Happy Labor Day, everyone. I hope you’re all out on the golf course enjoying a cold beverage or two. It seems we may have an early autumn on our hands, and while the warm weather of summer is appreciated, you will not hear me complaining about the early fall weather.
There’s not much going on in our Timberwolves-centric world, but I have been thinking a bit about how different this time of year is for us than this past year.
A year ago today, the Miami Heat had just taken a 3-1 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in the Orlando Bubble. Mike Budenholzer was done, Giannis wasn’t a true number one (LOL), and frankly, the Bucks as a franchise were teetering with the Giannis Antetokoumnpo supermax decision looming. We know how that all turned out.
This also leads me to think about how different this off-season is for players, specifically young players like Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, and just the 2020-21 Rookie Class in general. This isn’t the “Timberwolves fans fall for false hope” article or anything, but I am excited to see what they’re able to do with a full off-season. Both players improved gradually early in the season, and then somewhat rapidly at the end of the season.
Under normal circumstances, I’d be skeptical of the small sample of improved jump-shooting from Ant in the second-half of the season, but a full, real off-season to work on his game with NBA-level trainers should help to off-set any regression that would otherwise be coming. It’s hard to not think that Edwards’ breakout wouldn’t have occurred sooner had there been a Summer League opportunity for him or just a real training camp.
For Jaden McDaniels, I always think about what would’ve happened with his minutes early in the season if he would’ve been able to play in Summer League last season. Would it have taken as long for him to push himself into the rotation? My guess is no. That probably doesn’t drastically alter the outcome of last season, but it certainly would’ve been more enjoyable.
So, while I’m not the kind to put the cart before the horse (every other team in the NBA will also benefit from the full off-season), the idea of this team with a real off-season just excites me. It’s refreshing, just like the crisp autumn breeze that rolled through for the first time this weekend.
On a different note, I wanted to take a little bit of space here to congratulate Kyle, our Site Manager here at Canis. In case you missed it, Kyle got married this weekend to his wife Abby in Hawaii. Aside from the fact that Kyle puts in an incredible amount of time and energy to make sure this site runs smoothly, he’s also an incredibly generous and selfless friend. Kyle is the type of person who puts others before himself without hesitation. He also lives with an undying optimism about the Timberwolves, which is probably more of a testament to his belief in people than anything else in the world. To congratulate Kyle and Abby on their marriage, let’s let optimism run amok in the comments with your boldest, most optimistic high-end outcomes for Jaden McDaniels.