After all of the business matters were taken care of, it was time for the Timberwolves to construct a team.
Minnesota hired Bill Musselman as its first head coach, who was with the Cleveland Cavaliers before joining the Wolves.
Musselman was familiar with Minnesota, as he coached the University of Minnesota from 1970 to 1975.
The Timberwolves finished with a 22-60 record, the best among the NBA's four newest teams. The Timberwolves ended the season ranked second in the NBA in team defense, having allowed only 99.4 points per game.
In Minnesota's first game against the Seattle Supersonics on Friday, November 3, 1989, fans were introduced to the team's first starting five.
Lowe was a third-year player when he joined the Timberwolves. Most basketball fans remember Lowe from his success at North Carolina State University, while winning the 1983 National Championship under head coach Jim Valvano. Lowe started 38 games during his only season with the Wolves and joined the team's coaching staff after retirement.
The former Ohio State Buckeye was drafted in the 1989 expansion draft by the Timberwolves after three seasons with the Detroit Pistons and two with the Los Angeles Lakers. Campbell set a record on February 2 when he totaled 44 points against the Celtics, a mark that stood until April 13, 2003, matched by Wally Szczerbiak.
Mitchell scored the first two points in club history on a pair of free throws at 11:15 of the first quarter. He also scored the first field goal a few minutes later. The forward was traded by the team in 1992, but returned in 1995 and retired as a member of the team in 2002. He ranks second in team history playing in 757 games while scoring 7,161 points.
After spending the 1988 season playing overseas, Murphy signed with the Timberwolves before the 1989-1990 season. Murphy was durable, playing in all 82 games that season, averaging a career-high 8.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest. His best game came on March 17, 1990, as he scored a career-high 24 points against the Lakers.
The big man known as "Big Bird" was acquired by the Wolves in the 1989 Expansion draft. Lohaus was familiar with Minnesota, being born in New Ulm. He played just 28 games during the team's first season after being traded for Randy Breuer (a University of Minnesota graduate). In those 28 games, Lohaus started in 24 and averaged 7.5 ppg and four rpg.
Richardson was selected in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves, the first draft pick in franchise history. By mid-season the rookie point guard was bumped into the starting lineup and responded with 20 points and 10 assists in his debut start, against Sacramento. At season's end, Richardson was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
The first few years in the NBA proved to be difficult ones for the Timberwolves, which isn't unusual for most expansion teams. From 1992 to 1995, the Wolves struggled to turn the corner, despite the strong play of Micheal Williams, Christian Laettner and Doug West. .
Although Minnesota wasn't able to clinch a winning record in its early years, there were a few positives that pointed to better days. During the 1992-1993 season, West averaged a team and career-high of 19.3 points per game. In the same season, rookie Christian Laettner, a product of Duke, averaged a career-high 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds on his way to being named to the NBA All-Rookie Team.
Isaiah Rider, dunk contest champion. Christian Laettner, Pooh Richardson, Felton Spencer, NBA All-Rookie Team. Doug West, All-Star and 19.8 ppg. Sharp shooters Scott Brooks and Chuck Person. Lockdown defender Micheal Williams.
The Wolves began playing at Target Center after moving from the Metrodome. The new arena opened in 1990 and saw the Wolves beat the Dallas Mavericks 98-85 before a sold out crowd of 19,006 in it's first hosted game.
During the 1992-1993 season, West averaged a team and career-high of 19.3 points per game. In the same season, rookie Christian Laettner, a product of Duke, averaged a career-high 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.
Just four years after it's innagural season, the Target Center was chosen to host the 1994 All-Star Game. Isaiah Rider made the city proud, winning the Slam Dunk Contest with his between-the-leg "East Bay Funk Dunk."
Jimmy Rodgers coached from 91-93 tallying 21 wins and was replaced by former player Sidney Lowe who gathered 33 wins from 93-94. From 94-95 Bill Blair managed to win 27 games as head coach.
From 1992-1995, the Wolves finished 60-116. After the 1994 season, a man named Glen Taylor purchased the team, and in hopes of turning things around Taylor hired former basketball great Kevin McHale as general manager.
Fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves have seen a little bit of everything through the last 25 seasons. Here, they share their best moments with the franchise as Minnesota celebrates 25 seasons on the hardwood.
We’re lifelong basketball fans, and from the first game at the Metrodome, we were hooked on the Wolves. Over the past twenty-five years, not only have we had the opportunity to cheer for many very talented Wolves players, but we’ve also watched many NBA legends play the game, including Bird, Jordan, Magic, and Karl Malone. Today’s players are building their own legacies, and we enjoy watching them just as much.
Minnesota has long, cold winters, and the Timberwolves have provided a valuable outlet during those months. Even though we've had some lean times, I always look forward to heading downtown for a game. Watching them play in London was a gas, and road trips to Milwaukee (a great train ride) plus a preseason game in Fargo are great adventures!
It seems like just yesterday that I ordered my first set of season tickets, and yet it is approaching 25 consecutive years as a season ticket holder. True, I’m a basketball junkie of sorts, so the ups and downs (mostly downs, as we know) have never really bothered me. I like the game and go to see other teams as much as the Wolves. But, the attempts the last few years to significantly upgrade the roster, the coaching, and the management have been noticeable and very much appreciated. Lastly, and perhaps most important, is I can’t say enough about the staff and the organization as a whole. Throughout my 25-year association, they have been totally focused on enhancing the customer experience with passion and devotion to the fan base. I have felt like part of the Wolves’ “family” for all these years.
In the 1995 NBA Draft, the Wolves selected a player that would reshape the history of the team and become the face of the franchise.
"With the No. 5 pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Kevin Garnett." That should be music to your ears if you're a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves. What did Garnett accomplish during his time with the Wolves? Oh, you know, just make 10 All-Star Teams, win the 2003-04 MVP Award along with the 2002-03 All-Star Game MVP Award. Anything else? Oh yeah, he took the Wolves eight straight playoff appearances, including the Western Conference Finals during the 2003-04 campaign.
"The Big Ticket" is pasted all over the team's record books, including most games, assists, rebounds and points. This list could go on and on, but you'd be scrolling down for days.
Check out this fully interactive Timberwolves gallery featuring everything from players and coaches, to dunk contest winners and MVP's.
After a great run with KG as the face of the franchise, the sides parted in 2007 when the Minnesota Timberwolves struck a deal with the Boston Celtics. The Wolves, in a rebuilding effort, sent Garnett to Boston for Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes and two first-round picks. This is the largest combination of players and picks ever traded for a single player in NBA history.
Jefferson was one of the best offensive big men in the league during his three seasons with Minnesota. His best season came in 2008-09, when he averaged 23.1 points and 11 rebounds per game. He ranks fifth in franchise-history with 2,162 rebounds and tenth with 4,183 points. Jefferson currently plays for the Utah Jazz.
In 2007, the Wolves drafted shooting guard Corey Brewer with the No. 7 overall pick. Brewer was an instant energy defender. February 22, 2011 Brewer was traded to the Knicks in the same deal that brought Carmello over from Denver. Brewer also spent time with the Mavericks and Nuggets before returning to the Wolves in 2013.
Telfair came to the Wolves after having played 3 NBA seasons, two with the Blazers who drafted him with high expectations straight from high school, and one with the celtics. Telfair wore #3 in his time with the Wolves to honor his cousin, and former Timberwolves player Stephon Marbury.
Gomes came to the Wolves from the Celtics in the huge multiplayer deal that brought Garnett to the Celtics. Gomes played in all 82 games in both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons averaging a career high 13.3 points per game. Gomes would be traded to the Blazers for rights to future draft picks that included Martell Webster.
After KG left wins proved to become more and more difficult to come by. None of the four coaches (Casey, Wittman, McHale, Rambis) would record a 30-win season during this time period. Not until Rick Adelman in the 2012-13 season would a coach break 30 wins.
These few years were difficult, but there were signs of change coming with the dedication to the rebuilding process. A new era was just around the corner, and would soon bring new names and faces to Minnesota that would prove to bring with it a bright future.
After a painful few years dedicated towards rebuilding and waiting, the Wolves would finally see Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love share the same court on December 26, 2011.
The Wolves also acquired Mike Miller in the trade, but it was Love who ended up being the true gem. Since Love's arrival, he's averaged 17.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game on his way to make two All-Star games. He's become a cornerstone of the franchise, and rightfully so, but another piece was needed to make things click.
Enter Ricky Rubio. The No. 5 pick in the 2009 draft, first played with the Wolves in 2011 and has been a human highlight reel ever since. Rubio and Love are close friends on and off the court and while that helps, it is their talent that will bring the Wolves to the playoffs. Rubio is one of the best passers in the league and has instincts that are uncanny. Love is one of the most unique forwards in the game. The pieces are in place.
Fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves have been put through little bit of everything through the last 25 seasons. We've been deep in the playoffs, we've been deep in the hole. That's never changed our unwaivering love for this team. This is the time, this is our chance. What we've been waiting for is within our reach now.
That magical November night at the Target Center placed Love directly in the national spotlight after posting the first 30-30 night since Moses Malone in 1982. Even today, the box score is just ridiculous to glance at; 31 points and 31 rebounds in 41 minutes of game action. Love snatched those 31 rebounds to set a franchise record while tallying the first 30-rebound game in the NBA since Charles Barkley in 1996. Then in his third season, Love quickly gained a reputation as a dominate rebounder and now finds a spot next to one of the greatest rebounders of all-time in Malone.
Love jumped ahead of Kevin Garnett with five 20/20 games before the age of 23 and he is just one of four players to post multiple 30/20 games in the same month.
From the moment Ricky Rubio took the floor to a thunderous applause at Target Center a few years back in the season-opener against Oklahoma City, the stage was set for special rookie season. And between that night and March 9, 2012, when Rubio’s season ended with a left knee injury, the fifth overall pick in 2009 didn’t disappoint. For the Minnesota fan base and beyond, Rubio was Must See TV. His no-look passes and half-court alley-oop lobs made highlight reels, and his intensity was the catalyst for the Wolves’ defensive effort through much of the regular season.
Everyone got to their feet at the end of Minnesota’s 107-101 victory over the Pistons that Saturday night, and some took their places in the aisles on their way to the exits. But hardly anyone left. On an historic night at Target Center—just the eighth night of its kind—the 15,311 on hand awaited an interview with coach Rick Adelman commemorating the long-time coach’s 1,000th win.
Adelman was joined by his wife, Mary Kay, his assistant coaching staff and his team on the court. Together. A fitting way to spend these special moments postgame considering what he, his family and this squad have gone through this season. Through the personal trials and the on-court injuries, Saturday’s victory was much more than a single NBA victory. And it was more than simply a milestone benchmark for a future Hall of Fame coach. This win was a testament to the team’s strength—to an idea that through it all, this group was going to stick together.
With two cornerstone, successful leaders at the helm, the Wolves have their sights set on a long and prosperous future.
Rick Adelman and Flip Saunders have been there before. They know what it takes to bring a franchise to the forefront of the NBA.
These two right here are the only coaches in franchise history to collect at least 30 wins in a season, and now they're here, together. They've both seen the Western Conference Finals and have storied successful tenures. The potential with this talented and young team with two savvy veterans guiding them is sky high. Let's see how far these two can take us.
Before coming to Minnesota, Kevin Martin had established himself as one of the best shooting guards in the league. Martin has averaged 17.8 points throughout his career and the year before being acquired by the Wolves, Martin averaged a career-high 42.6 percent mark from the 3-point line. For a team that needs help from long distance, Martin will help instantly. It also helps that Martin knows the team's leader better than probably any player in the league. Martin had played for coach Rick Adelman in Sacramento from 2004 to 2006 and in Houston from 2010 to 2011.
Budinger was traded to the Wolves prior to the 2012-13 season. That season didn't go as planned, as Chase played just 23 games due to a torn lateral meniscus. Wolves Nation liked what they saw when he did play, as he averaged 9.4 points per game. The forward also has an uncanny ability to cut to the basket. Budinger re-signed with the Wolves after the season and made it known that he thinks this team has a chance to be special. Budinger is familiar with head coach Rick Adelman and his offense. Adelman coached Budinger from 2009 to 2011.
Love has made a name for himself as one of the most unique power forwards this game has seen. His big season came in 2010-11 when he averaged 20.2 points and a league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game. He also shot 41.7 percent from behind the 3-point line, which is incredibly rare for a big man. Love continued his hot streak in 2011-12, averaging 26 points and 13.3 rebounds, but had an injury-plagued 2012-13 campaign. We all know the two-time All-Star and 2010-11 Most Improved Player will be ready to make a playoff push on a team that certainly doesn't lack talent.
Where to start? The human highlight reel has been turning heads since he entered the league in 2011. During his first season, Rubio was named to the First-Team All-Rookie Team, despite missing half the season with a torn ACL. Rubio bounced back in 2012, starting 47 games for the Wolves. Many are expecting a breakout year from Rubio in 2013-14 and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders has said he has designed this team to make Rubio one of the best point guards in the league. The potential is certainly there, whether it's behind the back or through the legs.
Where in the world is Nikola Pekovic? He's in Minnesota and after re-signing in the offseason, it looks like he'll be here for quite some time. Pekovic transformed himself to one of the best centers in the league last season, averaging 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders thinks Pekovic is a cornerstone of this franchise and Saunders drafted Kevin Garnett, so we'll take his word. The 280-pound center is as strong as they come and is one of the best low-post scorers in the entire league.
Shved proved to Minnesota fans that he has the talent to make it in the league, but his rookie campaign was a bit longer than what he was used to in Russia. The combo guard averaged 8.6 points and 3.7 assists during his rookie season, while being asked to play both the point and shooting guard position. Early in the season, Shved was fantastic, but tailed off a bit at the end. Shved has been re-tooling his game in the offseason and looks to come back rejuvenated for the upcoming 2013-14 season.
The 2011 No. 2 overall pick had a 2012-13 campaign that reminded fans why he was taken so high. D-Will averaged a career-high 12 points per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds per game. He made the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie Second-Team and he has shown off his athleticism with dunks that have compiled their own YouTube videos. Williams hopes to take another leap heading into the 2013-14 season and will most certainly get fans off their feet in the Target Center a few times. "Rubio to Williams for the throw down!" We can hear Alan Horton's voice already.
He's back! The Wolves drafted forward Corey Brewer with the No. 7 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. The Wolves traded him in the middle of the 2010-11 season, but they seemed to have brought him back at the right time. Brewer averaged 12.1 points per game last season with the Denver Nuggets and has become an energy, defensive expert who has the ability to knock down the big shot from time-to-time. Brewer is also workout partners with shooting guard Kevin Martin, so there is a trend of familiarity here.