Northwest Notes: Hayward, Thunder, Wolves’ Size, Wolves’ Future

Gordon Hayward was added by the Thunder from the Hornets at the trade deadline but wound up having no impact during the postseason. He only made seven appearances in the playoffs, averaging 6.6 minutes in those contests. That was a source of frustration for Hayward, who is headed for free agency, Rylan Stiles writes in a story at Sports Illustrated.

“Obviously disappointing with kind of how it all worked out. This is not what I thought it would be. Certainly frustrating. … We have a great team here with great young players, a great coach. So the future is bright,” Hayward said, adding, “I feel like as a player I have a lot to offer. I just wasn’t given much of an opportunity to do that.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder were the youngest team in NBA history to clinch a No. 1 seed. Though they were eliminated in the second round, the best is yet to come for this franchise, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. “I feel like we can do anything we want to do,” Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said.
  • The Timberwolves’ Game 7 triumph over the Nuggets on Sunday was a tribute to Tim Connelly‘s decision to build with size, according to Rob Mahoney of The Ringer. The trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Naz Reid wore down Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic. No team can match Minnesota’s collective size, Mahoney notes, which allows the Timberwolves to play superior defensive coverage.
  • Another columnist, Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune, also heaped praise on the team president, declaring the Timberwolves are built to win this year and also to contend for years to come. Souhan notes that Kyle Anderson is the only member of the Wolves’ regular eight-man rotation who is not signed long-term.
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