The Wolves were 10-8 as they sat down at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day. Some called it a "hot" start, but the reality is that Minnesota had as many losses by Turkey Day as the Milwaukee Bucks have now.
It goes to show that 31 years of almost constant losing shapes the minds of fans to the point that playing just above .500 is pretty darn good. When it comes to winning, the bar is not set high for the Wolves. But with losing, that bar is sky-high, making it damn near impossible to be as bad as the worst teams in franchise history.
The 1992 and 2010 Wolves both went 15-67, tied for seventh-worst record in any 82-game season in NBA history. Throw in the 16-win 2016 Wolves and Minnesota owns three of the most miserable 82-game seasons ever.
- 9-73 (76ers, 1973)
- 10-72 (76ers, 2016)
- 11-71 (Mavericks, 1993 and Nuggets, 1993)
- 12-70 (Clippers, 1987 and Nets, 2010)
- 13-69 (Mavericks, 1994 and Hawks, 2005)
- 14-68 (Rockets, 1983 and Grizzlies, 1997)
- 15-67 (Wolves, 1992 and 2010 - and 13 other teams)
- 16-66 (Wolves, 2016 - and 3 other teams)
That brings us to the present day Wolves, whose 17-42 record is awful, but not nearly as ugly as what it would look like if not for that "hot" start in which they won 10 of their first 18 games.
After Sunday's loss to the Luka Doncic-less Mavericks, the Wolves have lost 20 of their last 22 and are a putrid 7-34 since starting 10-8. That's .170 winning percentage over 41 games – half of a season.
Extrapolate Minnesota's 7-34 record over their last 41 games for a full 82 games and the 2019-20 Wolves would be playing a 14-win pace. Perhaps worst of all is that the current iteration's roster has featured three max-contract players: Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, who was traded for the third max player, D'Angelo Russell.
Max-contract guys are supposed to win. That's why they're paid the big bucks. Minnesota is 10-25 in games with Towns, 12-30 with Wiggins and 1-6 with Russell.
Towns, despite knee and wrist injuring marring his season, hasn't put the team on his back and carried them to victory even once. Wiggins couldn't do it alone either, and so far it's the same result with Russell.
President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas is probably the last to blame since he's blown up the roster in hopes of creating a winning product down the road. But he's already cemented himself in franchise lore with a 24 hours to forget.
After an upset win over Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Rosas tweeted "Tank that!"
Rosas' effort to quiet fans who suspect the Wolves of tanking for better odds in the NBA Draft Lottery immediately backfired as the very next day the NBA fined Minnesota $25,000 for resting D'Angelo Russell in a game against the Nuggets when Russell was healthy.
Breaking news: A known tanking tactic resting good players when they're healthy.
While the future might be bright if Towns and Russell are healthy and on the floor together, this season is trending towards one of the worst in franchise history – and that's saying something.