The Timberwolves have no shortage of story lines as they enter a season with expectations as high as the two tallest members of their frontcourt, Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Wolves open training camp with media day Monday and their first practice Tuesday before kicking off the NBA season Oct. 19 at home against Oklahoma City. Here are four pressing questions looking ahead to camp and beyond:
Just how will Gobert and Towns coexist on the floor?
This is the question that has been on everyone's mind since the Wolves swung the major trade for Gobert, the 7-1 center who was a three-time All-Star with Utah, in July. The thing about Gobert and Towns is that, even though they have played the same position, their strengths seem to complement each other.
On offense, Towns can play all over the floor, but pick and roll isn't his strong suit. Gobert, meanwhile, is one of the best pick-and-roll players in the league. Towns' game can adapt all over the floor while Gobert can be an efficient player in the post. On defense, Towns was comfortable last season playing along the perimeter in the Wolves' high-wall scramble scheme. He has never been an elite rim protector. Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is the best rim protector of this generation.
Gobert's presence inside should boost the team's defensive rebounding, one of its biggest weaknesses a season ago. Towns will be one who downshifts to play the "4," but it seems like the two could find a way to play alongside each other.
How will D'Angelo Russell perform in a contract year?
Russell is in the final year of his deal, and there's optimism in the organization that Gobert's presence on offense will help the point guard elevate his game, because he will have a pick-and-roll partner who is one of the best in the league. Russell can use his advanced passing abilities to better effect in these situations. The advanced statistic "screen assists" basically exists to capture Gobert's impact in that aspect of the game.
The last time Russell played in a contract year, he made his only All-Star Game appearance, in 2019 with Brooklyn. He shot 34% from three-point range a season ago, his lowest percentage since the 2017-18 season.
How big of a leap will Anthony Edwards make in his third season?
Before Edwards speaks again about basketball, he will be in front of media Monday for the first time since he posted and apologized on Twitter for a now-deleted Instagram video in which he used homophobic language to comment on a group of men. Many in the Wolves organization, fans and especially LGBTQ fans of the Wolves will be watching to see how Edwards handles his response to this and if he is willing to repair damage he has done with those comments.
The 21-year-old has become a fan favorite because of his engaging personality and growing ability on the court, and Monday represents the first time Edwards has had to address controversy in his career. As for his growth on the court, the organization has made a bet with the Gobert trade that Edwards is ready to jump to the next level, to be more consistent on both ends of the floor on a nightly basis. That will mean greater focus on the defensive end, especially when he is off the ball. On offense, it means a greater willingness to attack the basket, something Edwards can do at a level nobody else on the roster can.
What will the Wolves bench look like?
When the Wolves traded several players to Utah to get Gobert, they relinquished a lot of their depth from a season ago and had to reconfigure their bench. They brought back Taurean Prince and had players such as guards Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Nowell and center Naz Reid still under contract. But President Tim Connelly went out and signed Kyle Anderson, who could be a key defensive piece off the bench, along with guard Bryn Forbes, who is a career 41% three-point shooter, and defensive depth in Austin Rivers.