Minnesota Timberwolves Making Moves to Be a Contender in the West This Year

Joshua Moeschl@jmoeschl7Correspondent IIIAugust 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29:  Andrey Kirilenko #15 of Russia in action against Great Britain during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on July 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One of the most active teams in the NBA this off season has to be the Minnesota Timberwolves. General manager David Kahn is trying to stack talent around super star Kevin Love. At some point, you have to start thinking about now, not the future, and it appears that time is now.

The Wolves potential opening day starting lineup will be Alexey Shved at the point, Brandon Roy at the two, Andrei Kirilenko at the three, Kevin Love at the four, and Nikola Pekovic at center. That, on paper, is a pretty formidable lineup. 

That lineup puts the shortest player on the court, Shved, at 6'6". I haven't done the math, but that must make them one of the tallest starting lineups in basketball.

Obviously, the season's success will depend on two things: The return of Ricky Rubio and what Roy and Kirilenko have left in the tank. 

Kirilenko has been playing like he is in his prime in the Olympics. He dropped 35 points in Russia's opening game. Shved had 16 points and 13 assists. On the surface, it is looking like a couple of very good signings by Kahn.

Roy has been playing well in summer league games, but the test for him will be endurance. Will his repaired knees allow him to be on the floor for 82 games? If Kirilenko can be an offensive threat, Roy can have a smaller role. Ideally, Minnesota would like to see Roy playing around 20 minutes per game. If he can give them 14 points per game, it will be a huge addition.

Coach Rick Adelman has built this squad to attack defenses in waves. The idea will be to absorb opposing teams' runs and come back with their own. The NBA is about maintaining your composure when your opposition goes on a run. 

With these new additions, I expect the Wolves to be back in the playoffs in 2013.