Mitch Linsley, Dump and Change Sports | July 3rd, 2017
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Who would have thought that in 2017, the Minnesota Timberwolves could be the hottest ticket in town? Well that’s exactly where we find ourselves in July.
Although winning the offseason is all but meaningless, new shakeups to the Pups’ roster presents a team that is more than likely to make the playoffs and arguably contend for home-court advantage in the first round.
First, the Wolves made a huge splash on draft night when they fleeced the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler and a pick that turned out to be Creighton center Justin Patton. Then, the team finally gets rid of offensive liability Ricky Rubio for a first round pick that could be trade ammunition while freeing up another $14 million in cap space. I was never a Rubiobo but I still think he was overly criticized during his tenure in Minnesota. Yes, he couldn’t shoot to save his life but he was stellar in almost every other facet of the game.
Next, the Wolves keep the hot hand and sign free agent point guard Jeff Teague who’s a former all star, an established scorer and has played in the postseason every year since 2010. Teague is much more of a threat in the offensive end and will eliminate opponent’s ability to double team Towns, Wiggins or Butler, something teams were able to do in crunch time the last few years because they knew Rubio wouldn’t make an open shot if he took one.
It doesn’t stop there, the next day, the Timberwolves sig power forward Taj Gibson to back up Karl Town and give the team some much needed depth at power forward. Although he’s on the wrong side of 30, Gibson will bring some skill to a bench that has long been regarded as one of the worst in basketball. The fact that we’re making all these moves makes us way more likely to keep Wiggins and Towns under contract for another decade once their rookie deal expire. If the fans finally start to come out of the woodwork and the organization proves they’re serious about winning, the Timberwolves could become an attractive free agent destination and a place that our young core will want to stay.
Here’s a look at what the timberwolves starting lineup and backups could look like next season (unsigned free agents are italicized):
PG- Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones
PF- Karl-Anthony Towns, Taj Gibson, Nemanja Bjelica
SG- Jimmy Butler, Shabazz Muhammad
SF- Andrew Wiggins, Brandon Rush
C- Gorgui Dieng, Justin Patton
I left Jordan Hill and Cole Aldrich off this list because a lot of NBA speculation has the team getting rid of them to clear up cap space or because they’ve been awful.
Forget the process, this team wants to win now. The organization is finally putting the pieces around Towns and Wiggins to succeed. Remember, Karl-Anthony Towns could be the best centerpiece in the NBA five years from now. Just ask Paul Pierce.
If this team becomes relevant again, KAT and Jimmy Butler deserve a statue in downtown Minneapolis.
Although no team has a chance at dethroning the Golden State Warriors next season, if GM Scott Layden and head coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau keep their feet on the gas, this team could hit their peak at just the right time and become a true power in the stacked Western Conference.
While we’re at it, I’d like to present an idea. Can we please go back to the jerseys we wore with KG in the late 90s? I know the team is rebranding and what not and will likely wear different jerseys to match the new logo next season, but I’m scared they’re gonna turn out all neon green and ugly like the Seattle Seahawks or something.
You have to admit, these jerseys were classic and the ones we have now are beyond ugly.
So if the Timberwolves live up to all the hype, where does that put them on the totem pole in the Twin Cities this upcoming season?
My power rankings (based on team success, not following):
- The Lynx
- The Vikings
- The Wild
- The Timberwolves
- The Twins
- All Gophers Sports
Follow the link and ride the gravy train, Wolves Nation.