Minnesota Timberwolves: The Good, The Bad, The Uncertain

John Lombard@@JohnLombard3Senior Analyst IMay 4, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 08:  Al Jefferson #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves  makes a shot over Hilton Armstrong #12 of the New Orleans Hornets on February 8, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The 2008-09 Minnesota Timberwolves finished their season with a record of 24-58. 

This is two games better than the 22-60 mark they posted a year ago. 

It doesn’t seem like much of an improvement, but they have gotten much better since last season.

The Good:  Kevin Love, Foye’s return, the month of January

The addition of Kevin Love was huge for the Wolves to give Al Jefferson some help in the paint.  Love posted 28 double-doubles this season and was ranked 17th in the NBA in total rebounds.  He should be on the All-Rookie first team and one of the top vote getters for Rookie of the Year. 

As Love gets more minutes, his numbers will increase.  He only averaged about 26 minutes a game.  Once he develops more strength and can handle the physical play longer, he could be a 20-10 player. 

Randy Foye was able to play in 71 games for Minnesota putting up good numbers of 16 ppg, 4.5 apg, and shooting 36 percent from the three-point line.  It was good to see him playing this year and improving from the previous season. 

The start of 2009 was good for Minnesota, as they started off with a five-game winning streak and finished the month 10-4 with wins over New Orleans and Phoenix.  Kevin Love averaged a double-double in the month putting up 12.5 PPG and 10 RPG, recording five double-doubles in the month. 

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The Bad:  Injuries, Randy Whitman, the worst starting five of all-time

The injury to Al Jefferson really set this team back—right when they were starting to play better basketball this season.  Although it is a terrible thing for the Timberwolves, it may end up helping them in the long run—if Jefferson can make a full recovery, that is. 

Kevin Love became much tougher and more confident in himself knowing he was the man in the paint.  He played great ball the rest of the year after Jefferson went down. 

Corey Brewer, a promising player in the NBA, had a big setback in his young career when he had his ACL tear early in the season.  I’m not sure he’ll be a star in the NBA, but I think he’ll be solid if he stays healthy as the team's potential defensive specialist. 

Randy Whitman was fired not soon enough in the year, as he just wasn’t getting the job done.  I know Minnesota didn’t have all the talent in the world, but it was definitely time for a change at the helm when McHale made that decision. 

The last game of the regular season saw Minnesota start the following line-up:  Kevin Ollie, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Mark Madsen, and Jason Collins.  I know it was a meaningless game for both teams involved (Sacramento) but seriously, don’t put paying customers through that!

The Uncertain: What's next, Jefferson's health

I don’t like this year’s NBA draft class much at all for Minnesota.  I am hoping they can work out a trade with their pick and maybe a player or two that just isn’t fitting for them (Mike Miller) before June’s draft. 

Some unrestricted free agents available, according to an article Chad Ford wrote back in September, are Lamar Odom, Allen Iverson, Shawn Marion, and Ron Artest.  The T-Wolves need a shot in the arm if they want to move forward in the very competitive Western Conference and there are some players out there that could do just that for the team. 

Al Jefferson returning to form is really the biggest concern for the team at this time.  If he can return to his 20/10 All-Star snubbed numbers, the T-wolves will be right on track.  He and Kevin Love will be a dominant post combination if the team keeps them together. 

Overall, I’d say the 2009 season ended up being a lateral move for Minnesota.  They were starting to look good around mid-season, some injuries set them back, but a few good moves in the offseason would be a very big step forward for the T-Wolves.

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