By: Jonah Sprinkel
Free agency for the Minnesota Timberwolves can be compared to going for a run; it’s slow, slightly painful and most of all, disappointing. After acquiring Jimmy Butler via trade, it appeared to many that the Timberwolves would continue to make big moves. The hope was that these prospective moves would set the Wolves up to compete at a high level in the wild, wild Western Conference. The move that would catapult the team to a top four seed never came to fruition.
My inspiration for this piece came from Wolves fans as well as other writers. As a whole we seem to have worked ourselves into this sort of, mini frenzy. We're worried about the bench. shooting, the fit of some players and even to a slight degree, the direction of this team. Those worries or frustrations are justified. We want to see the Wolves succeed and perform to the best of their abilities. But, if I can have your attention for just a few minutes I want to invite you to simply enjoy basketball.
I’m not here to discuss what went wrong, or to guess as to what Thibs plan could be, or even to speculate the level of success the Wolves will achieve. No! I’m here in this this string of text to tell you that the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to be fun! Really and truly fun! And yes, I wrote these words with a clear mind.
Sadly, there is no statistical way to measure fun. Maybe in 20 years we can peer into history at the 2016-17 Timberwolves and know without a doubt that this team ranks in the upper echelon of my obviously made up Fun Above Replacement Team statistic. In the meantime, we can still enjoy the thunderous dunks, veteran craftiness, buzzer beating buckets, flashy dimes, infectious smiles and the moment that can’t come fast enough; a playoff game at Target Center.
Anyone who has tuned into a Wolves game recently already knows how fun Andrew Wiggins is. However, let’s remind ourselves very briefly.
If you don’t care much about the outcome of a Wolves game, Andrew is reason enough to flip on your TV at night. He brings high energy, jump out of your leather recliner type plays to the court on a consistent basis. But, the quality I find to be the most enjoyable in Wiggins is his fluidity.
Seriously, watch that highlight clip and pay close attention to the way Wiggins’ body moves. He glides up the floor. He doesn’t jump, that would require pushing himself upwards. No, he levitates himself above everyone. The moments where Andrew appears to be straining or pushing himself are few are far between. Not because he doesn’t care, but because he is typically the most athletic guy in an NBA arena.
I’m of the mindset that Towns was deserving of an All-NBA nod last season. 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 made threes has never been produced by another player in the history of the NBA. Ever.
Quick reminder, Towns doesn’t turn 22 until November.
Rumor has it that Towns is a direct descendant of the Sphinx cat from Egypt. I can prove it. Watch Towns on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. His blocks, footwork, passing, heck even his shooting form are cat like. He's quick, efficient, powerful and even playful. Here's to KAT getting even more yarn this season.
Jimmy Gets Buckets. Somehow, he combines sheer power with a Downy soft touch. However, Butler doesn't make a living on his physical abilities alone. It's very rare to see Butler out of control. He's calculated yet fiery. He uses his physical abilities to compliment the thousands of hours he's spent on training. This allows Jimmy to just get buckets.
Jimmy’s talent is worthy of a second clip. This one is not so much a highlight, it’s more of a comedic testimony to who Jimmy Butler is. Sit back, enjoy, and I apologize in advance for getting this song stuck in your head.
If you don't think four-point play is fun then you're reading the wrong article. I don't know what else to say here. Of all the common basketball plays, the four-point play is possibly the most exciting outside of a buzzer beater. Jamal Crawford is the four-point play godfather. He’s also the closest thing the NBA has to a playground hooper.
Note, these highlights are from the 2015-16 NBA season. Because Crawford is the NBA’s version of Benjamin Button the Timberwolves will see the same type of highlights.
Passionate, energetic, motivated, high motor and emotional are just a few of the words that describe Taj Gibson. These character traits have been craved by Wolves fans since KG's departure. Gibson doesn't quite fill The Big Tickets shoe's but he is more than qualified to be the emotional backbone of this squad.
I’m not condoning kicking another NBA player but sometimes in playoff basketball a team needs shots of energy directly into their veins. Moments like Taj had against Cleveland are exactly that. Minus the ejection of course.
Let's just hope Gibson doesn't take his role too far and kiss another NBA player a la Tristan Thompson and David West.