When last year's NBA schedule came out around this time in 2018, expectations for the Timberwolves were made clear: They were slated to appear nationally on ESPN, ABC or TNT a combined 13 times.
While that's not even close to the number for the likes of Golden State, it reflected that the Wolves were coming off a 47-win season and playoff berth — and had every reason to believe Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Co. would continue to contend and be good for ratings.
We know what happened next, of course: Butler drama, Butler trade, Tom Thibodeau fired and a 36-win season. The Wolves are now in another reboot under Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders. Expectations? If national TV is any indication they are far from sky-high.
Minnesota has just one game on ESPN, ABC and TNT combined this year — a Jan. 24 game against Houston on ESPN.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.