The Timberwolves weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders in their 115-108 win over Oklahoma City to open the regular season on Wednesday. Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards combined to shoot just 6-of-27 from the field for a total of 23 points.
However, center Rudy Gobert made his presence felt in his regular season debut with his new team, leading the way with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Head coach Chris Finch said after the game that Gobert’s “impact was strong everywhere,” while the center himself said there’s still plenty of work to do.
“It shows how good we can be and how much better we can be at the same time,” Gobert said of the Wolves’ up-and-down play in the opener, per Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. “It’s going to be a process and every night is going to be an opportunity for us to get better.”
Here’s more on the Wolves:
- The Wolves’ frontcourt pairing of Gobert and Towns, rivals turned allies, is the NBA’s biggest experiment entering this season, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes in an article looking back at how the duo came together and what we should expect from the two star big men.
- Luka Garza was thrilled to have his Exhibit 10 contract converted into a two-way deal at the end of the preseason, as Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune details. “The coaching staff, the system, the players, everything kinds of fit me really well,” Garza said. “For a young big in this league there is no better environment to be in, with the best offensive big in the league and the best defensive big man. What better guys to learn from?” The opportunity to spend some time with the Iowa Wolves was an added bonus for the former Hawkeyes star. “I’m from (Washington) D.C., but now it feels like I’m from Iowa. So I’m super excited,” he said.
- A potential unrestricted free agent in 2023, D’Angelo Russell enters this season seeking redemption after a disappointing showing in the Wolves’ first-round playoff loss this spring, says Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.
- Michael Rand of The Star Tribune identifies five factors that will help determine how high the Timberwolves’ ceiling is, including their defensive consistency, Russell’s performance in a contract year, and the team’s role players being a net positive.