The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of, if not the most dysfunctional franchise in the NBA. Over the past few seasons, they have slowly but surely put pieces around their star Karl-Anthony Towns. With their sights set on playoff contention, the team’s current construction will have to operate to the best of its ability. Here’s a preview of what the Timberwolves will look like this season.
Minnesota Timberwolves 2021-22 Season Preview
Recap of Last Season
The Wolves had another mediocre season last year. They finished the season with a record of 23-49, only good for 13th in the Western Conference. The failure can mostly be blamed on a lack of continuity. After 31 games, head coach Ryan Saunders was fired after a random loss to the New York Knicks, and before the night was over, Chris Finch was named the new head coach. The speediness of the hire cast some doubt on Gersson Rosas, as Finch was a colleague from their days back in Houston. Considering Saunders 7-24 record, most were happy to see the change.
When a new coach comes in, there is always going to be an adjustment period. The new coach could make changes to the schemes on offense and defense, and mess around with rotations. Unfortunately, Finch was never able to complete his adjustment due to injuries. Towns missed over 20 games, D’Angelo Russell missed nearly 30 games, and Malik Beasley was suspended towards the end of the season with an off-court issue. With so many of the top players on the roster missing time, Finch could only work with the pieces he had left. Towns, Russell, and Anthony Edwards didn’t get to play together until the very last stretch of games, winning seven of their last 12.
Once the offseason hit, Rosas had a clear idea of what to address next. The trio of Towns, Russell, and Edwards was explosive offensively but was dreadful on defense, but without a draft pick, the front office would have to be creative. The work began by shipping out Ricky Rubio to Cleveland for Taurean Prince. This alleviated one issue. The duo of D’Angelo Russell and Rubio couldn’t produce effective offense, and Rubio’s $17 million contract made him an overpriced, ineffective backup. Prince will be able to bring shooting and wing defense, much better value for the money.
Rosas then shipped out former sixth overall pick Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez to Memphis for Patrick Beverley. Culver never showed any type of promise in Minnesota, while Hernangomez’s poor defense was ruined any shooting value. Beverley is a much more cost-effective solution at backup PG. His intensity and veteran leadership will be a much-needed guiding force on the court.
Lastly, a Timberwolves season wouldn’t be complete without some dysfunction. Glen Taylor decided to fire Gersson Rosas just a few days before training camp. Rosas was fired for creating a hostile work environment and for having an inappropriate relationship with an assistant. Sachin Gupta earned the temporary promotion to the President of Basketball Operations
Expectations for Next Season
According to the sentiment at media day, the Rosas firing will have a negligible impact on the team. With the slightly improved roster and some experimentation by Chris Finch, expect the Timberwolves to improve this season. The upcoming preseason games should preview what the Timberwolves schemes will look like this season. This team has the talent to make it into the playoffs as a seven or eight seed as long as the changes made by Finch work as intended.
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