It sounds crazy, but on paper this is a project with Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and budding star Anthony Edwards. In fact, the Timberwolves are the only team in the NBA with three players in the top 25 of ESPN’s top 100 players.
Edwards scored 25, Joubert ranked 18, and Towns ranked 13. D’Angelo Russell also ranked in the Top 100, but ranked 93, a 30 place drop from where he was in the same ranking a year earlier.
But there are a lot of unknowns about how well Towns, Edwards and Joubert tackle the field, specifically whether Edwards can make the third-year leap to stardom and how Towns will defensively handle younger, and possibly faster, forwards, while Joubert protects the edge and tackles centers opposing.
Those questions don’t exist with some of the league’s other top three-pointers.
Take, for example, the teams that reached the NBA Finals last season. Golden State still has Steve Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, not to mention Andrew Wiggins who bid in the playoffs. Boston is back with Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. This is as difficult as it gets.
Can anyone put the Minnesota Big Three ahead of Kevin Durant, Keri Irving and Ben Simmons in Brooklyn? If Irving is center and Simmons is simply playing, that’s an elite trio.
It’s still too early to put the Big Three at Wolverhampton ahead of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmue, Khris Middleton and Puppy Holidays. They have proven themselves to be heroes.
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Kawhi Leonard is healthy in LA, and pairing Paul George and enthusiastic John Wall can be very good.
Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, and John Collins may all have a say in Atlanta. Young-Murray’s backcountry is sure to be one of the best in the league.
Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Dender Eaton just led the Suns to the top seed in the West last season. They were 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 into shape, the Sixers will have a big time with Joel Embiid and their rookie guard Tyrese Maxey.
Nikola Jokic, a two-time title-winner, has recovered Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. from injuries. These three have been great together in 2020-21 and if they stay healthy they will be very strong again.
Ja Morant, Garen Jackson Jr. and Desmond Payne just appeared with the Timberwolves in the playoffs. These three are young and on the mend, which means they will only be better this season.
How about New Orleans with Zion Williamson returning alongside Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum?
Then there’s the old trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook of the Lakers. Until Father Time says otherwise, they will still be dangerous.