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2023-24 NBA Power Rankings Offseason Edition: No. 16 Minnesota Timberwolves

Like the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves were one of the most disappointing teams in 2022-23. After posting 46 victories in 2021-22, ending a three-year playoff drought, and going “all-in” for Rudy Gobert, Minnesota entered last season with high hopes. But Karl-Anthony Towns went down with an injury at the end of November and didn’t return until March 22. The Timberwolves finished 2022-23  with a 42-40 record and made the playoffs for the second straight year, marking the first time since the early 2000s. However, they had to settle for the Western Conference’s eighth seed as they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first play-in game.

2023-24 NBA Power Rankings Offseason Edition: No. 16 Minnesota Timberwolves

Despite rumors that Towns may be traded this offseason, Minnesota is essentially bringing back the same squad that they ended the season with. This could bring hope to the Wolves fan base as Minnesota’s big three only played together 32 times, including one play-in game and five first-round contests against the Denver Nuggets. They were 13-13 with a +0.8 scoring margin in games during the regular season with Towns, Gobert, and Anthony Edwards in the lineup. Minnesota was also 12-12 with a +1.3 plus/minus rating when Mike Conley, who they acquired at the trade deadline, was on the floor.

Minnesota’s biggest offseason move was re-signing Naz Reid and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The Timberwolves also brought in Shake Milton and Troy Brown Jr. Additionally, they drafted Jaylen Clark in the second round and traded for second-round pick Leonard Miller. Clark joins Luka Garza on a two-way contract.

Miller, an NBA Rising Star game participant, was one of the stars for the Timberwolves in the 2K24 Las Vegas summer league. He posted two double-doubles and averaged 15.4 points along with 8 rebounds. Miller also shot 44.6% from the field and 36.8% from the three-point line. Josh Minott appeared in 15 games for the Wolves a season ago, and Wendell Moore Jr. also had productive summers.

The Timberwolves did lose three rotational pieces with Taureen Prince, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Meanwhile, Jaylen Nowell and Austin Rivers remain free agents.

Best Offseason Decision: Re-Signing Anthony Edwards

The Timberwolves could have waited until the end of the season to get a deal done, but there was no reason to do that. Edwards is now the third Wolves player with a max contract after receiving a five-year, $205.9 million extension. While that was previously unheard of, Minnesota had no choice as Edwards has become the face of the franchise and one of the top players in the league.

Currently playing for Team USA in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Edwards has improved in each of his seasons. The first-time All-Star finished in the top 25 in the league in scoring (24.6) and earned votes in All-NBA and All-Defensive voting.

Besides setting a personal best in scoring, Edwards posted career highs in rebounds, assists, and steals. He also drained 2.7 treys while compiling his best-ever shooting slash line of 46/37/76.

With Towns, Edwards, and Gobert locked up, the Timberwolves their core is intact. However, the Wolves payroll is already at $162.9 million and is only $18.2 million from hitting the punitive super tax apron. Therefore, expect Towns or Gobert not to be with the team after next year.

Worst Offseason Decision: Backup Point Guard

Point guard play was not a positional strength last year. While the addition of Conley did stabilize the position a little, Jordan McLaughlin was not very good, and he still projects as Conley’s primary backup. The Wolves brought in free agent Milton, but he had issues with the Philadelphia 76ers. Milton is an excellent three-point shooter and a decent playmaker.

What’s Next: Finish Training Camp Roster

Minnesota has 16 players under contract for the upcoming season. The Timberwolves have 14 players under standard contracts and two on two-way deals. Therefore, the Wolves can sign five more players for training camp.

Minnesota has some money to spend, but they are not sure they will use it to carry 15 players. The Wolves are $7.8 million from being hard-capped. They still have a portion of their non-taxpayer exemption and their entire bi-annual exemption.

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