A young Minnesota Timberwolves squad is ready to make the next step this season. Earlier in the year, the team made it to the play-in, where they would defeat the Kawhi Leonard-less Los Angeles Clippers.
The gritty Memphis Grizzlies awaited them in the playoffs as their first-round opponent. It seemed like the two teams were evenly matched after the first four games; however, the Grizzlies came through when it mattered to close out the series.
In that same postseason, the Timberwolves struggled to close out games. Notably, in Game 3 in their series versus the Grizzlies, Minnesota scored only 12 points in the final period when entering the quarter with a 16-point lead. Memphis would go on to win by nine points to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
To add insult to injury, with the series tied 2-2, the Timberwolves went into the fourth quarter of Game 5 with an 11-point lead. This time though, they lost by two. The Grizzlies would take a commanding 3-2 lead in the series, and the momentum carried over to Game 6, where they would seal the deal and eliminate Minnesota. Anthony Edwards used the playoff loss as motivation.
“I took it personal with myself on just being better, being able to hit those shots in the clutch,” said Edwards.
In fact, according to The Athletic, Edwards also put on 11 pounds of muscle during the offseason.
“I feel like I’m in better shape, more than anything,” said the 21-year-old.” That’s going to take everything to the next level.”
Fortunately for Minnesota, reinforcements are on the way. Recently acquired two-way star Rudy Gobert has joined the party. The French big man is eager to start the season with his new team and made that known on Media Day.
“I got a few days before I came here just to settle down, relax,” Gobert said on Media Day. “I think the excitement just takes over, and I’m just really, really excited about this new season – I’m lucky to be surrounded by a group of guys that can really accomplish anything. It’s about building the right habits and just keep learning, keep getting better every day. I think the sky’s the limit for this group.”
The four-time All-Star will be joining three-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt, forming what is quite possibly the most formidable frontcourt duo in the league. Gobert believes that because of this, he can now show off his passing ability.
“I’ve always loved to play with another dominant big,” said Gobert. “I’ve always thought that I could pass.”
As for the other reinforcements, Minnesota is loaded. They will be welcoming the versatile Kyle Anderson, veteran guard Austin Rivers, sharpshooter Bryn Forbes and Eric Paschall. Who, of course, has yet to reach his peak. The future is indeed bright for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota will begin the season with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct.19.