Ranking top 15 Minnesota Timberwolves rookies of all time

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Timberwolves, believe it or not, have drawn up most of the finishing touches to the open their of their 35th season as an NBA franchise. From a modest beginning in 1989 alongside the Orlando Magic, the franchise did not immediately find success.  But along the way, the team captured some of the NBA’s best versions of professional basketball and became the launching point of some of the league’s most successful players.

To showcase that abundance of NBA talent that began with the Timberwolves, let’s take a look back at the best rookie seasons by any player in the history of the franchise. Over the last 34 years, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had two Rookie of the Year award-winners. In fact, they came in back-to-back seasons.

The Timberwolves drafted a new pair of promising rookies from the 2023 NBA Draft: Forward Leonard Miller and guard Jaylen Clark. While both players were selected in the second round, both carried projections of Round 1 prospects. For Miller, he has NBA center size but the ball-handling chops of a point guard. For Clark, he is one of the most accomplished defensively skilled prospects in the Class of 2023 to emerge from the college ranks.

Timberwolves rookies have been part of this team’s history

But there have also been 15 rookies in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ history who deserve to be mentioned in the Timberwolves’ All-Time Lists. Hopefully, the contribution of present players will be so noteworthy that we will need to amend this list.

There have only been seven different players to make All-Star Game appearances as representatives of the Timberwolves. Four of the seven have been “home-grown”, meaning that they started their pro careers with the Wolves. All four of those players made it onto our top 10.

A number of factors played into the decision to include each of the players that did make the cut. Both overall production and efficiency matter, as we’ll see in the players who just missed. Team performance factors into the ranking as well, but only as a tiebreaker of sorts.

In the end, 34 seasons is a bit limiting from the pool of top rookies, simply because it does take a special sort of NBA rookie to not only make the team but to earn enough playing time to make a meaningful contribution to the team that would warrant appearing in our list. So without further adieu, let’s press on and start talking about Minnesota Timberwolves rookies.