Gersson Rosas usually conducts business as if he's running a poker game, always ready and willing to shuffle the cards.
The Timberwolves president decided not to wheel-and-deal at Thursday's trade deadline, though, a surprise given his track record, but maybe he was simply exhausted from all the organizational instability that has defined his brief tenure and didn't want to add to it.
Rosas seems content to bank on normalcy becoming a guiding light, as if that is ever part of the team's equation. But here soon, the roster *should* be fully intact with D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley back in the fold.
"We're getting to a hierarchy in terms of roles and opportunities for guys," Rosas said.
No. 1 on that pecking order is obvious: Karl-Anthony Towns, the foundation to the entire plan. After him is where things become complicated.
Rosas clearly views Russell as KAT's sidekick, the 1A option. Without naming names, Rosas noted that "we haven't seen this group together enough starting with our best two players and everybody else."
Hopefully, rookie Anthony Edwards doesn't fall into the "everybody else" category as Rosas and new coach Chris Finch put the puzzle together. Edwards needs to be that 1A role, through good times and struggles.
Finch's reputation as an offensive whiz will be put to the test in figuring out how to keep four high-volume shooters happy with only one basketball.
Towns averages 17 shots per game, while Edwards, Russell and Beasley all average 16 attempts. Those four players rank in the top 36 of NBA players in shot attempts per game.
Something has to give when they're together again. Somebody will need to take a back seat or accept a lesser role that equates to fewer shots.
That person should not be Edwards, who has encountered some wild swings in effectiveness since the All-Star break but why mess with potentially limiting his development at this point?
Rosas went all-in to acquire Russell last season so he has every motivation to see if his plan can succeed. He believes a Towns-Russell marriage will produce big dividends. Maybe, maybe not. The duo has played only five games together, making it impossible to know how effectively they can function as a tandem. This closing stretch should provide a verdict.
Russell's play in Towns' absence was hardly inspiring. He sabotaged too many possessions with "my turn" shots. As in, my turn to shoot no matter the situation. Likewise, his defense remains an afterthought.
If the basketball gods smile on them and the Wolves secure a top-three pick, Rosas would be nuts not to take a point guard, either Cade Cunningham or Jalen Suggs.
The Towns-Edwards dynamic in recent weeks has provided some intrigue. There have been clunkers, too, but Edwards' fearlessness in attacking the basket makes you want to see more. Creating conditions that allow the No. 1 overall pick to blossom — and work through struggles — should be an organizational priority.
Edwards' defense is nonexistent right now, and he appears out of control at times. But guess what? He's 19 years old. He's just getting started. His physical ability and self-confidence are building blocks for something special.
"Ant is showing the ability to produce at a high level that is beyond his age, beyond his experience, for sure," Rosas said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean it's efficient. And our goal for him to be the best player possible is to become an efficient player."
The 83-point scoring bonanza from Towns and Edwards in a win at Phoenix provided a glimpse of that tandem's potential. Rosas called their performance "special" but not sustainable.
"What are the things that we can reproduce consistently that will allow us to have long-term success?" Rosas said. "And the ability to merge KAT with Beas with DLo with Ant, that's something that we have to figure out."
Good luck. Figuring out roles will be tricky. Just don't make the rookie take a back seat, even if the results aren't always pretty.