NBA Season Preview: Timberwolves

Card Ladder
Oct 23, 20215 min read

The team with talent out the wazoo seemingly cannot win games, now in Karl Anthony Towns seventh NBA season it is win now mode. After trading former #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins for D’Angelo Russell, it showed the team's dedication towards Towns and wiggins. Last season both Anthony Edwards and Malik Beasley were standout wing players while Towns and Russell barely played due to injuries. With everybody healthy for the first time in a long time and the roster stacked this will be Minnesota's chance to show the world what they got.

Key Players:

D'Angelo Russell:

The 2015 top pick had a breakout year in 2018 after being traded to the Nets, since then things have been fairly shaky for the 1x all star. After being traded to the Warriors for Kevin Durant, it was apparent sooner rather than later this was not a fit. After just 33 games he was traded to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins. Russell’s first full season in Minnesota was not very glamorous as he missed half the season with an injury. When he does play it's clear the kid can ball, averaging 20+ points on each of the last 3 teams he's been on.

Over the last month his market has exploded despite being down a little over 7% this quarter. Specifically his Prizm silver rookies have skyrocketed seeing 50%+ gains just this month alone. At just 25 years of age, he is still incredibly young and still has room to grow as a player. These price jumps can be seen as 2 things, one people believing in the Timberwolves as a team. The second being the more likely one of people seeing Anthony Edwards prices and thinking to themselves the gap is absurd. Ultimately Russell’s card market staying high comes down to if the Wolves can win or not. Unlike with Edwards, Russell investors cannot use him being 20 as an excuse. When investing in 7+ year veterans, winning matters as we all know what Russell can do on the floor but what separates Russell from Jaylen Brown… Winning!

Anthony Edwards:

The 2020 1st overall pick showed up and out at times during his rookie season. Without Summer League and the usual rookie activities, as one would expect Edward’s struggled out the gate. As time went on and injuries ravaged the rest of the team, Edwards became the de facto #1 option. Playing all 72 games last season, he averaged 19 points per game, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists on 41% shooting. The efficiency could see some improvement but nothing unusual for a rookie on a horrid team. With an incredibly high basketball IQ, unlike many freakish athletes who go at 1 speed and can't control their body. Edwards has an excellent control and understanding of the game, he knows when to slow the tempo and when to push it down the floor. Despite being a rookie, his slashing ability was of a proven veteran which resulted in many highlight dunks.

Looking at Edward’s card market, it is clear he has a following despite playing in Minnesota. At over $500 a Prizm base PSA 10, the market is still high despite being a base card. The closure of PSA makes it tricky to gauge the true market of Prizm base PSA 10 rookies compared to other years. Only a pop of 50 almost a year after release tells us that not many people were/are comfortable paying $150 to grade a card of this caliber. On the flipside, Prizm silver PSA 10s have a pop over 140 and sitting pretty at well over $1500. Edwards has a longer leash than his co-stars to say the least. At just 20 years old and in his second season, there is 0 urgency to win now unlike Towns and Russell. In the end expect his prices for desired cards to increase if he noticeably improves and they still are a bottom seed. Dare I say the Timberwolves make the playoffs, expect all hell to break loose.

Karl-Anthony Towns:

Over the last 6 years, Karl Towns has been the one consistent bright spot in an organization with seemingly endless dysfunction but even then he has still struggled his fair share. The injury bug bit Karl in 2019 and has only played 85 games over the last 2 seasons. That is a drastic drop off from playing all but 5 games his first 4 years in the league. Despite that over the last 3 years, he has averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds which puts him in the top 1% of big men.

Looking at his market over the last few months, there is steady and consistent growth which we like to see. Instead of a massive spike in one day, this natural growth shows us that there is no funny business going on and his market is moving on its now. Similar to Russell, do not expect this to keep up if the Wolves revert back to a 25 win team. It is key for the Wolves to keep improving as a team, we all know Towns is a baller and top 5 center who can average an insane double double but can he win? That has yet to be seen. Even if the Wolves miss the playoffs, just them showing an improvement will allow the leash to be a little bit longer for next season.

The Overall Team:

I do not care what anyone says, this team is clearly better than their record indicates. With 4 players who have averaged 19+ points per game (Russell, Edwards, Towns, Beasley) they clearly have the talent to be a successful team. Lack of leadership and holding players accountable has been a problem, most notably citing Jimmy Butler's messy departure citing his teammates didn't care enough. The addition of Patrick Beverly should give them a little bit of that crazy element they did not have before. Like him or not Beverly is a winner, playing in 64 playoff games over the last 7 years he knows what it takes. This season should be viewed as a fresh start for the Wolves management and its players, the team has suffered enough over the last decade. With the abundance of talent they have now it should be easy for them to be competitive and make some noise come spring.