The hype train is full stream ahead as the Minnesota Timberwolves prepare to open training camp on Tuesday and now there is talk that the Timberwolves are entering the season with the best big three in the NBA.
That sounds crazy, but on paper it’s legitimate with Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and budding superstar Anthony Edwards. In fact, the Timberwolves are the only team in the NBA with three players in the top 25 of ESPN’s best 100 player rankings.
Edwards checks in at No. 25, Gobert ranks 18th and Towns is 13th. D’Angelo Russell also made the top 100, but he’s ranked 93rd, representing a 30-place drop from where he was in the same rankings a year ago.
But there are a lot of unknowns about how well Towns, Edwards and Gobert will mesh on the court, namely if Edwards can make a third-year leap to superstardom and how Towns will fare defensively guarding small, perhaps Quicker power forwards while Gobert protects the rim and handles opposing centers.
Those questions don’t exist with some of the other top big Threes in the league.
Take the teams that reached the NBA Finals last season. Golden State still has Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, not to mention Andrew Wiggins who put on a show in the playoffs. Boston is back with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. That’s as tough as it gets.
Would anyone put Minnesota’s big three ahead of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons in Brooklyn? If Irving is focused and Simmons simply plays, that’s an elite trio.
It’s still premature to put the Wolves’ big three ahead of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. They’re proven champions.
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Kawhi Leonard is healthy in LA and being paired with Paul George and a motivated John Wall has the potential to be extremely good.
Trae Young, Dejounte Murray and John Collins might have a say in Atlanta. The Young-Murray backcourt will certainly be one of the best in the league.
Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton just led the Suns to the No. 1 seed in the West last season. They got Embarrassed by Dallas in the playoffs, but it’s not like they’re going to fall off a cliff.
If James Harden can get back to form, the Sixers will be big time with Joel Embiid and their own budding star guard, Tyrese Maxey.
Two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic gets Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back from injuries. Those three were awesome together in 2020-21 and if they stay healthy they’ll be very tough again.
And Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane just showed up the Timberwolves in the playoffs. All three of those guys are young and on the rise, meaning they’re only going to be better this season.
What about New Orleans with the return of Zion Williamson alongside Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum?
And then there’s the aging trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook with the Lakers. Until Father Time says otherwise, they’ll continue to be dangerous.