Whether it’s a player that just refuses to keep his issues quiet or an overhyped draft bust, the Timberwolves have seen enough fiascos to last them for a while.
Still though, you live and learn. Listed are the eight most embarrassing players and just general embarrassments in Timberwolves history.
I couldn’t let this one go. Darko Milicic is nothing short of one of the biggest flops in NBA history. He’s played for six different teams in his nine year career, with his best season to date being 8.4 points per game (PPG) with Orlando in 2006 (Courtesy of NBA.com).
It’s not really fair to say that he was embarrassing for Minnesota—aside from his general awfulness, there wasn’t a lot that he did to really humiliate the team. In fact, the real embarrassment was that he played for the team at all.
Milicic was drafted second overall in the 2003 NBA draft. His lack of production makes him a bust just from that, but you also need to consider that he was taken before Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade—as well as Chris Bosh and Chris Kaman.
So you see, it’s not so much just that he didn’t do anything for the Wolves, it’s that he has been a massive disappointment in general.
William Avery was one of the many, many draft busts that the Timberwolves have gone through. He was taken 14th overall by the Timberwolves in the 1999 NBA draft, and really did absolutely nothing to help the team out.
Avery helps to epitomize the terrible draft choices that the Timberwolves are guilty of choosing. He played for three seasons with the Wolves, and spent most of that time on the bench.
For his career, he averaged 2.7 PPG in the NBA. The last professional basketball team he played for was in the Polish basketball league.
In defense of Ndudi Ebi, he was placed in an extremely high-pressure situation from the very beginning. He was the first draft pick in three years for the Timberwolves after a huge punishment—but I’ll explain that later.
Ebi only lasted in the NBA for two seasons. In that time, he averaged just 2.1 PPG. He had several stints in the Development League, but never really came to blossom for the Wolves.
He was more than a flop for the Wolves. When they drafted him, it signified the end of a draft famine for them. Bigger picture, he was supposed to help kick-start the Timberwolves' chances to finally become elite.
Most of the embarrassing players on this list were embarrassing because of their lack of talent or athleticism, but Isaiah Rider was quite the opposite.
In fact, he was one of the more prominent scorers on the team. He averaged 18.7 PPG in his three seasons with the Wolves, and won the 1994 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
So how was he embarrassing? It all started when Rider began constantly feuding with Timberwolves coach Bill Blair, which landed him a suspension for insubordination.
Rider then assaulted a female sports bar manager, which resulted in fifth-degree assault charges. He ended up being traded to Portland, but not before he was arrested for possession of marijuana and an illegal cell phone.
All in all, Rider could have been a superstar if he had so chosen. He didn’t though, and it resulted in him being a massive fail for the Timberwolves.
I said before that the Wolves have a history of making horrible decisions on draft day. You remember that, right?
Paul Grant was no exception.
In 1997, the Wolves decided that they needed to draft a center to help Kevin Garnett out. Good idea, but they chose the wrong guy for the job.
Grant ended up playing just four games for the Timberwolves before injury forced him to miss the rest of the season. In those four games, he played two minutes per game (MPG), and scored just .5 PPG.
He wasn’t just a draft bust, he was a complete non-factor.
Joe Smith wasn’t necessarily the main culprit of this debacle—just the face of it. I’ll get more into details later, but basically a shady deal between him and Timberwolves management resulted in huge punishments for the Wolves.
It was a sad day for T-Wolves fans everywhere when the attempt to circumvent the salary cap was found out by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Overall, the Joe Smith debacle was the single biggest embarrassment in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Not that he is completely to blame, but pretty much all of the terrible decision-making for the Wolves in the last one-and-a-half decades have fallen directly on the shoulders of Kevin McHale.
He made one fantastic choice with Kevin Garnett. That’s about where it ends for him though, as the rest of his career as the vice president of basketball operations for the Wolves was anything but successful.
His biggest mistake by far was signing Joe Smith and attempting to circumvent the salary cap restrictions. It resulted in five draft picks being taken away by David Stern, as well as a fine of $3.5 million.
He was also responsible for three of the aforementioned draft busts, which actually makes the case that McHale was the real bust.
Must I even say it? It has already been mentioned over and over and over again just how bad the draft choices have been for Minnesota—it seems to be the curse of the Timberwolves.
Bad choices leading to bad players and wasted drafts are definitely not conducive to winning championships.
The last few drafts have actually been pretty good for the Wolves, starting with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic in 2008. They actually came out of that draft with O.J. Mayo, but traded away for Love.
They chose four guards in the 2009 draft, but only Ricky Rubio has actually panned out for them. Still though, that’s a positive.
Perhaps the curse has been broken.