Timberwolves are worth watching again now that they’ve got Jimmy Butler
Get ready for the basketball version of Jimmy Jam in Minneapolis
NEW YORK — Say hello to the basketball version of Jimmy Jam, Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Timberwolves stole the spotlight of the 2017 NBA draft Thursday night in Brooklyn by acquiring Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Jimmy Butler. The Wolves suddenly have a superstar trio with Butler, 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns and 2015 Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins. With Butler reunited with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, the Wolves look poised to be a playoff team for the first time since 2004.
So, will famed music producer and longtime Wolves fan James “Jimmy Jam” Harris allow Butler to use his nickname with Minnesota?
“Yeah, for the cut of the action,” Harris, a Minneapolis native, told The Undefeated with a laugh. “[Former NBA player] Jimmy Jackson had a poster when he played that said ‘Jimmy Jam,’ and he called me for permission to use it.”
The name “Jimmy Jam” is not trademarked.
The Bulls have been shopping Butler for months. The Boston Celtics had been rumored as a possible suitor, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown interest recently. But Thibodeau, the Wolves’ president and coach, persisted in working to get his old shooting guard back with him.
Butler averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists for the Bulls last season. The three-time NBA All-Star has also made the NBA All-Defensive second team three times. The Wolves also got the No. 16 overall pick (Creighton center Justin Patton), while the Bulls received two talented young guards in Kris Dunn and injured former dunk champion Zach LaVine, as well as the No. 7 overall pick (7-foot Arizona sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen).
The Wolves haven’t been worth paying attention to since the days of Kevin Garnett, Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell. The well-rounded and athletic Towns has the talent to be a top-10 player in the NBA; expect him to make his first All-Star appearance next season. Butler is already one of the NBA’s elite guards. There won’t be many third scorers in the NBA more intimidating than Wiggins. The wild card is often-injured point guard Ricky Rubio, whom the Wolves were shopping on draft night. Add Gorgui Dieng to the mix at center and Minnesota now has size, scoring, athleticism and a fun young team to watch.
Jimmy Jam was a regular at Wolves home games when his brother-in-law Garnett was starring there. Will Jimmy Jam take off work from Los Angeles to see Jimmy Jam and the Wolves?
“I like the combo of ‘Thibs’ and Butler,” Harris said. “It gives defined leadership. Wigs and KAT seem like they can get along with anybody, and Rubio can distribute as long as he thinks he’s gonna get traded.
“I’m happy he’s back with Thibs. I’m a fan of the team, but not sure how many games I will actually make. I’m sort of busy.”