As the keynote addition by Rosas going into his first year leading the franchise, Culver's season has been as closely monitored as any of the players. There are aspects he needs to improve upon (shot motion) that will need to happen in the off-season but to put it simply, it seems like his confidence has already begun to flourish and with it, everything else seems to be happening at a more commensurate level than they were over the first handful of games.
Despite being tied for the second-worst record in the West, Minnesota still has a path to a playoff spot this late in the season. Oh, to think of what could have been had Jimmy Butler not been a tool or had KAT stayed healthy for more of this season... It's another wasted opportunity to throw on that mountain that they've accumulated in their still brief history. Maybe they'll continue to push for the eighth spot but with the top-heaviness of the conference, they wouldn't last long against either LA team. But they've also squandered some prime chances to influence the ping-pong balls when they bounce in a few months. It's the same old story of the franchise.
Alternatively, there has been enough direction by those in charge that any and all pitches to free agents, especially those who can either handle the ball in primary fashion or shoot it from beyond the arc, will have plenty of data in support. The current collection of players is abysmal at three-point shooting but they continue to get good looks so when the money starts to open up, it's not far-fetched to think that a role here will be appealing to a mid-level or higher free agent. That's rarely been the case so let's try & enjoy it!
Rumors have popped up again recently about the team pining for D'Angelo Russell. On the surface, I get it. He's close friends with the cornerstone of the franchise and Golden State may do everything it can to have this be a one-season reload and he's their top expendable asset. He would also be an upgrade over everyone that's pitched in as ball-handlers this season for Minnesota, but that's not saying much. Towns & Russell would be as great of defensive liabilities as they would be offensively potent. Defense has seemed to matter less than ever this year but I'm still not sold that it's so dispensable as to pin everything on that pairing. More trades need to be and will be made before the roster is closer to settled but pushing everything in on Russell would be a mistake. The continued smoke is too much to ignore but I just don't think he's the savior for the franchise and any such player does not deserve the sacrifice of talented players in Minnesota while also adding another big contract to the roster.
After a promising start to the season, Wiggins has reverted to being between a starter and bench level player on any given night. The positive is that his season may have increased his value around the league but he's still well below a max-contract level player so we're stuck with him for the foreseeable future. It's not news but continues to be a top story for the franchise.
On the bright-side, Culver is not the only young player that has shown flashes of competent or better play.
They've been added in yo-yo fashion all year, as injuries and the trade have warranted, but in those short stints Naz Reid, Jordan McLaughlin, Kelan Martin and Jaylen Nowell have all shown flashes this year. Being that Nowell was the only one of those guys acquired with a draft pick, a second-round selection at that, they represent the best work done by the new leaders so far. It's hard to imagine that they'll be able to replicate that success again but if they can manage to sprinkle the same fairy dust on the upcoming first-round pick then things could improve very rapidly!