Columnists debate Timberwolves’ future: The Wolves have the potential to be something very special

We’re approaching seven years where the sportslorn here in the Upper Midwest has dealt with mediocrity. Not just everyday mediocrity, mind you, but consistent mediocrity.
The Warriors of Purple and Gold? They are the pinnacle of the median, but for five months, they had their chance.
The Twinkies?
Nah.
The North Stars?
Doh.
But grappled in this mud and compost is a rising creature. Four seasons ago the Woofies treated Minnesota to postseason. Three years ago they made it back, almost driving Gary Payton to defeat before losing the series 3-2. After a major face-lift, they played in April last year, winning their only game on the road against the world champion San Antonio Spurs.
In the natural order of life, this timeline of evolvement naturally lends itself to bigger things.
The honeymoon for the Target Center dwellers is over. A second-round playoff appearance becomes a must. The marriage between the Woofies and basketball in May and June must commence.
Believe it or not, it probably will.
Salary cap problems (i.e. Kevin Garnett’s salary) probably won’t allow for much external reinforcements. The astronomically-gifted Garnett turns 24 in less than three week. Four other players on the roster are under 25 years of age. Given short room under the cap, three of those four will be crucial to the Wolves playing in June.
The McHale-Saunders braintrust think Avery, 20, can be the eventual heir to a much-improved Terrell Brandon, 29. Wally Szczerbiak and Rasho Nesterovic have held their own in their rookie seasons. Both — namely Nesterovic — have the luxury of working with the Hall-of-Famer McHale on a regular basis. What they yearn for is Nesterovic to gain weight — anything short of Stanley Roberts’ weight — and rebound.
If not, it is certainly possible to find some thug at a relatively minimal price who can be mean and push people around. Lest we forget this is the NBA: No Brains Allowed.
Szczerbiak is the key. He showed flashes this season with his versatility and all-around abilities. There is potential for him to be that second dynamic player just below Garnett and alongside Brandon to push the Wolves over that next hump.
At press time, Target Center’s team has three fatal flaws:
1) Legit three-point shooters.
2) A large bruiser to rebound and push Western Conference centers.
3) Someone not content with taking jump shots.
Target Center’s team also has three fortÇs:
1) Garnett.
2) Team players.
3) Potential.
Poor Isaiah Rider.

Mark Heller covers softball and welcomes comments at [email protected]