By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Timberwolves put a wrap on their season on Monday, with a year-ending press conference with coach Tom Thibodeau.

A season that was a huge step forward for the team, finally ending their 14-year playoff drought. But this is a team built to do more than just make the playoffs.

So what plan do the Timberwolves have moving forward?

If you have to walk before you can run, well, to start walking, you have to take the first step before you can take the next.

“When you haven’t done something for 14 years, it’s a major step for our organization,” Thibodeau said. “When you lose for 14 years that says a lot. To change it, it’s a massive change in your culture. Very pleased with that, proud of what we’ve accomplished. But we obviously have to prepare to make the next step next year.”

So what’s that next step look like? Getting more out of their current corps, but also adding a few pieces. Specifically, Thibodeau says, wings who can shoot threes and play good defense.

But now at least, after so long, the foundation’s finally there.

“The big thing for our players, particularly the young guys who haven’t been in the playoffs before, I think once you get there, it does give you a better understanding of what it’s going to take moving forward,” Thibodeau said.

The Wolves won 47 games this season, their most since they last made the playoffs 14 years ago — and tied for their fifth-best year ever. And yet, there’s this feeling that it could’ve been better.

Jimmy Butler’s injury certainly hurt their playoff seeding, but even in an ultra-competitive Western Conference, taking that next step shouldn’t be a hope, but an expectation.

“Up to the All-Star break we were basically third. And then, we finished two games out of the third spot,” Thibodeau said. “So to make that next jump, we know we have to get better, we have to get a lot better. And those other teams, it’s not like they’re going to sit by idly.”

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