Offseason Additions Bring Winning Mentality To Wolves

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate
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The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a busy offseason, one that includes bringing in four veterans players to mix with a team that already contained promising young players. 

Maybe the most important attributes that those four veterans hold in their game: they know what it takes to win, they have played in big games and they know how to lead.

For a team that is trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04, those will be three valuable addition.

The offseason moves for Minnesota began on draft night, when the Wolves acquired three-time NBA All-Star forward Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls.

Since coming into the league in 2012, Butler has done nothing but be successful.

In his six seasons, Butler’s teams have held a record of 276-200 overall (58 percent win percentage). He has also played in 38 playoff games in his career, reaching as far as the Eastern Conference semifinal round twice.

“Obviously, you can’t do the things that he’s done without having a lot of talent. It’s his drive, his intelligence, he’s never lost that. He’s chased excellence the day he got into the league to where we are today,” Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Jimmy is 27, so he is just entering his prime and that fits just perfectly with our team.”

A little over two weeks after the Wolves acquired Butler, they announced the signings of All-Star guard Jeff Teague and forward Taj Gibson.

In his eight-year career, which included playing for the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers, Teague’s teams have a record of 369-271 (58 percent) and he has appeared in 66 career playoff games, reaching as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014-15.

In Gibson’s eight-year NBA career, his teams of Chicago and Oklahoma City have held a combined record of 381-259 (60 percent). Gibson has also played in 61 career playoff games, reaching as far as the Eastern Conference Finals under Thibodeau in 2010-11.

“We are excited to have Taj and Jeff join our team,” Thibodeau said. “The big thing about both these guys is that they have been a part of big playoff games. They are both winners. . . We are thrilled to have them and we are looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

On July 19, the Wolves announced another addition to their team, signing three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford.

Crawford finished up his 17th season in 2016-17. In those 17 years, his teams – which include Chicago, New York Knicks, Golden State, Atlanta, Portland and Los Angeles Clippers – have held an overall record of 629-1,376 (46 percent). Crawford has also played in 69 playoff games, making it as far as the Conference Semifinals four times.

“When you look at all the things that he’s done, the 69 playoff games. He’s a big shot-maker,” Thibodeau said. “It’s the veteran experience, it’s what he’s done. The poise that he plays with under pressure I think will be a great addition to our team.”

Wherever these guys have gone in their careers, they’ve helped be a part of a winning team and helped build a winning culture. That’s the goal for the Wolves for next season and beyond. 

Whenever you can add four veterans to the caliber of Butler, Teague, Gibson and Crawford, it’s going to help right off the bat. 

But getting four guys that have proven they can win, have played in big games and can lead like they can, that’s even better.

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