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The saga of the Minnesota Timberwolves

Remember when the Minnesota Timberwolves were cool? It has been awhile, but Minnesota was once a franchise on the rise, with kids scooping up those sweet jerseys that had funky letter font and trees on the trim.

Yes, the Timberwolves used to be a name. It seems an eternity ago, but they were once the most exciting team in basketball along with the Sacramento Kings (see, it was a long time ago). After drafting Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett, Minnesota looked like a budding dynasty, only to see it fall apart. Garnett and Marbury played together from 1996-99, and in that span the Timberwolves never won a playoff series, falling in the first round each year.

In 2003-04, Minnesota finally broke through the first-round wall and reached the Western Conference finals, only to be dispatched by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Garnett was the NBA MVP that season, his last great moment in teal. Since then, the Timberwolves have not been back to the postseason despite having Garnett and Kevin Love dotting their roster among other talent.

These days, Minnesota is a disgrace. The Timberwolves will easily finish with one of the three worst records in basketball, along with the pathetic New York Knicks and ever-rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers. Minnesota currently has the second-worst winning percentage in basketball at 5-31, a full six games behind the woeful Lakers in the West. The Knicks are the only group to be even more embarrassing, checking in at 5-35. Both Minnesota and New York are on 15-game losing streaks, almost trying to see which team will blink first in this tankapalooza.

The Timberwolves are a stench to the sport, much like the Knicks and 76ers, but in a smaller market so the national media doesn’t pay much mind. In a league that takes 16 of the 30 teams into the playoffs, missing the boat for what will be 11 straight years is reprehensible. It is also patently unfair to the fans who show up and watch on brutally cold evenings, giving time and money to a team so undeserving.

The 2014-15 roster luckily has Andrew Wiggins, last year’s top selection. Wiggins is the one source of brightness in an otherwise dark wilderness, scoring 14.5 points per game. Wiggins appears a legitimate star in the making, while the rest of the roster needs the scrapheap treatment. Only Shabazz Muhammad might be worth keeping in a starting capacity, scoring 13.7 points and pulling down 4.0 rebounds per game as a 22-year-old.

Without question, the NBA Draft is June will be a turning-point moment for the franchise. Can Minnesota draft a Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns and pair him with Wiggins, giving it a nice combination? Or will the Timberwolves whiff Jonny Flynn-style and continue to lose 60+ games every year?

Minnesota has to get this offseason right. It’s been a train wreck for long enough.

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