RandBall marks NBA’s 75th anniversary with list of the best Wolves ever

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The NBA recently put out a list of the top 75 players in league history, which was bound to create controversy and ultimately made Klay Thompson mad.

I saw a couple Wolves fans already, including my Friend Brandon Broxey, did their own list of the best 75 Timberwolves players of all-time — a list, folks, that is bleak as you get to the bottom half. (Note: Brandon did a more serious list that he shared with me as well).

For my variation on the theme, I decided to cut things off at 25. I consulted advanced stats, regular stats and a lifetime of watching the Wolves. Let's get to it:

25: Zach LaVine. Probably gets a little extra credit for what he has done in Chicago, but Lavine was a dunk champ as a rookie and was showing what he could become in 2016-17 before he was injured.

24: Fred Hoiberg. Though he was primarily a role player, The Mayor shows up on a couple surprising lists: Best career offensive rating in team history (128.2) and sixth-best defensive rating (102.3). He made the most of his minutes.

23: Doug West. Score two for longevity and defense. West was a shooting guard that sometimes seemed like he didn't want to shoot, but he was a solid pro.

22: Anthony Peeler. Had to pair him up with West since they were traded for each other. Peeler brought the shooting and toughness the Wolves needed.

21: Corey Brewer. He's the only person on this list that I've played golf with. Great guy, high motor, you can win a championship with Brewer as your ninth-best player — which is hopefully a compliment.

20: Gorgui Dieng. It feels like the Wolves have been searching for a player like Dieng ever since Tom Thibodeau decided he wasn't a part of their core and signed Taj Gibson (a good but redundant player). Gorgui is sixth all-time in win shares for the Wolves.

19: Troy Hudson. Did I put him on this list almost entirely because of what he did in the 2002-03 playoff series against the Lakers? (23.5 ppg, 43.6% from three). Maybe. But that was some great clutch play.

18: Isaiah Rider. He was a headache. He had excuses for everything. But he could play.

17: Christian Laettner. See: Rider, Isaiah.

16: Anthony Edwards. Come back in three years, and Edwards will be in the top five. Come back in 10 years, and he might be in the top two. For now, most of his value is still locked up in potential — even if we see more of it pour out every game.

15: Al Jefferson. A nice consolation prize in the KG trade, Big Al's low post moves were fantastic.

14: Tony Campbell. A ray of light on some bleak Wolves teams. He was a volume scorer, but somebody had to score (23.2 ppg in 1989-90).

13: Tom Gugliotta. Seven Wolves players have made an All-Star team, and Googs was one of them. Plus they used to play "What I like about Googs" at Wolves games to the tune of "What I like about you."

12: Nikola Pekovic. He was an unstoppable brute force down low when healthy. It would have been nice to see what he could have done with better health.

11: Andrew Wiggins. A hard one to figure out, but Wiggins did win Rookie of the Year and was a solid player even if he never quite lived up to No. 1 overall pick hype.

10: Terrell Brandon. Efficient and boring, unless you liked 17-footers off a screen. But he was trying to replace a love we lost.

9: Stephon Marbury. The love we lost. I'll never forgive Marbury for forcing his way out and disrupting the next generation Stockton/Malone, but at least we had some time.

8: Sam Mitchell. Toughness. Baseline jumpers. Leadership. That was Sam.

7: Ricky Rubio. He deserved a better fate both times around with the Wolves. Rubio never got to play with the best core, and we never quite got to see what he could do even if he was here a long time.

6: Jimmy Butler. He played exactly 69 games in a Wolves uniform, but he transformed them into a playoff team. Butler scorched the earth on his way out, but he wasn't wrong.

5: Sam Cassell. Similar to Butler, Cassell tipped the scales in the Wolves favor finally and got Kevin Garnett to a Western Conference Finals. He's No. 5 in win shares per 48 minutes, and he's No. 5 on this list.

4: Wally Szczerbiak. He was hardly a perfect fit next to Garnett, but Wally was a great shooter and a high-effort player.

3: Kevin Love. He had two separate Wolves seasons in which he averaged at least 26 points and 12 rebounds. Some of those were empty calories, but peak Love was a sight to behold.

2: Karl-Anthony Towns. Still seeking a level of on-court maturity and defensive acumen in Year 7. But he is one of the most uniquely gifted offensive players in NBA history.

1: Kevin Garnett. As if this would be anyone else.

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