The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly have new uniforms in the works. No launch date has been announced, although the earliest and most logical time frame would be for the new look to be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season.
But why should we wait that long? We recently challenged Uni Watch readers to redesign the Timberwolves' threads. Here are some of the best and most interesting submissions we received. In each case, you can click on the image to see a larger version of it.
Best overall concept: Paul Crary and Ian Babineau
This entry is, admittedly, a bit of a ringer. Paul Crary and Ian Babineau originally came up with their concept last fall -- not for a contest, but just because they're passionate Timberwolves fans who thought the team could benefit from a new look. They created their own website and Twitter feed and generated a bit of buzz among the team's fan community. So they had plenty of time to refine their idea and didn't have to work under the same time constraints as our other entrants.
But this concept is too good to ignore. For starters, in an era filled with snarling mascot logos, Crary and Babineau dared to put as much emphasis on "timber" as on "wolves," with really strong results. The repeated use of stacked triangles -- sometimes to create trees, sometimes to create a wolf's face, sometimes to create a snowflake pattern -- is ingeniously simple, and the designs are embedded with additional symbolism, as illustrated in this animation:
It's a really clever concept, especially compared to the default wolf's head approach. You can see more on Crary and Babineau's website.
Best Golden State-style design: Brian Carlson
The Warriors have one of the NBA's most interesting uniform designs, and Brian Carlson was clearly drawing upon that for his Timberwolves submission. It may be derivative (and he would have been better off putting the team name on top and the state name on the bottom, instead of the other way around), but it works!
Carlson's road design is pretty sharp as well. If a wolf is going to be howling, he's going to be doing it at night, right? So here's a rare case in which a black uniform feels like a logical design choice instead of a lazy cliché.
Best NBA-ready logos: Jesse Nunez
The NBA has gone bonkers for roundel-based logos in recent years, so Jesse Nunez's proposed logos would fit right in. Some people may like this approach more than others, but you have to admit that these designs feel very much in tune with the league's current design sensibility, and look very "official" as a result.
Best no-frills design: Matt Harvey
Straightforward, traditional designs are often overlooked in uniform competitions, and you could even argue that a relatively young franchise like the Timberwolves shouldn't go with a classic-style uniform. But if they wanted to go that route, they could do a lot worse than to use Matt Harvey's design, which feels like a more mature, grown-up distillation of the team's previous looks. His green and black alternate uni concepts are handsome as well, although it might have been nice if he had cut loose with a more adventurous concept for one of them.
Best use of "W" and "M": Dom Veurink
The letters "W" and "M" are essentially inverted versions of each other, and they can also stand for "Wolves" and "Minnesota." So Dom Veurink came up with a nifty stylized "W" logo for his home jersey and then flipped it upside-down for his road jersey. Not bad! (And while we're at it, Sandro Tagliavini devised an "MW" mark that doubles as a wolf's head.)
Honorable mention: Wolves howl at the moon and NBA team logos almost always include a basketball, so Daniel Richardson came up with a logo concept that combines the moon and the ball. Needs a bit of work, but it's a good concept. ... Most of the logo concepts we received showed a wolf's head either snarling directly at the viewer or pointing upward, in full howl. Joel Jenson got his logo to stand out from the pack simply by showing the wolf's head in profile, pointing forward. He then included an upward-howl pose for one of his secondary logos -- a smart approach. ... Neon, volt, electricity -- by any name, fluorescent green and yellow tones are all the rage these days. They usually look pretty awful, but Greg Koch managed to harness them to surprisingly good effect in his logo package and his home and road uniforms. The only problem is that the combination of navy and neon feels too Seattle Seahawks-ish. ... As usual, Tom Bierbaum submitted drawings that included great designs for opposing teams. Check out his concepts for the Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder (who would change their name to the Bolts in Bierbaum's alternate universe). ... John Richardson's uniform concepts look like they'd be right at home in the old ABA. ... Tom Kyle's black alternate uniform is suitably spooky.
Want to see more? You can check out all of the submissions we received here.
Paul Lukas will have more team-redesign contests soon. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.