The Minnesota Timberwolves entered Wednesday night’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks expecting some sort of upcoming changes. For starters, the NBA trade deadline is set for Thursday at 3:00pm EST, and considering how aggressive the Wolves front office was at last year’s deadline, it’s not out of the question to expect a flurry of last-minute activity on Thursday afternoon.
Additionally, NBA Star Malik Beasley is set to return from his 12-game suspension this weekend, and with D’Angelo Russell set to begin team activities as he continues to rehab from knee surgery, the current version of the Wolves is set to look vastly different in the very near future.
With turnover looming in the air, the Wolves once again found themselves on the wrong end of a blowout loss Wednesday night, falling to the Mavericks 128-108.
Let’s recap how it all went down...
While there are very few bad things to discuss in a blowout win, there are similarly very few good things to discuss in a blowout loss.
With that said, even I had forgotten how truly enjoyable it is to watch Karl-Anthony Towns play professional basketball. Despite having somewhat of a down shooting year, it’s simply fascinating to watch a giant human being in person shoot the ball so effortlessly from beyond the arc, while also searching out passing lanes that most bigs his size (and his age) simply can’t find. KAT would go on to finish the night with 22 points (including 4-of-9 from deep), 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 0 terrifying falls on his banged-up wrist.
The other notable “good” player worth mentioning from tonight’s game was Jaylen Nowell, who tallied double-digit scoring for the sixth time in his last seven attempts. With Malik set to return on Friday, and Jordan McLaughlin now cleared from the health and safety protocols, it will be very interesting to see how the guard rotation plays out moving forward.
Despite a spirited first quarter performance by the home team, the Wolves simply were outmatched (and severely outrebounded) by the visiting Mavs, resulting in a performance that felt more like the pre-All Star break Timberwolves than post-All Star break.
As mentioned above, Minnesota was outrebounded 52-37 by Dallas, which is rather impressive when you realize the Mavs played a majority of the game with as many small guys as Minnesota did. Third-year guard Jalen Brunson, who registers in at a mighty 6’1” in shoes, led all players on Wednesday with 11 rebounds, once again highlighting Minnesota’s knack (or lack thereof) for grabbing their opponent’s missed shots.
While a quick glance at the box score may suggest that beloved rookie Anthony Edwards continued his dominating stretch of basketball, it wasn’t nearly as pretty (at least in my opinion) as the stat sheet may seem. Yes, ANT finished with 29 points, but 18 of those came in the fourth quarter during what became a glorified (and really expensive) pickup game. It was nice to see Edwards looking for his teammates early in the game, but the 3-of-12 performance from deep is something that is becoming more and more of a concern for the former Georgia Bulldog, and goes against the whole “2/3 attack, 1/3 settle” philosophy that head coach Chris Finch mentioned a few weeks back.
With the 2021 NBA trade deadline less than 24 hours away, it will be very interesting to see just how Gersson Rosas approaches this latest opportunity to instill change for this franchise. There’s no doubt that this team has talented players returning in the near future (whether that be from suspension or from injury), but figuring out how to make all of those pieces work (while simultaneously trying to get them to defend) may be the biggest challenge this front office has faced since arriving back in 2019.
Cue up the trade machine!
Last but not least — as many of you know, my parents are both avid Canis Hoopus fans and support a lot of what I and the rest of our writers do here (hi mom, hi dad). With that said, my father is officially hanging it up on Thursday after 46 years as a pharmacist in North Dakota, and I wanted to use this platform (since I know he’ll read this in the morning) to thank him for everything he has ever done for me, my friends, and all of our family.
Congrats on one hell of a career, dad. 10,000 Hoopus Points will now be credited to your account.