Later today is the Minnesota Timberwolves media day. We shall have lots of coverage of the event and hopefully some great insight on the upcoming season from the various Timberwolves coaches and players who are available to speak.
This upcoming year seems genuinely different, as it should, as the expectations that are put upon this team are based in reality as compared to recent seasons. The Timberwolves are going to be genuinely a good basketball team this NBA season and that is hard to process for a franchise that has not made the playoffs since the 2003-2004 season. The Wolves have the longest-running playoff drought of any team in the NBA and that is all expected to change in our very near future.
Now, we have had excitement before, such as the first season with Tom Thibodeau or a few of the Rick Adelman and Kevin Love years, but this year feels different. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler has changed everything and now this is not a team that we hope can fight for a playoff spot, but rather one that should certainly make the playoffs.
It is kind of hard adjustment for us to really make as fans. The Wolves have just been so abjectly terrible, or disappointing, for so long that it feels a little wrong to be truly excited for the upcoming season and not have lingering doubts. Sure there will be things to quibble over and decisions that will seem to be made in typical Wolves fashion, we don’t have to look too hard at the offseason to make those same critiques of mismanagement of resources to become critical again.
But this team is going to win some games, be an actually good basketball team with actually good basketball players who we can feel safe knowing will be in Minnesota for at least the next few years. I’m not sure when the last time was that we could say that with confidence.
The NBA preview season is about to be upon us. There will certainly be outsized projections for how good this team will be and the Vegas projections already show us that. We are going to get swept up in the belief that this team can really do some damage in the playoffs and compete against the top teams in the NBA.
Last year, we let the hype of Tom Thibodeau riding into town and whipping this team into shape make us feel like a corner was about to be turned. Last year’s team didn’t quite make that jump, but the foundation was being built.
That corner is coming. This team should (or rather will) be making the playoffs this year. The combination of Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns is probably the best duo of teammates that this team has had since the Kevin Garnett days. Having a budding star, or at least a very good offensive player, in Andrew Wiggins alongside them is icing on the cake.
Minnesotans are not exactly known for their exuberance, particularly among sports fans who have had decades of disappointment and heartbreak to back up their pessimism and reserved attitudes. We should feel safe breaking from that mold for this upcoming Timberwolves season. These guys are going to be good.