Wolves hope? OKC was the walking dead before Durant, Westbrook

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The young Timberwolves keep getting compared to the 2009-10 Oklahoma City Thunder. That Thunder squad featured third-year star Kevin Durant, second-year point guard Russell Westbrook and rookie guard James Harden.

The Thunder won just 23 games with Durant and Westbrook in 2008-09, but another year of experience coupled with the addition of Harden resulted in 50 wins and a spot in the playoffs the next season.

Bottom line: It's fair to compare the potential of Minnesota's trio of 20 year olds – Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine – to OKC's former trio because OKC was one of the walking dead teams in the Western Conference prior to the arrival of star players.

Seattle Supersonics/OKC Thunder year-by-year records:

  • 2005-06: 35 wins
  • 2006-07: 31 wins
  • 2007-08: 20 wins
  • 2008-09: 23 wins

Question for the Timberwolves: Are Towns, Wiggins and LaVine the next version of OKC's former big three (Harden now plays for Houston), and can they – maybe as early as next season – pull Minnesota basketball out of a decade-long slump?

On Monday in Cleveland, Towns, Wiggins and LaVine became the youngest trio to score 20 points in a game, breaking the Thunder's record when Durant (21), Westbrook (21) and Harden (20) did it in 2008-09.

https://twitter.com/ClutchPointsApp/status/692259032350990336

"I think it’s a good comparison," LaVine said Tuesday, via the Star Tribune. "We want to be as good as them at some point, both individually and as a team. We have to strive for that, or better."

But is the comparison even fair? Durant, Westbrook and Harden are three of the best players in the NBA. In fact, they might be three of the six best in the world, with only the likes of LeBron, Kawhi Leonard and Steph Curry offering as good or better production than the Thunder's former trio.

"They've still got two great people on the team, Westbrook and Durant, arguably the best players in the NBA right now," Wiggins said Tuesday, according to FSN. "So it's never bad to be compared to them, especially at a young age."

All the comparisons in the world can be made, but one thing is certain: Minnesota's trio has a long way to go to reach an elite level.

A good starting point would be beating the Thunder Wednesday night at Target Center.

Next Up

Minneapolis police

Woman found shot dead in Minneapolis parking ramp identified

Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the incident.

ambulance, crash

Victims of triple-fatal Maple Grove crash ID'd as woman, 2 toddlers

The single-vehicle crash happened just before 7 a.m. Saturday, May 8.

Ray McNeary

Charges: St. Cloud bank robber wanted to 'go viral,' become 'a martyr'

Police were in a standoff with him at the Wells Fargo bank for more than 8 hours.

MSU-Mankato hockey, Minnesota State, Mavericks

Minnesota State to host St. Thomas at Hockey Day Minnesota 2022

The newly-formed CCHA will have a marquee matchup in its inaugural season

rocky taconite-silver bay

Six of the weirdest roadside attractions in Minnesota

From a two-story outhouse to a squad car's crash with a UFO, here's a list of some of the state's weirdest attractions.

boys volleyball

MSHSL to vote on adding girls wrestling, boys volleyball tournaments

A two-thirds majority vote is needed to pass the proposals.

restaurant-602894_1280

Shakopee restaurant owner charged with 58 tax crimes

The woman, from Savage, is accused of underreporting sales to avoid tax.

gofundme - abdullahi photo

Second suspect, a 17-year-old girl, arrested in Moorhead taxi driver's killing

Abdullahi Abdullahi was found dead in his taxi last week.

Wild

Big playoff implications for the Wild Monday night

Minnesota wraps up the regular season Wednesday-Thursday in St. Louis.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 5.44.29 PM

Brooklyn Center mayor proposes policing reform, including unarmed traffic enforcement

The resolution includes sweeping changes to policing in the wake of Daunte Wright's death.

Related