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After the departures of the Minneapolis Lakers for the west coast in 1960, the state of Minnesota was without a professional basketball team until 1989, when the Minnesota Timberwolves made their NBA debut.
Suffering the same fate as most new franchises, the early years for Minnesota featured a lot of struggles on the floor. Team chemistry was something that seemed to elude this group until they were able to draft Kevin Garnett with the number five overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. A multitude of factors, including the hiring of Flip Saunders and the acquisition of Tom Gugliotta came together to produce a winning team on the court.
Within a year of Garnett’s arrival the Timberwolves found themselves in the playoffs for the first time in team history. They would make the playoffs for the next seven seasons after that, finally breaking through beyond the first round in 2004. Led by MVP Garnett, the Minnesota Timberwolves crossed off the Denver Nuggets in five games before closing out the Sacramento Kings in seven to reach the Western Conference Finals. Drawing a matchup against a powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers team with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, the Timberwolves came up short in a six game series.
Despite the great play, the recipe was unsustainable. Timberwolves fans would have to wait another 13 years before Minnesota saw postseason action again. The end of the 2017-2018 season saw them exit the playoffs in round one at the hands of the Houston Rockets.
Despite missing the postseason again in 2018-2019, there is hope for this group. Led by two first overall draft picks, Andrew Wiggins in 2014 and Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015, the Timberwolves are starting to see these young phenoms develop into star veterans as their experience builds. Adding Robert Covington and Dario Saric from Philadelphia this past season along with Jeff Teague could be a good formula, especially if Derrick Rose can get healthy.
While there is no doubt that Kevin Garnett is the best player to ever suit up for Minnesota, there have been a number of excellent players who have passed through Minnesota during their careers. Among the greatest are Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins, Sam Cassell, and Stephon Marbury. Additional information about the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves as well as about the current team can be found by clicking here.