Found May 17, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
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 Taylor pumping ample resources into his product, Minnesota has neared the cusp of NBA success. Starting in 1995, the team's coach, general manager, and front office are working in effective harmony.
Fast forward 18 years, and it's early. Very early. But there are pieces in place similar to those glory days, the ones Timberwolves fans crave.
The new Kevin, Love that is, is expected to return fully healthy this season. The takeover ability that made Garnett so prolific has yet to germinate, but there are enough complementary pieces in place to set him up in the post and from the outside. Love's ability to score from both spots and tear down rebounds earned him the description of the most unique player playing in the NBA from his new team president.
And Love's not being asked to be the next Garnett. Just the highest-caliber Kevin Love possible.
Garnett had a top-notch point guard to help kickstart his career, too. Stephon Marbury spent his first two years in Minneapolis; today, Ricky Rubio looks like much more of a mainstay.
But it took some masterful moves at the top to sustain the Saunders-directed run and build around the stars. Team president Kevin McHale went hard after guys like Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell, and Saunders must do the same. Cohesion between him, Taylor and coach Rick Adelman is essential to filling the organization's current needs, and there are a sizeable handful of them entering the draft and free agency.
That starts with a 3-point shooter. Locking up center Nikola Pekovic is a lofty priority. And an unproductive draft like so many under former president David Kahn could set things back even further.
This season will be the Timberwolves' 24th. In that time, there's only one period they have to look back on for some in-house example.
It was the first occasion Saunders and Taylor synthesized, and the results were more fruitful than any others in team history. And though past precedent doesn't at all guarantee future success, Minnesota has reverted to a model similar to that of its most luminous era.
Just like in the mid-1990s, it's up to Flip, Kevin, Taylor and company to ignite the lamps once again.
BEST OF MAXIM
MINNEAPOLIS Even after his season-ending surgery, the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to rely on Kevin Love to flip their fortune.
The ultra-talented but recently sidelined forward will represent the Timberwolves at next week's NBA Draft Lottery, the team announced Thursday. It'll be Love, who played in only 18 games last season due to a maligned knee, who receives an in...
Kevin Garnett will not need surgery on his foot/ankle. Medical staff thinks rest will solve the problem.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) May 17, 2013
According to the Herald's Steve Bulpett, KG won't need the rumored surgery to remove the bone spurs from his ankles as had been previously reported. This is good news, as long as the rest takes care of it and doesn't...
Flip Saunders would like to add more shooters to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster.
"We need more shooters,'' Saunders said. "You can't play with one (Budinger) or two (Luke Ridnour). A healthy Kevin Love will help there, but if we put shooters on the floor, you're going to see a much better (Ricky) Rubio.''The Timberwolves were the worst three...
If Kevin Garnett plays next season, it looks like he will be doing it bone spurs and all.
According to the Boston Herald, Danny Ainge says Garnett will simply "rest" his left foot and ankle and will not undergo surgery.
I think there was some question whether he was going to have surgery on his foot,” said Ainge. “but the last I heard, which was a few days ago, is...
After battling an inflammed left ankle late in the season, Kevin Garnett will continue to rest it and will not have surgery.
The Boston Celtics' medical staff is confident rest will heal Garnett's ankle.
Danny Ainge recently said the Celtics are awaiting for final word from Garnett about whether he will return for next season.
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics still don’t know whether Kevin Garnett will be playing basketball next season, but if he does, the veteran is obviously hoping offseason rest will solve the left foot and ankle problems that dogged...
Danny Ainge cleared up one aspect of a Celtics offseason that features many moving parts, confirming to reporters on Thursday that coach Doc Rivers will be back for the 2013-14 season.
The future of another key member of the team is still up in the air. Ainge told The Boston Globe that he has not spoken with Kevin Garnett, admitting that he does not have the necessary information...
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge confirmed Thursday that Doc Rivers would return to coach the Celtics for a 10th season. “Yeah (he’ll be back), Doc and I are talking about our team next year,” Ainge said. “(No
CSNNE's Jessica Camerato wrote a piece yesterday about Jared Sullinger's recovery from back surgery. Sullinger's progress is on schedule, and he is expected to be ready for training camp next season. He's actively rehabbing now, but it sounds like the past few months were pretty difficult for the rookie, who's 21st birthday came shortly after being operated...
Doc Rivers will be back on the bench for the Celtics next season. That means, at the very least, that Kevin Garnett‘s departure from Boston is not utterly assured.
Any Celtics fan looking for a deeper silver lining to this news, however, will be disappointed. Rivers will remain, giving the Celtics a decided tactical advantage on a solid three-quarters of their opponents in the...
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The NBA has Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal on its list with 15 All-Star appearances. Baseball greats such as Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith and Yogi Berra each played in 15 All-Star Games. And proving how elusive 15 is, no NFL player has played in 15 Pro Bowls. The only one to come close is Merlin Olsen with 14.
Saturday night at Charlotte (N...
Herald Execs split on C’s chances Rest assured, no surgery for KG Globe A collision of Celtics nostalgia and realityCeltics Green Ainge Making Decisions With One Hand Tied Behind His BackA Few Summer League Notes Stephen A Smith Stirring Things Up Yet AgainNo Surgery Needed for KGCelticsBlog Ainge elaborates on comments about Pierce and Garnett2013 NBA Draft Prospect Profile...