Hired by the Timberwolves in the spring of 2022, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly received plenty of criticism during his first year with the franchise for the price he paid to acquire Rudy Gobert and the limited return the team got in its investment last season. With his club off to a 16-4 start this season, Connelly isn’t ready to take a victory lap quite yet, but acknowledges he likes his roster a lot, per Michael Rand of The Star Tribune.
“We’re only 19 games in, we haven’t won a playoff series in two decades, so we haven’t accomplished much,” Connelly said on The Star Tribune’s Daily Delivery podcast prior to Wednesday’s win over San Antonio. “But … I think there’s something special about this group.”
Following last season’s underwhelming 42-40 record and first-round playoff exit, there were some calls for the Timberwolves to shake up their roster during the 2023 offseason. But Connelly decided to stick with the current core, with only a few minor tweaks around the edges, confident that more time together would put the group in position to jell.
“I’m a pretty patient person. Sometimes I think that patience can bite me, so I don’t want to overly patient and asleep at the wheel,” Connelly said. “But if you have the ability to be patient, I think oftentimes it’s rewarded in this sports landscape.”
Here’s more on the Wolves:
- While the acquisition of Gobert is Connelly’s most significant move since taking control of the Timberwolves’ front office, he also made a major trade at last season’s trade deadline, moving D’Angelo Russell in a three-team deal that sent Mike Conley (and Nickeil Alexander-Walker) to Minnesota. Conley’s impact can’t be overstated, according to the Wolves’ president. “He has been fantastic,” Connelly said, per Rand. “Everything has been as advertised or better. … I can’t imagine our team without him.”
- In a separate story for The Star Tribune, Chris Hine explores how Conley has transformed the Timberwolves’ late-game offense. “I try to make it easier on everybody else, so they don’t have to think as much,” Conley said. “I can do all the thinking and just put you in the right spot. It’s about us repping those certain plays that we’ve done a million times and trusting each other in those moments.”
- Anthony Edwards appeared to be favoring his right hip in his return on Wednesday after missing two games due to a hip pointer, notes Hine of The Star Tribune. Edwards, who went 4-of-17 from the floor, said after the game that he was “scared” to go all-out in the first half but got more comfortable as the game went on. “Took him a while to find the rhythm of the game. I’m not sure he really ever did,” head coach Chris Finch said. “I’d like to see him attack a little bit more. Seemed a little hesitant to go at times. But I’m sure he’s working through a little bit of discomfort, so it’s to be expected.”
- Discussing his relationship on and off the court with Karl-Anthony Towns, Gobert said that “wanting to see each other shine” has been the key to building their bond, according to Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. “When you create that bond, it’s unstoppable,” Gobert said. “Adversity comes and it doesn’t matter. You know that you trust each other. You know when one is down, the other is going to lift him up and push him. We’re talking about me and KAT, but I think as a team, that’s what I’m feeling right now. And I think that’s a championship mentality.”