The Minnesota Timberwolves are in a rare position ahead of the February 10 trade deadline. At 20-22, they are currently in contention for the playoffs, which has not been done in the Twin Cities since the 2017-18 season. It would only be the second playoff appearance since Kevin Garnett led the franchise on an eight-year streak starting in 1996 and ending in 2004.
With a young core still developing their chemistry with each other, the Wolves are looking to become buyers before the NBA trade deadline, but they don’t want to budge, just to make a deal. And no, no potential trade would include any of their stars like Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell or Anthony Edwards. Basketball operations president Sachin Gupta is looking to add to his roster, not make drastic changes.
That’s what he alluded to in a recent interview with Star Tribune’s Chris Hine, who covers the Timberwolves.
“For me, I’m not just looking to make a swap for fun or create a sensation to put my name on it,” Gupta said. “I feel really good on this team, and at this point I think we are on the right track to achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves.”
Sachin Gupta on Minnesota Timberwolves
Related: Sportsnaut’s NBA Defensive Ranking – Warriors and Suns Lead the Charge
Minnesota Timberwolves keep eye on the future, not just 2022
Gupta went on to mention how he thinks Wolves want to build a roster that can struggle to raise that core’s cap over the next five years, not necessarily just to add a player to help out for the rest of this season.
“We see an opportunity to reach maybe the five [seed], to get us out of the play-in just to get a playoff spot, which would be great, ”Gupta said. “Given this opportunity, I would say we are more buyers. But in general I would say we are long term buyers.
Although they’ve been linked to multiple players over the last offseason, if Wolves add anyone, Gupta is making it clear that he’d like to add someone who fits the current timeline of his roster, not necessarily a coin. which is a short term rental. It revives the idea of adding someone like Myles Turner or John Collins. At the same time, he’s quick to point out that defense isn’t as much of a concern as it was initially and that forward Jarred Vanderbilt’s play is one of the main reasons for this.
“He really had an impact. In many ways [Vanderbilt] has been a good field partner for KAT, ”said Gupta. “It changed the way we look at things a bit. He won a real titular role, playing big minutes and he really deserved it. I think we need to be aware of that, look at other potential acquisitions to see how that affects his minutes, because he’s really made the minutes he’s playing right now.
Minnesota Timberwolves still need to improve defensive rebound
One area Gupta has hinted they would like to improve on is their defensive rebound, where the T-Wolves rank third in the league based on bounce rate.
Another area is their foul rate, which Karl-Anthony Towns currently leads the NBA, averaging 3.7 per game. Rebound forward Jaden McDaniels ranks fourth in the NBA, averaging 3.41 fouls per game. McDaniels is only 21 years old and is in his third season. KAT is not. At 26, in its eighth season, KAT should know better by now.
As a team, the Timberpups rank last, averaging 22.2 fouls per game, the second-worst team, the Detroit Pistons, averaging 20.7 per game. Needless to say, this is one area Wolves need to work on if they hope to make an impact in a playoff run.
Related: NBA Power Rankings Updated By Sportsnaut