Their record might not show it, but the Mnnsota Timberwolves are clearly on the right path.
No one said things will be easy, though. And considering the franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004, fans would be wise to wait a few more years. They are set to become one of the best teams in the Western Conerence sooner than later. And most of that is because they boast an impressive collection of young players.
We should only look at the starting five to realize this. The regular unit has Ricky Rubio (26), Zach LaVine (21), Andrew Wiggins (21), Karl-Anthony Towns (21) and Gorgui Dieng (26). And it’s likely that rookie Kris Dunn (22) will replace Rubio as the season advances. Minnesota must be the only team that features an all under-27 starting lineup in the NBA. That sole fact should be a fact for hope among the fans.
Plus there’s the scoring, as Minnesota’s offensive numbers have been strong. They rank among the top 10 in offensive rating, offensive rebounding percentage and free-throw rate. They’ve got three starters averaging 20 points per game — Andrew Wiggins 22.2, Karl-Anthony Towns 21.4 and LaVine 20.5 — and together, the three 21-year-olds are outscoring their combined ages.
Sure, defensively they could use a bit of work. But there’s no question that the arrival of Tom Thibodeau should only make them better on that end of the floor. The former Chicago Bulls head coach seems like the proper person to handle these youngsters. It’s like he’s one who can show them how to make the transition from an up-and-coming team to an unstoppable force in the NBA.
At 7-18 they rank second to last in the Western Conference, and it’s hard to see them making the playoffs. But they shouldn’t be sellers at the deadline, and it would be wise to stand pat. There might be trade rumors floating around, but the Wolves are building something special. It only needs a bit more time before the rest of the league can see it.
There’s no question their moment will come sooner than later. It’s not a thing of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN. And when it does, the NBA better be ready.