While Thanksgiving has come and gone, Minnesota Timberwolves fans have plenty to be happy about. Despite going 5-7 with a pretty terrible losing streak, their record is a very good one considering the injury epidemic that occurred in Target Center. With big wins against Brooklyn and Indiana, the Wolves have managed to stay competitive in the cutthroat Western Conference.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why the Timberwolves can be thankful.
Not since pre-Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams have I seen Andrei Kirilenko get himself so involved with a team's offense. That season spent in CSKA Moscow really did wonders for his confidence and is helping to re-establish himself as one of the best two-way players in the NBA.
He is posting a 2.8 WP (Wins Produced), second only to Kevin Durant. His efficiency on offense combined with his terrific help defense (one of the best in the NBA) has changed the culture of an otherwise languishing team.
AK47 can be credited as the primary catalyst for Minnesota being competitive to start the season.
Kevin Love makes his surprise return versus the Nuggets.
Minnesota's star player made his return earlier than expected, giving Minnesota fans a holiday miracle. While he posted some monster numbers (34 points and 14 rebounds), his team ended up coming short against a struggling Denver team.
Hopefully, the chemistry can adapt and change to accommodate Love. His rebounding will help the Wolves score more second-chance points, and most importantly, it will stretch the floor for players like Pekovic to get one-on-one matchups in the low post. This might be the year that Love's yearnings for a playoff victory are fulfilled.
Rick Adelman is one of the great coaches in NBA history. His "corner" offense, a hybrid Princeton/EuroBall system, has gotten teams with average talent to overachieve. He has done the exact same so far this season with the rash of injuries that has struck Minny.
With more and more of his roster on the mend, it will be nice to see if he can recreate some of his Portland/Sacramento magic in Minnesota.
Another one of the reasons that Minnesota has been able to have relative success is due to the extensive depth at almost every position on the roster. Overachievers like Luke Ridnour and Dante Cunningham have helped fill in big gaps in the starting positions while Malcolm Lee and Alexy Shved have played a surprisingly large amount of minutes.
Finally, you have Derrick Williams, the 2011 second overall pick. He has plenty of potential and ability, he just has to find the magic concoction of consistency.
Minnesota sports usually has some pretty low expectations regarding championship aspirations. In fact, the Minnesota Lynx are the last team to win a championship in recent times. While the Wolves may not be looking to get to the NBA Championships, they believe that they have the talent to go into the playoffs and do some serious damage.
While the current depression might not help them with this, it definitely shouldn't last. When was the last time that you heard that from a Timberwolves team?