After a competitive playoff performance and a major offseason trade that brought in Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves appear to be legitimate contenders in the Western Conference. Minnesota won 46 games and reached the postseason for the first time in four years, but coach Chris Finch plans to emphasize to his team that the next step won’t come easily, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
“I’m thinking a lot about the tone I want to set when we start,” Finch said. “We’re not going to be good because we expect to be good. We’re not going to be good because we had a good season last year. We’re going to be good because of the foundation that we lay from Day 1 and continue to build on that.”
Minnesota sent five players and a hefty package of draft assets to Utah to acquire Gobert, but the front office views him as a difference maker and doesn’t believe it overpaid, Krawczynski adds. Now it’s up to Finch and the rest of the coaching staff to figure out the best way to use Gobert alongside fellow big man Karl-Anthony Towns.
“I’m trying not to overthink that right now,” Finch said. “I don’t want to solve a problem before we have a problem. But we have to have some ideas ready to go.”
There’s more from Minnesota:
- The addition of Kyle Anderson in free agency was an underrated offseason move, Krawczynski adds in a mailbag column. The 28-year-old forward doesn’t put up flashy stat lines, but he’s a versatile defender who can make up for the losses of Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt and he can handle the ball and help run the offense. He also brings playoff experience, appearing in nine series during his time with the Spurs and Grizzlies.
- Jaden McDaniels has a chance to become a starter this season, and team officials are very happy with what they’ve seen from him during the summer, Krawczynski states in the same piece. McDaniels has been training at the team facility along with Naz Reid, Nathan Knight and several other players. He’s been focused on becoming stronger and quicker and has been working with player development coach Joe Boylan to improve as a transition scorer.
- With Beverley and Malik Beasley shipped out in the Gobert trade, Jaylen Nowell will likely be the first guard off the Wolves’ bench, Krawczynski adds. The team talked to Nowell about an extension after the end of last season, according to Krawczynski, but didn’t offer enough for him to commit without knowing whether he would have a role in the rotation.