Ask yourself, what would need to happen this season for you to define it as a successful one for the Minnesota Timberwolves? Are the playoffs alone good enough?
The Minnesota Timberwolves are now 17-12 after Thursday night’s destruction of the Sacramento Kings. They haven’t made it to the playoffs since the 2003-2004 season when they made it to the Western Conference Finals. That is currently the longest drought in the NBA.
Will making the playoffs alone make this season a success?
The answer to that is yes and no.
Anytime you have gone that long without making it to the playoffs, you have that extra desire to want to get back. It would be very exciting for owner Glen Taylor and the fans, especially. These past 13 years have been pretty rough, to say the least. After the Kevin Garnett trade, the hope was that Al Jefferson will be the key piece to help bring this team back to relevancy. Then it was Kevin Love before he asked out. Now it’s Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and newcomer Jimmy Butler as the main pieces to help bring this team back.
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Given how tough the West is, getting past the first round would be very difficult, but if they lose in six or seven games in the first round and be the fifth seed or perhaps even fourth, we can consider it a successful season. Anything better than that would be a bonus. Will they advance past the first round? Possibly, but things clearly need to improve especially on the defensive end. Losing in four games or five won’t be a total disappointment, but a little. They have plenty of talent to win at least two games in the playoffs.
Having a winning record after 29 games hasn’t happened in a long time and is a positive, but considering the talent on this team, they should have at least two more wins (four of their losses have been by four points or less). Yes, they have plenty of new faces and it takes time for everyone to gel together as a unit. The 03-04 team started 9-8 before finishing the season as the no.1 seed at 58-24.
Not likely that this team will be as successful as that team, but that team proved that things don’t always click right away. Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell, Fred Hoiberg, Trenton Hassell and Mark Madsen were all in their first years with the team.
Things have not gone the way we all had hoped for, but this team will finally be back in the playoffs barring serious injuries. How they do when they get there is the big question.
The playoffs would certainly be a nice and benefitting experience for the team, especially Wiggins and Towns. Fans will also be making plenty of noise at Target Center. When the Wolves first made it to the playoffs in 1996-1997, it was a huge accomplishment. Next year they nearly beat the Seattle Supersonics. They made it to the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons overall before finally getting past the first round.
The first two years it was great just being in the playoffs, but after that expectations got much higher. This season it will be very nice being in the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but after this year it will definitely be a disappointment if they do not advance.