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Did Timberwolves improve their depth?

IMPROVED OR NOT? — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) drives to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday night. Did the Timberwolves really improve their depth prior to the trade deadline by getting Monte Morris?. (AP Photo)

FAIRMONT — The 2024 NBA trade deadline has come and gone and the Minnesota Timberwolves looked to improve their backcourt depth.

The Timberwolves traded for veteran point guard Monte Morris (formerly of the Nuggets, Wizards and Pistons) who should serve as a nice crutch to aging floor general Mike Conley.

In the deal, the Wolves traded wing Troy Brown Jr., guard Shake Milton and a 2030 second-round pick for Morris per Jon Krawczynski. The 28-year-old Morris has only started playing recently this season following a quad injury, but has career averages of 10.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest.

The addition of Morris also should improve the shooting on the roster as he is a career 38.9 percent 3-point shooter.

It was widely rumored by many NBA insiders leading up to last Thursday’s deadline that Minnesota native Tyus Jones would be a top priority for contending squads like the Wolves and Lakers, but he stayed put with the Wizards.

The deal for Jones was rumored to require a first-round pick bare minimum due to his team-friendly expiring contract and stellar play this season. Neither the Lakers or Wolves could afford the price tag due to the league’s rules on trading consecutive first-round draft picks and each team’s recent big trades.

The Wolves moved most of their future first-rounders in the Rudy Gobert deal and the Lakers gave up most of their assets between the Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook trades in the last five years.

As of Valentine’s Day, the Wolves (38-16) led the Thunder (37-17) and Minnehaha Academy grad Chet Holmgren for the Western Conference’s top seed, with the Nuggets (36-18) holding the No. 3 spot only two games behind.

Last season, the Wolves faced the Nuggets in a five-game first-round series where young star Anthony Edwards continued to show that no lights are too bright.

This season, the Karl Anthony-Towns/Rudy Gobert experiment has been working wonders compared to the awkward look it had last season.

The Wolves’ brass seem confident in the squad’s ability to push the reigning champions this year and hopefully mitigate the dominance of the Nuggets two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.

The expectations in the Twin Cities are the highest they’ve been since the Kevin Garnett era 18 years ago and many are hoping for at least a conference finals appearance.

As the season wanes and the seeding becomes more concrete, it will be interesting to see how Morris helps the Wolves achieve their postseason goals.

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