Editor’s Note: The modern era of the NBA is generally accepted to have begun with the 1979-80 season, the advent of the 3-point line in the NBA. The lists to follow—one for each of the NBA’s 30 teams—will only consider seasons since 1979-80. We begin the series today with the best of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were born on April 22, 1987, when the NBA voted to expand by four teams—two in 1988-89 and two more in 1989-90, with the Timberwolves and Orlando Magic joining the association on the court in 1989.
The team hasn’t enjoyed a great deal of success on the court. The franchise’s lifetime winning percentage is .401 in 25 seasons and has made the playoffs only eight times in 25 years, all during one eight-season span from 1996-97 through 2003-04.
The Timberwolves have never won an NBA title or played in the NBA Finals; their furthest advancement in the postseason came during its best season, when Minnesota was 58-24 and reached the Western Conference Finals in 2003-04. The Timberwolves have won at least 50 games four times; they also reached the mark in 2002-03 (51 wins) and won 50 games in both the 1999-2000 and 2001-02 seasons.
The club record for futility in a season was set in the franchise’s third season, when the Timberwolves were 15-67 in 1991-92, and matched in 2009-10.
Minnesota has had 10 coaches, with Flip Saunders far and away the franchise’s best, going 411-326 in parts of 10 seasons at the helm from the beginning of the 1995-96 season until he was fired on Feb. 12, 2005.
The Timberwolves have had seven general managers. Their first was Billy McKinney, who put the original Minnesota team together, left the team in November 1990. He was followed by Jim Brewer (1990-92), Jack McCloskey (1992-95), Kevin McHale (1995-2008), Jim Stack (2008-09) and David Kahn (2009-13). Saunders is currently the man behind the personnel moves in the Twin Cities.
And here are the best players, by position, for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Players had to have played 200 games for the franchise.