Minnesota Timberwolves Strong Enough to Compete in Tough Northwest Division

Kaleb SmithCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2012

The NBA’s Northwest Division is packed with a tight core of teams fighting for playoff spots. 

In current standings, the Minnesota Timberwolves are third in the division. A final position of at least third in the division hasn't been achieved by the Wolves since the Kevin Garnett era.

However, Minnesota is currently out of the playoff picture if postseason play started today.

With the string of wins, the rising talent of Derrick Williams and Kevin Love continuing to raise the bar, it seems Minnesota can taste the postseason. 

And, the Timberwolves have plenty of firepower to compete at the next level.

Kevin Love is an all-around great power forward. In fact, Charles Barkley believes that Love is the best in the NBA. He has single-handedly propel the Wolves to victories.

Furthermore, as Ricky Rubio continues to learn the ways of the NBA, the offense thrives from his uncanny passing ability. And, when healthy, Nikola Pekovic brings another low post threat to the team, which takes pressure off of Love and eliminates the annoying double teams. 

The latest surprise is Derrick Williams' ability to elevate and open the offense.

In two huge wins against the  Los Angeles Clippers, the second-overall pick from the 2011 NBA draft reminded us that he has superstar potential. Williams averaged 21 points in those two games on 13-of-19 shooting from the field, including going 7-for-11 from behind the arc. Williams was also 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the pair of wins.

Rick Adelman seems to have found a perfect fit for Williams.

What the Wolves lack is a shooting guard. Too many inconsistencies flow between Wes Johnson and Martell Webster. There are too many mental errors, poor shot selection and streaky play.

Minnesota lacks a shooter who can stretch the floor. Love can stretch the floor, willingly and with talent, yet is another thing he shouldn't have to do but does. 

Everyone—starters, bench, rookies, veterans—are able to produce, yet too much pressure remains on Love.

The Wolves need to find a consistent shooter to stretch the defense, but he is not on the roster yet. 

Behind Adelman's coaching talent, the Minnesota Timberwolves have already proven their ability to compete.  

And, with the likes of a potential MVP in Kevin Love, the Wolves next move is to surpass the Denver Nuggets for second place in the division, which would be good enough to snag a playoff spot.