Comparing the Timberwolves’ 2004 Big Three to the 2017 Big Three

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Let’s take a quick job down memory lane and compare the Timberwolves’ best and most successful Big Three in their history to the trio on the current team.

The last time the Minnesota Timberwolves went to the playoffs, they had a potent ‘Big Three’ of 2003-04 NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Garnett, San Cassell and Latrell Sprewell. That team won 58 games and made it to the Western Conference Finals before eventually losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Ever since then, the Wolves have not been to the playoffs, and have the longest active playoff drought. The new Big Three of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins come with expectations to not only end the drought, but to go far in the postseason. 

Kevin Garnett was the unquestioned best player on that Wolves team and earned the league’s MVP award during that amazing season. You’ll recall that Garnett took a mentor role coming back to Minnesota during Towns’ rookie season. Townsis looking to lead the team back to the playoffs and could absolutely be in the running to obtain a MVP trophy one day. He has the talent and the upside to become a great player in this league and the organization will definitely cater to Towns’ strengths and let him flourish. 

Jimmy Butler is the veteran, similar in some ways to what Sam Cassell was, coming in to show the young players how to win the right way and how to stay a professional. Even though Cassell  bounced around the NBA a bit (also winning a pair of championships) before he joined Minnesota and Butler has been on only one team and has not been to the Finals as of yet, they have similar roles.

Wiggins and Sprewell also have similar roles. They are/were both explosive scorers who are super athletic and can lock in defensively when they want to do so. They both are looked upon to get buckets for the team when they are needed. And, their go-to skill has been scoring. That’s what Flip Saunders looked for out of Sprewell and that’s what Tom Thibodeau will look for out of Wiggins.

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With the skill level that this new Big Three possesses, they should definitely not only make the playoffs but also go deep into the postseason. And it’s about time.