2020 was not a banner year for anyone, including the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here are three resolutions they can make to improve in 2021.
The calendar has flipped to 2021, bringing to an end one of the most difficult years in modern history. Yes, it goes far, far beyond the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it’s fair to say that the Wolves have plenty of resolutions to make.
Let’s take a look at the Wolves’ condensed offseason and the season so far before taking a look at three New Year’s resolutions for the Timberwolves.
Reviewing the year of 2020 for the Minnesota Timberwolves
When the coronavirus struck early in the year, nobody was immune to its destructive powers, not even pro sports.
On March 11, seconds before a routine, regular-season game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was set to tip-off, Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, postponing the game and suspending the entire NBA season while thrusting the pandemic into the spotlight for the next nine months.
The NBA then took a four-month hiatus before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and teams decided on bringing the NBA back in a bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. From July 30 until the Los Angeles Lakers hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Oct. 11, 22 teams participated in the NBA bubble experiment.
One of the teams missing from the bubble was the Minnesota Timberwolves. On March 10, the Wolves played what, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, would be their last game for nearly ten months, a 117-111 loss to the Houston Rockets.
2020 was an especially tough year for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Leading up to the suspension of the season the Wolves lost 25 of 32 games played in 2020, including a 13-game losing streak.
Karl-Anthony Towns missed the first eight games of the calendar year of 2020 while recovering from a knee injury and was sidelined for the final 12 games with a wrist injury.
Then, in April, Towns tragically lost his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns due to COVID-19. He also lost as many as six other family members to the disease that has robbed so many of so much over the last year.
On the court, things have slowly begun to break right for the Timberwolves since the conclusion of the NBA bubble. The franchise was awarded its second-ever No. 1 overall pick via the NBA Draft Lottery.
On Nov. 18, the Timberwolves selected Georgia wing Anthony Edwards with the first-overall pick to play alongside Towns and D’Angelo Russell, whom they had acquired via trade back in February. Minnesota also acquired fan-favorite Ricky Rubio in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder on draft night.
The table was seemingly set for an improvement on their 19-45 record last season.
A jolt of energy out of the gates from Edwards, who showed star potential in his first two games, as well as vast improvements from other young promising wings in Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie helped Minnesota to a surprising 2-0 start.
It isn’t all rosy for Minnesota, however, as Towns went down in the fourth quarter of the win over Utah with an injury to the same wrist he hurt in February, knocking him out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. This, and some tired legs, led to consecutive ugly losses at Staples Center, first to the Lakers without Anthony Davis, and then the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard.
At 2-2 and no Towns for likely at least a few weeks, the sky once again seems to be falling for Timberwolves fans.
As 2020 finally and mercifully ends and we embark on a new year, it’s time for the Timberwolves to make some resolutions to carry into 2021. For a team that has a lot of talent, there is plenty to improve upon if Minnesota ever wants to be taken seriously in the Western Conference.
As the Wolves stand in front of the mirror, reflecting on the past year, it’s time to say, “new year, new me” and make some changes in 2021.