How do you quantify opportunity losses? If you are a long-term fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, you know and can appreciate the pangs of anguish when the team failed to draft that rookie who you knew would be a future NBA star. You also can point to the scars suffered when the team bailed on a player who was just about to put it all together.
We published an article featuring nine players who the Minnesota Timberwolves gave up on too soon, but in all honesty that was only the tip of the iceberg. There is a list of missed opportunities for each and every NBA team. But the Minnesota Timberwolves joined the NBA in 1989, and in the 34 years of the franchise history, it feels as though the team has had more than its fair share of whiffs.
The thing is that the Timberwolves have struggled at times to find the right guy to put at the helm of the organization. To be fair, it’s never easy to run an NBA team, and you can double the difficulty factor when you are talking about a small-market team like the Timberwolves. That is why making full use of the NBA Draft is almost a mandate.
NBA Players hold more power
But it is not always as simple as all of that. Unlike other American professional sports teams, the small roster size and an annual allotment of just two draft picks have created far more self-determination and power for players in spite of the annual NBA salary cap imposed to hold down spending.
For every rule about how much NBA teams can spend, there seem to be two exceptions. From Bird Rights to Mid-Level Exceptions (MLEs), to Bi-Annual Exceptions, to Non-Bird Exceptions, to Traded Player Exceptions, the list seems to go on and on.
Beyond the money, there is a stark contrast between fair weather and cold weather, between the huge media centers and less covered teams, and simply the perceptions of players who would be an excellent fit, but who simply make their intentions known during free agency or before the draft that makes it quite clear that they won’t be happy to play for certain teams.