MINNEAPOLIS -- It's one of the darkest yet brightest junctures in the largely painful Minnesota Timberwolves' existence.
Repeated failures have wrought changes at the top of the organization. A success-starved city's cynicism is spiking. Poor luck piles on top of a growing heap of shortcomings.
Yet hope endures, primarily in the form of a big-time talent at the forward position and a man named Flip taking command.
It's not May 17, 2013. It's December 18, 1995.
Flip Saunders just assumed the coaching reins from Bill Blair, who directed a job-costing 6-14 start. Kevin Garnett's a rookie on the verge of becoming a perennial all-star.
What comes next is the golden age, so far, of professional basketball in the Twin Cities.
Eight straight playoff appearances -- the only ones in franchise history -- culminate in a Western Conference finals berth in 2004. Garnett, who's yet to be matched as the organization's all-time defining athlete, wins league MVP honors that year.
With owner Glen Tayl...