Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Brief Fan's History of the Minnesota Timberwolves

As we wait for the NBA Draft Lottery, feast on the tradition that is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

1989-1992: Expansion and Utterly Awful
This team's first three first-round picks were Pooh Richardson, Felton Spencer, and Luc Longley. I want to cry. But Doug West was involved.

1992-1995: Hopeful but Still Awful
When little PV was in seventh grade, he would wear a Christian Laettner sweatshirt to school. When he got hot, he removed the sweatshirt to reveal a Christian Laettner t-shirt. Little PV had 20+ Christian Laettner rookie cards. Doug West and Chuck Person were involved. PV often skipped high school functions like a playoff football game and dances to stay home and watch the Wolves on TV.

1996-1998: The Next Dynasty Period
With a young nucleus of Tom Gugliotta (an absolute stud for one season), phenom Kevin Garnett (in his second year he was already showing what he would be), and Stephon Marbury (playing like the next great passing point guard), the Timberwolves were widely believed to be a burgeoning force. In 1996-97, they broke the franchise record for wins (with 40, besting the old record of 29) and made their first playoff appearance. Doug West was involved, but it all ended soon for him.

1999: Nuts to this
Stephon Marbury destroys the franchise. PV is still not over it.

2000-2003: First Round and Out
The T-Wolves keep putting competent but unimpressive players around an improving KG, and keep getting knocked out of the first round of the playoffs. They also don't get a lot of first round picks because of Glen Taylor, Kevin McHale, and Joe Smith.

2004: The Chance
The Wolves win an Western Conference best 59 games; new teammates Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell bring all sorts of fun; Kevin Garnett has his best season and wins MVP. PV watches Game Seven against the Kings from Emma's Bar. The T-Wolves win behind an epic performance by KG, and PV gets ridiculed when tears start rolling down his cheek. Why was he crying? See everything before this. But the Wolves lose in the Western Conference Finals in part because of an injury to Sam Cassell leaves the team with little hope at point guard.

2004-2007: Nuts to that
Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell try to destroy the franchise; Kevin McHale's horrible run catches up with the team; despite the continuing brilliance of Kevin Garnett (he's lead the league in rebounding four straight years, and he's still the team's only dominant offensive player), the team keeps missing the playoffs. The entire state turns against favorite son Kevin McHale.

2007: The Lottery
Maybe this is the day it all changes. PV (sans ESPN) will be following the lottery online, ready to scream and call his family if the Wolves get a top-2 pick. As fans, we don't control whether our team wins or loses, but we're still happy when they win. Why should the lottery be any different? We still don't control whether the team wins or loses, but we still get to be happy if they win. The Minnesota sports scene would be completely revitalized by pairing either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant with Kevin Garnett (and young guards like Rashad McCants and Randy Foye). But for a fan who used to wear his Christian Laettner sweatshirt and t-shirt to school and who cried in a bar when the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals, we really need this.

UPDATE: I hate everything.

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