Tom Gugliotta led the team with 20.6 points and 8.7 rebounds in the regular season. (NBA Photos)
While their postseason stay was short (they were swept by the Houston Rockets in the first round), it rekindled the city's interest in basketball and lifted a huge burden off the shoulders an entire franchise, and in particular guard Doug West, the only remaining player from the team's inception in 1989.
The team's performance was no fluke. Built around versatile forwards Tom Gugliotta and Kevin Garnett and rookie point guard Stephon Marbury, the Wolves looked poised to appear in the postseason for years to come.
Gugliotta and Garnett became the first players to represent the Timberwolves in an All-Star Game. Gugliotta averaged 20.6 points and 8.7 rebounds, leading the team in both categories, and carrying the Wolves during the early going. Garnett, only 20 years old, averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.12 blocks, establishing himself as one of the league's bright young superstars. Another future superstar emerged in Marbury, who averaged 15.8 points and finished 10th in the NBA in assists with 7.8 per game.
A less heralded rookie, center Dean Garrett, had played internationally in Greece before McHale signed him. The league's oldest rookie that year at age 31, Garrett averaged 8.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 57.3 percent from the field.
Garrett got away at season's end, signing a free agent contract with the Denver Nuggets. The Timberwolves made every effort to make sure the same wouldn't happen to Garnett, signing him to a six-year contract extension.