Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Season: 24-58)
As it can be said every year, the Minnesota Timberwolves are in turmoil entering the 2009/10 NBA season. The team is on its fifth coach in six seasons and new GM David Kahn royally screwed up the Wolves selection of 18 year old all-world standout Ricky Rubio in the 2009 entry draft by giving the young point guard every incentive NOT to join the NBA for the coming season (or for the 2010/11 season for that matter). Yes, things do not look good for the fledgling franchise as it enters its 21st season.
The Wolves strength remains its young front court. Al Jefferson remains one of the NBA’s best rebounders and low-post scorers and should continue to lead the Wolves in both categories this season. Jefferson should be an all-star this season so long as the ACL tear that cost him 32 games last season does not hamper his production. Playing next to Jefferson is second-year forward Kevin Love. Love has shown a strong ability to rebound and pass the ball and his outside jump shot allows him to step away from the basket creating space for Jefferson to operate. The trouble is that the T-Wolves lack any depth behind Jefferson and Love and are liable to see a significant drop in production whenever either of these two are not on the floor.
At the point-guard spot Minnesota should see some improvement. In the ideal situation Kahn would have been able to come to terms with Rubio that would have led to his buy out from his Spanish club team, however, that isn’t going to happen this season or any time in the future either, so Minnesota’s lost out on adding a potentially dynamic playmaker at the toughest position in the league. Still, the Wolves should see a slight increase in production at the point with rookie Jonny Flynn and free-agent signing Ramon Sessions sharing minutes. Flynn should perform well given his speed, so long as he doesn’t over dribble and works on his shot beyond 15 feet. After a fine season in Milwaukee, Sessions should prove a steadying influence.
Minnesota’s biggest problem, far and away, is at the shooting guard and small forward positions. Ryan Gomes is their best wing and that’s not saying much considering he stopped growing as a player three seasons ago. Other than Gomes the Wolves have Sasha Pavlovic who has had trouble playing serious minutes even with Lebron James next to him and Corey Brewer who might not be in the league this time next year. Each night the Wolves will be absolutely blitzed by the Kobes, Durants, and Roys of this league while getting no production from the two and three spots on the offensive end. Minnesota’s wings represent a huge minus on both ends of the floor and threaten to hurt production at each of the other three positions.
There is one bright spot for T-Wolves fans, although this season will be putrid David Kahn should have approximately $16 million in cap space for the Summer of 2010. That’s a lot of money to trade for some overpaid wing or some other team’s malcontent. It’s not like anyone would willingly sign with this team…
2009/2010 Season Record: 26-56