Wolves Notes: Towns, Edwards, Gobert, McDaniels, Finch

While Anthony Edwards had been the Timberwolves‘ engine and leading scorer during their 2024 playoff run, it was the team’s other former No. 1 overall pick – Karl-Anthony Towns – who keyed Sunday’s 20-point comeback in Denver and put up the biggest stat line of the night (23 points, 12 rebounds, and a pair of steals).

As Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune writes, Towns has long been “a symbol of Wolves underachievement, fairly or not,” so it’s fitting that his contributions were crucial in getting the team past the defending champions and into the Western Conference finals.

“I couldn’t be more happy and proud of him,” head coach Chris Finch said of Towns after the victory. “Because I think he’s faced a lot of unfair criticism when it comes to the postseason. The more you go through these things, the more at peace you are … KAT was really special, especially in the second half. I think you see how at peace and happy he is.”

“I’ve been here nine years, talked about wanting to win and do something special here for the organization,” Towns said, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “All of the failures and all the things that materialized and happened, the disappointment that comes with it led to this moment.”

Edwards, meanwhile, put up a solid line of 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, but he made just 6-of-24 shots from the floor. He expressed appreciation after the win that Towns and the other six Wolves players who saw action in Sunday’s Game 7 helped make up for his poor shooting night.

“It was tough, man, because I couldn’t find myself, my rhythm tonight,” Edwards said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “So, I just had to trust my teammates. … I just had to make the right plays throughout the rest of the game. I did that, and my teammates made shots. Big shoutout to those guys.”

Here’s more on the Wolves, who are headed to the Western Conference finals for just the second time in franchise history:

  • Like Towns, Rudy Gobert has faced criticism over the years for his lack of playoff success, most recently after Game 5 when Nikola Jokic had a 40-point game and made 8-of-9 shots with Gobert as his primary defender. However, as McMenamin writes, Gobert scored eight of his 13 points on Sunday in the fourth quarter, including an improbable turnaround fadeaway with the shot clock running down (video link). He also led a stifling defensive effort that saw Denver score just 37 points on 35.9% shooting in the second half. As Sam Amick of The Athletic points out, the Wolves are +111 in the playoffs with Gobert on the court, which is the best mark of any player on the roster.
  • Jaden McDaniels matched Towns with a team-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting in Game 7 and earned major praise from Edwards for the role he has played so far in the postseason. “Jaden McDaniels was the MVP of the last two series,” Edwards told reporters (Twitter video link via Michael Scotto of HoopsHype). McDaniels signed a five-year extension with Minnesota last fall — it will go into effect this July, bumping his salary from $3.9MM to $22.6MM.
  • Edwards also lauded Finch for the role he has played in the Wolves’ success this season and this spring, per Amick. “It starts with our head coach — Coach Finch,” Edwards said. “He comes in every day, comes to work, gets there early. He’s thinking of ways to get me and KAT open looks. He’s thinking of ways to get Mike (Conley) and Rudy open looks. He’s thinking of ways to get Jaden involved. He’s trying to keep Naz (Reid) in it to get him involved. He’s just a great coach. And he don’t sugarcoat anything with anybody. If KAT’s f—in’ up, he’s going to get on KAT. If I’m f—in’ up, he’s going to get on me. If Rudy f—in’ up, he’s going to get on anybody that’s messing up throughout the game, and I think that’s what makes him the best coach in the NBA, to me.”
  • The Timberwolves ownership battle, which is headed to arbitration, has taken a back seat during the team’s playoff run. “Only dysfunctional ownership can break up this team,” one team executive told ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).
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