As the Minnesota Timberwolves’ season came to an end, I found myself again thinking about futility. The last game of the regular season can be meaningless in two ways: Either it doesn’t matter because you can’t change your position in the playoffs, or it doesn’t matter because you can’t make it to the playoffs at all. Either way, your fate is sealed.
Timberwolves fans struggle to find hope in a franchise that doesn’t dole it out in large portions. When they started winning games down the stretch a few weeks ago, I felt that the run was futile, an unnecessary muddying of the team’s chances of keeping their pick. Why bother trying to win when losing betters your chance of winning next year? Hope, that’s why.
For the first time since Jimmy Butler put on a Timberwolves jersey, I have a hope that next year won’t be all about rebuilding. Sure, there are undoubtedly going to be more hiccups, more losing, but the aim of next year is to win enough games to make the playoffs — and, for once, that seems like it could happen.
If Minnesota loses the pick, it shouldn’t matter because a team is starting to emerge out of the wreckage of this strange year.
Further, for the first time since Saunders Senior was coaching, it looks like the Wolves have a real top-tier coach. Finch is a no-bullshit type in charge of a team that has peddled bullshit for what feels like my whole life. He’s a character, not in the way that Tom Thibodeau was a cartoon of himself while in Minny (a sleepless basketball addict in a freezing cold town screaming “ICE, ICE, ICE”) but in the way that modern coaches must be. Strong but likable, in charge but accessible.
That’s the on-court stuff. As a Minnesotan living overseas, the idea of the team being sold to people without true ties to Minneapolis scares me. The Timberwolves are a rock in my life that keeps me in touch with the place I was born, and the constant thread of Seattle SuperSonics-based replies to any tweet regarding the sale of the team fills me with dread.
That said, Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore swooping in to inject a bit of flash and cash into a team that cannot last more than a year in the winner’s circle must be a good thing. One must fly close to the sun to get hot, and a little heat is exactly what this team needs. A change in direction at the top will hopefully enact change on the court.
Or it could go horribly. It could all be a ruse that leaves us teamless, but at least a go was given. Compared to the end of seasons in the past, I’m feeling a lot more optimism this year. Only time can tell, but fans can have hope for once, and that’s more than we’re usually given.