Watch Nikola Jokic Rave About How Good the Minnesota Timberwolves Are

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered the second round of the Western Conference playoffs as underdogs to the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. Then, they immediately pulled off a pair of road wins that put the champs back on their heels.

That led to Denver head coach, Mike Malone, giving some early thoughts on the Wolves, as a matchup, that sent shockwaves through the NBA. He knew his Nuggets were in trouble. Of course, the defending champs fought back valiantly, rattled off three-straight wins and forced the Wolves to do their own soul searching.

Nikola Jokic talks about how good Minnesota Timberwolves are

But when the dust settled on Game 7, it was Minnesota moving on. Why? Because the Wolves were the better, deeper team; something Anthony Edwards talked about entering game 6, with the Timberwolves down 3-2. After game 7, it was league MVP Nikola Jokic’s turn to call out the talent and depth of this dynamic, hard-working Timberwolves roster.

“I think they’re built to beat us in some ways. Just look at their roster. Basically they have two all-stars, two defensive players of the year, and Mike Conley who is probably the most underrated player in the NBA. I love the guy, he is so good. He always makes the right play. He didn’t shoot it well this game, but at one moment he was the leading rebounder in the game for them. From the bench they have the sixth man of the year, and Kyle, and Alexander-Walker who was really good for them. It’s a team that can do a little of everything. They can play big and small.”

Nikola Jokic talks about how good the Minnesota Timberwolves are after game 7

Facing a very good Denver Nuggets team, led by Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, head coach Chris Finch knew he would need much more than Anthony Edwards’ rising superstar to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Finchy knew that, not only would Anthony Edwards need to have his ‘here I am’ moments, as would Karl Anthony Towns (which he did, especially in games six and seven), but that the rest of the team would have to be head and shoulders better than the rotational depth for Denver.

How much better was the Minnesota Timberwolves depth vs Denver Nuggets

During Game 7, we saw all of that come together in a way nobody really expected. We learned just how important KAT is to this team, when he carried them during moments where Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards were struggling with confidence.

Related: Comparing Ant’s Playoff Resume to MJ, LeBron and Kobe

But look beyond Towns. Minnesota had six players in double-figures on Sunday. Jaden McDaniels went 7-for-10 for 23 huge points and Naz Reid woke up just in time, providing 7 of his 11 points at the very end of the fourth quarter, when the Wolves needed him most.

Meanwhile, Murray and Jokic combined for 69 points, but no other Nuggets players scored more than 7 points. In total, Denver players not named Murray or Jokic combined for 21 total points. Having such a deep rotation of talented stars, it certainly wasn’t lost on Jokic just how tough the Timberwolves are to shut down.

Getting that sort of praise heaped onto a team by such a talented player is beyond eye-opening. Then again, the same man that helped construct Denver’s title-contending team is now in charge of the Timberwolves. There is a reason that Minnesota doesn’t want to lose Tim Connelly, and watching him build this sort of a roster is something that fans have been dreaming of for decades.

Related: Karl-Anthony Towns Rose Up When Timberwolves Needed Him Most

The job isn’t done for the Timberwolves though, and they certainly aren’t out to celebrate reaching the conference finals. With an impending date against a Dallas Mavericks team that they went 3-1 against this year, Minnesota is favored in the match up and have sights set on matching up against the best in the Eastern Conference.

The greatness of the Timberwolves roster will continue to be tested when they take the court on Wednesday night. Needing eight more wins before planning a parade, Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony Towns, and every other player in the rotation will need to continue bringing their best on a nightly basis.

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