The Minnesota Timberwolves. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The San Diego Padres. The Tampa Bay Rays. The Columbus Blue Jackets.
What do all of the teams listed above have in common?
Hint: it’s not that they’re all expanding their trophy cases to prepare for a new piece of sterling silver commemorating their next season.
Following the Wolves’ Tuesday night defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans, these are the teams that lose the most often in the four major sports in the United States.
The Wolves can’t compete with the forgotten teams such as the Sheboygan Red Skins, the Waterloo Hawks, and the San Diego Sails, who all possess an all-time lower winning percentage than our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves. But still, Minnesota’s latest loss has moved the team into last among the active teams in the National Basketball Association in win percentage.
The team surpassed the seemingly accursed Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday as their win-loss percentage dropped to a woeful .391% from a record of 831-1296.
Furthermore, of the four major sports leagues in the country, the Wolves only have a better winning percentage than the lowly Buccaneers of Tampa Bay, who in desperation fired a supposedly good coach in Lovie Smith after a somewhat encouraging season.
I’ve only been a serious, active, and devout Timberwolves fan since the 2009 season, when David Kahn infamously drafted a plethora of point guards in the first round…and none of the them reigning MVP Stephen Curry. Since then, the Wolves’ win-loss records have been similar to how their history in Minnesota has played out: the lowest of the lows, with a small ascension to the middle of the pack…and then back down again.
Here’s how each season has played out since 2009: 15-67, 17-65, 26-40, 31-51, 40-42, 16-66, and 13-30 so far this season.
The tune sounds quite similar for the totality of Timberwolves history, who have only managed to surpass the 50-win mark four times in twenty-seven years in Minnesota. Without Kevin Garnett carrying this franchise to a Western Conference Finals appearance in the 2003-2004 playoff run (also the last playoff series the team has played in), Minnesota wouldn’t have ever even won a playoff series.
Continuing with the sobering statistics, the Wolves have made the playoffs a combined eight times in twenty-seven years… good for just 30 percent of the time. Think about that. The Wolves have only managed to be in the top half of the Western Conference three out of every ten years. This could be deemed unacceptable by professional sports standards.
This has obviously been a pretty discouraging few paragraphs for fans of the franchise that has played in Minneapolis since 1989. And clearly, the fans are feeling the losing blues as well, as attendance is in the penultimate slot comparative to the rest of the league with an average of 14,169 spectators attending games. A somewhat surprising accompanying stat is that Minnesota also is second-to-last in attendance in their road games.
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One would think that perhaps with exciting young players like reigning Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, hopeful 2016 Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, and reigning dunk champion Zach LaVine, the Wolves would get a little more of a draw when they hit the road. But apparently not.
I think Wolves fans have a right to be completely disappointed with this team, and every right to say no to season tickets when winning simply can’t be expected. Every right to lose a bit of interest in this team. Every right to change their allegiances to a winning team.
The 2015-2016 has been disappointing of late, just as much as the Wolves as a whole have been disappointing. The team has lost nine of their past ten, including a loss to the 76ers — which, of course, NBA teams are using as a panic meter barometer this season.
And yet, Wolves fans continue to hope and believe that this next group of players will be the group of players that pulls us from the depths. And hey, an argument definitely can be made.
Andrew Wiggins is a terrific athlete and great scorer, and Karl-Anthony Towns looks like an annual all-star. Shabazz Muhammad is turning heads with his recent play, and Zach LaVine has shown glimpses of his promising potential. That’s more combined promise than Minnesota may have had since the last time they made the playoffs.
Perhaps with the right coach, the right supporting cast for a more mature Wiggins/Towns combo, the eventual right group of players at the right time, or who knows what else, Minnesota can begin to climb back up the latter in the win-loss percentage rankings.
I think it could take all three of those things in order for the Wolves to climb out of the current state that they are in. When (if) that happens, it will be all the sweeter for fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves, an NBA franchise that has endured the long-lasting drought of success.
Here’s hoping this current Wolves core can earn their hometown fans deserved support. Until then, Wolves fans have every right to throw themselves a pity party and buy a Stephen Curry jersey.