Northwest Notes: Timberwolves, Braun, Jokic, Vanderbilt, Beasley

The 1-1 Timberwolves are continuing to adjust to their new-look roster as the 2022/23 season gets going, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“The smaller we go, the better it is for me,” star Minnesota shooting guard Anthony Edwards said after the team’s 132-126 overtime loss to the rebuilding Jazz Friday night. Given that the team’s highest-paid players are seven-foot frontcourt starters Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, Krawczynski notes that this is a loaded statement.

“I have to get him the ball more,” head coach Chris Finch said of Edwards. “We ran a couple things to get the ball in his hands. And then, again, the ball got sticky. We tried to play through KAT there. But he’s got to get some looks. That’s on me.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets rookie shooting Christian Braun seems to be carving out a solid bench role already, having logged a productive 23 minutes as a reserve for the Warriors, writes Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports. The 21-year-old Braun, selected out of Kansas in this year’s draft with the No. 21 pick, has emerged as a multi-faceted defender, and could prove to be a vital role player for a team with championship aspirations.
  • Reigning two-time Nuggets MVP Nikola Jokic, one of the league’s best passers, looks set to thrive surrounded by sharpshooting colleagues, notes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. New additions Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Braun raved about the depths of the center’s hoops knowledge. “Jok is unbelievable,” Caldwell-Pope said. Braun added: “You try to learn from him because he knows your spot probably better than you do.”
  • Jazz role players Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley have already been through their share of rebuilds, and hope to use their wealth of experience to help guide the youth movement in Utah, writes Sarah Todd of Deseret News. “Just trying to bring those same qualities and pretty much we’re in the same boat, trying to rebuild and establish a culture and create winning habits,” Vanderbilt said. “[W]e’ve been on three programs [with the Nuggets and the Timberwolves] that before we got there they weren’t playoff contending teams. “We ended up helping be a part of rebuilds and being a part of changing culture. This is not new for us.”
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