How does this team compare to 2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves?

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

While the 2023-24 Minnesota Timberwolves roster may be one of the better basketball teams this organization has had in some time, how does this team compare to the great Minnesota Timberwolves teams of the past? More specifically, could the 2023-24 Timberwolves roster compete with that of the 2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves?

That’s a great question, not only to understand just how good the 2023-24 Minnesota TImberwolves are this season, but to acknowledge just how special that 2003-04 Timberwolves roster was in its day. After all, that team finished with a 58-24 record, best in the NBA’s Midwest Division.

So let’s break down the two teams. I’ve highlighted the starting players who, in comparison, give their era’s roster a statistical advantage on the basketball court. To get the players involved in the 2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves depth chart, I’ve relied on So let’s dig in:

2023-24 Timberwolves depth chart so far

  • Point guards:  Mike Conley Jr. | Shake Milton | Jordan McLaughlin | (Exh 10) Javonte Cooke
  • PG Summary: While PG Sam Cassell was the more productive point guard in his time, Mike Conley Jr. is a great fit for the current Timberwolves roster.
  • Shooting guards: Anthony Edwards | Nickeil Alexander-Walker |  Wendell Moore Jr | (Two-Way) Jaylen Clark
  • SG Summary: Anthony Edwards is to the 2023-24 Timberwolves roster as Kevin Garnett was to the 2003-04 Timberwolves roster. Gritty, determined, and won’t sit a game out. He is a true leader this season, and how Ant-Man goes, so go the Timberwolves.
  • Small forwards: Jaden McDaniels | Troy Brown Jr. | Leonard Miller
  • SF Summary: Comparisons between Jaden McDaniels and Latrell Sprewell are incredibly close, and you could call it either way. I give the nod to McDaniels for two reasons. He is a young NBA player who should improve this season, and his smothering defense should have already earned him a spot on the NBA All-Defense Team roster.
  • Power Forwards: Karl-Anthony Towns | Kyle Anderson | Josh Minott
  • PF Summary: It’s hard to say that Karl-Anthony Towns plays second fiddle to any NBA player, but it happens when he is compared to Timberwolves legendary power forward Kevin Garnett. While Towns may rival Garnett’s ability to score this season, he will not match Garnett’s physicality and ability to rebound.
  • Centers: Rudy Gobert | Naz Reid | (Two-Way) Luka Garza
  • C Summary: The Timberwolves front office received overwhelming pushback from fans and NBA analysts for trading so much to acquire veteran NBA All-Star center Rudy Gobert. At least, until you compare Gobert to the 2003-04 Timberwolves depth chart and their ineffective committee of NBA centers.
  • Open roster spots – (1) 15-man roster, (1) Two-Way contract

All in all, the Timberwolves roster and depth chart for the 2023-24 NBA season appears, on paper, to be a well-constructed and complementary array of players who can not only make meaningful contributions individually, but whose roles can help to augment the player of teammates.

So now, all we have to do is compare the current Timberwolves depth chart to the 2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves depth chart

2003-04 Timberwolves depth chart

  • Point guardsSam Cassell | Troy Hudson | Keith McCloud | Darrick Martin
  • PG Summary: There is a lot to be said about the impact of a star point guard like Sam Cassell made on the Timberwolves roster. Not just in scoring, but in the number of assists dished out to his teammates.
  • Shooting guards: Trenton Hassell | Fred Holburg
  • SG Summary: Anthony Edwards is far better than these two players combined.
  • Small forwards: Latrell Sprewell | Wally Szczerbiak | Quincy Lews
  • SF Summary: While Latrell Sprewell is a better scorer, I’m giving the nod to Jaden McDaniels due to the ability of McDaniels to play smothering defense.
  • Power Forwards: Kevin Garnett
  • PF Summary: There is no comparison between Kevin Garnett and any player not named Anthony Edwards. But, from a regular season standpoint, Karl-Anthony Towns may not be as far off the mark as first impressions may lead you to believe.
  • Centers: Mark Madsen | Gary Trent | Ervin Johnson | Michael Olowokandi | Oliver Miller
  • C Summary: The center position for the 2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves was aimed at filling that rim-protector role, but none of the players were meaningful beyond that role.

Comparisons with a score of years separating the two team is never going to result in cold hard evidence. From our quick and dirty comparison, the current Timberwolves team is comparable to the 2003-04 Timberwolves team.

Have other NBA teams gotten better? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? But if you are looking for more evidence to be optimistic this season, I think that this simple exercise provides that and more.

Will the 2023-24 Minnesota Timberwolves win 58 games? I wouldn’t go that high. But I do believe that a 50-32 record is achievable.

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