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For the first time since early October, we woke up without Timberwolves basketball to look forward to, whether it was with angst, excitement, dread, or a combination of the three. Despite throwing their best punch, the Wolves fell 112-109 in Game 5 to the Denver Nuggets without Jaden McDaniels (broken right hand), Naz Reid (broken left wrist) and Kyle Anderson (left eye injury) and are now gone fishin’ for the summer.
The front office has a difficult task in front of them this summer: evaluate whether to make seismic roster change based on an incredibly small sample size of the team at full strength. Minnesota’s new-look starting five played just seven games together, while their entire group (starters + full bench) took the floor only twice.
Of those 7, the Wolves only played ONE game with the full starting 5 & Naz, Slomo, NAW & TP off the bench (even with Ants ankle injury and KAT coming off an extended absence):— Devin Jones (@DevinJonesMN) April 26, 2023
99-96 W AT GSW (who went 33-8 at home this year)
Not to mention that Naz Reid (UFA), Jaylen Nowell (UFA), Austin Rivers (UFA) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (RFA) are all slated to become free agents this summer, while the team may feasibly negotiate extensions for Anthony Edwards (up to five-year rookie max), McDaniels (up to five-year rookie max), Mike Conley, Kyle Anderson and Taurean Prince.
But the biggest decision this front office can make — regardless of it is current President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly or someone else if Connelly bolts for the Washington Wizards — is whether to break up the team’s two bigs experiment with Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, or run it back for another season this fall.
Wolves Head Coach Chris Finch expressed confidence in the coaching staff’s ability to make it work moving forward.
“They’re both really incredibly good basketball players. With the skill level that KAT has, for sure, there’s no reason basketball-wise that it shouldn’t work. There’s a lot of things we can talk about about why the learning curve was so steep for it,” Finch said. “But the most important thing is we have a big enough body of work, I think we can properly evaluate it. I still remain extremely confident we’re able to maximize those guys.”
That brings us to this week’s poll (the last one for a while):
How should the Timberwolves approach the two-bigs construct this summer?