The Minnesota Timberwolves was founded in 1989 and compete in the Western Conference. The team plays its home games at the Target Center, Minnesota. They struggled in the initial years but qualified for the playoffs in eight straight seasons, from 1997 to 2005.
They lost in the first round in seven of those eight seasons but made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2004 when Kevin Garnett won the regular season MVP. Although the team has not achieved great postseason success so far, some of the greatest NBA players have donned the Timberwolves jersey.
Let us take a look at the five best T-Wolves players since 2000. Read on to find out.
#5 Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins may be under-performing this season but that does not change the fact that he was one of their most consistent players in the last few years. In his first year in the NBA, he repaid the faith imposed in him by the T-Wolves, by winning the Rookie of the Year award, averaging 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Wiggins has not missed a single game in his first four seasons and his best season with the franchise came in 2016-17 when he averaged a career-high 23.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
In 2017, Wiggins signed a five-year, $148 million contract extension with the Timberwolves. Last season, he played a key role along with Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, in leading the T-Wolves to their first playoffs appearance in 13 years.
Wiggins scored his career-high 47 points in 2016-17, in a regular-season game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 24-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
#4 Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson was chosen by the Boston Celtics with the 15th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft. If it wasn't for the recurring injuries, Jefferson would have had a more decorated career in the league.
Big Al Jefferson was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves as a part of the Garnett-to-Boston deal in 2007. He elevated his game in Minnesota and averaged a 20-point double-double over the season for the first two seasons with the franchise.
Jefferson had some really good post moves and was a monster in the paint. On July 13, 2010, Jefferson was traded to the Utah Jazz for two future first round picks and center Kosta Koufos. In three seasons with the Timberwolves, he averaged 20.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. However, the team did not achieve great success as they never qualified for the playoffs.
#3 Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft. He was impressive in his rookie year and made it to the All-Rookie First Team after averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He featured in just 41 games and missed the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rubio is one of the best passers in the league and his shooting numbers showed a significant improvement towards the end of his stint with the Timberwolves. He signed a four-year, $56 million contract extension with the Timberwolves in 2014.
He was traded by the franchise to the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2017. In six seasons with the franchise, Rubio averaged 10.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
#2 Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns entered the league with high expectations on him and it is safe to say that he has lived up to the hype. The first overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft went on to win the Rookie of the Year after dominating the other rookies, averaging 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
In his second season, he averaged career-high numbers of 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game and made NBA history by becoming the only player to have at least 2,000 points (2,061), 1,000 rebounds (1,007) and 100 3-pointers (101) in a season.
Towns is currently in his fourth season in the NBA and in his first three seasons, he did not miss a single game and played in all 246 games which talk about his consistency level. The 23-year-old earned back-to-back All-Star selections and also made it to the All-NBA Third Team in 2018. He recently signed a five-year, $190 super-maximum extension with the franchise.
#1 Kevin Love
Kevin Love was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft and he did not disappoint. Love made it to the All-Rookie Second Team in his rookie year after averaging 11.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Even though the Timberwolves never made it to the playoffs with Love as their leader, the UCLA product has always been a dominant player and achieved numerous personal accolades.
In 2011, Love led the league in rebounds per game with staggering 15.2 RPG. He averaged a double-double over the season in five straight seasons with the franchise and became an unstoppable scorer in the paint. He was named an All-Star thrice during his time with the Timberwolves and also became the three-point shooting champion in 2012.
In six seasons with the franchise, he averaged 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. After the end of the 2013-14 season, he was traded by the Timberwolves to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade which brought Love's golden-run in Minnesota to an end.