The year was 2017 and the Timberwolves were finishing up their first season under coach Tom Thibodeau. They’d gone 31-51, which was nothing to write home about, but there were obvious signs of improvement, and we had a young core that was growing together.
If only it had stayed that way.
Things were looking good going into the next year. We had a couple incredibly talented point guards in Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn, Andrew Wiggins had just played the best basketball of his career, and Karl-Anthony Towns was looking like the best thing to happen to us since Kevin Garnett.
In his second season Karl-Anthony Towns averaged career highs in rebounds with 12.3 per game, and points, with 25.1 per game. The story was the same for Andrew Wiggins who averaged 23.6 points per game and had career highs in assists as well.
They were looking like they were on their way to becoming the best duo in the NBA then Tom Thibodeau ruined it all. He traded Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn, and a number 7 pick for Jimmy Butler and the rest is history.
Suddenly, the young stars coming off of their best seasons, had to take a back seat to Tom’s old boy from Chicago, and their confidence slowly started to drain throughout the season.
Not only did this trade ruin the Timberwolves for years to come, but it affected their young duo, especially Andrew Wiggins. Suddenly he had to take a backseat to Jimmy, and was turned into that guy who just stands outside the 3 point line and waits to get a pass.
Not only did Thibodeau totally take him out of the offense, but he also let Jimmy Butler do whatever he wanted, including destroying Wiggin’s and Town’s confidence even further. Butler constantly called them out, and degraded them, but he led the Timberwolves to their first playoff appearance in 14 years so no one really cared… yet.
Then this season happened. Jimmy Butler demanded a trade, and was more toxic than ever till he got it. He openly called Wiggins and Towns soft, and said they didn’t have what it takes to win. He demoralized the two and then left.
Finally, Wiggins and Towns were free of their tormentor, but the effects of that year with Jimmy still linger, and two guys who looked like they were up next in the 2016-17 season, have struggled to free themselves from that.
Andrew Wiggins especially. His confidence is shot. Tom Thibodeau never trusted him, and his trade for Jimmy Butler showed that. If he truly believed in Andrew he would have trusted that he could be that guy next to Towns who would help lead them to the playoffs, but he traded for Jimmy who totally took over the role.
After the trade I thought that maybe, just maybe, Wiggins would get that 2016 mentality back, but he hasn’t even come close. Not after Jimmy was traded, not even after Tom Thibodeau was gone.
Now Ryan Saunders appears to mistrust Wiggins just as much as Tom did, letting another one of Tom’s old Chicago boys, Derrick Rose, replace Andrew Wiggin’s role on the team. Wiggins is forced, once again, to watch a former Bull isolate himself time and time again, while he stands out on the wing with his hands at his sides.
I’ve been an outspoken critic of Derrick Rose all season for this very reason. He’s not doing anything to benefit the future of this team. Right now, he’s most interested in increasing his value for next season so he can sign a nice little contract somewhere else, or join a contender.
Derrick Rose will not re-sign with the Timberwolves next year and everyone knows it. The only reason he signed this one year deal was because of Tom Thibodeau, and now Thibs is gone.
Yet, with all this in mind, the Timberwolves have allowed Derrick Rose to be the second guy, and he has the green light every time he goes down the court. This has been the second phase in Tom Thibodeau’s evil plan to destroy Andrew Wiggins basketball career, and it has worked.
Why the Timberwolves have decided to let Derrick Rose steal this role from Wiggins is beyond me. Why Coach Saunders hasn’t stepped in and said, “Andrew demand the ball,” and “Derrick give the ball to Andrew,” is beyond me.
Wiggins is our future. I mean we signed him to a max contract didn’t we!? Are we just going to allow a 30 year old Derrick Rose, who’s on a one year contract, to steal his role and further destroy what’s left of his confidence?
This team is more likely than not going to miss the playoffs.
Andrew Wiggins is still that player he was in 2016, just not mentally. We must give him the ball, let him take the game winning shots, let him take over in the fourth quarter, not Derrick Rose.
Derrick will be gone next year and then what? Will we finally trust Wiggins to be everything he was hyped up to be? Will we draw up plays for him and trust him to win us ball games with Towns? Or will we continue to destroy this man’s career, one Chicago Bull at a time?