Minnesota Timberwolves: Wolves all-time roster ranked No. 29

Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Garnett. (MARK LEFFINGWELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Garnett. (MARK LEFFINGWELL/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ all-time roster was just ranked No. 29 by Axios.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time here at Dunking With Wolves debating the best all-time Minnesota Timberwolves players.

Something we haven’t done is built-out an all-time 12-man roster. But now, thanks to Axios, we absolutely have to do that. (Stay tuned.)

In the meantime, we can critique the list released by Axios. In their email newsletter, they are ranking all 30 NBA franchise’s all-time best rosters, according to their analysis. Axios only evaluated each players’ individual career with the Wolves, meaning they did not consider their non-Wolves careers.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Wolves all-time roster ranked No. 29

Earlier this week, the Memphis Grizzlies all-time roster was ranked dead-last. That felt right, and it was fair to assume that the Wolves would probably be somewhere in the mid-20’s, but … No. 29? That was a bit of a surprise.

Let’s analyze Axios’ picks, and then we’ll be back soon with an All-Time roster ranking of our own right here at DWW.


Terrell Brandon, Sam Cassell, Wally Szczerbiak, Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett

Okay, this isn’t exactly an outstanding starting lineup. It’s hard to hide from that.

Garnett is the only Hall-of-Famer in Minnesota Timberwolves franchise history, and he obviously carries this team. Besides The Big Ticket? Only a total of nine All-Star appearances among these starters:

  • Brandon (two, both pre-Wolves career)
  • Cassell (one, with Wolves in 2004)
  • Szczerbiak (one, with Wolves in 2002)
  • Love (five, three with Wolves and two post-Wolves career)

A big part of Axios criteria (which can be found at the above link) is Basketball-Reference’s Win Shares metric, which we use frequently on this site. The top four individual Win Shares seasons in Wolves franchise history are held by Garnett, as well as six of the top 10 and nine of the top 16.

Others in the top 20 in individual Win Shares seasons? Love (three), Towns (three), Brandon (two), Cassell (one), Szczerbiak (one), and Jimmy Butler. Butler didn’t make the 12-man roster, surely because of his truncated Wolves tenure that suppressed his total win shares.

And that gives a good transition to the bench unit…


Karl-Anthony Towns (sixth man), Tom Gugliotta, Ricky Rubio, Sam Mitchell, Al Jefferson, Tony Campbell, Christian Laettner

There’s some great, a lot of okay, and some bad on this list.

First of all, Towns would make pretty much every franchise’s all-time roster at this stage, and he’s only four years into his career. Having him as the sixth man is fine.

Gugliotta was a good player, even making the All-Star team in 1997. Al Jefferson is one of the better players in the last decade-plus to never make an All-Star team. The only real knock on his inclusion is that he was the best player on a few terrible Wolves teams — but that could be said of more than a few guys on this roster.

Rubio finished his Wolves career No. 10 in games played, No. 2 in assists and No. 2 in steals, only trailing Garnett in the latter two categories in franchise history. The combination of his longevity and solid play is more than enough to get him on this list.

It’s basically a requirement that Mitchell is included on every all-time Wolves list; he’s second to Garnett in games played and minutes. He was a solid rotation player for chunks of his career but was in more of a mentor role near the ned. Mitchell was never really a legitimate starter, however, so it’s disappointing that he has to be on the all-time team. It is, however, defensible.

The inclusions of Campbell and Laettner are a bit tougher to stomach.

First, Laettner. This one can also be defended, although there were better selections. In his rookie year, Laettner put up 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds. That was his Wolves peak, and his best seasons in the league came after he left Minnesota.

That said, he was absolutely a solid player for the Timberwolves across his three-and-a-half years in blue and green.

Campbell, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult to understand. Yes, he led the inaugural Wolves team in scoring at 23.2 points per game during the 1989-90 campaign. And yes, he scored 20.6 points per game over three seasons in Minnesota.

But he wasn’t efficient, and he didn’t do much else. Campbell only shot 45.1 percent for his Wolves career and hit on just 25 percent of his 3-point attempts. He was an okay defender but pulled down 4.6 rebounds per game in a Wolves uniform and wasn’t exactly a playmaker.

Better options to round-out the 12-man roster? Butler is an option, for starters. Or Nikola Pekovic, unless Axios wanted to avoid having too many big men. If a wing was necessary, Doug West would have been my pick. Even though he had a rapid peak (19.3 points per game in 1992-93 and never more than 15 points per game in his other eight seasons with the Wolves), the totality of his Timberwolves career was superior.

Even Anthony Peeler and Andrew Wiggins would have received consideration from yours truly.

Is the Wolves roster still in flux?. dark. Next

Stay tuned for the official Minnesota Timberwolves all-time roster from Dunking With Wolves…