Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
J.J. Barea, Malcolm Lee, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams
This group has the expectations to be even better in 2012-13 before even considering the new additions.
Hopefully Rubio will be able to play a full 82 games this year, and make the leap that most second year players with solid rookie seasons do. If he plays his cards right, he could be making quite a few appearances during All-Star weekend, as a repeat in the Rookie/Sophomore game and possibly as a member of the Skills Challenge or even the All-Star Game.
Derrick Williams will hopefully make a huge climb in his second season, and his offseason developments (losing 15 lbs and reconstructive nose surgery) would indicate that he's trying very hard to become an NBA small forward.
Pekovic only started to emerge midway through the Timberwolves season last year. He missed a considerable number of games due to injuries as well. If he can play a full 82 at the same or an improved level for the Timberwolves, that would be a huge upgrade from the 47 he was able to play during the 2011-12 campaign.
Barea and Ridnour both played as the perfect backups to Ricky Rubio, and hopefully they will continue to do so. Lee had some great games in the preseason, but never seemed to flourish once the regular season hit. If he can show some improved production, he could become a second-round steal.
And as for Love, he's proven himself to be the best power forward in the league last year. If he stays consistent or improves at all, the Timberwolves fans will be more than happy.