Minnesota Timberwolves: A history of Team USA participants

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Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Garnett

United States basketball players, from left, Tim Hardaway, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen show their gold medals during the awards presentation ceremony in 2000. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

USA Basketball is ramping up their efforts on the world stage lately, taking care of Spain and Australia in exhibition. Let’s look at Minnesota Timberwolves players who have appeared for Team USA.

As Team USA got set to finish their exhibition run with a match against Canada and onward to China, it got me thinking.

Where are the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Josh Okogie is away playing for the Nigerian team, and we wish him luck. Andrew Wiggins turned down the opportunity to return to battle with Team Canada. Karl-Anthony Towns is ineligible to play for Team USA due to his gracious commitment to bringing global hoops success to the Dominican Republic.

So, who has represented the Wolves in past on the world stage? Let’s do a brief review of all previous Olympic or FIBA participants that wore the blue and green for the Wolves, taking a look at their Team USA career while framing in the scope of their tenure with the Wolves.

Christian Laettner – 1992

The first Olympic Games in which the newly-founded Timberwolves could send a player to was in 1992 as Christian Laettner kicks off our list. It’s also worth noting that Laettner played on Team USA in 1990 while still at Duke as the team won an 11th World Championship.

During the eight-game run to gold in 1992, Laettner came off the bench as a reserve. His contributions were amounted to per-game averages of 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals while appearing in each game.

Those numbers may not seem noteworthy, but don’t forget that individual Olympic stats are generally much more modest due to the full team contribution style of play, with 1992 acting as a supreme example. In history, this team is arguably the best, duly named the “Dream Team.”

Laettner, drafted third-overall in 1992, went onto complete four seasons for the Wolves, averaging 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game in Minnesota.

We’ll leave you with a fun fact about Laettner: although already drafted and technically a member of the Timberwolves at the time, Laettner is still the only player selected for the Olympics based on collegiate performance.

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