Keys To The Wolf Den: Al Jefferson's Charge Will Speak Volumes About Wolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves suffered a setback when the Timberwolves star Al Jefferson was arrested for a DWI, pending a court charge in April, and followed by a two-game suspension that will leave the Wolves without their leading scorer, and second leading rebounder.
"I want to apologize to the entire Timberwolves organization, owner Glen Taylor, my teammates, coaches and Wolves fans everywhere for my actions last night. I made a very poor decision and I am truly sorry for that. As a leader on this team, I know that more is expected of me, and I am disappointed in myself. I will learn from my mistake so that it does not happen again. I fully understand and support the organization's disciplinary action. I will continue to work both on and off the court to be the best person I can be."
Without Jefferson, the Minnesota Timberwolves will rely on Ryan Gomes, Ryan Hollins, Kevin Love, and Darko Milicic to contribute in the frontcourt—especially Love.
Love, arguably the best rebounding power forward in the NBA, is averaging 15 PPG and 11 RPG, shooting 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from the three-point line. He's only 21 years old and clearly has all-star potential written all over him. Although extremely talented, Love has only played 35-plus minutes twice this season, and seeing that he's only averaging 29 MPG, his production per/40 is leading the NBA in rebounds.
Slam Magazine has stated that Love is the Wolves future star; his numbers would suggest so, and possibly an increased role seeing that Jefferson is out. This will provide a small sample as to how the Wolves will look with Love playing the majority of the minutes at the power forward position.
Love does a ton of fundamental things, such as boxing out much bigger opponents, throwing outlet passes, and making an honest effort on the defensive end. It will be interesting to see how Love will handle more minutes. But he won't be alone.
Milicic, acquired with cash considerations for Brian Cardinal, has helped the Wolves in more fundamental ways, providing size and unorthodox play to compliment very little knowledge in the triangle offense, yet is enough to blend in because of his basketball I.Q.
Having not played for three months, Milicic gets winded within 10 minutes of intense basketball play, but despite that has averaged 4.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.2 BPG in 20 MPG.
It's possible that the production, stats wise, are limited due to his conditioning, but as a Timberwolf, he's already leading the Wolves in blocks, and still has to get acclimated to the triangle offense that took the Wolves two months to crack 100-plus points on a regular basis.
These two games should provide the young Wolves with a sense of urgency, hopefully using these last 20 games as a learning experience to get ready for next season. With that being said, here should be the lineup for the next two games.
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