Minnesota Timberwolves: 30 Teams in 30 Days

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Minnesota Timberwolves: 30 Teams in 30 Days
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2008 Statistics

Finished 24-58, fourth in Northwest Division, 11th in Western Conference

Missed Postseason

Key Additions

Ricky Rubio via draft, Jonny Flynn via draft, Wayne Ellington via draft, Henk Norel via draft, Chucky Atkins via trade, Mark Blount via trade, Olekisy Pecherov via trade, Damien Wilkins via trade, Ryan Hollins via free agency

Key Losses

Mike Miller via trade, Randy Foye via trade, Sebastian Telfair via trade, Craig Smith via trade, Mark Madsen via trade

As you can tell, the Minnesota Timberwolves are relying a lot on youth. They had one of the busiest drafts and picked up arguably the two top point guards and one of the top shooters as well.

There moves were extremely questionable on drafting three point guards, before trading Ty Lawson away, and even if Rubio decides to come to Minnesota and leave Euro League basketball, neither one of the two can become a shooting guard.

They had no depth at the point guard spot prior the draft, but now might come across problems later on when they have two of the most talented, young guards on it's team with each looking to become a starter.

Rubio has been heralded for his play in Europe as a professional basketball player before he could even drive, in fact he was on the national team from Spain that won Silver at the Beijing Olympics when he was 17.

He averaged 10 points and six assists last year while playing in Europe and is known as the next Pistol Pete Maravich because of his explosiveness and ability to create passes.

Even though Rubio can rack up the assists, his shot could come as a huge problem. He is not a quality shooter and is not known for a decent mid-range game. His slow release comes into question as well, elite and average defenders in the NBA can stop that in no time and force Rubio to take bad shots.

He is going to need to develop if he wants to succeed in this league, but as of right now he is still a quality point guard with plenty of potential to become an all-star.

Jonny Flynn was a standout at Syracuse University and averaged 17 points and seven assists in his last year with the college.

Flynn is a quality point guard who can create his own shot and pass with ease. Problems could arise with his size as he is only 6'0" tall, but if he is able to attack and create his own shot at the NBA level, then his size should not come into question as much.

Young talent could bring this team back to the playoffs and make them a legitimate team again. With the likes of Kevin Love and a healthy Al Jefferson back, Minnesota has the talent to steal a low postseason spot in the near future.

Jefferson, who came to the Timberwolves two years ago in the Kevin Garnett trade had his career blossom as soon as he came to Minnesota. He averaged a then career high of 21 points in his first year with the team, and was averaging 23 points, 11 points and a little under two blocks before succumbing to injury with 30 games left in the regular season.

Jefferson is a future all-star and could be the next premiere center or power forward. The impact he has on the team is monumental, the T'Wolves lost 23 of their next 30 games, all of those games without Jefferson in the lineup. Only two of those wins that they managed came against teams with winning records.

He is a bit undersized for the center spot standing at only 6'10", but he has a decent short and mid-range jumper which causes problems for centers with minimal length and speed. He has a superior post up game as well, which is great for a player of his size.

The T'Wolves traded OJ Mayo for Kevin Love in last years draft and it is working out great for both sides. Many thought that Love would not be fast enough to keep up with the NBA and that his rebounding could come into question, but he has transitioned very well as one of the NBA's top young, big men.

Love averaged 11 points and nine rebounds last year and was fourth in offensive rebounds per game averaging a little over three. He still needs to improve on his blocking ability, which could come with experience.

Ryan Gomes is another part of this youthful Minnesota team and has developed nicely since being drafted in 2005. Since coming along in the KG trade, he has improved every year and averaged a career high 13 points last year starting at the small forward spot. He is expected to be the starter once again in the upcoming 2009-'10 season.

The team used to be a playoff team year after year, but would never be a legitimate championship contender. They advanced deep in the 2003-'04 season and made it to the conference finals, it was the last time they made it.

As Kevin Garnett's will to play for a team that did not surround him with any talent decreased, so did the teams success. They haven't had a winning season since 2004 and have posted some of their worst records in the past two years with no Garnett on the team.

The T'Wolves two towers in the low post can cause problems for any opponent and with the top teams of the Western Conference aging, Minnesota could become a top seed if it's point guards and big men develop into the NBA superstars they are aspired to be.

 

Projected Starting  Lineup

PG-Jonny Flynn/Ricky Rubio

SG-Damien Wilkins/Wayne Ellington

SF-Ryan Gomes

PF-Al Jefferson

C-Kevin Love

This is part 17 of a 30-day series of 2009-10 season previews of each NBA team. My profile will contain every other team that has been previewed before.

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