If anything has been learned from the first seven games of the season, it’s that the Minnesota Timberwolves are much stronger now than they were last season.
If that fact wasn’t evidenced by the Timberwolves' hectic offseason and the new names that we see in the starting lineup, their 5-2 record has made it clear that they’re serious about being cellar-dwellers no longer.
A big part of getting to this point is the fact that the Timberwolves are heading into the 2012-13 campaign with just seven of the players that they ended the 2011-12 campaign with.
It’s not like they just replaced the benchwarmers, either. With Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love out for at least another month, the majority of the players that are seeing significant playing time weren’t even on the team last season.
David Kahn and the rest of the Wolves' management did a fantastic job of picking players that are going to help the talent level—as well as the chemistry level—of the team skyrocket.
With the injuries stacking up for the team, however, the flexibility and overall strength of the roster is going to be heavily tested. The big-name acquisitions are going to have to prove their worth without the help of Love and Rubio.
It’s trial through fire.
I’m going to review the players that need to step up while Love, Rubio and Chase Budinger recuperate. Even with these injuries, the team is still impressing. That should be a major indication of just how good this team really is going to be when May and the playoffs roll around.
And bear in mind, any of the following numbers and stats are through the first nine games of the season.