T-Wolves Found Upgrades From All Over


The Minnesota Timberwolves want more than just a couple of playoff appearances.

They drafted two promising second-round prospects and re-signed two key rotation pieces this offseason while adding two outside free agents. Let’s take a look at the organization’s moves so far this summer.

Draft Class

Leonard Miller

The Wolves sent two future second-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs to obtain the draft rights to 6’10” forward Leonard Miller. Miller played with the G League Ignite last season, where he averaged 18.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

Summer League/Contract

Miller signed a four-year, $8.3 million contract with the Timberwolves while participating in Summer League. The young forward played in all five games in Vegas, averaging 15.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 36.8% from three-point range.

It appears playing in the G League gave the rookie some experience that prepared him for the physicality of Summer League. It also looked like Miller didn’t mind getting down and dirty to do anything and everything for his team. The Canadian looked comfortable on both sides of the court.

Jaylen Clark

Jaylen Clark suffered a season-ending Achilles injury and underwent surgery in March 2023. Despite the injury, Clark chose to remain available for the 2023 NBA Draft.

Minnesota drafted Clark with their 53rd overall pick. The 6’5″ guard averaged 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.6 steals per game during his junior year of college. While shooting 48.1% from the field (32.9% from deep), Clark shot an impressive 67.4% at the rim in 2022-23. This displays that Clark is comfortable finishing anywhere around the basket. The former Bruin was named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. Clark also received two consecutive Pac-12 All-Defensive Team nominations, translating to an impressive resume.

Summer League/Contract

Clark did not participate in Summer League. He revealed in a video on his personal YouTube channel he had signed a two-way contract. Clark stated “I’m going to be on a two-way contract, I’m pretty sure. So, the first year I’ll be on a two-way, hopefully get converted and stuff like that.” This makes sense for the Timberwolves, who can now focus on developing Clark while continuing to rehab the Achilles injury.

The 21-year-old gets to finish rehabbing without the intense weight of a full NBA contract looming above.

Free-Agency Signings

With limited cap flexibility sitting next to a need to upgrade, the Timberwolves had to find

Naz Reid

The fan favorite returned a few days prior to entering free agency. Reid came off a career-high season, largely due to Karl-Anthony Towns missing 51 games with a calf injury. In 2022-23, Naz averaged a career-high 11.5 points on 54% shooting in 68 games played (11 starts).

Naz also added 4.9 rebounds per game. Fracturing his left wrist in a game on March 29 versus the Phoenix Suns, the 23-year-old underwent surgery to repair the break. Reid missed the remainder of the regular season, and Minnesota’s first-round series against Denver.

Earning a Spot

Reid’s first press conference with the team was at a Boys and Girls Club. It’s only fitting that his extension press conference was at that same Boys and Girls Club.

The former LSU Tiger inked a three-year, $42 million deal. Surprisingly, the decision came just a few days before free agency. Minnesota did not want to let him get away, and Reid chose to stay where he envisions himself.

When the Timberwolves officially announced his new deal, Reid said, “I started my career here. I wanted to continue my career here. I’ve gotten better each and every year here as well, so it only made sense. I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

At the same press conference, Minnesota’s President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly spoke about Naz. Connelly stated, “We couldn’t be more fortunate; the best basketball is in front of him. He’s just scratching the surface of what he’s going to be as a player. He’s become obsessed with the game, obsessed with keeping his body right so any time you surround some of your best players with guys who are as impactful culturally as Naz, you do everything you can to keep those guys.”

Dane Moore recently disclosed on a podcast that the Cleveland Cavaliers were prepared to offer the same deal they gave Max Strus to Reid had he been available. Naz has worked hard to go from an undrafted free agent to a crucial piece of the rotation.

And that work ethic was clearly noticed by more than just his current organization. Reid is considered one of the Wolves best player development stories.

Shake Milton

Milton joins the Wolves after spending the first five seasons of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 6’5″ guard appeared in 76 games with the Sixers during the 2022-23 season, averaging 8.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and a career-high 3.2 assists per contest. He’s made 11 career starts, scoring 20+ in six of those games. Milton’s career stat line sits at 9.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

Taking a look at his highlight reel, you will find momentum adjustments in the midst of attacking the basket. Shake shot 62.9% in the restricted area last season. One other notable stat from Milton’s resume— he shoots 36.5% from beyond the arc on his career which is above league average.

The versatility of Milton’s game will be a much-needed resource as a rotation piece for the Wolves. Minnesota has lacked a consistent scorer off the bench in recent seasons, especially when Anthony Edwards needed a break.

Troy Brown Jr.

Spending the 2022-23 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Brown made a career-best 45 starts, averaging 7.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He shot 40% from three in the corners and 38% from deep overall last season. In every aspect, he is a prototypical 3-and-D wing.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said, “He’s definitely a 3-and-D guy, but he’s a guy you can fit and put on the court with a variety of different players. He doesn’t necessarily need the ball in his hands.” Brown understands the importance of his role, even if it’s somewhat out of his comfort zone. The Wizards trading him to Chicago ahead of the 2021 trade deadline was a signal that he needed to shift his priorities to play more off the ball as a floor-spacer and lockdown wing defender.

That versatility saw him emerge as a vital contributor for the Lakers last season.

Brown Jr. brings a career shooting percentage of 42.9% (35.4% from three-point land). The Timberwolves had offseason needs of rebounding, perimeter defense and perimeter scoring— Brown Jr. checks all of those boxes.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Alexander-Walker immediately inserted himself into the lineup as a versatile 3-and-D guard who could defend positions one through three effectively. His presence helped the Wolves reach the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in 19 years.

Alexander-Walker shot 36% from three-point land in 23 regular-season games with the Timberwolves after he was acquired from the Utah Jazz at the trade deadline. The 24-year-old was a solid player off the bench for an injury-riddled Wolves team, especially in the postseason. During Minnesota’s first-round series against the Nuggets, NAW averaged 30 minutes a game, and sank 40% of his three-point shot attempts.

These numbers might not be impressive to most people, but the defensive impact Alexander-Walker has had for Minnesota is impressive. NAW had the Michael Porter Jr. matchup in the playoffs. Porter Jr. was held to under 18 points — his season average points per game — in four of the five games played. This was largely thanks to Alexander-Walker’s defense.

Offseason – Successful or not?

It’s safe to say Tim Connelly and the Minnesota Timberwolves have had themselves an offseason. The T-Wolves are in cap-space hell, and Connelly was able to find pieces that address issues that have existed for a few seasons now. While Mike Conley is still the franchise point guard, the additions of Shake Milton and Jaylen Clark provide knowledge that the front office is preparing for the inevitable retirement of Minnesota Mike.

With Conley’s contract expiring at the end of the upcoming season, will Shake be able to replicate his recent successes in Philadelphia? Troy Brown Jr. adds three-point shooting depth the team desperately needs, as well as another “Swiss Army Knife” player to replace the departing Taurean Prince.

This could be an even deeper team than last year, something that should excite Timberwolves fans far and wide.

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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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