2022-23 Minnesota Timberwolves Season Review: Kyle Anderson

Not many individuals even considered it twice when the Minnesota Timberwolves signed Kyle Anderson to a two-year, $18 million agreement last summer.

The NBA team quickly signed Anderson using the mid-level exception, making him not only one of the best free agent signings in team history but also one of the steals of the offseason. While it may have been an afterthought at the time, the revolving door on that blip has always been a door.

In this season, Anderson, a veteran NBA player and member of the Grizzlies, held true to his affectionate nickname ‘Slow-Mo’ as he played on the court with a methodical style. His patience was a virtue, as it allowed him to score and assist while playing at his own pace. He averaged 4.9 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 9.4 points this season, providing valuable contributions to the Wolves’ last season.

Throughout the season, he was a fantastic player who used all of his assets to connect with the team. He responded with a tremendous season, even after Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury on November 28th thrust him into the starting lineup. Whatever situation the team needs, Anderson will provide. Whether it’s as a shooter above average or a defensive stopper, a point guard or a power forward, he can be a starter off the bench or a small forward. Mostly, it is fun to watch Slow-Mo because he does all of the small things and provides whatever the team needs.

Anderson played a significant role on this team, and they justifiably relied on him to a large extent. Most importantly, he had a strong desire to win and contribute to the establishment of a more competitive atmosphere in the Wolves locker room. He utilized his elongated stature to obstruct shots and secure steals. He achieved three triple-doubles this season and maintained a 41.0% shooting accuracy from beyond the arc (despite having a somewhat unconventional shooting technique). Whenever there was a need for someone to step up, Slow-Mo was always prepared to perform. Anderson was one of the pivotal figures who aided in steering this team back on the right path when it veered off course.

Winning basketball games is important because they play a crucial role in the team’s success. Although he is never mentioned in the same breath as the stars of this team, he knows his role on and off the court perfectly. It is imperative for players like Anderson to make an effort in order to build a successful organization and a winning roster.

2022-23 Standout Moment: Achieving a season-best of 23 points against the Grizzlies

In the month of January, they went home and ended the game with a victory for the Timberwolves, in a stretch that was part of a was a game. The game was filled with highlight plays, such as an amazing dunk by Jaden McDaniels, who received a pass from Ja Morant and threw it behind his head for a dunk. Anderson also stole the ball from Jaren Jackson Jr. And ended with a reverse slam dunk lob for Rudy Gobert. Anthony Edwards soared over Jackson for a dunk as well. He also scored a season-high of 23 points, along with 4/7 shots from the 3-point line, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists. This game ended up being a revenge game against his former team. On January 27th of this year, the Timberwolves took on the Memphis Grizzlies, who were the 2nd seed in the matchup.

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Positives

IQ.

These players, who are 21 years old and older, can learn from Anderson’s game and should be considered the best parts of it. Although this intangible thing cannot be quantified, it is still a crucial aspect when the team needs to make correct reads. Both Mike Conley and Kyle Anderson have the knack for making the right decisions on the court. Among the Timberwolves players, only one exhibits this amount of basketball IQ. He directs traffic and dissects defenses, making the game unfold in a beautiful way. It is a pleasure to watch him because he knows the right time to press the right buttons and is aware of everything happening around him. If not the smartest player on the floor, Kyle Anderson is always one of the smartest.

Passing.

You can’t blame him for that – Chris Finch, the Head Coach of the team, loves how well Chris Anderson fits into the system they have built. He has a great ability to create shots and move the ball around, which is important for the team to improve in this area. Mike Conley and Gobert are the best passers on the team, and their ability to assist the rest of the team will be crucial in integrating Gobert effectively into the offense. Anderson has also shown his ability to pass effectively, whether it’s entering the post or making swing plays. He had many assists, averaging 9.4 assists per game. This aspect of his game, along with his phenomenal passing ability, tells the whole story of his full display this year.

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Anderson’s ability to use his length and defensive skills is highlighted in this year’s game. In the victory against the Golden State Warriors, he led the Timberwolves to a 99-96 win with a game-winning and go-ahead 3-pointer. He utilizes his length to block shots, steal the ball, and poke it loose from opponents. One of his most notable sequences came with 15 seconds left on the clock, when he stole a pass from Draymond Green and set up KAT for a dunk. Anderson’s wingspan, measuring at 7-foot-2, allows him to cause many blocks and steals. If you look at the table below, you can see how Anderson’s length is used to his advantage in the defensive end, making plays and disrupting opponents in the lanes and passing lanes.

The resounding triumph is sealed by a perfect pass made by Anderson, who observes McDaniels advancing towards the basket while he leisurely moves towards it and evaluates all his possibilities, retrieving the ball after skillfully swiping it away from Morant in this particular play against the Grizzlies that I previously mentioned.

Areas for Enhancement

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It is good to be able to deploy a wide array of playing styles and personnel in both lineups. This will enable the Timberwolves to add versatility to their lineup configurations and expand their repertoire. This positional change requires players to be quicker and have more spacing. Anderson, who is able to play the small forward position, will be able to contribute to this. According to the tweet he sent out in January, he only played 7% of his minutes at the small forward position, but if he is able to add cleaning the glass to his repertoire, he will be able to play more minutes in that position. Anderson started many minutes at power forward position throughout the season, as KAT was out for most of the year. Assuming the roster stays the same, Anderson is currently constructed to play the small forward position much more than he did this year, with his minutes potentially reaching 28 per game.

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Defending Faster Players.

Inevitably, cutting his minutes into some degree will make the Timberwolves less versatile, but in this case, the backup power forward, Slow-Mo, will still deserve a lot of minutes. If they keep in mind that they want him to play at the small forward position, there is definitely something he needs to work on, which is his lack of speed on the perimeter. However, Anderson does have the length, smarts, and strength to make up for it and be able to contribute. Teams can exploit his lack of strength as a weakness instead of a strength, earning him the nickname Slow-Mo throughout his entire game. If he wants to play this position, specifically next to Gobert and KAT, he needs to be more of a guard for the wings. This improvement is directly related to him potentially playing more minutes at the small forward position.

Overview.

In order to mold the Timberwolves roster into an even more dangerous lineup, I’m excited to see if Connelly can repeat this wildly successful move by making tweaks to the roster on the margins. While he definitely deserves roses for signing Kyle Anderson with the mid-level exception, it’s understandable that Connelly has taken a lot of heat for trading Gobert. As the President of Basketball Operations for the Tim Operations, Connelly has a lot on his plate.

I cannot say enough nice things about Anderson’s play in this season. As a fan of the Timberwolves and basketball in general, I am always hopeful to see him continue to flourish. He has the ability to make the right plays at the right time and his defensive and offensive IQ are off the charts. Anderson serves as a fantastic player for the team, both on and off the floor. As a former star player at UCLA, he is able to mold himself into whatever role the situation calls for. He is truly an invaluable asset and is now the integral cornerstone of the Timberwolves’ success. In July, Woj dropped a mini-bomb, transforming him into Slow-Mo.

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