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Keys to the Wolf Den: Is the All-Star Back?

Timber WolfAnalyst IIDecember 15, 2009

LONDON - OCTOBER 10:  Al Jefferson #25 of Minnesota is challenged by Kevin Garnett (L) of Boston during NBA Europe Live 2007 Tour match between the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the O2 Arena on October 10, 2007 in London, England.  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 John Gichigi/Getty Images)
John Gichigi/Getty Images

Ok, maybe not truly an All-Star because he's not wearing the Western Conference jersey, but the Wolves All-Star in general.

23 PPG and 11 RPG last season? That was just the norm, and was immediately expected night in and night out.

As Al Jefferson went down with a torn ACL injury, so did the Minnesota Timberwolves 2008-2009 NBA season, one which was starting to shed light while the Wolves went 10-3 in the month of January.

To start the season, Al Jefferson started off slow, out of rhythm, emotionally hurt by the death of his grandmother, without Kevin Love and out of shape as he tried to lead the Wolves to wins that just weren't coming.

Jump hooks, mid-range jump shots, step backs, up and unders, pump fakes, and spin moves were no longer as deadly as originally anticipated, and it became apparent that Al Jefferson was going to need at least a year to get back into rhythm.

After all, the Wolves used a half court offense that featured Al Jefferson with some Randy Foye thrown in every one in three games, ultimately resulting in some major inefficiency and consistency, as he would burn out of energy and ultimately would be a complete liability on the defensive end.

While he hasn't got ton better on the defensive end, he's slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, improving.

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Al Jefferson's stats over the last 7 games: 19.5 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1 BPG shooting 52%(61-117).

Al Jefferson has received criticism for "not being able to play within the triangle", and has been noted to possibly being on the trading block.

Al Jefferson has been double and triple teamed on a regular basis, but now teams are less likely to double team him with Kevin Love playing alongside him.

Al Jefferson definitely is still a force to be reckoned with, and alongside Kevin Love, the Wolves have a great duo for the future who are both under the age of 25. Shall we nickname them "the Twin Cities?"

"The Twin Cities are helping the Wolves rebound the ball, as they are both grabbing 10+ rebounds easily, but it's the fact that neither of them are 100% that should scare other teams.

With a triangle offense, and Al Jefferson slowly finding his way in it, head coach Kurt Rambis has ensured that Al Jefferson will not be the primary source of offense.

With Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love, Corey Brewer, and Ryan Gomes all averaging double figures, with bench players Ramon Sessions and Damien Wilkins capable of getting double figures, Al Jefferson does not have to score 30+ points for the Wolves to be in the game.

Is the All-Star back?

Not yet, but he's getting there.

Thanks For Reading

P.S.- Corey Brewer article.

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