Checking in on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top 3 offseason additions

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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jake Layman, Treveon Graham, Jordan Bell, Noah Vonleh, Shabazz Napier

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 23: Jordan Bell #7, Treveon Graham #12, Jake Layman #10, Shabazz Napier #13 and Noah Vonleh #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Following a surprising start to the 2019-2020 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves sit in ninth place in the Western Conference after the first month, and it’s largely due to their new additions.

With a record of 5-3, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ positive play has been based upon the contributions of some quiet offseason additions.

At the beginning of free agency for the 2019 NBA offseason, newly appointed President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas was determined to add a star.

However, Rosas was not intent on acquiring just any star. Rosas wanted Brooklyn Nets’ restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Entering the offseason at 23 years old, Rosas viewed the All-Star point guard as a floor general whose game perfectly complemented the Wolves’ franchise cornerstone, Karl-Anthony Towns. After averaging 21.1 points per game and seven assists per game in his second year with the Nets, Russell was a skilled ball-handler whose finesse in the pick-and-roll would’ve made the duo one of the most dangerous pairings in the NBA.

But, before Rosas could have Russell sign on the dotted line, Kevin Durant shocked the world by leaving the Golden State Warriors to sign with the Nets.

Upon learning of Durant’s exit, the Warriors focused on recouping value through a sign-and-trade with the Nets. In exchange for Durant and a protected 2020 first-round pick, the Warriors were able to receive Russell along with Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham.

Swayed by the championship culture of the Warriors and the warmer climate of California, Russell left the Wolves in an unenviable situation.

Yet, rather than remaining dismayed over the sudden turn of events, Rosas decided to turn the loss of a star into additions of depth.

Facing an upcoming hard tax that required them to cut payroll, the Warriors saved $250,000 by sending Napier and Graham to the Wolves.

After these cheap additions, Rosas continued his pursuit of depth with the signings of Jake Layman, Jordan Bell, and Noah Vonleh.

Despite the disappointment from the inability to add a young star to pair with Towns for the 2019-20 season, the Wolves have thus far received quality play from their depth additions.

At the end of the first month of the season, the Wolves sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 5-3 record. With injuries and disappointing starts affecting the Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and Portland Trail Blazers, the Wolves will be relying on these depth additions to secure a playoff seed.



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