Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns is embracing the higher expectations around the franchise that come on the heels of last year's success and a potentially pivotal offseason.
Towns told reporters Wednesday it's "time to be great" and that "good is not good enough anymore":
Alec Ausmus @A_TwiceKSTP
More from Karl-Anthony Towns on the season starting tonight. <br><br>He's vocally and visibly passionate about the high expectations the Wolves have this season.<a href="https://twitter.com/KSTPSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KSTPSports</a> <a href="https://t.co/IVHGgL4Ow1">pic.twitter.com/IVHGgL4Ow1</a>
The satisfaction the Wolves players gained from simply reaching the postseason in 2021-22 was evident from their celebration after a play-in victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
As Towns laid out, though, getting to the playoffs isn't enough anymore. You don't give up four first-round picks for Rudy Gobert if losing in the opening round is the extent of your ambition.
Adding Gobert won't single-handedly lift Minnesota to the top of the NBA, but it unquestionably made the team better. The three-time All-Star can ease some of the defensive burden on Towns, and he figures to form a potent pick-and-roll combo with D'Angelo Russell.
This summer was also about shifting the general perception of the Timberwolves.
This is a franchise that has gotten to the playoffs 10 times and advanced past the first round just once. Success has been scarce outside the Kevin Garnett era, and the overarching theme of that run was still the front office's inability to build an adequate supporting cast around Garnett.
Poaching a successful NBA executive such as Tim Connelly and empowering him to expend so much draft capital to land a ready-made star sends a clear message to everyone. A title is the long-term aim. It might not happen this season, but that's where the organization wants to be in a few years.
It's not unlike how Masai Ujiri steadily built the Toronto Raptors into a championship winner after they were on the proverbial treadmill of mediocrity since their inception.
For the Timberwolves, the season ahead is about continuing to lay the groundwork.