Timberwolves

Timberwolves Living Lavishly

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The Minnesota Timberwolves will have two players representing them at the upcoming All-Star Weekend.

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns have been selected, making this the first time since Jimmy Butler played for Minnesota and only the fifth time in franchise history that multiple Timberwolves will participate in the same All-Star game. 

All-Star History

Throughout the 35-year history of the franchise, Minnesota has had a total of 23 players selected for the All-Star honor in 18 different seasons.

Kevin Garnett leads the way with 10 selections, while Towns has been chosen four times, and Kevin Love three times. Edwards has now been selected twice in just his fourth season. Other players who have received the All-Star nod during their time with the Wolves include Butler, Tom Gugliotta, Wally Szczerbiak and Sam Cassell.

Second Straight for AE

Anthony Edwards has been selected for the All-Star game for the second consecutive time.

He leads Minnesota in scoring with an average of 25.6 points per game, which ranks him as the 14th-best scorer in the NBA. Edwards is sixth in the league with 2.8 defensive win shares. He is also tied for 19th in the league with 1.2 steals per game. His rebounding has declined slightly at 5.1/game, but this is likely the cause of having a fully healthy Towns and Rudy Gobert for almost every game.

Even still, the 6-foot-4 guard is on pace to become the first player in franchise history to finish a season averaging 25+ points/5+ rebounds/5+ assists. Edwards’s shooting percentages are also on pace to be his career-best yet again (47/39/84 splits).

Best Shooting Big Man secures Fourth All-Star Selection

Karl-Anthony Towns is seeing his first All-Star selection since 2021-22.

Towns has spent the season flirting with the elusive 50-40-90 shooting splits with 52% FG/44% 3PT/88% FT. KAT has the 11th-best three-point percentage in the league and is averaging 22.5 points per game. He is also second in the league in defensive win shares with 3.1.

Analytically, KAT is having one of the most efficient seasons of his nine-year career. He’s recording the lowest turnovers per game since the 2017-2018 season. His eFG% is the best since 2019-2020 at 59.3%. Only three players average 20+ points while shooting 50% or better from the field and 40% or more from three-point range in the league this season. Towns joins Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard on that short list. 

It’s also worth mentioning that this is Towns’ first All-Star selection since switching to the power-forward position last season.

All-Star Snub

Rudy Gobert is considered by some to be a snub for this year’s All-Star selections.

Despite his impressive stats, the 7-foot-1 “Stifle Tower” is averaging a double-double this season, with 13.4 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. The 2024 Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner is a four-time All-Star but hasn’t been selected since 2021-22— his final season in Utah.

Gobert leads the league in defensive win shares with 3.9 and is third in both offensive and defensive rebounds per game. Rudy brought in the NBA’s second-most rebounds in January with 211, second to only Domantas Sabonis. Similarly, Rudy is second in the league in rebounds per game, again second only to Sabonis. 

The 31-year-old Frenchman is anchoring the NBA’s best defense. Minnesota is currently at the top of the Western Conference and is also the second-best team in the NBA. The Timberwolves’ defensive rating is 108.2, which is the lowest in the league. The next closest team is Cleveland, which is 2.4 points behind the Wolves. Despite a middle-of-the-pack 18th-rated offense, the Timberwolves have the league’s fourth-best net rating.

Tim Connelly and the Timberwolves organization made the trade for Gobert before the 2022-23 season. The intent was to have a two big-man lineup to combat the league’s normal “small-ball” mentality. Since last season wasn’t a good gage of the experiment, Minnesota ran it back this season. Connelly was cooking in his thought process, if you don’t mind me saying so. 

All-Star Support

Towns shared his gratitude for being selected to the All-Star game on Twitter. When speaking with the media, Towns expressed how much the selection meant to him, especially after coming back from an injury and hearing all the chatter during the summer. He was thrilled to have this moment in his career.

When talking with the media about making the All-Star team, Towns joked: “Rudy got the extra $40 million, but I get the $50,000 bonus (for making the All-Star team).” Towns went on to say “Big fella deserved to be in the All-Star Game, and all of this is all possible because of him. Being No. 1 in the West, you need to have a defensive impact. To have the best defensive player in the NBA definitely gave us better odds of making it. It’s all part of the reason we made it was because of him.”

Gobert got jokes

Even Gobert got in on the respect and support-filled exchanges during media availability. Gobert first said he was very happy to see KAT and Ant make the All-Star team.

But when addressing himself he said, “When it comes to me, I didn’t even put that much expectation in it. Not the first time I’ve been taken for granted, disrespected about these things. I’ve been in this league for a long time, I know how it works. I mean, I’m happy – at the end of the day, I get to get some vacation. The best defender in the world, the No. 1 team in the West and the No. 1 defense in the league, and we get to enjoy the beach during the All-Star weekend. Might be a blessing, actually.”

He then went on to say, “I told Karl: “You don’t have to feel bad… At my Hall of Fame speech, I’ll be able to joke about how many times I got to enjoy some extra vacation because I got snubbed for the All-Star game.”

All-Star Coach

With a win on Friday Night, Chris Finch will be an auto lock for the Western Conference All-Star Coach. He was the October and November Western Conference Coach of the Month. The Timberwolves went 14-4 during that time frame. Finch has coached the Wolves to the top of the West behind strong years from the two Timberwolves All-Stars and the potential four-time DPOY.

No matter what, the 2023-2024 season has been a special one for the Timberwolves organization and will be a special season, whatever the outcome.

About Sabrina Hiller

Sabrina Hiller is a Minnesota Native who currently calls the Twin Cities home. Sabrina has previously worked with the Football, Men's, & Women's Basketball teams while attending Bemidji State University. She spends her days working at a Twin Cities nonprofit as a Program Manager, she spends her nights watching Minnesota Sports, and supporting as often as she can.

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