Much like their cross-town pro team counterpart Minnesota Vikings with their quarterbacks, the Minnesota Timberwolves do not have a history of long term stability at the point guard position. But, they do have a history of a handful of solid point guards. Our list of Top 5 Point Guards in Timberwolves history will focus on each player’s best back-to-back seasons they put together. Some of the guys on the list were not on the team for more than 2 years, or they were only able to put together 2.5 seasons for injuries or from being traded. Will Ricky Rubio crack this list someday??
5. POOH RICHARDSON (1990-91 & 1991-92) – The Timberwolves first ever 1st round draft pick was selected 10th overall in the 1989 draft. Pooh probably would have had a higher ranking had the team won more games during his tenure. Both of these seasons he played all 82 games, which none of the others can say they did. Was traded for #4 on the list in a multi-player trade.
His 2-year averages were approximately 17 ppg, 9 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 spg, 47% FG. And for the advance stats, had 10 Win Shares over 2 years, and an average Player Efficiency Rating of nearly 18.
*Win Share is the Estimate amount of wins contributed by a player
*Player Efficiency Rating is a measure of per-minute performance based on combined statistical categories. League average is 15.
4. MICHEAL WILLIAMS (1992-93 & 1993-94) – Williams was acquired prior to the 1992-93 season in a multi-player trade that involved Pooh Richardson. Williams is probably best remembered for setting an NBA record 97 consecutive free throws made between late 1993 and early 1994. Williams was also a very solid defensive player, and was once among the league leaders in steals during his time with the Indiana Pacers.
His 2-year averages were approximately 14.5 ppg, 8 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2 spg, 45% FG. He accounted for about 13 Win Shares, and an average Player Efficiency Rating of 18.5.
3. STEPHON MARBURY (1996-97 & 1997-98) – Marbury was acquired in a draft day trade for Ray Allen in 1996. There has been much debate over what might have happened had the Timberwolves hung on to Allen. Allen is a lock for the Hall of Fame, while Marbury is already out of the league after a controversial career. The fact is Marbury teamed with Kevin Garnett to provide the franchise with excitement like they had never come close to prior to their arrival. Marbury gets a high ranking on this list for helping lead the Timberwolves to the playoffs in each of his full seasons as the starting point guard. The team had not made the playoffs prior to his arrival. Garnett and Marbury were the next Stockton and Malone until Marbury needed to be the man on his own team. He was not the most efficient player, however (see the 40% FG).
His 2-year averages were approximately 17 ppg, 8.5 apg, 3 rpg, 1 spg, 40% FG. He also made almost 200 3′s in the 2 years. His Win Shares were only 9 in the 2 seasons, and his Efficiency Rating was about 16.
2. SAM CASSELL – (2003-04 & 2004-05) – Cassell was acquired in the summer of 2003 and famously proceeded to help lead the Timberwolves to their greatest season in franchise history. He would no doubt be #1 on this list had it not been for his surprisingly sub-par ’04-’05 follow-up season. In ’03 – ’04, Cassell was one of the best point guards in the NBA. The Timberwolves had a franchise record 58 wins while Cassell was voted to the All-Star game and was honored with 2nd Team All-NBA. No other point guard in franchise history has accomplished this, and only Garnett has made and All-NBA team as a Timberwolf. His ’03-04 stats were fantastic – 19 ppg, 7 apg, 49% FG, 74 3′s made, and an Efficiency Rating of 22.8. His Efficiency Rating was 7th best in the league that year.
His 2-year averages were approximately 16.5 ppg, 6 apg, 3 rpg, 1 spg, 48% FG. His Win Shares for the 2 year run were approximately 16 and his Efficiency average over those seasons was about 21.
1. TERRELL BRANDON – (1999-00 & 2000-01) – If Sam Cassell has the best season of a Timberwolves point guard in franchise history, Brandon probably has #2 and #3. Brandon was acquired in the lockout-shortened 1999 season in a trade involving Stephon Marbury. Many fans at the time were extremely disappointed in breaking up of the exciting duo of Garnett and Marbury. However, Brandon went on to put together the most consistent and efficient 2 seasons by a point guard in Timberwolves history. The Timberwolves won 50 and 47 games, respectively, in the 2 seasons that Brandon was the full time starting point guard. “Stop-n-Pop”, as some liked to call him, was excellent at stopping on a dime from about 15 feet out while hitting jump shots on the run. It may be hard to believe, but he was the best shooting point guard the team has ever had. Not only did he hit nearly 90 of his free throws, but he also hit 46% of his field goal attempts while draining 223 three-pointers over 2 seasons. He was also a very good defensive player, averaging 2 steals per game over this 2 year run.
His 2-year averages were approximately 16.5 ppg, 8.5 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2 spg, and 46% FG. He had approximately 17 Win Shares, and an average Efficiency Rating of 20.5.
So Mr. Stop-n-Pop gets our vote as the Timberwolves best point guard in franchise history. Who gets your vote?
*Statistics used in this article were taken from basketball-reference.com.