation from the franchise and the fanbase should be making it to the second round of the playoffs at the very least, especially after back-to-back eliminations in the first round in the past two seasons.

The Timberwolves have only managed to go beyond the first round in the playoffs one time, which was back in 2004.

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How many regular season wins will the Timberwolves get this season? And where do you see them finishing in the Western Conference?

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