This article is part of our NBA Team Previews series.
2022-23 Minnesota Timberwolves Team Preview
Minnesota had one of the busiest offseasons in the NBA. A competitive first-round series loss to the Grizzlies in last year's playoffs inspired the front office to take big swings -- the biggest being a trade for Rudy Gobert. And while the addition of Kyle Anderson is also impactful, the Gobert deal has left the Wolves thin. Gone are Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt. Karl-Anthony Towns also signed a contract extension.
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2021-22 Record: 46-36; lost in first round to Grizzlies
2022-23 NBA Win Total Odds: 48.5 wins (DraftKings)
2022-23 NBA Title Odds: +3000
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Minnesota Timberwolves Fantasy Basketball Preview
Towns again shined last season, averaging 24.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 three-pointers. Though those numbers were slightly down compared to the previous campaign, the big man was a more valuable fantasy asset because he stayed healthy. After missing significant time each of the prior two seasons, Towns played in 74 of Minnesota's 82 games last year, with most of his missed time coming from entering the league's health and safety protocols in late December. Though Towns doesn't put up the assist numbers of Nikola Jokic and falls a little short of the scoring output of Joel Embiid, his ability to shoot the ball from deep exceeds that of his fellow elite big men. Towns proved his shooting prowess in last year's Three-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend, becoming the first center ever to win the shootout. During the regular season, he was one of only three players -- and the only center -- to average at least two triples per contest and shoot over 50 percent from the field overall. And Towns contributes on defense as well; he's averaged over a block per contest in each of his seven NBA seasons and posted a steal per game last year, to boot. The big question fantasy managers will need to consider when deciding where to draft Towns for the coming campaign is how the addition of Rudy Gobert will impact his numbers. Gobert tends to clog up the lanes and dominate the boards, so it wouldn't be surprising for Towns' rebounds and blocks to dip a bit. On the other hand, Towns should have even more opportunities to space the floor and fire away from deep, which could be a boon if he can keep his percentage from three-point range above 40 percent, as he has four of the past five seasons.
Edwards made significant improvements during his second season in the NBA. He increased his production defensively and as a passer, averaging 1.5 steals and 3.8 assists per game. His efficiency also leaped forward -- 44.1 percent from the field and 78.6 percent from the free-throw line. Plus, after shooting 32.9 percent from behind the arc during his rookie campaign, he improved to 35.7 percent last season. The result was a playoff run that seems to have invigorated the franchise. Edwards didn't slow down in the six-game series against the Grizzlies, where he averaged 25.2 points on 46/40/82 shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 37.8 minutes. The Wolves continued to build up the roster around him, acquiring defensive-minded center Rudy Gobert from the Jazz. As far as fantasy goes, Gobert is a nice addition for Edwards in that he won't eat into his usage rate. Their other noteworthy addition was Kyle Anderson -- another player who doesn't look for his own shot often. Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are the clear driving forces behind the Timberwolves' offensive attack, and fantasy managers should expect Edwards to continue improving during his third season. He's on an All-Star trajectory and will probably be a consistent pick in the second and third rounds of most fantasy drafts.
After spending nine years in Utah, the Jazz traded Gobert to the Timberwolves this offseason in a blockbuster deal that netted the rebuilding Jazz a wealth of draft picks. The 27th overall in 2013 has established himself as an elite defensive center over the past six years. During that timespan, Gobert led the NBA in blocks once, rebounds once and field-goal percentage three times. Overall, he's averaged 14.8 points, 13.1 boards, 2.3 blocks and 1.4 assists on 67.3 percent shooting since 2016-17. In fantasy, he's held a fairly consistent per-game production ranking between 23rd and 39th. The new situation is interesting for the three-time All-Star, but his role will likely remain unchanged, especially on defense. He'll camp at the rim and swat away opponent shots with ease. Gobert's rebounding could dip slightly playing next to Karl-Anthony Towns, but he will likely still rank near the league leaders. Offensively, he'll remain a pick-and-roll option and an easy lob target for high-efficiency looks at the basket. Once again, he'll likely be a staple in most fantasy drafts' second or third rounds.
Last season marked Russell's second full campaign with the Timberwolves, and he improved compared to his first season with the team. Notably, his assists per game increased from 5.8 APG to 7.1 APG, and he also upped his free-throw percentage from 76.5% to 82.5%. His other stats came out to 18.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 threes and 1.0 steals. The result was a per-game fantasy rank of 59 in eight-category roto leagues -- an improvement of 21 spots compared to 2020-21. Heading into 2022-23, Russell is expected to remain Minnesota's starting point guard, and he'll have a new lob target in Rudy Gobert, which should continue giving Russell a high floor as an assist man. However, Russell's scoring role may decrease given the presence of Gobert, plus continuing improvement from Karl-Anthony Towns and, especially, Anthony Edwards. Fantasy managers needing a starting-caliber point guard should feel confident taking Russell in the mid-rounds of most fantasy drafts. He'll continue being a 30-minute player with the primary distributing role in a fast-paced offense.
Minnesota Timberwolves Depth Chart for 2022-23
Click ahead for a detailed Minnesota Timberwolves Depth Chart.
- PG: D'Angelo Russell, Jordan McLaughlin
- SG: Anthony Edwards, Austin Rivers
- SF: Jaden McDaniels, Kyle Anderson
- PF: Karl-Anthony Towns, Taurean Prince
- C: Rudy Gobert, Naz Reid
Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions for 2022-23
Trading for Gobert vaults the Wolves into fringe title contention. The fit next to Towns isn't perfect, but KAT's ability to space the floor will keep things flowing offensively. Both players are already All-NBA caliber, and Edwards may be on the verge of a leap into that category. The bench is weak, but there's clear upside for this team.
- Loses well-fought second-round playoff series
Anthony Edwards makes an All-NBA Team.
NBA Award Contenders