Tenure: 1995-2007 (12 seasons)
- 2004 NBA MVP
- Ten-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA selection, eight-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
- Timberwolves' all-time leader in games, points, free throws, rebounds, assists, blocks & steals
I know, I know. You were all probably expecting the top spot to go to Mark Madsen. Sorry to disappoint.
Is there any other player besides Michael Jordan who identifies so much with his respective franchise?
Kevin Garnett WAS the Timberwolves. He was the perfect combination of desire and craziness manifested into a freakishly athletic 7'0" frame that redefined the NBA. Garnett's transcendent abilities as a do-it-all power forward changed the NBA forever.
From day one as a lanky kid from Mauldin, South Carolina, Garnett had the making of a legend. With the fifth pick in the 1995 draft, Minnesota made him the first draftee to jump straight from high school since 1975.
Garnett was a jaw-dropping specimen on the court. His ferocity and will to win rubbed off on his teammates. He combined a dizzying array of post moves with an automatic mid-range jumper. He was an incredible passer and rarely missed a game due to injury.
On defense? He was a nightmare for the opposition. He was constantly barking out orders to his teammates and had the rare ability to jump passing lanes to start fast breaks while also being able to launch shots into the crowd.
During his 12 seasons in Minnesota, the only thing he failed to accomplish was an NBA title. He came close just the one time in 2003-04 when management finally was able to assemble a balanced roster around him capable of going deep into the playoffs.
Had Sam Cassell not succumbed to a hip injury, the Timberwolves just might have bested the Lakers and made it to the finals.
If you had to sum up his career in one game, it would be this performance in Game 7 of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals against the Sacramento Kings where he dropped 32 points, 21 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and two steals on his 28th birthday.
He threw the team on his back and dragged them to the next round with a performance for the ages.
In a league growing more point guard friendly by the year, it will be a very long time before we see the type of dominating two-way power forward that Garnett is. His seething desire to win on a nightly basis is a lost art in this day and age.