The Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98 on Monday evening.
Given that these two ballclubs were recently linked in reports of a blockbuster trade, the stakes were a bit higher than normal in this one.
One of the issues Minnesota has at the moment is a lack of identity. And recently, Karl-Anthony Towns rather bluntly pointed to that as something that required fixing.
“When you’re building an identity, obviously we don’t have one, to be very fairly honest in the NBA,” Towns said in an interview with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “But if you want to build one, it’s going to take some time where you’re going to have to play your game even when people don’t understand how we’re playing.”
Defensive tenacity, obviously, is key.
“You try to be physical defensively, especially, so if we’re going to get a little foul here and there over physicality and building our identity and our culture, then that has to be what it is,” Towns added.
On Monday, Minnesota’s other big star, Anthony Edwards, suggested that the Pelicans loss was a wake-up call.
“Wake-up call for sure. Lock-in. Lock the fu*k in,” Edwards said, per Krawczynski. “Everybody coming in here thinking it’s sweet playing the Pelicans. Whooped our a*s. Now our back’s on the wall again. We got to wake up.”
This is going to be a big year for Minnesota. The team was considered a frontrunner to acquire Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers at one point, but the front office’s steadfast refusal to include one specific player nixed the prospective deal.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union clearly aren’t shy. https://t.co/XVprdKabks
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 26, 2021
That inability to land another All-Star coupled with the franchise’s messy and embarrassing sex scandal over the offseason has kicked up the necessity to win ASAP into overdrive. Because if they don’t, expect for the chatter regarding a Towns trade to get louder and louder.
One championship contender is already circling the waters like a shark, hoping to steal Towns away. If this season ultimately gets away from the Wolves, don’t be surprised if talks about a potential deal start to intensify.