The 2023-24 Minnesota Timberwolves’ Season Preview

September 19th, 2023

by Alan Lu

Last season, the Timberwolves made some noise in the offseason by swinging a big, blockbuster trade to land Rudy Gobert, but they dealt away a lot of picks and players in the process, which depleted their depth.  In addition, star center Karl-Anthony Towns got injured and missed a lot of time, but star guard Anthony Edwards broke out to make his first All-Star team.  On the other hand, the Timberwolves didn’t quite win as many games as expected, and while they still made the playoffs, they weren’t serious contenders for the title, and they ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs in five games to Denver last year. 

This year, they will get a healthy Towns back to play in the fold to play with Gobert and Anthony Edwards, and they’re hoping that the three of them together could lead the Timberwolves back to the playoffs. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be hoping to have a fully healthy Towns this season, and while they gave up a lot to get star center Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves will be hoping to make it back to the playoffs in 2024.
(Photo: Ron Chenoy/USA Today, via The Athletic)

Star Players:

F-C Karl-Anthony Towns, G Anthony Edwards, and C Rudy Gobert

Karl-Anthony Towns is a very skilled big man that can make shots from all over the floor, and he’s been one of the league’s best shooting big men in recent history. On the other hand, he’s had trouble staying healthy and has struggled with his defense at times, so they will need a healthy Towns to compete for the playoffs.

Anthony Edwards is a very athletic, attack-minded combo guard that can really score the basketball and finish plays above the rim, and he is a superstar-level talent, but he will need to improve his defense and play better in big games.

Rudy Gobert is a very tall, athletic center that is a strong finisher around the basket and is a really good interior defender, as evidenced that he has won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times in his NBA career, but hasn’t gotten very far in the playoffs, and will need to find a way to mesh with his teammates better for the upcoming season.

Additions:

G Shake Milton, G-F Troy Brown, and F-C Leonard Miller

The Timberwolves added a couple of solid, veteran role players to help fortify their bench, and one very promising rookie big man through the draft. Milton is a skilled, shot-making guard that shoots it well from deep and also is a solid playmaker. Troy Brown is a skilled swingman that moves the ball well and also plays fairly solid defense. Leonard Miller is a very athletic big man that handles the ball well, especially for a player his size, can shoot it from deep, and his solid skill set on both ends of the floor could give the Timberwolves a dynamic player for the future.

Subtractions:

G-F Taurean Prince, G Jaylen Nowell, and G Austin Rivers

They lost a 3 and D forward in Prince and a capable, shot-making combo guard in Jaylen Nowell, as both had contributed to their team last year, but also were replaceable role players that their team may not miss out too much.

Rookies:

F-C Leonard Miller and G-F Jaylen Clark

Leonard Miller is a very athletic, skilled big man that surprisingly fell to 33 in the 2023 NBA Draft, and he’s paid it off so far by showcasing his all-around skills to have a very good summer league. It’s uncertain as to how much playing time he’ll get right away, as he’ll be entering a crowded frontcourt, but he is a very talented prospect that has the potential to be a star in the NBA.

Jaylen Clark will miss a lot of time due to sustaining an Achilles injury late last season, and he probably won’t get much playing time, if at all this year. He is an athletic swingman that defends well, but he will need to improve his jump shot to have lasting power in this league.

Expected Rotation:

All-Star guard, Anthony Edwards is a high-flyer that is one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA right now, and he will look to try to get the Timberwolves to another trip to the postseason.
(Photo: David Sherman/NBAE, via Getty Images, via The New York Times)

Projected Starting Lineup:

The Timberwolves have a solid talented group of starters, but they haven’t spent a whole lot of time playing together on a full-time basis, as Towns had missed plenty of games due to injury last season. They have talent on their roster, but the fit may be questionable, because they are playing two big men with different styles, but even so, Anthony Edwards is an emerging superstar that could make this starting lineup work. Also, Conley is a proven veteran whose strong playmaking skills and steady hand allows him to be a solid starting point guard, and Jaden McDaniels is a very athletic combo forward that excels in a 3 and D role, and could be an All-Defensive team type of player for the Timberwolves.

C Rudy Gobert

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F Karl-Anthony Towns

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F Jaden McDaniels

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G Anthony Edwards

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G Mike Conley

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Key Bench Players:

Kyle Anderson is a skilled, 6-9 playmaking forward whose strong passing skills and court vision could elevate the play of the Timberwolves’ bench for the upcoming season.
(Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Dunking With Wolves)

Kyle Anderson is a very tall, skilled point forward that boasts having strong playmaking skills. Naz Reid is a strong, mobile stretch big that has solid shooting and interior defensive skills. Shake Milton and Troy Brown will factor into the rotation, as they are both tall, skilled guards that will provide playmaking skills, and Milton’s ability to score and make plays with the ball in his hands could help give the Timberwolves a boost off the bench. In the meantime, there may be some extra minutes to be had due to the new faces on the roster.

F Kyle Anderson

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C Naz Reid

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G Shake Milton

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G-F Troy Brown

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G-F Nickeil Alexander-Walker

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The Rest of the Roster:

C Luka Garza (Two-Way)

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F-C Leonard Miller

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F Josh Minott

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G-F Wendell Moore

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G Jordan McLaughlin

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G-F Jaylen Clark (Two-Way)

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Head Coach:

Chris Finch has been a fairly solid head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he has struggled to get them wins in the playoffs.
(Photo: Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports, via MinnPost)

Chris Finch
2022-23 (MIN): 42-40, 1-4 in the playoffs
Coaching Career: 104-101, 3-8 in the NBA Playoffs

Chris Finch has been a fairly solid coach for the Timberwolves, but he hasn’t been able to win many playoff games as a head coach in this league yet. Still, he’s been immensely better as their head coach than their previous coach Ryan Saunders. That said, the Timberwolves will need to find a way to win more games in the postseason.

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Outlook:

The Minnesota Timberwolves made it to the playoffs last year, but lost in the first round in five games to Denver in 2023. The road could get even tougher for the the Timberwolves, as they’ll face stiff competition in the West this season.
(Photo: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune)

The Timberwolves have their work cut out for them, and they’ll need to find their footing fast in order to gel to try to make the playoffs this season. Towns missed plenty of time due to being injured, and they’ll need to figure out schemes that can allow their three stars to mesh and co-exist well together. They gave up valuable role players and a lot of draft picks in a gamble to get star center Rudy Gobert. But if they don’t make steps to improve, other teams could catch up, and the Timberwolves could wind up in a position where they could potentially miss the playoffs in 2024.

Projected 2023-24 Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 9th in the Western Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to lose in the play-in tournament and miss the playoffs
2023-24 Preseason NBA Power Ranking: 15

I went to Basketball-Reference and No-Trade Clause to look up some information for this write-up. It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the in-season tournament to see how that will unfold. Anyways, that is my write-up on my preview of the 2023-24 Minnesota Timberwolves. Thanks for reading.

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