Each Team’s All-NBA First Team- A 30 Part Series: Part 26- The Minnesota Timberwolves
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine…medium.com
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine each team’s specific All-NBA First Team. What I mean by this is- following the criteria set by the NBA for the All-NBA Team rules, I will examine and elaborate on my picks for each team’s specific All-NBA First Team.
G- Doug West: 1989–1997
Doug West doesn’t have the flashiest numbers nor was he ever close to playing at an all-star caliber level, but given his longevity and the lack of elite guard play the Timberwolves have had, he is the right player for one of the two guard spots on the Timberwolves All-NBA First Team.
In his nine seasons with the team, West averaged double digit points four times, leading the team in scoring in 1993, averaging 19.3 points per game. He was also a part of the first ever Timberwolves’ team to make a playoff appearance.
At the time of his departure, West was the team’s all-time leader in games played and points scored.
G- Ricky Rubio: 2011-Present
In terms of living up to expectations, Ricky Rubio has failed to do so, but in terms of production, Rubio has still been one of the best guards in franchise history.
In his five seasons with the team, Rubio has established himself as a more traditional point guard- one who favors finding open teammates rather than scoring himself. He’s also been among the leaders in total steals over the last five years, leading the NBA in 2014 with 191.
Rubio’s 8.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game are the highest per game averages in Timberwolves’ history.
Despite struggling to stay on the court due to a number of injuries, Rubio still is number two on the all-time assists and steals list in franchise history.
F- Kevin Love: 2008–2014
Kevin Love has had the second best Timberwolves’ career in franchise history. In his six seasons with the team, Love led the NBA in double-doubles, breaking the NBA record for consecutive double-doubles since the NBA-ABA merger, doing so in 53 consecutive games. He led the NBA in rebounding in 2011, averaging a franchise record 15.2 rebounds per game. Love also led the team in scoring during his tenure averaging greater than 20 points per game three times. His 26.1 points per game in 2014 is the highest single game average for a single season in franchise history. Love appeared in three all-star games and on two All-NBA Second Teams.
Despite the immense individual success, Love’s Timberwolves failed to make a single playoff appearance in his six seasons.
F- Kevin Garnett: 1995–2007, 2015-Present
Kevin Garnett is not only the greatest player in Timberwolves’ history, but he’s also one of the greatest players in NBA history. After being drafted with the 5th overall pick in 1995, Garnett immediately contributed, becoming the best player on the team by the end of his first season.
In his 14 seasons in Minnesota, Garnett has averaged 19.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. He led the league in rebounding three times, and averaged greater than 20 points nine times. He’s appeared in 10 All-Star games and has been a member eight All-NBA Teams (3x First Team, 3x Second Team, 2x Third Team). He’s the only player in franchise history to win an MVP award, doing so in 2004.
Garnett was the team’s best player during a time in which the team had its most success. In his first stint with the team, the Timberwolves made the playoffs nine times, reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2004.
In Garnett’s best season, the year he won the MVP award, Garnett averaged a career high in points (24.2), rebounds (13.9), and blocks (2.2) per game. He played in all 82 games and was the league leader in rebounds per game by almost a full rebound.
Garnett is the Timberwolves’ all-time leader in almost every major statistical category, including points, rebounds, blocks, steals, assists, made free throws, and games played.
His importance to the Timberwolves organization on and off the court is something that cannot be measured. Without Garnett, professional basketball might not have survived in the state of Minnesota.
C- Al Jefferson: 2007–2010
Al Jefferson was just entering his prime upon being traded to Minnesota in 2007. Like Rubio, Jefferson failed to live up to his expectations, but that doesn’t mean he had a bad career with the Timberwolves.
In his three seasons, Jefferson was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 20.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. In two of his three seasons, Jefferson averaged a double-doubles.
Similar to this entry, Jefferson tenure with the team was short and is often forgotten in NBA lore.