Plenty Of Opportunities On The Court With New D-League Team

by Kyle Ratke

Digital Content Manager


The Minnesota Timberwolves unveiled the new identity and team logo for their D-League team on Wednesday, the Iowa Wolves.

There are plenty of positives for the franchise having a D-League team in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s less than a four-hour drive away. It helps expand the fan base. And it’s an excuse for a web editor to make the drive and stop at a Dairy Queen both on the way there and back.

But the biggest positives come on the court.

“This is a big day for us. . . Our goal is to win a championship and in order to do that there are a number of things you have to have,” Wolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau said. “ . . . (Getting a D-League Team) was one we felt we needed and (Glen Taylor) promised he would do it, so I want to thank him for doing that.”

For the Timberwolves, the backbone of the organization comes from players coming from the “minor leagues.”

The team’s roster during its first two seasons of existence in 1989-91 under Bill Musselman (spent more than a decade coaching in the minor leagues) included plenty of players who paid their dues. Players like Scott Brooks, Sidney Lowe, Tony Campbell, Sam Mitchell and Tod Murphy. Thibodeau was an assistant coach on that team.

With having a D-League (soon-to-be G-League) team, Thibodeau will be able to implement his team’s offensive and defensive concepts at the ground level. So, if young players are playing for the Iowa Wolves, they’ll be learning the same things they’d have learned under Thibodeau’s coaching staff in Minneapolis.

“This will now allow us to run our own system,” Thibodeau said. “When players, I don’t want to say move down, they’re going to be moving to development. It’s a phase in which they can get playing time, which is an important part of any player establishing themselves as a pro. It’s a way to learn the game. Often times, you don’t have playing time available.”

It can also be a benefit to veteran players.

“We can use it also from the standpoint of when a veteran gets injured, we can send him to recover. Part of the rehab (to) practice with that team,” Thibodeau said.

There are plenty of opportunities for Thibodeau and the franchise to benefit from the Iowa Wolves. If Wednesday is any indication, Thibodeau can’t wait to see how those opportunities unfold.