Last season, Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Love broke out as one of the top front court players in the NBA. He finished the season averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds per game and had a remarkable double-double streak. They were also able to pick up former second overall pick Michael Beasley from the Miami Heat for a second round draft pick. This season, their first draft choice of the 2010 NBA Draft, Ricky Rubio finally decided to come to the NBA and has been a solid addition so far. They also have a solid bench including: Derrick Williams, Wayne Ellington, JJ Barea, Ricky Rubio and Anthony Randolph. The biggest question is why aren’t they successful with all of this talent?
The first reason is that they lead the NBA in turnovers per game at 18.6, and are 28th in assists per game at 17.3. From every game they have played this year, they have had a chance to win or at least make it close, but with all the turnovers and lack of assists, they simply cannot close out games. As of right now, they are 3-6 and sitting at the bottom of the Northwest Division and 12th overall in a very weak Western Conference. If the Timberwolves were to shock the NBA world and make the playoffs, this would be the year. They are very young, talented and deep–all of which create the perfect formula for a shortened season.
If the Wolves aren’t able to make the playoffs this season, or even finish in the top 10, things could get very dicey for the franchise. Kevin Love is nearing the end of his deal and he has made no promises that he will be staying in Minnesota. It seems like Love is a great guy and would do the same as Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose by welcoming the idea of staying in Minny if they can improve, but if not, the Celtics will most likely be a team fighting for his services. By 2013, when Love’s contract is up, it is likely that Kevin Garnett and possibly Paul Pierce will be gone which will free up a lot of cap space for the C’s. Boston is always a very attractive destination, especially for big name free agents like K-Love, who want to play for a consistent playoff contender in a big market.
The Wolves depth can also help them in trading for another piece to help the team make a strong push for the playoffs. A couple of trade options they could possibly have are for Rudy Gay from Memphis or Danny Granger from Indiana. They could also try and get an improvement at center via trade or free agency. The biggest thing the Wolves need to do is start Ricky Rubio and find a way to trade one of their three point guards for another piece. I love how the T-Wolves play and the players they have, and it would be great to see them in the playoffs because if anyone deserves a trip to the playoffs, it’s Kevin Love.