Small-market NBA teams can flourish too
Even now, Patrick Beverley views the Minnesota Timberwolves as a team that cannot compete for NBA hardware for the trophy case. And before the Timberwolves hired President Connelly, that may have been true. But the Denver Nuggets just won their first NBA Championship and did so largely based on the personnel decisions made by Connelly.
But they are not the Timberwolves. And in PatBev’s view, the Timberwolves will never be that team. When he was outright released by the Lakers last season, he did not sign with the Timberwolves. Rather, he signed with the Chicago Bulls. If he saw a competitive advantage in signing with the Timberwolves, he would have returned.
But that is not how everyone sees the Minnesota Timberwolves, or small-market teams in the NBA for that matter. The Minnesota Timberwolves own All-Star power forward Karl-Anthony Towns is returning for his ninth NBA season. And despite all of the NBA Rumors that suggest he will be traded, he continues to reiterate his desire to play out his NBA career with the Timberwolves. But he is not unique to small market teams.
Small-market teams’ magic is unmatched
The Portland Trail Blazers have enjoyed the play of PG Damian Lillard, whose current ‘trade me,’ demands have risen out of the fact that he wants the Trail Blazers to invest in veterans who can compete for an NBA Championship now.
So too have the Milwaukee Bucks benefitted from the long-term loyalty of Giannis Antetokounmpo, a.k.a. the Greek Freak. Giannis is entering his 11th season for the Milwaukee Bucks, with no end in sight.
Even former Minnesota Timberwolves PF Kevin Garnett reluctantly agreed to be traded away from the Minnesota Timberwolves after the Timberwolves concluded that his age was becoming more of a factor in his performance than it really was.
The reality is that some players do not leave small-market teams because they appreciate the fervent passion that NBA fans from small-market teams profess to their players. To fully appreciate the difference, a large-market team is like living in a large hotel. It’s big, it’s full of activities, and people come and go all the time at all hours of the day.
But a small-market team is like living in a big house with a backyard pool and barbecue. It’s family style comfort, and teammates and coaches become part of those family circles.