9 Players the Minnesota Timberwolves held onto for way too long

Anthony Peeler, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Anthony Peeler, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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Sam Mitchell, Minnesota Timberwolves
Sam Mitchell, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images) /

9. Sam Mitchell (1989-1992, 1995-2002)

Another player from the original Minnesota Timberwolves team, Sam Mitchell’s NBA career began at the inception of the Wolves in 1989. He arrived in the Twin Cities after a brief stint of military service and time spent in the Continental Basketball Association.

In his rookie year, Mitchell was already 26 years old, and his age allowed him to get off to a quick start in the NBA. In his second season in the league, Mitchell averaged a career-best 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds while playing all 82 games for the Timberwolves.

But after his third season in Minneapolis, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers. Mitchell would spend three more seasons in Indiana while seeing a significant dip in production since leaving Minnesota. In 1995, his return to the Timberwolves happened to coincide with Kevin Garnett’s arrival.

During his second stint with the team, Mitchell would play significantly less than his first time around. Even so, he ended up as the fourth-leading scorer in Timberwolves history by the time he retired in 2002, without ever averaging 15 points per game for a season.

Despite his scoring achievement, Mitchell ultimately stuck around past the point of being useful in his final years with the team. In his final two seasons, he played less than 11 minutes per game and was a complete non-factor on the court. Sam Mitchell is rightfully beloved for his time as a player and coach in Minnesota, but the Wolves should have moved on from him earlier.