How Timberwolves Developed Into Elite Defense This Season

Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, Jaden McDaniels, Timberwolves, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They are riding a six-game winning streak, tied for the second-longest in the league with the Houston Rockets. Only the Philadelphia 76ers, who have won eight in a row, have a longer streak going currently.

Currently sitting in third place in the Western Conference, this is the kind of jump some people were expecting when the Timberwolves acquired Rudy Gobert in a blockbuster trade from the Utah Jazz last offseason. It took a little bit of time for everything to come together, but Minnesota has looked great in the early going.

Having an emerging star in Anthony Edwards to build the team around certainly helps. For years, this team has been a juggernaut on the offensive side of the ball but couldn’t stop anyone defensively. That was a big reason they acquired Gobert. While the results weren’t there during the 2022-23 season, they are currently.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves Updates

The Timberwolves currently have the No. 1 defensive rating in the NBA at 101.9. That is a ranking they have earned, as they are leading the league in numerous categories, per StatMuse.

Minnesota is currently first in opponent’s points per game, giving up only 103.1. They have held their opponents under 100 points five times this season, which is tops in the league. The Timberwolves are also first in opponent’s field goal percentage and 3-point shooting percentage as they are stifling everyone they play against.

While a lot of the focus has been on the impact Gobert can have as a 3-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner, he is far from the only player making an impact. Forward Jaden McDaniels is a versatile defender that can defend 1-4, and in some situations, even centers. Mike Conley Jr. isn’t as explosive as he once was, but he can still get the job done defensively with his high basketball IQ.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves Updates

At every level of the court, the Timberwolves have someone above average to lead the charge. Edwards is developing into a two-way star and the team is receiving a career-best effort on that side of the court from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Chris Finch has his team playing at a high level on both sides of the ball. While their offensive rating of 111.5 is 18th in the league, the Timberwolves are efficient in shooting the ball, ranking third in shooting percentage and 11th in 3-point percentage.

We are witnessing the development and coming of age of a franchise that was considered a young, up-and-coming group a few seasons ago. If this improvement defensively proves to not be a fluke, the Timberwolves are going to remain among the best teams in the NBA.

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About Kenneth Teape 3858 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.