Welcome to the big leagues, Minnesota Timberwolves.
This isn’t about their recent play, which has been pretty spiffy as of recently, or the renovations going on at Target Center, which also project to be spiffy, but another purchase made by Wolves Owner Glen Taylor.
Taylor and the team on Monday announced that the Timberwolves were buying their D-League affiliate Iowa Energy, whom are based in Des Moines, Iowa. The Wolves are currently sharing the Energy with the Memphis Grizzlies which, yes, is as weird as it sounds.
The Wolves will be the 18th team in the NBA to have a direct D-League team. It will soon blossom to 19 with the expected announcement of a D-League expansion team from for the Grizzlies on Tuesday.
The NBA’s D-League has been kind of a joke since it’s creation, but that’s because the league wasn’t created effectively. It’s getting better, see the Wolves and Grizzlies moves as an example, but at the incarnation of the league most D-League teams were shared by multiple NBA teams. This is fine and dandy, except for the fact that it does not let teams set their own culture at every level.
With the Timberwolves solely being the beneficiaries of the Energy, the Wolves can know dictate virtually everything that goes on in Iowa. Important things like who plays and plays are run and very, very basic basketball things. It’s a true minor league system. The players can be virtually plug-and-play between the D-League and the NBA. There should be a very minimal learning curve systemically when the call comes. Plus, the Wolves couldn’t ask for a much better location for their D-League affiliate. Within a couple hours, a player can be to the Twin Cities by car. They can also carpool with any Minnesota Wild call-ups, as many pointed out on Twitter, because the Energy and Iowa Wild play in the same arena.
Systems are incredibly important in basketball. It’s crucial to have the right mentality to be ingrained in players’ heads. The best high school basketball teams have their elementary and middle-schoolers already working on the basics of the varsity squads tendencies so they are ready to go when they reach the big time. The Timberwolves have now set that up at a professional level.
This ain’t your older brothers Timberwolves anymore.