Sports Illustrated names Timberwolves among NBA's least hated teams. Thanks?

Perhaps one day the Wolves will be worthy of hatred.

Perhaps one day the Wolves will be worthy of hatred.

The Minnesota Timberwolves could use a little mercy. A decade removed from a winning season, the hometown hoops squad is coming off one of its worst seasons in franchise history. Despite a wealth of intriguing young talent, it’s hard to envision the baby-faced ballers contending for a title in the immediate future.

With the regular season three weeks away, Sports Illustrated ranked the teams fans most love to hate. While the top spots largely went to recent or historical heavyweights, our perennial rebuilders finished in the bottom three, a group collectively deemed “patently inoffensive.” According to the sports mag, the only teams less worthy of disdain are the “legitimately promising” Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors, composed of “thoroughly forgettable” players.

Here’s what Sports Illustrated’s Ian Levy had to say about our harmless T-Pups:

What is there to hate? The Timberwolves will invariably be one of the worst teams in the league as they struggle to figure out how to build their youthful talent into something meaningful. Their coach is battling cancer. Their two young stars — Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns —are unassuming and driven. Even Kevin Garnett has made himself into a sympathetic elder statesman. Imagine that!

Generally not being hated is nice. But in sports, animosity is often reserved for winners, such as SI’s most maligned Los Angeles Lakers, whose fall from grace delighted fans outside of Hollywood. The Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and Houston Rockets — where former Wolves GM and head coach Kevin McHale plays sideline commander — follow the Lakers as the NBA’s most hated teams.

Timberwolves castaway and Lebron acquaintance Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers landed at No. 5.

Should the stars align, maybe one day Towns will become the Shaq to Wiggins’ Kobe and banners later the Wolves will command league-wide enmity. Or we’ll blow lottery picks until Wiggins bails for greener pastures and we’ll throw another pity party in 10 years.