Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always sad to see players go at the end of the year. Even if they have only been around for a short time, I watch them play every night, they wear the name of my city on the front of their uniform and, especially in the NBA, many of them have an outsized personality—and sometimes even a brand of their own.
On a national scale, we know Dwight Howard as a man with Samus Aran arms and a Crest Whitestrips smile that shines every time he is having a good day. Kobe Bryant is a snarling, jersey-biting cold-blooded killer. Blake Griffin is an erstwhile Pop Warner star that can travel through time and once wore jean shorts. Kevin Garnett barks at his opponents. Kevin Durant is humble and religious.
Wolves fans need not look further than right here in the Twin Cities, however, to find unique characters. Mr. Love rounds out the Kevin trio as a relatable guy. “Love's charm is that he's an everyman,” writes Joan Niesen of FOX Sports. “He used to be a bit chubby, can still be a little awkward and plays for a team that hasn't won during his career.” He may not bark or snarl, but we, ahem, love him for who he is.
Ricky Rubio is friendly, charming and gives the world’s best pep talks. When he is not traveling the world, Nikola Pekovic—a man so large that he dwarfs Zach Galifianakis, the original member of the wolf pack—is our warm, cuddly companion.
But it’s not just the franchise players that have a reputation of their own. J.J. Barea may be a bit undersized, but he flops more than Shamu. Dante Cunningham’s name makes you think he has been through hell and back…and that was before he joined the Timberwolves this season. Greg Stiemsma gets pedicures.
And so it is with sadness in my heart that I bring to you a list of players that should not be in the Timberwolves future going forward. As we all know, this is a business, and the team needs to make changes to improve every year. Fortunately, with their departure comes the arrival of another cast of characters.