The Minnesota Timberwolves got some good news Thursday when a report surfaced that point guard Ricky Rubio plans to begin running next week as he recovers from knee surgery. Further news suggests he will make his season debut in December, and he could be an impactful midseason addition for the team that other teams may have to trade for to bolster a potential playoff run.
But there is other news attached to the Timberwolves in recent days that may have just as much impact on the team’s results this coming season. Here’s a look at a few items that may have slipped under the radar.
Center Nikola Pekovic has apparently lost eight pounds and added more muscle to his frame this summer, and is fully healthy after undergoing ankle surgery in May. He had a breakout season last season, averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 47 games (35 starts) and giving Minnesota a threat at center it has not had in many years. He is also slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2012-2013 season, so he should be plenty motivated to build on last season and get a big contract from the Timberwolves or another team.
Guard Brandon Roy has been working out with his new teammates and says he has not had any issues with his previously troublesome knees. His promising career was derailed by those knee issues, leading to his contract being amnestied by the Portland Trailblazers prior to last season and retirement. Roy will certainly be monitored closely by team doctors during training camp and preseason games, but right now it looks like he can provide the Timberwolves with a veteran presence at shooting guard and has already taken on a leadership role with his younger teammates.
Forward Anthony Tolliver has received interest from multiple teams, including a couple overseas, but has not looked close to signing anywhere and is still interested in returning to Minnesota. He has spent the last two seasons with the Timberwolves, and averaged 4.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 51 games off the bench last season. Minutes seem likely to be hard to come by in the Minnesota frontcourt right now, with holdovers Kevin Love, Pekovic and Derrick Williams along with offseason additions Andrei Kirilenko, Dante Cunningham, and Greg Stiemsma all in the mix. So Tolliver is not a great fit if he is looking to play a lot, but returning to a team that looks to be on the rise may appeal to him.