The history of the Minnesota Timberwolves is shorter (and admittedly less star-studded) than many other NBA franchises, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have their own list of the 30 best players to ever don their jersey.
This list of the 30 best players to ever play for the Minnesota Timberwolves will send long-time fans on a journey.
It won’t be the most pleasant trip down memory lane at times, to be sure. After all, no dalliance in Wolves lore is entirely safe. But there are absolutely players worth highlighting.
From the early days of the franchise, which began in 1989, to the team’s rise to the playoffs with a young Kevin Garnett in the mid-1990s, to the recent Ricky Rubio/Kevin Love era (while successful compared to several of the previous squads, neither player made the playoffs in Wolves threads), to the current Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler-led team, there are three or four distinct eras to choose from.
Here are the brief ground rules: this list only takes into account what they’ve done in a Timberwolves uniform. For instance, Stephon Marbury is not the 30th-best NBA player to have played for the Wolves, but his success in Minnesota was limited due to the short amount of time he was on the team.
Likewise, Jimmy Butler is probably the second-best all-around player to ever suit up for the Wolves, but after only one season it wouldn’t make sense to put him at No. 2 — although he is quite high on the list.
Without further delay, let’s dive into the list at No. 30.
- Three seasons with Timberwolves (1996-99)
- Averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 assists with Timberwolves
- Traded during third season, prior to any All-Star appearances
As mentioned above, Marbury certainly had a peak as an NBA player that could deserve a higher ranking, but he only played two-plus seasons in a Timberwolves uniform before he was traded for Terrell Brandon.
Somewhat surprisingly, Marbury, who averaged 19.3 points per game for his career and enjoyed seven seasons of scoring north of 20 points per contest, was only named to two All-Star teams, one with New Jersey and one with Phoenix.
Marbury was selected fourth-overall by Milwaukee and was traded on draft night in 1996 for Ray Allen. He was a rookie for Minnesota’s first-ever playoff appearance and was on the team for a first-round loss to Seattle the following year as well. But by the trade deadline in his third season, Marbury was disgruntled with his role as second-fiddle to Kevin Garnett and reportedly asked to be traded.
The Wolves did just that, bringing back two-time All-Star and point guard Brandon, who was solid complement alongside Garnett.
All told, Marbury averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 assists with the Timberwolves, and Wolves fans have always been left to wonder what could have become of a KG/Starbury combo had things turned out differently.