If we fast forward to the 2017 Summer League action, fans will be happy to know that the team is working hard to improve their win/loss record for the upcoming season. Zach LaVine, Kyryrlo Fesenko, and Gorgui Dieng all performed very well in the past. The team looks like they will be heavy on offense, but might need to shore up their defensive issues as soon as possible. With their new head coach also working out the issues from the past, the Timberwolves should have no problem improving their standings this upcoming season.
In the past five seasons, the Timberwolves have improved greatly. Way back in 2009, the team only managed to win fifteen games. 2010 was not much better, as they managed only two more wins overall. By the end of the 2011-2012 season, the Timberwolves won 26 games, and they managed to pull together four more wins in 2012-2013. The improvement is slow to come, but last season shows that the team has made a nice leap forward, with nine more wins when compared to the year before.
Phillip Saunders Returns As Head Coach
Phillip (Flip) Saunders is once again the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He came from the Washington Wizards, where he struggled to get the team above two dozen wins in 2009 and 2010. By the 17th game of the 2011 season, the Wizards were 2-15, and Saunders was let go. He was not a head coach during the 2013 season. Saunders is familiar with the Timberwolves, as he coached the team for ten seasons. His best year was 2003-2004, when his team won 51 games, and went to the playoffs. Fans hope that “Flip” will turn the team around in short order.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, founded in 1989, have been, since their inception, one of the NBA’s lesser half teams. They really haven’t been the worst, but they have been far from the best. The Wolves have had some moderate success though, and that was when Kevin Garnett was in Minnesota the first time around. The Timberwolves drafted Kevin Garnett in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft, and Garnett became the first player in the modern era to go from high school to the pros, skipping college. Ironically enough, Garnett has been perhaps, with the exception of Kobe Bryant, the most successful prep-to-pros players in history. Garnett will be a unanimous first ballot hall of famer, and if he is not, there will be some serious rioting amongst basketball fans everywhere. During the Garnett era, the Timberwolves made the NBA playoffs every year from 1997-2004. However the lost in the first round every year from 1997-2003. 2004 was the signature season in franchise history. The Wolves went 58-24 during the regular season, good for first in the Western Conference. They made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals before injuries derailed them, and they lost to the Lakers in six games. Game six of the 2004 Western Conference Finals was the last playoff game this franchise has played to date.
The Wolves playoff drought will not end this season either. They currently sit at 14-47, good for the third worst record in the NBA. However there is reason for optimism. Kevin Garnett was traded back to Minnesota before the 2015 trade deadline, and he has brought a sense of focus to the locker room. This might be Garnett’s last season, and even if he comes back, it will only be for one more year in Minnesota. After he retires though, he is looking into buying the franchise, possibly even coaching them as well.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had a very rough 2015-2016 season, both on and off the court. After losing their head coach to cancer the day before the season started, they finished the season with a record of 29-53, the third-worst record in the Western Conference. In the NBA draft this summer they held the 5th selection overall, and used it to take guard Kris Dunn from Providence. This offseason, they made big changes, hiring Tom Thibodeau as head coach.
Many thought the combination of Thibodeau and his defensive genius would guide the Wolves to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. However, that did not happen this season and is not going to happen. They currently sit with a record of 19-33, good for the third-worst record in the Western Conference. One must wonder if this combination of players just isn't going to work, and if it isn't, then it might be time to start swapping out some of the core players before they lose value.