The 10 Worst Timberwolves Players Ever

History remembers the greats. Great warriors, kings and queens, great writers and scientists, and even great athletes. Of those great athletes, only one ever graced the Minnesota Timberwolves with his presence (that would be Kevin Garnett). Garnett is the only great player in Wolves history while there are a few (and only a few) other notables (Kevin Love, Karl-Anthony Towns, and a guy named Pooh). Most of the players who suited up for the worst franchise in NBA history have been really, really, really bad and that’s saying something (one of their best guys goes by Pooh). Of those bad players I sifted through the shit and found the ten worst players that ever played for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The only criteria I had was that each player had to have played at least 50 games in a Timberwolves jersey, and at least 100 games in their NBA careers. That criteria is why you won’t see many players from the last few years on this list because they haven’t played enough games. The other big omission due to the games played criteria is one Ndudi Ebi who only played 19 games in his NBA career. Ok lets just get through this so I can forget about these guys as fast as possible.


10. Anthony Bennett

NBA Stats: 151 games  4.4 ppg  3.1 rpg  0.5 apg  39.2 FG%  10.2 PER                  Timberwolves Stats: 57 games  5.2 ppg  3.8 rpg  0.8 apg  42.1 FG%  11.4 PER 

Anthony Bennett is by far the worst number one draft pick in the history of the NBA. You can’t really blame him as he was never supposed to go first overall. In 2013 most experts had him between 4th and 10th, but the Cavs surprised everyone and took Bennett. He never escaped the expectations that follow a top pick and failed to produce for the Cavs in his rookie year. He was quietly part of the trade that sent Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota and Kevin Love to Cleveland. With the Timberwolves Bennett showed little to no improvement and was only valued as another big body. If he would have been picked 10th overall in 2013 Bennett could have had a decent career as a role player but the stigma of being a huge bust was too much and Bennett has been out of the league since 2017.


9. Reggie Jordan

NBA Stats: 186 games  2.7 ppg  1.8 rpg   1 apg  43.3 FG%  14.1 PER                                          Timberwolves Stats: 94 games  2.3 ppg  1.7 rpg  1 apg  43.5  FG%  13.7 PER

Reggie Jordan just never really got much run in the NBA. He averaged nine minutes a game and didn’t do much in the playing time he got. Jordan was slightly more efficient than some of the other guys on this list, but he has been utterly forgotten since he finished his career in 2000.


8. Adreian Payne

NBA Stats: 107 games 4 ppg  2.9 rpg  0.6  apg  40.6 FG%  8.0 PER                                        Timberwolves Stats: 99 games  4.1 ppg  3.1 rpg  0.7  apg  40 FG%  7.7 PER

I’m pretty sure Jim Petersen though Payne was the second coming of Kevin Garnett. If you just listened to the Wolves broadcasts during Paynes tenure you would think Payne was some great talent who never got a chance to show off his other-worldly talent. That wasn’t exactly the case. Watching him play was like watching a 78 year old Al Jefferson. Payne is 6’10” and could only manage to shoot 40% in his career. He’s the ultimate bench player for the latest iteration of the Wolves, put up meaningless numbers but add nothing of substance to make the team any better from 2014-17.


7. Justin Reed

NBA Stats: 136 games  3.5 ppg  1.4 rpg  0.5 apg  40.4 FG%  8 PER                                            Timberwolves Stats: 81 games  4.4 ppg  1.7 rpg  0.6 apg  40.9 FG%  8.7 PPG

I don’t fucking remember Justin Reed at all.



6. Stojko Vrankovic

NBA Stats: 170 games  2.8 ppg  3 rpg  0.3 apg  47.7 FG%  9.7 PER                                            Timberwolves Stats: 53 games  3.4 ppg  3.2 rpg  0.3 apg  56.1 FG%  10.1 PER

Vrankovic played for the Wolves during the 1996-97 season and was a 7’2″ rim protector. He only played 12 minutes a game in his career but still managed to to average 1.1 blocks off the bench. He spent 4 years in-between playing with the Celtics and Timberwolves playing in Greece. Vrankovic is much more successful since he retired from the NBA and is now the President of the Croatian Basketball Federation.


5. Loren Woods

NBA Stats: 215 games  2.6 ppg  3.2 rpg  0.3 apg  41.9 FG%  11.2 PER                                    Timberwolves Stats: 98 games  1.9 ppg  2.2 rpg  0.4 apg  36 FG%  9.9 PER

Woods was drafted s possibly the poor man’s Kevin Garnett and just became a poor man’ basketball player. At 7’1″ Woods couldn’t even shoot 42 percent from the field. Dude you’re huge as fuck just bulldoze some fools to the hoop and score at will. Apparently that wasn’t in Loren’s DNA. He might be the softest player I’ve ever seen play live, and I played with my brother. Woods had zero athleticism and played with a motor that could power those coin operated rocket ships in the mall food court. He only played for the Wolves for two seasons (’01-03) and was somehow worse than the rest of his illustrious NBA career. Loren Woods is probably the most disappointed I’ve been in a late round draft pick in the history of my sad, pathetic life.



4. Lance Blanks

NBA Stats: 142 games 2 ppg  0.8 rpg  0.8 apg  43.6 FG%  8.8 PER                                              Timberwolves Stats: 61 games  2.6 ppg  1.1 rpg  1.2 apg  43.3 FG%  8.4 PER

Picked just ahead of serviceable big man Elden Campbell and three-time champ Toni Kukoc, Blanks only lasted three years in the NBA. Blanks played in all of one playoff game in his illustrious career, scoring two points, and it wasn’t even for the Wolves. Since leaving the NBA (a nice way of saying nobody wanted him) Blanks stayed associated with the NBA working as the assistant GM of the Cavs before he became the GM of the Suns from 2010-2013.


3. Sidney Lowe

NBA Stats: 293 games  2.9 ppg  1.7 rpg  3.9 apg  36.7 FG%  10.4 PER                                      Timberwolves Stats: 80 games  2.3 ppg  2 rpg  4.2 apg  31.9 FG%  8.7 PER

Somehow he was a better coach than player and he was 79-228 as a coach. Lowe backed up a guy named Pooh for his the inaugural Wolves season and played like it. Minnesota was so bad in its first season Sidney Lowe somehow started 38 games. Lowe has spent most of his post playing days right where he belongs, as an assistant coach of a usually bad team.

2. Mark Madsen

NBA Stats: 453 games  2.2 ppg  2.6 rpg  0.4 apg  45.7 FG%  8.1 PER                                          Timberwolves Stats: 270 games  1.8 ppg  2.5 rpg  0.3 apg  46.4 FG%  6.6 PER

The KEY to two Lakers championships Mark Madsen is in the pantheon of weird white dudes who can’t dance. Madsen is the epitome of big body off the bench to grab two rebounds and get a couple of fouls. He played for the Wolves for six seasons from 2003-2009 and racked up a whopping 497 points…and 535 fouls. The only reason he was in the league was because he was 6’9″ 240 pounds. Madsen was somehow on the best Wolves team in 2003-04. He was a horrible basketball player who somehow played the most games of anyone on this list, probably because he’s the most lovable guy on the list. Even Shaq loved Madsen, that counts for something. He’s number two on the list, but number one in my heart.

1. William Avery

NBA/Timberwolves Stats: 142 games  2.7 ppg  0.7 rpg  1.4 apg  33.0 FG%  7.3 PER

Avery was picked to be the heir apparent to Terrell Brandon, instead he became just another Duke hack who couldn’t make it in the NBA. Avery is the rare lottery pick who only played three seasons in the NBA. He could never adjust to athleticism of the NBA after he shot 46 percent in college, Avery could only muster 33 percent in the pros. He is the highest draft pick on this list, making him the worst and one of the most disappointing picks in Wolves history (behind Wes Johnson, Derrick Williams, and anyone David Kahn picked ahead of Steph Curry). Avery had a forgettable career, but will now always be remembered as the worst Timberwolf of all-time.

In more than 30 years as the laughing stock of the NBA, the Wolves have had one great player, a few decent ones, 50 feet of shit, and then there’s these guys who I just listed.




Is Karl-Anthony Towns the Next Chris Bosh?

While the Coronavirus has halted the NBA season, it’s time for some NBA stars to take a step-back and evaluate the trajectory their careers can take. One of those young stars is Timberwolves Center Karl-Anthony Towns. The 24-year-old still has all the potential in the world to grow into one of the most dominant players in the league, but if he wants to cement his legacy and win a championship, Towns may have to look at how former NBA star Chris Bosh took his legacy into his own hands and became a future Hall of Famer.

Karl-Anthony Towns was drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA Draft. Some saw him as a transcendent big-man, a possible savior for the worst franchise in the NBA. While his numbers have been great in his first four-plus years (22.7 points 11.8 rebounds per game) his teams have not had the same success. The Wolves have won 29, 31, 47(Jimmy Butler season), 36, and 19 games when this season was suspended. That’s not a huge difference from what Bosh did during his first five seasons in the league. In those seasons Bosh averaged 18.9 points and nine rebounds a game and lead the Raptors to 33, 33, 27, 47, and 41 wins. In five years of service both made the playoffs once, with Bosh earning one more All-Star nod (3 to 2).

Bosh spent two more seasons floundering north of the border in Toronto. He became known as a talented forward who put up big stats on mediocre teams. That perception all changed when he decided to team-up with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010. The rest is history, the Heatles eventually bagged two championships in four years and became one of the best big-threes of all-time, cementing Bosh’s legacy as one of the greats.

To go down in history as an all-time great player Towns may have to follow in Bosh’s footsteps. This will be difficult because Towns is in the first-year of a five-year extension. He could force his way out of Minnesota, but won’t have much leverage for another two or three years. The other question is who will want to team up with Towns in order to create a championship caliber team? The go to answer for who Towns would team up with always seems to come down to the same guys; D’Angelo Russell and Devin Booker.  Towns and Russell are already teammates with the Wolves but have only shared the court for one game together. Even if the three amigos somehow find their way to the same team through free agency or trades, it would be hard to conceive of a team anchored by Towns, Booker, and Russell as being legitimate title threats. All three are great offensive players, but are some of the worst defenders in the league. That wouldn’t be quite the same as Bosh landing with Wade and James, two top five players in 2010 and both top-25 players of all-time.To have the success (and luck) that Bosh found, Towns would need to upgrade his friends list significantly. Maybe Kawhi Leonard opts out of his Clippers deal after two years and wants to grab onto a younger star to keep his championship window open. Maybe young stars like Luka Doncic or Zion Williamson become the next wave of transcendent players and need a sidekick. The dream scenario and one that mirrors Bosh’s very closely would be if Towns found a way to team up with Kawhi and Damian Lillard. That team could compete and would give Towns a legitimate chance at multiple titles and redefine his legacy.

Towns has endless potential to still put together an amazing NBA career, but considering a Bosh like second act as a third banana could cement Towns as a sure-fire future Hall of Famer. Check back in 2035 to see which way his career goes.

The New and Improved Monstars

In quarantine these days the 1990s are seemingly cool again, and especially ’90s basketball. Everyone in the world is fawning all over Michael Jordan and the Bulls while watching each episode of The Last Dance like it’s the Super Bowl, and the logo for Space Jam 2 was just release. All of this Michael Jordan and Space Jam talk begs the question that’s been burning since the original movie’s release in 1996; were the Monstars really that intimidating?

The little aliens from Moron Mountain came to Earth and stole the talent from five NBA players: Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradley. Those five would make a formidable mid ’90s team, but doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of the entire world, let alone Michael Jordan. Of the current Monstars only Sir Charles made an All-NBA team for the 1994-95 season in which the movie takes place (he was second team All-NBA). Barkley was also a Western Conference All-Star that season, with fellow Monstars Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson being selected to the Eastern Conference team. Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley came no where near any kind of accolades that season. You have to do better than that if you want to beat the greatest player of all-time. So let’s reset the roster and find the players who should have had their talent stolen and see if we can beat some cartoons, Michael Jordan, and Bill Murray at basketball. The only player we will keep from the original five-man roster is Charles Barkley, everyone else gets their mediocre talent back and our alien friends will have to find four more fitting players who are Monstar material.

The first player to be replaced is Shawn Bradley. He didn’t exactly wow any NBA fans in ’95. Bradley averaged 9.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game over the season which is fine, but not quite what we’re looking for. Bradley gets replaced by Dikembe Mutombo. It would be fitting that a bunch of aliens hailing from Moron Mountain would steal the talent of the player nicknamed Mount Mutombo. The 7’2″ center from the Democratic Republic of the Congo averaged a double-double in ’95 putting up 11.5 points, snagging 12.5 boards, and leading the league in blocked shots with 3.9 a game. Mutombo grabbed All-Defensive second-team honors, oh and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA. Mutombo is a way better choice than lame-ass Shawn Bradley. The only thing cool about Shawn Bradley is that he is 7’6″. Mount Mutombo would be way more fun to watch swatting shots and giving Daffy Duck the patented finger wag afterwards. Can you imagine him hitting on Lola Bunny with the famous “who wants to sex Mutombo” pick-up line. Also imagine Michael Jordan bringing back the eyes closed free throw he mocked Mutombo with in 1991? This is already a way funnier movie and all that had to happen was kick Shawn Bradley to the curb.

Staying in the front-court, Patrick Ewing gets replaced with Shaquille O’Neal. As good as Ewing was in ’95, Shaq was way better. Shaq was an All-Star and made second-team All-NBA. The Big Diesel lead his Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals and even beat Jordan’s Bulls along the way. In just his third year in the league, Shaq was already the most dominant big man averaging 29.3 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. He was already one of the biggest personalities in the league too, and you know you’d love to see a cartoonized Shaq mix it up with Bugs Bunny and the gang. Also Shaq was on his way to becoming the most accomplished actor the NBA has ever seen. He had already been in Blue Chips the year before and Kazaam was released in 1996 a full four months before Space Jam. The last point that cements Shaq’s status as a true Monstar over Ewing is that Shaq never let Michael Jordan dunk his face off like Ewing famously did in the 1991 NBA Playoffs. A front-court with Shaq, Mutombo, and Barkley would be must see entertainment.

Now to the backcourt. Monstars fans, your new starting point guard, replacing Muggsy Bogues, is non-other than Gary Payton. The Glove was an all-star in the Western Conference and picked up second-team All-NBA honors. He is also know as one of the best “Michael Jordan stoppers” of the 1990s. He took his Sonics (RIP) to the finals the next season in ’96 and took the Bulls to six games, guarding Jordan for the last few and causing him to have one of the worst statistical NBA Finals of his career. GP would bring a hard edge to the new Monstars and wouldn’t let his teammates start showboating when the game became kind of one-sided in the first half. Payton was a first team All-Defensive selection in ’95 and you know he would mean mug the shit out of Tweety Bird. The trash talk between Payton and Bill Murray would be legendary.

Speaking of legendary trash talk, the last player to be added to the new Monstars is Reggie Miller, replacing Larry Johnson. Miller made the third-team All-NBA and would bring much needed outside shooting to the Monstars. Miller shot 41.5 percent from three in ’95 and would become the teams outside assassin. While everyone else clogs the lane and crashes the offensive boards, Reggie will just post up in the corner and wait for his teammates to kick the ball out for an easy spot-up three. Miller is also one of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history and would probably flash the choking sign in the direction of Wayne Knight on the bench. Apparently Wayne Knight is the Tune Squad’s Spike Lee, go figure.

So there you have your new Monstars, ready to take over the world with Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaq, Gary Payton, and Reggie Miller. This new squad has all of the swagger in the world and will probably self-destruct by halftime. The new and improved Space Jam will definitely need to be rated R though because these guys will be dropping F bombs all over the place. Miller or Payton absolutely knockout Granny and start a benches clearing brawl at some point. There is also no way that Michael Jordan appears in this movie because he most likely hates at least three-fifths of the new players. The thing is, Jordan still probably wins this game. The only new Monstar to ever knock Jordan out of the playoffs was Shaq in ’95, and that’s the year Jordan un-retired and re-joined the Bulls for the last few weeks of the regular season and the playoffs, not exactly a straight-up win by any means. So after all of this jerking around, a new and improved Monstar roster, and a much different movie, Michael Jordan still wins and saves the world because Michael Jordan is Thanos, just the other way around, he is inevitable.

The offseason just keeps getting worse for the Timberwolves

Star Trek Facepalm GIF


That basically sums up what it has been like to be a fan of the Timberwolves at all times, but especially this offseason. The Wolves went from having one of their best seasons in a decade and a half to turmoil and anarchy. I know they are only reports, and reports could be false, but they are overwhelming. When you hear that Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jamal Crawford, Tyus Jones and now Jimmy Butler aren’t happy with one thing or another you start to assume the worst. Supposedly Wiggins is pissed that he’s the third option (more like 5th), Towns doesn’t like the organization, Butler is fed-up with Towns (and probably Wiggins for that matter), Tyus didn’t like the his lack of playing time off the bench, and Crawford just wanted to get the hell out of there as fast as he could. That sounds like an organizational problem. I’m sure most people will blame Thibs, and maybe rightfully so, but getting rid of him won’t solve this kind of problem. There seems to be a complete distrust of the entire organization from top to bottom. I don’t know what the right solution is. Maybe you trade Butler if you really believe he wants to team up with Kyrie Irving in the Eastern Conference next season. You could dangle Towns in a trade and net just about anyone in the league outside of LeBron, Curry, Durant and maybe James Harden. Wiggins won’t net much in a straight up trade, but it could be best to get rid of him and his max contract. Maybe you blow it all up and go into another 14 year rebuild. You could get rid if Thibs and all of this could blow over, or most likely Glen Taylor just needs to sit down and look everyone in the eye and magically fix everything, I really don’t know. What I do know is that the Wolves should be looking to add a few bench pieces to bolster their standing in the stacked Western Conference, instead they’re bickering and fighting and looking for the exit. Next season should be so much fun.

Minnesota Timberwolves season review

The Minnesota Timberwolves were finally bounced from the playoffs on Wednesday by the Rockets in Game 5 of the first round series 122-104. It was the first playoff appearance for the franchise since 2004. This season definitely had its ups and downs, but the season as a whole should be seen as a success.

Minnesota won 47 games this season, 16 more than the previous year. A lot f that can be contributed to the new additions of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. Butler was the key piece as he led the team in scoring and was top-10 MVP candidate until his knee injury in February. Karl-Anthony Towns notched his first all-star selection and is still coming into his own as a 22-year-old budding superstar. Role players like Tyus Jones and Nemanja Bjelica showed improvement in their third years with the team. There is plenty to like about the Timberwolves going forward but that doesn’t mean there weren’t bad signs this year.

The team struggled without Jimmy Butler in the lineup. Butler missed 23 games this year, in which Minnesota went 10-13. That could be chalked up to tough competition in those games, but it shows the Wolves relied too heavily on Butler this season. The young duo of Towns and Wiggins couldn’t step up to lead the team without Butler, and that resulted in sliding to the 8th seed and barely making the playoffs.

Speaking of Wiggins, he regressed majorly from the 2016-17 season to have his worst season as a pro. His shooting was down across the board, especially looking at his unexplainable 12% drop in free throw percentage. He seemed especially disengaged this year, and disappeared for quarters and halves at a time this season. While he may have made marginal improvements on defense, his overall game took a huge dive.

Overall though I think the season was a success, and showed why the Butler trade was necessary. I’ll grade it out as a B since the trajectory the Wolves were on before the Butler injury was the three or the four seed. If they grabbed a higher seed, maybe they would still be playing.

Looking ahead to next year it will be really interesting to see who they can add through free agency and the draft. Limited cap space may make adding a significant piece difficult. Hopefully they can add a three and D player or two to improve the bench and take the team to the next level next season.

The Timberwolves finally don’t suck anymore

For the first time since I was 13 years old the Minnesota Timberwolves are headed to the playoffs. That long gap spanning half my life sucked since I grew up in the Kevin Garnett era and watched the Timberwolves make the playoffs eight straight years from 1996-97 to 2003-04. I thought that as long as Garnett was on the team they would be contenders forever. But those dreams came crashing down as they missed the playoffs the season after making it to the Western Conference Finals. After that they traded the greatest player in franchise history for Al Jefferson and a bunch of nobodies. That’s when I figured out it was time for a rebuild, but I had no idea that rebuild would take well over a decade to complete.

The one thing that comes to mind during 14 years between playoff appearances, other than god awful basketball, was really crappy drafts. I always got excited for the drafts, especially when the Wolves had high picks, because it meant a new era could possibly start. They had some seemingly nice drafts from 2006-2008 drafting Brandon Roy, but trading him for Randy Foye in 2006, drafting Corey Brewer in 2007, and taking O.J. Mayo, but flipping him for Kevin Love in 2008. Put those guys together with young star Al Jefferson, and you would have thought the Wolves were on a decent track. Both Foye and Brewer had a few mediocre years before departing, but Kevin Love turned into a star and future building block. Then the most infamous draft in recent history happened. Minnesota had three first round picks in the 2009 draft. Seemingly ready to add some major talent to its team, David Kahn made what will go down as one of the biggest draft day blunders of all time. He chose Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio with the 5th pick, then turned around and took another point guard, Jonny Flynn with the 6th pick (and a third point guard, Ty Lawson with the 18th pick). It seemed like a huge draft at the time. Rubio and Kevin love could be the dynamic duo that the Wolves needed to get back to prominence, while Flynn and others could form a solid supporting cast. But there was one name in the draft that will forever be linked to the Wolves futility in the 2000s, that being Steph Curry. The NCAA tournament darling out of Davidson wasn’t supposed to be a great all around player. He might provide some shooting help, but couldn’t be a point guard and run a team is what scouts said before the draft. As we all know Curry went on to win two straight MVP awards and lead the Golden State Warriors to two NBA Championships in the past three years, while becoming one of the biggest superstars of this generation. The Wolves had two chances to nab the five time all-star, but instead got a huge bust in Flynn, and had to wait two years for Rubio to come from Spain and become a slightly above average NBA player. That draft alone set the franchise back several years. Minnesota had a string of first round busts in the years afterwards. They picked Wes Johnson fourth overall in 2010, Derrick Williams second in 2011, and traded Trey Burke for Shabazz Muhammad in 2013. Minnesota struck out in the draft more times than any other franchise, and I began to think we would never had another superstar again. Finally some hope emerged when The Wolves traded disgruntled star Kevin love to Cleveland for their two straight number one overall picks (Anthony Bennett from the 2013 draft, and Andrew Wiggins from the 2014 draft). This excited me as Wiggins was dubbed Maple Jordan and was one of the most highly anticipated phenoms in recent years (we all knew Bennett was terrible already).

Another major reason for the decade and a half long struggle was the absolute inability to find a decent coach. After the conference finals run in 2004, Flip Saunders returned with largely the same team. After  going just 25-26 through the first 51 games, he was fired and replaced by executive turned coach Kevin McHale, who for his efforts went 19-12 down the stretch, albeit failing to make the playoffs. Dwane Casey stepped in the next season going 33-49. The Current Toronto Raptors head coach actually had the Wolves off to a decent start in the 2006-07 season, but was fired to give Randy Whittman a crack at the position. The Wolves finished an abysmal 12-30 under Whittman to close out the season 32-50. He was back again next year and somehow got worse as the Wolves went 22-60 in his only full season. He only got 19 games of the 2008-09 season before enough was enough. He went 4-15 and was replaced by McHale again, who guided the team to another terrible 24-58 record. Then there was hope for the 2009-10 season, and hopes name was Kurt Rambis. Rambis was a hot commodity in the coaching world having been an assistant for the Lakers for four championships, including the previous season. That hope fizzled quickly as he amassed an amazingly bad 32-132 record over two season and was fired. After that even more hope for the franchise came in it’s next coach, Rick Adelman. Adelman was one of the greatest coaches in NBA history when he took over the struggling Timberwolves. He made his name guiding the early 90’s Trail Blazer squads to perennial playoff appearances, and did the same with the Chris Webber led Sacramento Kings teams of the early 2000’s. Most Timberwolves fans, including myself figured he would be the one to get us back to the playoffs. While he may have had the best run for a Timberwolves coach since Flip Saunders, it wasn’t enough to get into the playoffs. Minnesota won 26, 31, and 40 games in Adelman’s tenure thanks to the rise of Kevin love, and he was fired after three seasons. The white night of the franchise, Flip Saunders returned for another go with the Wolves, taking up a position as head coach after already becoming the President of Basketball Operations the previous year. Minnesota bottomed out at 16-66 that year but thankfully got the first overall pick.

For the first time in franchise history the Timberwolves were awarded the number one overall pick in the 2015 draft. After some debate over who to pick it became obvious that Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns was the selection. They took Towns and planned to start him slow, but after putting up rookie numbers not seen since Tim Duncan, Wolves fans finally had some hope for the future. Tragically Flip Saunders passed away in October 2015, just before the season began. Sam Mitchell took over, guiding the young Wolves through some growing pains to a 29-53 record. Another turning point came that offseason when former Chicago Bulls head man Tom Thibodeau was hired as the head coach. Thibs led the Bulls to the playoffs in all five years he was there. Finally the Wolves had a blueprint for success. After they only managed 31 wins in the 2016-17 season though, enough was enough and it was time for the Timberwolves to make their biggest splash since trading away Kevin Garnett ten years prior.

The 2017 NBA draft was huge for the franchise not because of who they picked, but a blockbuster trade that changed the entire landscape of the league. The Wolves traded Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and the 7th overall pick (that would become Lauri Markkanen) for Butler, and the 16th overall pick (Justin Patton). Butler was a three time all-star, and one of the league’s top two way players. The excitement around the team was the highest since playing the Lakers in the 2004 Wester Conference Finals. With Butler, Wiggins, Towns and later additions of Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and Jamal Crawford, the playoffs were finally in sight.

Many thought the Wolves could compete in the West right away. They were chosen to be the fourth or fifth best team in the conference by many experts. They started to look the part right away, reaching as high as the three seed in the West. But Butler injured his knee, and the Wolves sputtered without him going 8-9 in his absence. Luckily he came back just in time to lead Minnesota into the playoffs with an overtime win against Denver in the regular season finale, in which Butler scored 30 points with five assists and five rebounds. The 8th seed isn’t glamorous, and isn’t quite where hopeful Wolves fans saw this team ending the regular season, but a playoff berth is a playoff berth in the eyes of fans waiting a generation for their team to get back in the postseason.

Now hopefully they don’t get embarrassed by the Rockets in round one. My prediction: Wolves steal a home game, but the Rockets blow them out for three of their four wins and take the series in five games.

Andrew Wiggins is forming a troubling pattern in his performance

The Minnesota Timberwolves are enjoying their best season in a generation. The turnaround from dismal franchise in constant rebuild to top four seed in the West has been led by their two All-Stars, franchise golden boy Karl-Anthony Towns, and the first year wolf and MVP candidate Jimmy Butler. The two-headed monster have the Wolves in prime position to make their first playoff appearance since 2004. But it seems like someone is missing from that equation. Andrew Wiggins, the top pick in the 2014 draft (drafted by Cleveland) should be part of a “Big Three” with Towns and Butler, but that hasn’t been the case this season. The fourth year small forward out of Kansas is having his worst season as a pro, marred by inefficiency, poor shot selection, and failure to get to the free throw line.

Wiggins is scoring six points fewer per game than last year (23.6 last season to 17.7 this year), and his Player Efficiency Rating is a career worst 13.1 according to ESPN. Some of that can be attributed to inserting Jimmy Butler and his 22.4 points per game. But most of it has been caused by his lack of interest in meshing with new alpha dog teammates in Tom Thibodeau’s offense, and his willingness to take a backseat at times to even less accomplished scorers like Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford.

On Tuesday, Wiggins may have bottomed out against the Rockets, missing his first 12 shots before salvaging a 2-14 shooting line that included him going 0-5 from beyond the arc. This is becoming Wiggins’ most troubling pattern, hitting rock bottom just about every five games. Look through his game-by-game stats. You’ll find plenty of games where he goes 8-17 with 18 points, 4 rebounds, a few assists, maybe a steal or two. Those are his averages so that’s the bulk of stat lines you’re going to find. But every week or two there’s at least one game, sometimes two or three in a row, where it seems everything went off the rails for Wiggins and he wasn’t part of the offense at all. Wiggins was off to a hot start this season, averaging 24.7 points through his first three games. In the fourth game though: 3-9 shooting, 0-3 from three, 1-6 from the free throw line for a total of seven points. November was full of plenty of off games, 4-10 for 11 points, 5-14 for 11 points, 5-15 for 13 points. Nothing so bad, but inconsistent with what should be his norm. December was his worst month of the season so far. Wiggins shot just 39% from the field for 15.5 points per game. He had 4 games in December where he shot below 30% from the field, and five games where he failed to score more than 12 points. He rebounded nicely in January, excluding his 4-18, 10 point performance in a loss to Golden State. February has brought back his inconsistency. He’s scored seven points twice in six games, and has failed to eclipse 20 points in a game this month.

Everybody has bad games, but Wiggins’ poor performances are sometimes so bad they are derailing his season, and detrimental to Minnesota’s cause. In 60 games this season Wiggins has failed to reach double digits in six games, something he did just three times all of last season. He found consistency last year, but has reverted back to his rookie ways of shooting too many long jumpers instead of getting to the rim.

If history has shown us anything about Andrew Wiggins in the NBA, it’s that he gets better as the season goes on. We have to see some improvement in the remaining 22 games to believe he can actually help this team once the playoffs arrive, otherwise, he could see his minutes diminish drastically when games begin to really matter.

My picks for NBA All-Star reserves

The starters for the 67th NBA All-Star game were announced earlier this month. LeBron James lead the voting in the East. He’s joined by Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and DeMar DeRozen who were voted in as starters. In the West, Steph Curry lead the voting and is joined by fellow starters Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. In a change of format James and Curry will captain each team, and draft their team from the full all-star pool of players. The reserves will be announced on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern on TNT. Here are the seven players from each conference that I think should make the all-star team as reserves this season.


Eastern Conference Reserves

Backcourt: Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards

In his sixth season, Bradley Beal should finally be making his all-star debut. He’s averaging career highs in points (23.6), rebounds (4.3), and assists (3.7). He should have been and all-star last year, but should be a lock for the team this year.

Backcourt: Victor Oladipo, Shooting Guard, Indiana Pacers

Who would have thought that we’d be talking about Oladipo as an all-star when he was traded for Paul George in the off-season? He’s having a career year averaging 24,2 points, more than six more points than he’s ever averaged in a season.

Frontcourt: Kristaps Porzingis, Power Forward, New York Knicks

Some argue that the Unicorn should be a starter instead of Embiid. Porzingis has shown solid improvement every season in his three years in New York and is leading the league in blocks with 2.3 a game.

Frontcourt: Kevin Love, Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Love is having another good season for the Cavs. While his numbers have taken a dip this season from last year, he’s still one of the best forwards in the East and deserving of his fifth all-star selection this year.

Frontcourt: Andre Drummond, Center, Detroit Pistons

Even though the Pistons are currently on the outside of the playoff picture, Drummond should make his second career all-star appearance. He’s still a monster on the boards, leading the league in rebounding with 15 a game, and shooting a remarkable (for him) 63% from the free-throw line.

Wildcard: Kyle Lowry, Point Guard, Toronto Raptors

Lowry’s scoring is down this year (averaging just 17 points a game) but he’s helped lead the Raptors to the third best record in the league. He should join teammate DeMar DeRozen on the roster once again.

Wildcard: John Wall, Point Guard, Washington Wizards

There are others who some think might deserve the nod over Wall, but when you average 19 points and nine assists on a solid playoff team you get put ahead of the other contenders. I think Wall earns a spot for the fifth consecutive season.

Snubs: Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Goran Dragic


Western Conference Reserves

Backcourt: Russell Westbrook, Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder

Westbrook is a lock to make this year’s team. while he may not be the MVP he was last season, he’s still putting up huge numbers to lead the Thunder to solid contention for a top four seed in the West.

Backcourt: Jimmy Butler, Shooting Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

After a shaky start to his Timberwolves career, Butler has turned himself into a legitimate MVP candidate while turning the Wolves into a real contender in the West behind Houston and Golden State.

Frontcourt: Karl-Anthony Towns, Center, Minnesota Timberwolves

KAT probably should have made his all-star debut last year, but the Wolves were so bad he didn’t warrant consideration. This year is different as he’s still averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds and the Wolves are in third place in the West.

Frontcourt: LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward, San Antonio Spurs

Aldridge has held down the fort for the Spurs this season while Kawhi Leonard has only played in nine games this season. Aldridge should be a lock to get back to the game after missing out last year.

Frontcourt: Paul George, Small Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder maybe didn’t fleece the Pacers as much as we thought in the Paul George trade, but George has still been great for the Thunder. He’s second in the league in steals, and still scoring 20 points a game in a line-up that also features Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.

Wildcard: Damian Lillard, Point Guard, Portland Trail Blazers

Lillard has been snubbed the last two years but I think he gets in this time. Once again he’s proven he’s one of the most dynamic players in the game, and has the Trail Blazers in the playoffs right now. I don’t think he can handle being left out for a third straight year, but I don’t think he’ll have to worry about it.

Wildcard: Chris Paul, Point Guard, Houston Rockets

My last entry is Chris Paul. I know he’s missed 19 games this season, but when he’s played he’s just been so good. The Rockets have the second best record in the league and deserve to have two players represent Houston.

Snubs: Klay Thompson, CJ McCollum, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell