NBA Blog Previews: Minnesota Timberwolves

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

I have no idea what's going on in Minnesota. But that's nothing new.

I have no idea what's going on in Minnesota. But that's nothing new.

'12-'13 Minnesota Timberwolves Preview

In between this period of activity, Kahn also made a bunch of other moves to trim the fat. In order to sign Batum/AK47, Kahn traded the contract of the retired Brad Miller and some 2nd round picks to the Hornets, declined Martell Webster's 2013 option, declined to extend QO's to Beasley and Randolph so they could have the privilege of teasing other teams, renounced Anthony Tolliver (who wanted to stay in Minnesota so badly he was working out at Target Center just days before training camp started) and, lastly, traded Wes Johnson and a 1st rounder to Phoenix to clear up cap space for Andrei. During this period, Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved and Greg Stemsma were signed, Kahn traded Wayne Ellington for Dante Cunningham and finally, after Portland matched the offer sheet to Batum, Kirilenko joined the team just before the Olympics. The big move had finally come. It was stunning. The Wolves, in only a few weeks, had assembled a playoff-caliber roster. Nearly 100% competence in, and well over 300% incompetence out. Kahn got rid of the right guys, and made dramatic upgrades throughout the roster. It was, and still is, a cause for rejoice (although we should NEVER forget what Kahn did his first few years leading up this. Unforgivable).

The thing is, this team might actually be pretty good. They've got Love, Brandon Roy, Andre Kirilenko, Pekovic, Budinger, and hopefully Ricky Rubio.

Timberwolves 2012/2013 Season Preview - Canis Hoopus

One is to get Rubio back healthy, and with no side-effects. The Spanish Unicorn is worth having around for ticket sales reasons alone, never mind the fact that he's the one guy who could make this team truly special going forward. ACL injuries aren't something you just walk off. Minnesota needs to make sure they take the necessary time to get Rubio back to 100% before he jumps back into the fire. Better safe than sorry. The other goal, obviously, is to make the playoffs. Point blank, even without Rubio, this team has no excuse for not making an 8th seed.

One drawback? Defense.

Timberwolves preview: Rise of Minnesota, take two - SBNation.com

Even with Kirilenko, this team is going to struggle defensively, primarily because more teams than you think are equipped to punish Love and Pekovic inside. Minnesota was No. 19 in opponent field goal percentage at the rim. Replacing Darko Milicic with Greg Stiemsma could help, but the Wolves are unlikely to rise into the top 10 here, and that could be an issue in the West, where there are talented power forwards galore and a number of solid (or better) centers (Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, Marcin Gortat, Andrew Bogut, Al Jefferson). The backcourt will also be a defensive question mark. While Rubio is out -- possibly until January -- Luke Ridnour will be manning the point. Rubio-to-Ridnour is a massive defensive drop-off. Shved will have a steep learning curve against quick NBA guards, and Roy ... we'll see. Chase Budinger is a nice player, but he's not stopping too many wings that he'll be matched up against. The chances of Minnesota getting into the top half of the league in defense, even with Kirilenko, seem slim.

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