Connor Van Hulzen — Staff Writer
Almost a year ago—after the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for point guard D’Angelo Russell—I wrote an article in the Diamond titled, “Impress me Timberwolves.” Since then they have managed, in a surprising turn of events, to disappoint me even more.
It has been over a year since the trade paired Russell with his best bud Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves are in a state of complete disarray. As a matter of fact, Towns and Russell are a pairing that was supposed to represent the future of the franchise and bring the team back to a promised land not experienced since Kevin Garnett’s successes nearly two decades ago. However, the pair have only appeared on the court together five times over the course of nearly 100 Timberwolves games.
Both have been injured and Towns contracted COVID-19, a virus that saw him lose seven family members—including his mother Jacqueline. These disastrous circumstances have resulted in a supposedly up-and-coming Timberwolves team sitting comfortably alone in the basement of the NBA.
Unfortunately for a team that will likely be in the running for a number one overall pick for the second consecutive year, last year’s D’Angelo Russell trade also included the Timberwolves trading their first-round pick to the Golden State Warriors. For a team hopelessly lost in the wilderness, valuable draft picks are life-and-death assets.
In their defense, the Timberwolves have had some bright spots during an otherwise putrid season. First overall selection Anthony Edwards has begun to find his groove and perform well in his rookie season. Edwards has also brought an unquantifiable edge and energy to the team that was sorely lacking. From his poster-worthy dunks to his celebrations of big plays in opponents’ faces, the rookie has quickly maneuvered his way into a place of importance in the team.
Unfortunately, the Timberwolves’ struggles exist off the court as well. Owner Glen Taylor had put the team up for sale. Taylor has made it clear to all prospective buyers of the team that the franchise must stay put in Minnesota. One of the most talked-about potential ownership groups has a very familiar face at the front of their efforts. Timberwolves legend Kevin Garnett made very public overtures towards Taylor. However, the relationship between the two has been strained since Garnett’s return to Minnesota near the end of his playing career. Garnett believed that he was guaranteed a front office job after he retired that would include a lot of power to make decisions for the organization. After his retirement, though, these promises did not come true.
Garnett becoming part owner of the team that he single-handedly brought to a place of relevance was the fairytale ending every Timberwolves fan dreamed of. This is not a fairytale story, though. The match made in heaven fell apart. Garnett announced through an Instagram story that he and his ownership group were officially out of the running.
For a team that has now passed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the worst all-time winning percentage amongst the four major professional North American sports leagues, the Timberwolves look like they are committed to holding this distinction for years to come. The Wolves are a mess and continue to disappoint. At this point, it would be more surprising for them to find some shred of competency than to sustain this failure.