Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 1/25/12

If you’ve been a basketball fan for a while, you’ll remember those Garnett led Timberwolves teams. In the beginning of the Garnett-era, Minnesota had guys like Stephon Marbury and Tom Gugliotta, who helped form as a very solid trio in the mid-90’s.  However, Gugliotta left, and Marbury, mid-way through the 1998 season decided he wanted to be “in a bigger market.” Sound familiar? The team still thrived though.  Despite managerial problems that resulted in the loss of their 2001,2002, and 2004 picks, the Wolves were able to get guys like Wally Szczerbiak, Latrell Spreewell, Sam Cassel, and Troy Hudson to surround Garnett with. The Wolves were very competitive in the 2002-2003, and 2003-2004 seasons. However, both years ended in playoff losses to the Los Angeles Lakers. 

The team went downhill from there in a flurry of coaching changes, the trading of Kevin Garnett, and the firing of GM Kevin McHale. In 2009, the Wolves’ new President of Basketball Operations, David Kahn, took over the team and hired Lakers’ assistant, Kurt Rambis as head coach. The beginning for Kahn wasn’t pleasant after he selected 3 first round point guards (Ricky Rubio, Johnny Flynn, and Ty Lawson) and signed another point guard in Luke Ridnour. Rambis struggled as a head coach and was fired after two seasons. However, the Wolves finally caught a break before this lockout-shortened season.

Their 3rd overall draft pick in 2009, Ricky Rubio, finally made his way over from Spain after speculation that he would refuse to play in Minnesota. They also hired Rick Adelman, who is 8th all-time in wins as a head coach. What has happened in Minnesota so far this season is definitely not summed up in their 7-10 record. Since Ricky Rubio became their starting point guard on Friday, January 13th, the Wolves are 5-3. Big man Kevin Love is becoming a serious MVP candidate, as he and Rubio are becoming one of the best combo’s in the NBA. This has also gone on with key injuries. Two guys who would be starters, guard/forward Martell Webster and forward Michael Beasley are currently injured and JJ Barea has been banged up all year. With the three injured players due back any day, the Wolves will have a chance to make a playoff push. Now, with a lockout shortened season and a jammed schedule, it has already been tough for teams to play well on offense, especially teams with a lot of new players. However, with a guy like Rubio, it has been a very short transition period. Putting guys like Barea, Webster, and Beasley back into the rotation will be a lot easier than it has been for other teams. Adding those three guys to the lineup will DEFINITELY make their offense better. The Wolves look like they’re for real and will be a team in the playoff hunt at the end of the season.

-Abergel

 

 

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