The Minnesota Timberwolves have exceeded all expectations so far this season, far surpassing Vegas’ guess of an 8th-seed finish.

The duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert have finally led the Timberwolves to some real success, sitting at the number-one spot in the Western Conference so far this season.

However, it’s not only the big men down low making contributions; Mike Conley’s veteran presence, combined with the rise of Anthony Edwards, has been instrumental in the team’s overall success.

Rudy Gobert Trade Finally Paying Off

When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded away everything and the kitchen sink for Rudy Gobert, fans and analysts alike screamed at the head office, but it seems the trade may finally be paying off.

When Rudy Gobert is on the floor, the team is simply better, as any fan can tell from the eye test. But with a +- of +136, the stats also back it up. He’s even averaging 2.5 blocks and 12.2 rebounds so far this year, outpacing his career average.

At last, he’s been put in a system where he’s been set up to succeed – he finally has some defensive support around him instead of the entire burden solely falling on him.

If this season tells NBA fans anything, it’s that while Gobert has developed a reputation for being overrated, that just had to do with how much of a defensive burden was placed on him by the Jazz.

When he has some real defensive players around him, he becomes a complete nightmare. Long gone are the days of guards isolating Gobert and leaving him to fend for himself beyond the arch.

Best Defence In The NBA

The stats pretty much speak for themselves; the Minnesota Timberwolves defence has been killer so far this season. Instead of opting into the strategy of fast small ball as we’ve seen over the last decade, the Timberwolves have subscribed to a more mid-2000s Detroit Pistons style.

That is to say, this team lives and dies through its defence. With two 7 foot big men clogging up the paint and three of the league’s best defensive guards, Naz Ried, Mike Conley, and Anthony Edwards, they’re a tough nut to crack.

They have a perfect combination of hounding perimeter defence and a brick wall on the inside. The guards have the leeway to even overplay at times, knowing that there is no such thing as an easy drive with their presence in the paint.

Lack of Turnovers & Smart Shots

With the veteran Mike Conley leading the Timberwolves’ offence, there has been a huge decrease in turnovers and forced shots. Instead of Kat playing hero ball like he has in years prior, the offence flows, and they find smart and efficient shots.

Just take a look at Minnesota’s field goal attempts per game compared to the league’s other top teams. The Timberwolves are at 85.4, the Boston Celtics are at 88.6, the Dallas Mavericks are at 91, and even the Magic are at 86.4.

Instead of chucking threes or having one player pick up the entire offensive load, Minnesota finds high-quality shots from a litany of players.

The inside-out set offence, with often two big men inside, isn’t the most potent offensive line out there, but it certainly creates some serious mismatches.

Minnesota’s Prospects For The Rest of The Season

Currently sitting as the number one seed in the West, Minnesota is unlikely to fall outside of a top playoff spot (On Tonybet’s site, the line on Minnesota making the playoffs is -1666). The only thing that could potentially bring down the roster is injury, and unfortunately, the Timberwolves seem quite injury-prone.

With both Kat and Edwards going down at some point last year, their health is key to the long-term success of the team.

If they do manage to stay healthy, though, a top playoff spot should be no problem for them, likely finishing second or third in the West.

And luckily for Timberwolves fans, their grinding defensive playstyle should fare even better in the playoffs than in the regular season. Because, as we all know, defence wins championships.

They’re a solid 50-win team that has the potential for a deep playoff run, the likes of which most Timberwolves fans have never seen. The “big three” of Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Anthony Edwards has finally turned the perpetually average Minnesota into a real contender.


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