BASKETBALLOPINIONSPORTS

The resurgence of the Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves are now 7-2 after beating the Golden State Warriors 116-110. This places them third in the Western Conference behind the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks. 

Last season wasn’t a beautiful season for the Timberwolves; having a record of 42-40, making the playoffs by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Play-In tournament, but ultimately falling to the eventual champion Denver Nuggets. 

Highlights from the season were the emergence of the first-time All-Star Anthony Edwards and his ability to become the face of the league and future MVP winner. The talks of the disappointing season came back to the discussion of injuries and much drama surrounding the acquisition of Rudy Gobert. 

Many fans saw these as excuses by the Wolves and thought changes needed to be made. Many wanted Karl-Anthony Towns to be traded and believed the Wolves were destined for another disappointing year.

However, the Timberwolves have been nothing short of exceptional to start the NBA season this year. Exceeding their expectations, completely ending the unbeaten runs of both the Nuggets and the Celtics , leading them to be number two on the power rankings in the NBA. 

One of the biggest reasons for this improvement goes to Anthony Edwards, who has progressed his game completely after a very good season last year. He has seen his numbers rise completely, and is currently averaging 28.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, and a field goal percentage of 48.7% so far. The notable improvement in Edwards’ game has been his ability to become the closer for the Wolves, but most importantly a very good playmaker. His ability to pass the ball and make the right pass to his teammates the best shot has been nothing short of incredible this year. 

Another notable thing Anthony Edwards has brought to the Timberwolves this season as a closer is his ability to never shy away from the big moments and the big stage. In the big games this year he’s shown a wonderful level with his big performances against the Celtics, scoring 38 points, and against the Warriors, scoring 33 points. But this he always credits to his team. 

The team this year has been sensational with every player stepping up in very noticeable and prominent ways with every man on the floor and off the bench bringing something important and fresh to the floor consistently. 

Defensively the biggest asset this year has arguably been Rudy Gobert with his rim protection being amongst the best in the league along with his rebounding and awareness. Rudy is third in the NBA in rebounds with 115 so far this season averaging 12.8 a game. Rudy has also averaged 2.2 blocks a game so far with 20 on the season being the 4th in the NBA. 

Another defensive beast comes in the form of Jaden McDaniels, whose size and length have made him one of the best in the NBA, having a defensive rating of 104.3 and an offensive rating of 114.8, averaging 10.9 points on a very high efficiency of 55.9% from the field.

The fan favorite of Minnesota Naz Reid has been one of the best sparks off the bench for the Wolves continuing what he did last season, averaging 13.3 points per game on a high efficiency of 52.4% from the field. Naz Reid’s size and ability to shoot the ball makes him one of the most dangerous and versatile in the team. He provides a spark every time he comes off the bench is one of the reasons this team has had so much success this season. 

Another big player for Minnesota who’s finally begun to show his star-level performance is Karl Anthony Towns, who did not start the season the best. Towns has been known to be a player who spends a lot of time complaining about calls and having been called a “Cry baby” by many fans which notably affects his performances. 

However, in the past 5 games, there has been a notable difference in the way Towns has played. In the past 3 games he held himself noticing that there’s been far more playing rather than complaining. Towns in the past 3 games has scored 23 points against the Pelicans on 75% FG%, 29 points against The Spurs with 52% FG%, and 21 points against The Warriors on 57.1% FG%. With Towns playing at an All-Star level once again, it’s a sign of good things to come. 

It may only be the beginning of the season, but the Minnesota Timberwolves show no sign of slowing down. They have started the season at a very high level and played some of the best basketball I’ve seen in years. If they continue to play this way, then they will be championship contenders for many years to come with a very young and hungry squad.

Header Photo: As many people have said before, Anthony Edwards is on pace for a Hall of Fame career. This is where it all begins. (Jeff Chui/The Associated Press)

Write to Ahmed Hassan at ahmed.hassan.4@mnsu.edu

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