Timberwolves head coach and personnel boss Tom Thibodeau has shown an affinity for acquiring players he once coached in Chicago. Last season's Wolves had two ex-Bulls in the starting lineup (Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson) and two more in the backcourt in seldom-used Aaron Brooks and late addition Derrick Rose.

It's hard to argue against the results. Butler was the primary reason the Wolves improved by 16 victories last season and made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Gibson was everything the Wolves wanted. Even Rose provided more of a spark, particularly in the playoffs, than many envisioned.

All three are back this season. And they could be joined by more familiar faces if reports are true that Luol Deng and/or Joakim Noah could join the Wolves.

If so? There are worse ways to fill out a bench. As comedic fodder? Calling them the "Timberbulls" is too easy, and really not that funny.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. michael.rand@startribune.com.