There’s something special happening with the Minnesota Timberwolves to start the season.
It’s not just that they defeated the Brooklyn Nets in the season opener despite a 50-point effort from Kyrie Irving. It’s not just that they followed their first victory with a convincing beatdown of Charlotte two nights later.
The Timberwolves are starting to resemble an actualized version of the team NBA fans have been waiting for them to develop into for years now. Karl-Anthony Towns is a dark-horse MVP candidate, Josh Okogie is a legitimate threat off the bench and Robert Covington is an excellent piece to experiment with in the lineup.
But what’s becoming clear is how much more this roster is than the sum of its parts. It’s the close, family-type setting in the locker room that shows the true strength of the team.
Take the scene that unfolded on Friday night after defeating the Hornets 121-99 on the road. The night marked the four-year anniversary of the death of team president and head coach Flip Saunders. Despite never getting a chance to play for him, Towns took the moment to step up, deliver a speech and hand the game ball to his current coach — and Flip’s son — Ryan Saunders.
Some wins have more meaning than others.— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 26, 2019
This one was for the Saunders family. pic.twitter.com/tc9754PPVQ
“As a team we want to say something,” Towns begins. “Four years ago your father joined the angels up in heaven. We really, as a team, when we came in the huddle out there, and especially on the court, we said we wanted to get this ‘W’ for you and your family. So we made sure to grab the game ball for you and your family.”
Rather than try to start a new chapter, the Timberwolves are embracing what they’ve already been through and staying grounded because of it. In accepting the game ball, Saunders shared his appreciation for the fact that the team is still committed to his father’s memory and acknowledged how much they’ve all been through together.
“My dad would say, he’d be proud of where this team is going,” Saunders told his players. “He’d say we’ve got to look forward with this team. This team can do something special.”
They ended the moment by huddling up and yelling “Flip” on three. These are the Timberpups no longer. And the way things are going, It won’t be the last special moment they deliver to Minnesota this season.
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