I have been a die-hard Wolves fan, for worse or for more worse, since I was seven years old in 1989. I have seen some horrible teams, some decent teams, some good teams, one really good team and this year's team that I consider the greatest of them all.

The Twins won the World Series when I was nine, Norm Green stole the NHL from me at 12 and the Vikings, while decent, had never been great to this point in my life. So, when the Timberwolves first made the playoffs in 1997, I was very excited to see my favorite team in the postseason.

The Wolves were promptly swept by Charles Barkley and the Rockets in the best-of-five series, but I remember thinking it was okay because of course the Wolves would grow and do better next year, right? Right?

Wrong.

The Timberwolves were booted from the first round for six straight seasons following that first playoff series. The Sonics, Spurs (twice), Blazers, Mavericks and Lakers all took a turn dispatching the Wolves in the opening round.

In 2003-04 Minnesota finally broke through, beating Denver in the first round before taking down Sacramento in a seven-game Western Conference semifinal series. Worn down and with prominent players injured, the Wolves lost the Western Conference final to the Los Angeles Lakers.

As fun as that team was to watch in real-time, hindsight sours that era for me a little bit. Though (in my opinion) not his fault, Kevin Garnett has nothing to do with the organization anymore, which is disappointing.

Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell turned out to be short-timers, with the former leaving over money and never playing in the league again and the latter traded a couple of seasons later to the Clippers for Marco Jaric... remember him?

Not to mention the fact that the organization did not make the playoffs again until 2018... not exactly a dynasty.

That is what makes this year's edition the best ever: sustainability.

It's a squad with draft picks Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns and undrafted Naz Reid as its core, supplemented by trade acquisitions like Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley, Jr.

Edwards is 22, McDaniels 23 and Towns is 28 years old. All are signed to long term contracts, meaning this core should remain intact for years to come.

The 03-04 Wolves were the top seed in the West and only had to get past #8 Denver (43-39) and #4 Sacramento (who, in fairness, had won 55 games) to reach the WCF. Not exactly this year's West.

My point is, the Wolves had to get past a Phoenix team with Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker before having to beat the defending champions with the reigning MVP on their court. Their road to reach this round was, in my opinion, much harder.

Whatever happens against the Mavericks, this has been an incredible season of Wolves basketball. It's also been nice to see so many people become Timberwolves fans during this playoff run... the more the merrier!

 

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