The joy of preseason hope for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The new NBA season is almost here. With that brings renewed optimism about the Minnesota Timberwolves season ahead.

For many years now, Minnesota Timberwolves fans have had very little to become excited about at any point of the year. However, the beginning of a fresh season was usually the peak when it came to enthusiasm about the possibilities the franchise could reach.

Even as these Timberwolves teams were obviously less talented and underprepared for the highly capable competition they were set to face, fans unrealistically let this excitement give them hope. The thought of ‘hey, maybe the eighth seed is finally within reach’ has seemed to be the consistent preseason message going through fan’s heads even when guys like Michael Beasley were the top players on the team. And why shouldn’t it be? If you can’t muster up a little hope when everybody’s record is 0-0, then what is the point of even being a fan?

Mentally, this is the cleanest time of the year for supporters, before the rosy optimistic feelings are polluted by frustration and passion. Dreams of sustained health and organizational stability are the backbone of blissful thoughts about the season to come. The narrative of what can be naive, yet great, overshadows the inevitability of what will.

 But this is a year that feels vastly different than the ones that have preceded it.

What makes this year different?

At this point, I no longer need to remind readers for the umpteenth time what moves the Timberwolves have made this offseason to reshape the roster. Additions of legitimized NBA talent to complement the bevy of young stars already on the roster have set ablaze the preseason hype fire of Wolves expectations for this upcoming season.

The recent NBA GM survey fortifies these enhanced views of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise.

Karl-Anthony Towns was named the best center in the NBA, along with being the player GM’s would most like to start a franchise with if given the choice. Oh yeah, they also think he’s the most likely player to have a breakout season (kind of odd to think of, considering most would categorize averaging 25 points and 12 rebounds already breaking out) and fourth-best power forward in the league (that’s right, he’s the best center AND fourth-best power forward…the Wolves should just play with four guys and let him play both positions).

Jimmy Butler, Tom Thibodeau, Andrew Wiggins and Jamal Crawford also received love in some form from this survey, showing respect to an organization that has not deserved it since George W. Bush’s first term as President.

Heck, there was even a headline suggesting the Timberwolves have too much talent, which is strange to read no matter what your take on the team is.

Why does hope abound?

It’s the time of the year where offseason daydreams of how the roster will work are inches away from meeting the reality of what the team will actually become. The magnetism of these two things is currently at a point that leads ardent fans to overflow with anticipation.

Karl-Anthony Towns seems poised to take the big step into becoming a league-wide spectacle. He now has a defensive mentor in Taj Gibson to unfold layers of his game and evolve his reputation from offensive marvel to an all-around nightmare for opponents.

On the wing, things are equally enticing. Passionate fans can picture the dominance that has the potential of forming. Instead of clashing their uniquely similar games, Jimmy Butler and Wiggins will unlock unforeseen offensive and defensive strengths that were not possible without each other.

The likelihood of Jeff Teague evolving from a wildcard to an integral piece of the Timberwolves success seems like something that leans more towards probable than possible. The downhill style of play and prowess in the pick and roll that he demonstrated in the first preseason game will spark offensive outbursts on a nightly basis.

Enrichment of the roster with familiar and savvy pieces are just the icing on the cake, with players like Jamal Crawford and the return of Shabazz Muhammad seeming to ensure enough depth to tie it all together.

Prepare to come back to earth.

No, not all of these things are likely to happen. That is the beauty of being a fan. We are going to get beat and battered through the entire season with (hopefully small) injuries, difficult losses, stretches of poor play and players not smoothly fitting in.

But it doesn’t matter because next year at this time we’ll be filled with an almost equal amount of hope as to what that season will become.

Hopeful feelings are just that natural and powerful. If this year’s Minnesota Twins have taught us anything, it’s that preseason hope, no matter how irrational or infeasible, can sometimes come to fruition. So don’t let the terms ‘unreasonable’ or ‘outlandish’ phase you. This is one of the rare moments where it should be accepted. And with this season’s Timberwolves roster, maybe unreasonable expectations will finally turn into fulfilled proclamations.