Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 stars the Wolves could acquire to help Towns

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 15: NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 15: NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, D'Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 12: D’Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves should be a fringe playoff team this season. But to take the next step, they’ll need to find a second star to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have made the playoffs exactly one time in the last 15 seasons.

I know, I know, we didn’t break any news with that statement. But it’s the perfect set-up to the problem that we’re about to try and solve.

In that one season, the Wolves had two stars — two All-Stars, in fact. At no other point in those 15 seasons did the Wolves have two legitimate All-Stars playing together anywhere near their respective primes.

Sure, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell were on the 2004-05 team that won 44 games and missed the playoffs, but Cassell was a shell of himself in just 58 games and 34-year-old Sprewell was far from being a star, averaging just 12.8 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting.

The next closest examples? In 2005-06 Wally Szczerbiak averaged north of 20 points per game but only appeared in 40 contests. Al Jefferson and Kevin Love spent two seasons on the same team but were each utilized poorly by Randy Wittman, Kevin McHale, and Kurt Rambis, and Love simply didn’t play enough.

Then there was Ricky Rubio‘s rookie season alongside a healthy Love, who was in the process of breaking out as a star. But Rubio was never healthy at the same time as Love, and it’s debatable whether or not Rubio truly ever reached “star” status.

So, what was different about 2017-18? Jimmy Butler, obviously, not to mention a solid supporting cast. But it was mostly due to Butler joining Towns and giving the team two legitimate All-Stars and two of the top 20 players in the league.

After Butler forced his way out of Minnesota in November of 2018, however, Towns had exactly zero stars alongside him and the Wolves still managed to win 36 games, including a 32-37 record following the Butler trade — a far better winning percentage than the 4-9 mark with him on the roster at the start of the season.

Now, new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is tasked with finding Towns, who is now working under a max contract extension, a second star to make this team a surefire playoff contender.

And then, they’ll only be one star away from being in the title conversation.

But first thing’s first. So let’s find that second star.