Oh yeah, we’re doing name calling on an early Friday morning here at Views From the Wall. Coach Thibs is currently blowing the easiest lay up in NBA history in such a moronic fashion. In 2015 Minnesota drafted Karl-Anthony Towns, and they haven’t made a really good decision since. The year prior Minnesota traded Kevin Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins who went on to become Rookie of the Year. Couple him with Towns, who won Rookie of the Year as well, and you’d think that would be a stress free rebuild. The NBA’s two brightest young stars under the same roof, what could possible go wrong? Tom Thibodeau, that’s what.
In 2016, Minnesota didn’t exactly light the league on fire. They finished 31-51 which earned them the thirteenth position out west. However it was a strong building season, as Wiggins posted 23.6 points an outing. Pair that with Towns’ 25 points and 12.3 boards and you clearly have massive building blocks for your future. With those two taking T-Rex sized steps forward and Zach LaVine averaging 18.9 points a game, the very clear thing to do here is let the youth develop. Especially with Golden State building the best sports team ever assembled in your own conference. There was no need to rush, your fans were content watching young prospects grow, all while you rack up lottery picks, filling out your roster with players who would play here for decades. So what did Thibs do? He traded LaVine, second year point guard Kris Dunn, and the number 7 pick in the draft to Chicago to reunite with notorious maniac Jimmy Butler. What an idiot.
The seventh pick turned out to be Lauri Markkanen, a 7 foot power forward out of Arizona via Finland. In his first season in the league Markkanen became the fastest player in the history of the league to reach 100 threes. That shooting touch behind the arc, at that height, would be the perfect combination to Towns’ domination of the low post. Sprinkle in some pass and slash with Wiggins, and that Wolves team would’ve been unstoppable in a couple of years, even to Golden State. Unfortunately, Markkanen started this season how he ended last season, on the shelf. Good news is he’s expected to make a full recovery, and develop into an offensive force. Bad news for T-Wolves fans, that development will take place 566 miles away in Chicago. Remember, Markkanen wasn’t the only piece sent over in that trade. LaVine, who was 21 when he was traded, is currently averaging 27 points for the Bulls in what may be a break out year for a future superstar. Now, every trade has return, and Minnesota’s was one of the best two way players in the game. With that type of pedigree there is no way Jimmy Butler would cause irreparable fractures within the Timberwolves locker room, right? Not in just one year, right? Right?
Butler’s first year and change in Minnesota has been riddled with off the court feuds and on the court dysfunction. From a suspected affair to team wide under performance, year one of the Butler experience couldn’t have gone worse. Forgotten in the off court gossip, the real story was this team’s lost direction. Before Thibs decided to bring in Butler this team had a future top five player in Towns and a soon to be elite second option in Wiggins. How’d they fare in the first season with Czar Butler running the show? They finished in the eighth seed after beating Denver the final night of the season, and were removed forcibly from the post season by Houston. Things were decaying fast and moves clearly had to be made sooner rather than later. In a bold move, Thibs didn’t choose sooner or later. He chose not at all. With teams who missed out on the Kawhi sweepstakes looking for a star, Minnesota had the biggest available trade chip heading into training camp. Thibs elected to roll into camp with the same core as last year causing maybe the most insane thing to happen on a basketball court that didn’t involve Ron Artest punching civilians.
On October 10th, Butler showed up a few days into camp, a touch overweight and looking like someone who hasn’t touched a ball in months. He proceeded to take the third unit against the starters in a scrimmage and emasculated them. Screaming “you (expletive) need me!” to anyone who would listen. One possession he stripped Wiggins and on the next covered Towns forcing him to bounce the ball off of his own foot. After practice, and with his young stars pride in the garbage, Thibs had his back against the wall. Should he move Butler and go with Towns and Wiggins? Should he appoint Butler the alpha dog and trade Towns for a massive haul? Would you be surprised if I said he called the practice “The best the team has ever had?” You shouldn’t be, because that’s exactly what he did. What impact has that practice had on the start of the season and the rest of the roster? Minnesota is 4-8 and Towns’ numbers are down. All of them. After such a poor start it’s a miracle that anyone was interested in Towns, Wiggins, or Butler at all.
However, according to ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston came knocking with an offer containing FOUR FIRST ROUND PICKS for Jimmy Butler. Ask The Celtics how good of a deal that is. Good thing Minnesota had Thibs on the phone to accept the deal immediately before Houston had time to reveal it was a prank. Instead of taking the four potential all-stars for a guy who everyone hates, Thibs said no and never counter offered. He called Philadelphia asking for reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons in exchange for Butler, was promptly told no, and apparently forgot what trades are as all conflicting parties are still in Minnesota.
Most GM’s and coaches would pay top dollar for two consecutive Rookie of the Year’s and this dunce stumbled into it. He had a youthful core ready to grow together and traded it for a guy who he couldn’t handle at his previous job. How this season long drama ends is in Thibs hands and his hands alone, and if i was a Wolves fan that would petrify me. This guys a dummy.
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