MINNEAPOLIS -- There has been no secret about the Timberwolves’ long-term strategy for success since Gersson Rosas became the team’s president of basketball operations in April: Build around Karl-Anthony Towns.
The goal for Minnesota has always been to be at its best when Towns, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, is at his best. The Wolves’ championship window has always figured to be when Towns is in his prime, but when, exactly, does Minnesota expect the all-star center’s prime to be?
“Typical players are anywhere probably 27- to 32-years-old,” Rosas said Thursday, Aug. 22. “Guys are different, careers are different, but as a perspective that’s probably what we use.”
Speaking at the State Fair on Thursday, Rosas noted the Wolves want Towns — who will be 24 this fall — to have a career year this season, but they want the big man’s game to continue growing, too.
“He’s … coming into his own individually,” Rosas said. “Now, we have to make winning a part of that formula. How we build a team, how we play offense, how we play defense are big parts that are wrapped around who he is and what he can do.”
Minnesota hopes to have that formula come to fruition three or four years down the road. Getting there will likely involve some experimentation over the next couple seasons. There’s a reason Minnesota took a few fliers on guys on low-risk, cost-efficient deals this offseason. Acquiring players such as Noah Vonleh and Jordan Bell allow the Wolves to see different types of big men and how they pair with Towns.
Minnesota will also try playing small, with Robert Covington seeing time at power forward. It’ll soon find out which type of combination brings out the best in its best player.
Culver stands out
Rosas was asked if any player has been particularly impressive this offseason. His answer: Jarrett Culver.
Rosas noted that might sound self-serving — he used a first-round pick on him — but Rosas feels the praise is earned.
“His work ethic, his professionalism, what he does day in and day out has really got us excited,” he said. “Unfortunately for our fans, they weren’t able to see him in Summer League, but what he did in development camp a couple weeks ago was pretty impressive. What he’s been doing in our gym every day was pretty impressive. It’s a reason why we paid the price to bring him.”
Roster not set
Rosas confirmed what had been previously reported this summer, that while the Wolves already have 15 guaranteed contracts they might not be done. Minnesota, he said, is looking “pretty aggressively” for more talent.
The Wolves are willing to add a 16th guaranteed contract — you’re only allowed to carry 15 into the season — to add training camp competition. Doing so would mean the Wolves would either need to trade a contract or waive a player and eat the guaranteed salary.
“If we have to eat a contract, we’ll eat a contract,” Rosas said. “But we want to create depth, competitiveness in camp, and sometimes you end up eating or trading a contract you need to. At the end of the day, you want to emphasize competition and a guy beats another guy out, we have the flexibility to do that.”
Ready for camp
Robert Covington missed the entire last four months of the 2018-19 season with a knee injury, and Jeff Teague played just half of the team’s games thanks to an ankle injury. Both are expected to be ready to go at the start of training camp, Rosas said. “Those guys have worked really hard,” he said. “Our staff spent a lot of time with them.”