Fifteen wins. Sixty seven losses.
A starting lineup of Jonny Flynn, Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes, Kevin Love and Al Jefferson.
An all-star caliber center recovering from a ACL injury who is a bad fit for the offensive system, bench players as starters, who aren't even worthy of being called role players.
This pretty much sums up the Minnesota Timberwolves of last season.
To say that the Timberwolves won 15 games by luck is probably untrue however. They showed some dashes of brilliance with wins over the Dallas Mavericks, and two wins over the Utah Jazz. But more often than not, the Timberwolves had gathered an identity over the course of the season, but didn't have the depth, athleticism, and quite frankly the talent to even compete at a proper NBA level.
Looking at the depth of the Wolves from last season, there's not a free agent from the Wolves last season that has been signed by a NBA team thus far. Those players were Oleksiy Pecherov, Nathan Jawai, Sasha Pavlovic, Damien Wilkins etc. Even guys like Ryan Gomes were able to average 20+ minutes for the Timberwolves.
This is bad.
Add to the fact that Al Jefferson, who's revered as a low post beast and a 20 point 10 rebound guy who wasn't himself and had to share the post down low with Kevin Love, was recently traded, can't bode well for the Timberwolves this upcoming season according to many analysts.
It appears that the Wolves franchise player now, Love, is going to take over the reigns at power forward.
Analysts argue that if Love is going to be your leader, there is something seriously wrong. I disagree.
We're talking about a player that averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes per game last season. He has a lot to prove, and it's clear to see his has a lot of upside. He's arguably a better player in the NBA than he was in college. He's now playing with Team USA, where it's been known that he's been working on his defense, taking charges and finishing at the rim.
But the huge difference between last season's team and this season's team is the talent level overall.
Looking at last years roster, there's vitually no depth at all.
PG- Jonny Flynn/ Ramon Sessions/
SG- Corey Brewer/ Wayne Ellington/ Alando Tucker
SF- Ryan Gomes/ Damien Wilkins/ Sasha Pavlovic
PF- Al Jefferson/ Kevin Love/ Nathan Jawai/ Oleksiy Pecherov
C- Darko Milicic/ Ryan Hollins
Only five players remain, and out of the players that are gone, only two were acutally worth keeping (Sessions and Jefferson).
The reason why Jefferson and Sessions were moved was because they don't fit the system that the Timberwolves run. The triangle offense requires a point guard to be able to shoot 3-point shots, and the bigs to be able to pass the ball. Sessions, who's a great setup guard, is a horrible 3-point shooter. Jefferson can't pass and is a liability on the defensive end.
Let's look at next years roster as I see it.
PG- Jonny Flynn/ Luke Ridnour/ Sebastian Telfair
SG- Wesley Johnson/ Martell Webster/ Wayne Ellington
SF- Michael Beasley/ Corey Brewer/ Lazar Hayward
PF- Kevin Love/ Anthony Tolliver/ Kosta Koufos
C- Darko Milicic/ Nikola Pekovic/ Greg Stiemsma
There's three players at every position. I like this roster much more than last years. The biggest substantial difference is the depth, athleticism, size and overall talent.
Yes there's no true franchise player on this roster, but Johnson, Beasley and, Love all have potential to be leaders. Regardless, this roster should be twice as good as last seasons.
Because Love will be the center of it all. While he won't be averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds, because of his ability to rebound, outlet pass and pass within the triangle, the offense will move much smoother. But scoring wasn't the problem for the Timberwolves last season, it was defense, defense, defense.
Minnesota was the worst defensive team in the league. The problems started at the wing positions. If you put Johnson and Beasley out, that makes for some weakside shot blocking and steals. Put out Brewer and Martell and watch them disrupt the passing lanes and weakside shot block.
We could go forever. The fact of the matter is, as long as the offense is run through Love, and Johnson can do what he did in college, there's no reason as to why the Wolves will prove some doubters wrong.
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