The Minnesota Timberwolves finished the 2014-15 season with the worst record in the league; yet, they’ve become one of the most exciting teams in the NBA.
To understand this phenomenon, we’ll begin by addressing the most recent piece of the puzzle. Earlier this week, the Timberwolves secured the top pick in the 2015 NBA draft. If Sam Smith’s prediction is worth anything (and I like the believe it is), this means the Timberwolves will be adding Jahlil Okafor to their roster; although, according to rumors on Fansided, Okafor has no interest in playing for Minnesota. Either way, this draft will only add to the growing army of young talent that the Timberwolves have acquired through trades and lottery picks. At the moment, they have:
- Andrew Wiggins (2014: Round 1, Pick 1)
- Zach Levine (2014: Round 1, Pick 13)
- Adreian Payne (2014: Round 1, Pick 15)
- Anthony Bennet (2013: Round 1, Pick 1)
- Shabazz Muhammad (2013: Round 1, Pick 13)
After this year, Minnesota’s roster will feature six lottery picks from the last three years, and three number one picks. This season’s Rookie of the Year and Slam Dunk champion both play for the Timberwolves. On top of that, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin and center Gorgui Dieng (2013: Round 1, Pick 21) are also set to return next year. Whether they look to trade or simply develop their young players, these moves put Minnesota in a great position going forward.
The last time the Wolves made it to the NBA playoffs was 2004 when they lost to the conference finals to the Lakers. That team was led by Kevin Garnett, who the Timberwolves reacquired earlier this year by trading Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn.
While KG sat out this season and took on more of a leadership role, there has been some speculation that the Timberwolves intend to sign him to a two-year contract. If the rumors are true, when KG’s next contract expires he will be 41 years old. Whether or not “The Big Ticket” would make a huge impact in debatable, but the big man was still starting at PF last season with the Brooklyn Nets. Either way, this may be the Timberwolves best chance at a playoff run in over a decade.
From developing their young talent to extreme trade potential, Minnesota has definitely begun one of the most exciting periods in the young franchise’s twenty-six-year history. Even if the Timberwolves are not capable of competing for a championship in the 2015-16 season, they are easily one of the most exciting prospects. In the words of team President Chris Wright: “the Timberwolves will have one of the most athletic and exciting teams in the NBA within two years.”