Top 10 Minnesota Timberwolves of the Decade
The Timberwolves have not been a very consistent franchise as far as players staying on the team for long durations.
So when you look at the best players of the decade, it's hard to decipher who is really the better of some players as a Timberwolf, or who played well in their short time spent in Minnesota.
Regardless, the Timberwolves have some very memorable years and players from the past decade and here they are.
NOTE: The top 10 wasn't by any means statistically based, and most of these decisions came based on what they did for the Timberwolves as a whole.
Kevin Love (2008-Present): Seems to be a more consistent player than Big Al, but hasn't played long enough to be considered in the best of the decade.
Fred Hoiberg (2003-Present): Almost was invited to the three-point shootout one year, but a career-ending heart problem gave him a front office job that he still retains. Though he only spent two years as a player, he's still here.
Chauncey Billups (2000-2002): The team he is least famous for playing for, but he was here, and had what was then a career-high year in assists, and led the team in them in the short stint of playing in Minnesota.
Randy Foye (2006-2009): Another great Timberwolf struck by something slightly out of his control; he was the one we traded Brandon Roy for. Despite that, he had some solid years in Minnesota, and was a valuable trade asset for that player we never got.
Joe Smith (1998-2003): You could argue that he played well while he was here, but he was the player that lost us years of first round draft picks, and will remembered as such.
Malik Sealy (1998-2000): The first Timberwolf to retire his number. No. 2 will always hang from the Target Center rafters after a car accident in 2000 cost him his life. He hit numerous buzzer-beaters in just two seasons in Minnesota, and he will always be remembered by his many fans.
(years in parentheses indicate years spent as a Timberwolf)
10. Mark Madsen
Years played for Minnesota: 2003-2009
Success can never be measured in just points alone, or any kind of statistic alone. That's pretty good news for Mark Madsen. The Minnesota Timberwolves' best cheerleader.
Mark Madsen has had a lasting impact on the Timberwolves. He was the only player to play on the Wolves in 2009 and not arrive in Minnesota after 2005. And for six solid years, he has always been there for his team.
After every good play, he was right there off the bench cheering and shaking his towel.
After every time out, he would always high five every current player on the court.
And if skill doesn't get you into the NBA, having a heart as big as Mad Dog's will get you much more.
9. Craig Smith
Years played for Minnesota: 2006-2009
Despite the fact that he was not as good as his co-2006 draftee Randy Foye, Craig Smith was one of the more consistent players the Wolves have had in a long time. In 3 years on the Timberwolves he only missed a (baker's) dozen games.
That's pretty impressive when you think about it.
Also, Craig was a dominant force inside. At only 6'7'', he always could get right to the rim and score night after night.
Statistics set aside for a moment, Craig was one of the more valuable assets to the team, and probably one of the very few times that the Timberwolves could actually claim they got the steal of the draft (he was drafted 36th overall)
8. Anthony Peeler
Years played for Minnesota: 1997-2003
The lights-out shooter.
The lefty out of Missouri came to Minnesota after some fairly successful years in LA and Vancouver. Here he was always a shooter, hitting 45 percent from beyond the arc in his first season in Minnesota.
Peeler was never a big name in Minnesota, didn't have a huge fan base, but always put up impressive numbers for the Timberwolves, and was a big part of the team's earliest playoff runs.
7. Trenton Hassell
Years played for Minnesota: 2003-2007
Always the go-to defender guarding the Kobe/LeBron type players, and put up his best numbers of his career in Minnesota.
With his signature high socks, and defensive play, he was a considerably good player for the Timberwolves.
Trenton was by far the best defensive Timberwolf of the decade, and because defense is half of the game, he makes the top 10.
6. Latrell Sprewell
Years played for Minnesota: 2003-2005
A lot of people don't remember, but before KG was part of Boston's Big 3, he was part of Minnesota's three-headed monster with Sam Cassell, and No. 6 Latrell Sprewell.
Sprewell's biggest impact for the Wolves was just being another big go-to guy other than KG. Having some issues with previous coaches, Latrell found a way to calm his anger with Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves.
His career ended in Minnesota, and he will go down in memory of the historic 2003-2004 team.
5. Troy Hudson
Years played for Minnesota: 2002-2007
Averaging 10 points per game in his five seasons in Minnesota, Troy Hudson was the point guard who shot the lights out game in and game out.
For a while, he was the third best player on the Wolves back in the day with Wally and KG.
While his starting job was given to Sam Cassell early in his Minnesota career, he stuck with the Wolves for five solid years, and any true Timberwolves fan will tell you how well he could shoot the ball.
And boy could he.
4. Sam Cassell
Years played for Minnesota: 2003-2005
It doesn't seem fair to give Sam Cassell a lot of credit as one of the great all-time Timberwolves, considering how long he was here: two years.
But the 140 games Sam Cassell was a Timberwolf might have been the highlights of his career, and the highlight of the Timberwolves franchise.
The 2003-2004 season was the best the Wolves ever had, clinching the first seed in the West and making it all the way to the Conference finals. Not too impressive for a 20 year franchise, but from a fans' point of view, those were exciting years.
And Sam Cassell was one of the biggest parts of them. He gave us almost 20 points every game that season, to go along with 7 assists, and was the second-best player on the team behind KG.
He was good.
3. Al Jefferson
Years played for Minnesota: 2007-2010
This is only Al's third season playing for Minnesota, but his impact has already been heard. He brings Minnesota a lot to get excited about with his extremely effective inside moves, and his instant team leadership.
He will also go down as the player who was traded for Kevin Garnett.
And for good reason. Out of the 5 players traded for KG almost 3 years ago, Al is 1 of 2 still remaining on the team (the other being Ryan Gomes).
But the reason Al is so high on this list is because for 1/3 of the decade, Al Jefferson was considered the best player for the Minnesota Timberwolves. And only one other player could honestly say that they held that title.
2. Wally Szczerbiak
Years played for Minnesota: 1999-2006
It's hard to remember this about Wally, but he was an All-Star in 2002. That year, he averaged nearly 19 points per game, to go with 3 assists and 4 rebounds.
Wally was always right behind KG. That's why he's the second best of the decade.
The Wolves had very few first-round draft picks because of the Joe Smith incident, but in 1999 we acquired one, and drafted Szczerbiak.
In the seven seasons Wally played for Minnesota, he was almost always considered an outside threat first, and for good reason. HIs three point percentage at its best hit 45.5 percent. Not a bad statistic.
And Wally will always be remembered by the fans. A hard working, dedicated player who loved playing in Minnesota, and was with Minnesota throughout what should be considered their "golden years."
1. Kevin Garnett
Years played for Minnesota: 1995-2007
The Greatest Timberwolf of all time. MVP, All-Star, League Leading Rebounder, and top scorer for the Wolves many years in a row.
A loaded resume that got him everything but a championship.
KG/The Big Ticket/The Kid was the best player that the Timberwolves have ever seen, and there's no two ways about it. Five years from now, we'll be retiring No. 21 in his honor (haven't you noticed that he's been gone for three years, and no one's taken that number yet?).
Can't deny it, and no one would want to.