No, they didn’t get Lebron James… Or a time machine to go back to the year 2004, where they enjoyed their most successful season, making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals behind their regular season MVP Kevin Garnett. What the Timberwolves get is far less of a sure thing, but perhaps equally as exciting – for the moment anyway. Last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA Draft Lottery for the first time in franchise history.
How lucky is that? According to ESPN, ‘this marked the first time since 2004 the team with the best shot to win the lottery came away with the top selection. The Magic selected Dwight Howard with that pick in 2004. In recent Timberwolves history, the team has not had a winning season in the last ten seasons, and during that same time span have finished dead last in the conference on three occasions. Bright spots have been few and far between since 2007 when the franchise leader in virtually every statistical category was traded to Boston, and in his first year there helped the Celtics win their first championship in over 20 years.
For Timberwolves fans, some of the high/low-lights include the 2009 drafting of 4 point guards – one of which, Ricky Rubio, is still with the team today; there was the emergence of All-Star Kevin Love, and the electrifying synergy between him and Rubio; followed by the heart breaking departure of All-Star Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
From that Cavaliers trade however, the Timberwolves would receive hope. In return for the All Star forward Love, the Timberwolves received the 2013 #1 draft pick Anthony Bennett, as well as the 2014 #1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins. How rare is that? Again according to ESPN, if the Wolves keep the pick and do not trade the player, they would be the first team in league history to have three straight No. 1 picks on their roster. In a similarly odd situation, the Cleveland Cavaliers held the rights to three of the last four #1 draft picks, however they were all Cavalier selections as a result of winning the lottery three times.
While Anthony Bennett largely remains a ‘no-show’ thus far in his NBA career, Andrew Wiggins is coming off of a promising Rookie of the Year season. Hailed as being a future megastar, the #1 player in the draft is widely believed to be former University of Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns – hailed by scoutsas the perennial powerhouse university’s ‘most dangerous player on both ends’ last season.
Only time will tell if the Timberwolves retain the franchise’s first #1 pick selection, but for now just the possibility has to revive the excitement of their fans.