The Minnesota Timberwolves enter the coming season with plenty of expectations, despite not having made the playoffs since the 2003-2004 season. Many new additions have been made to the roster, most notably former All-Stars Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy.
But there is plenty of talent returning from last season, led by forward Kevin Love, and perhaps no returning player will be more important than point guard Luke Ridnour. With Ricky Rubio working his way back from a torn ACL in his left knee, Ridnour is in line to play big minutes early in the season. Another of the team’s new additions, Russian Alexey Shved, joins J.J. Barea in the mix to see some minutes at the point but he may also see some time at shooting guard.
Ridnour has spent the last two seasons with the Timberwolves, and setting a career-high in points per game (12.1) last season while averaging 4.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds and just over a steal per game in 53 games (all starts). He stepped up his game after Rubio went down in early March, averaging 13.9 points and 6.6 assists per game in 10 games with Rubio out before missing the end of the season himself with an ankle issue.
Ridnour was originally drafted by the Seattle Supersonics, with whom he spent his first five seasons, in the first round (14th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft. He was then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the 2008-2009 season and spent two seasons there before signing with Minnesota as a free agent in 2010. For his career, in 640 games (397 starts), Ridnour has averaged 9.9 points, 4.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
Even though Ridnour does not have the skill set Rubio does, his veteran presence and stability will be important for the Timberwolves this season even after Rubio returns to action.