The Timberwolves were busy this offseason. They added Jimmy Butler to the duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Wolves have had some decent trios over the year. Here are some of the top trios to make the playoffs in team history.
Tom Gugliotta, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury
The Wolves made their first-ever playoff appearance behind Gugliotta, Garnett and Marbury this season. The artist known as Googs averaged a team-high 20.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Gugliotta was way better than you think and made his only All-Star game this season.
Garnett, just 20 at the time, averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. And then there was the 19-year-old Marbury who averaged 15.8 points and 7.8 assists per game. It’s worth noting that Marbury missed 15 games.
Garnett, Marbury, Sam Mitchell
Googs averaged 20.1 points this season, but played in just 41 games. That leaves us adding Sam Mitchell, who was a force defensively off the bench. Garnett jumped to elite status, averaging 18.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game while making his second All-Star team. Marbury was one of the league’s best young point guards, averaging 17.7 points and 8.6 assists per game. And Mitchell missed just one game at age 34 and averaged 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Garnett, Terrell Brandon, Joe Smith
This was a 50-game season and a weird one to judge a “big three” from the team considering the Wolves swapped Marbury for Brandon during the middle of the season. Garnett played in 47 of 50 games and averaged 20.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Brandon was solid in his 21 games with the team, averaging 14.2 points and 9.8 assists per game. And then there was Smith who quietly averaged nearly 14 points and eight rebounds per game. The Wolves snuck into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
Garnett, Brandon, Malik Sealy
The Wolves hit the 50-win mark for the first time in team history behind Garnett’s 22.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and five assists per game while playing 40 minutes a night. Brandon added 17.1 points and 8.9 assists per game, while the late Malik Sealy was very solid, averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. Minnesota was the No. 6 seed in the playoffs.
Garnett, Brandon, Wally Szczerbiak
KG continued to be the alpha, averaging 22 points, 11.4 rebounds and five assists while missing just one game. Brandon’s numbers dipped a bit, averaging 16 points and 7.5 assists per game. But Szczerbiak emerged as a scoring threat, averaging 14 points per game at age 23. He was the only player to start in all 82 games. The Wolves were the No. 8 seed in the West.
Garnett, Szczerbiak, Chauncey Billups
The Wolves jumped back up to 50 wins and a No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Garnett averaged 21.2 points, 12.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Szczerbiak appeared in all 82 games again and bumped his scoring all the way up to 18.7 per game while shooting a scorching 45.5 percent from the 3-point line. In his second season with the team, Billups emerged as a solid player, averaged 12.5 points and 5.5 assists per game starting and coming off the bench for the team. This was a sign of things to come for Billups. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for the Wolves.
Garnett, Szczerbiak, Troy Hudson
Another year, another point guard emergence. Garnett was solid, per usual, on his way to averaging a ridiculous 23 points, 13.4 rebounds and six assists per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field. Szczerbiak averaged 17.6 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 42.1 percent from the 3-point line. And the new point guard in the equation was Hudson, who averaged 14.2 points and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 36.5 percent from the 3-point line. It was the first time in team history the Wolves had homecourt advantage in a playoff series as the No. 4. Seed.
Garnett, Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell
The most memorable season in team history. The Wolves traded Peeler and Smith to acquire Cassell in the summer of 2003. That same summer, they also traded Brandon to acquire Sprewell. That resulted in a 57-win season and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Garnett was named the NBA’s MVP while averaging 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, five assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field. Garnett did it on both ends of the court.
Cassell averaged 19.8 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 39.8 percent from deep. And Sprewell put up 16.8 points per game.
This is the “Big 3” in team history and it got the Wolves all the way to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Lakers in six games.
Butler, Towns, Wiggins
The Wolves haven’t been back to the playoffs since 2003-04. But the team has the most pieces to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since that 2003-04 season. You have Jimmy Butler, a three-time All-Defensive player, a 2017 All-NBA Team player and a three-time All-Star in the prime of his career. You have Andrew Wiggins, the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year and a player who has increased his scoring from 16.9 to 20.7 to 23.6 points per game over a three-year span. And then you have Karl-Anthony Towns, the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year who averaged 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game as a 21-year old in 2016-17.
How will these three rank among the rest of the trios in team history? Time will tell.