Minnesota Timberwolves: Recent history of player development failings

Deputy Commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Deputy Commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 11: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had plenty of young talent don their jerseys over the past decade-plus, but hardly any of it has blossomed into stardom.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are no longer the young team they’re often heralded as being.

In truth, the roster consists of a number of players in different stages of their NBA careers, and a fair share of recent Wolves draft picks are now on different teams, with some of them flourishing in a different environment.

The Wolves have undergone a number of personnel changes as well in this time, from coaches and assistants at the forefront to scouts and coordinators behind the scenes.

One issue that seems to plague the team, at least from my perspective, is talent development. Whether or not this stems from bad drafting, poor player management or perhaps issues with player motivation I’m not quite sure. But to boil it down to one fairly comprehensive statistic, just one of the Wolves’ draft picks since the 2014 draft hold a positive Box Plus/Minus score over their career: Karl-Anthony Towns.

For context, Box Plus/Minus is essentially an estimate of points a player contributes compared to league average per 100 possessions, factoring in both offense and defense.

This number isn’t the end-all, be-all — the Timberwolves have had players far more active and valued on the defensive end of the court, such as Josh Okogie, who aren’t always reflected accurately with this one statistic — but it’s a solid representation of overall production and on-court impact.

Let’s go back to the 2014 NBA Draft and examine the seasons that followed to see what the Wolves have been up to when it comes to developing young talent.