Minnesota sports fans shouldn’t forget the Timberwolves

201302
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Back to Article

Minnesota sports fans shouldn’t forget the Timberwolves

201302

201302

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201302

Test Photographer

Test Photographer

201302

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There’s an awful lot to be excited about if you’re a Minnesota Sports fan right now. P.J. Fleck has led the Gopher football team to its first 8-0 start since 1941 when the team won the national championship. Fleck just inked a 7-year extension to coach the Gophers through 2026.

The Minnesota Twins just capped off their first 100-win regular season since 1965 and set the major league single-season home run record with 307, beating the New York Yankees (306) by a single home run in an arms race that came down to the last game of the regular season (we don’t need to discuss the playoffs). The Twins will keep essentially the same core of players and will have an opportunity to contend again next year, especially if the bosses open their pockets to pay for an ace pitcher.

The Vikings, although having their fair share of ups and downs (Kirk Cousins) have been exciting to watch and currently are in the second wild-card spot and just a game behind Green Bay in the NFC North Division.

With the relatively widespread success of Minnesota’s professional sports teams, the Timberwolves’ electric start to the season has largely gone unnoticed by anyone but dedicated fans.”

The Wild are truly the only team disappointing fans so far, although early the season. With the relatively widespread success of Minnesota’s professional sports teams, the Timberwolves’ electric start to the season has largely gone unnoticed by anyone but dedicated fans. With Jimmy Butler’s departure from the team in a trade with the Philadelphia ‘Sixers this time last November, the team struggled to find an identity the rest of the way en route to a 36-46 record, eleventh in the Western Conference and 13 games behind the eighth seed Los Angeles Clippers.

This past offseason, the Timberwolves were relatively quiet amidst one of the craziest free agency summers in the history of the league, which led experts and fans alike to dismiss the team as irrelevant in the newly competitive NBA that changed the balance of power from the hands of the now disassembled Warriors to a new crop of teams in a single offseason. The losses of Kevin Durant to free agency, Klay Thompson to an ACL tear in the Finals and Stephen Curry to a hand injury has brought the Warriors dynasty crashing down, injecting parity to the league and opening the door for new teams to contend for championships in coming years.

While the Timberwolves did have an uneventful offseason if you only look at star power of their under-the-radar free-agent signings, they made a number of moves that have already seen early returns and look like a completely different team behind head coach Ryan Saunders, who at 32 years old is the youngest head coach in the NBA. After finally parting ways with Tom Thibodeau last January, Saunders took over and finished the season 17-25. The Timberwolves also hired Gersson Rosas to replace Thibodeau as President of Basketball Operations, which may have been their best move of the season. Rosas’ analytical mindset and leadership have injected new life into the Wolves’ front office, and it was on display throughout the summer as the Wolves quietly made several impactful signings in free agency.

Despite being limited by some bad contracts (Andrew Wiggins) and a general lack of free-agent appeal that pushed D’Angelo Russell to sign with Golden State, the Wolves filled out their roster with solid young players on bargain contracts that gives the team flexibility in the future while giving the team’s young players a chance to develop. The singings of Jake Layman, Noah Vonley, Shabbaz Napier, Treveon Graham, Jordan Bell aren’t going to blow anyone away, but considering the Wolves’ current financial situation and likely trajectory, the low-cost, low-risk moves made a lot of sense. Although hurt by the loss of fan-favorite Derrick Rose to Detroit in free agency, the Wolves drafted Jarret Culver sixth overall in the draft; he had won Big 12 Player of the Year and helped bring Texas Tech its first national championship in school history.

The Wolves will heavily rely on Karl-Anthony Towns offensively this year but look to have a potentially solid defense anchored by Robert Covington and Josh Okogie (another fan favorite). Karl-Anthony Towns is capable of playing at an MVP level, and prior to his two-game suspension for fighting Joel Embiid he looked more than the part. The Wolves may not be championship contenders this year, but they’ll be looking to surprise a lot of people and will be a fun team to watch all season; they could even make a run at the postseason if things fall correctly. There’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a Minnesota sports fan right now, and the Timberwolves are looking to add to that this season.