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Less than three calendar years ago, the Wolves were mired in one of the worst stretches of their history. That's an unflattering label for a franchise that had produced plenty of competition for misery.

Between Dec. 1, 2019 and April 21, 2021 — spanning most of two seasons, with the start of a global pandemic mixed in — Minnesota went a combined 25-81. They were searching for just about anyone to join forces with Karl-Anthony Towns and (in the second year) Anthony Edwards, and they gave heavy minutes to an unholy collection of youngsters, journeymen and past-their-prime veterans.

To close out that 2020-21 season, with Chris Finch having taken over midyear for the fired Ryan Saunders, the Wolves went 7-5. Then they had the unexpected fun of making the playoffs the next season, followed by the relative disappointment of last year's 42-win playoff team.

Given where this franchise has been for virtually all of the last 20 years, shouldn't the only default setting for this year's 40-17 team be pure joy?

If only the mind — and sports fandom — worked that way.

I've struggled to answer this question in a lot of contexts. Then I read the beginning chapters of Michael Easter's book, "The Comfort Crisis."

In talking to Harvard psychologist David Levari, Easter writes about something Levari calls "prevalence-induced concept change." If that sounds fancy, Easter gives a nice description shortly after introducing the concept:

As we experience fewer problems, we don't become more satisfied. We just lower our threshold for what we consider a problem. We end up with the same number of troubles. Except our new problems are progressively more hollow.

It explains countless things in life, like getting frustrated when a web page won't load after five seconds when it used to take two minutes during the early days of the Internet — and getting the information would have required a trip to the library or locating a stone tablet at different points in history.

We quickly adapt to a new normal, and things that once seemed like luxuries become problems.

What does this have to do with the Timberwolves? Now that they are undoubtedly a successful team, we (fans, the media) are inventing new problems instead of focusing squarely on their success.

Can the Wolves stay healthy? What if they run into a veteran team like the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs? How can they fix the late-game offense? Will they be able to keep the roster together next year?

That's not to say the questions aren't valid. But just think of the questions being asked three years ago. Can they find five players who look like they have ever played basketball together? Are they ever going to win another game?

Worrying about a 40-17 team isn't just Minnesota sports fan pessimism. It's wired into human psychology, probably as a defense mechanism from back when we were worried constantly about being eaten by lions.

It's just less useful now with the Wolves.

Here are four more things to know today:

* On Monday's Daily Delivery podcast Patrick Reusse and I got some more mileage out of Joe Pohlad's comments on the Twins' payroll, which Reusse wrote about over the weekend. My big takeaway: Even if saying the Twins weren't going to go after any of the big names still out there was true and logical, it was unnecessary.

* We also talked about the Gophers' loss at Nebraska on Sunday. Marcus Fuller has a good second-day story on Minnesota's lack of intensity in that game, which bothered coach Ben Johnson.

* It's NFL Combine time, and Ben Goessling sets the stage nicely for what's at stake this year for the Vikings. In case anyone was wondering about the health of Kirk Cousins coming off his Achilles injury, he put out a video on social media Monday showing off his mobility and throwing. I'm sure it was just a coincidence that it came out now, as negotiations are likely to ramp up.

* Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins will join Tuesday's show to talk more about Caitlin Clark mania. The Iowa star will play at a sold out Williams Arena on Wednesday against the Gophers.