After being somewhat of a laughing stock in the NBA for the longest time, the Minnesota Timberwolves look like they are headed in the right direction. They made the playoffs for the second time since 2004 this season and gave the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies plenty of headaches in their first-round series.
They are now determined to have the kind of success they enjoyed in the early 2000s when Kevin Garnett was at his peak and we saw a major hire at the top for that, with Tim Connelly being announced as their President of Basketball Operations. Connelly is one of the more accomplished and respected leaders in the NBA who had played a big role behind the scenes in helping the Denver Nuggets get to where they are now. He'll now look to work his magic with the Timberwolves and he already had a big decision to make early on in his tenure, with Karl-Anthony Towns up for a super-max extension. During an interview with the Star Tribune, Connelly was asked about the future of his star big man.
"I hope he's here forever. I hope we have the type of team success that would allow us to look up and see Karl's jersey being hung up in the rafters. I reached out to a bunch of these guys, but I don't want to force relationships. You have to develop those things naturally. So, I've heard so many great things about him. I know how great a player he is on the court, but off the court it's been so consistent, just an unbelievably sweet guy that treats everyone in a really classy manner."
"I think he's been through so much, so many different faces and different chairs, from the front office to the coaching staff. So I think with continuity with Finchy [coach Chris Finch], you're going to see a better version of Karl and he's already a great player. … I know he's good enough to win at a high-high level, and I know how much he cares about this city and this team, so I think that would be an unbelievably cool thing for Karl and this team that he only wears one jersey and we win a ton of games and we're old and fat and watch the jersey being hung in the rafters. I'm already old and fat, but older and fatter."
Despite all this praise from Connelly, KAT has his fair share of critics with one NBA scout saying he hasn't done anything to deserve a supermax. Still, there is no denying his talent, as Towns is one of the best offensive big men in the league right now. He averaged 24.6 points to go with 9.8 rebounds this season and was deservedly awarded a spot in the All-NBA Third Team.
Only good things can come out of a pairing of KAT and Anthony Edwards in the years to come and Connelly needs to make sure to surround them with adequate talent. The future looks bright in Minnesota for the first time in a long time and they need some good leadership at the top to ensure that they can have sustained success.