The Five Keys To Making the Minnesota Timberwolves Contenders
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been rebuilding since 2006.
They rebuilt around Kevin Garnett, then traded him, they rebuilt around Al Jefferson, but now he may not be the answer. When does it end?
When do the Timberwolves finally put themselves in real contention for the NBA Championship?
Here are the five things the Wolves need to do to put themselves in real contention for the title.
5. The Fans
Look at all of those empty seats. This photo was taken on the season opener for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota is a basketball town. The people in this city love to play some ball, and they love to see some ball. The problem is, they're not seeing a whole lot of good basketball played this season.
The Trailblazers and Thunder are teams that Minnesota should admire, both because they are young playoff teams, and because their stadiums are filled game in and game out.
A noisy arena can make a tough game even tougher for the opposition, but silence is what really drives a road team, and based on the Timberwolves' current fan base, the teams already have a 10-point lead when the game starts.
4. A Real Center
Minnesota competes with one of two systems.
One where the two 6'10" PFs, Kevin Love and Al Jefferson, try to play PF and Center, or they bench Love and play Hollins.
Neither are the real answer.
Should the Wolves get rid of Jefferson? It's not necessary, but it'd probably help.
I keep saying that Jefferson is a forward playing like a center, and that Love is a forward playing like a forward. It's easier to find a center to play like a center to play with Love, than it is to find a center who plays like a forward (i.e. Dirk Nowitzki type of player).
Regardless, the Wolves lack a real center for their team, and whether getting rid of Jefferson or Love gets them one, they won't be a playoff team until a center is acquired.
3. An Offensive Wing
The Wolves don't necessarily NEED Evan Turner (in the picture), but he'd be a great fit in Minnesota. The Wolves do need a wing, and he's projected at #2, the pick the Wolves are most likely to get.
The Timberwolves have five players with some potential star power. Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Corey Brewer, Jonny Flynn, and Ramon Sessions.
Two PGs, two PFs, and a SF/SG. Not the makings of a real competitive squad.
Granted, the Wolves do have a lot of talent, but they lack a solid wing that can consistently score, and bring in an explosive offensive presence.
If the Wolves can get a solid defender and a ridiculously good scorer, they can pair him next to Brewer, and have the makings of a great frontcourt.
2. The Superstar
What hypes up a team is wins. That's the key. But while a distraction never helps, a player that can put on a show is what the Wolves need.
Kevin Garnett sold tickets. People loved coming to watch him play, he'd silence opposing crowds, he'd intimidate the opposing teams. He was perfect. The Timberwolves have never had another player like him.
And they need one. Badly.
The Wolves have one opportunity right in front of their faces to get the flash that will put that aspect to rest; Ricky Rubio.
While Rubio may not turn out to be the caliber player that Garnett was for the Timberwolves, no one in Minnesota will miss the opportunity to watch him play.
Other teams would easily get their hopes of winning shut down by a Rubio-Brewer alley-oop. Rubio gives the superstar factor that the Wolves need so desperately.
Well that seems obvious doesn't it? Well, it's not that simple.
The Wolves have been used to losing. Eventually, that pattern can carry over even when they get a talent upgrade.
Jefferson has spent five years in the league. He has been on a team with a loosing record for all five of those years.
He has made the playoffs in none of those years.
That can really do a number on a player in the NBA. If you don't know the formula to win in the playoffs, you can't have a successful team.
And if the Wolves don't get to .500 soon, Flynn and Love will just get the same effect.
So the Wolves need a lot of things.
It starts with a complete talent UPGRADE. We don't need to start from scratch, the Wolves have a solid base of some core players, but they may not have their best player yet.
They need to figure out some of their starters, distinguish which of their current players could start on a championship squad, then they can start winning.
The Wolves need a bigger fan base, which comes from getting some showcase players, and a lot more wins.