Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko Finally Returning for Minnesota Timberwolves

Nikola Pekovic Andrei Kirilenko

Brace Hemmelgarn – USA Today Sports Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been without Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko over the past couple of weeks because of injuries. The effects of not having those two players have been evident as the Timberwolves have lost eight of their last 10 games. However, Minnesota will finally welcome both Pekovic and Kirilenko back to the floor on Sunday night.

For the season, Kirilenko has arguably been the biggest contributor for the Wolves. He’s averaged 13.1 points, six rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s also shot 51.1 percent from the field. He’s been a player that has filled up the box score on a consistent basis for them.

Pekovic, on the other hand, hasn’t filled up the box score in every facet of the game, but he’s excelled in the areas that he’s been asked to. He has averaged 15.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and has shot 51 percent from the field this season. Pekovic has developed into a force on both ends of the floor whose size and strength causes problems for opponents.

While Pekovic and Kirilenko were injured, they were replaced in the lineup by Greg Stiemsma and Mickael Gelabale. Those two guys haven’t performed terribly, but they also aren’t as good as Pekovic and Kirilenko, even on their best day, and that was obvious in the games where Stiemsma and Gelabale replaced them.

Not only will Pekovic and Kirilenko returning help the Timberwolves this season, but it will also give them a better idea of how they are going to build for the future. For the most part, the Wolves haven’t been able to see all of their players together and healthy at once this season, which makes trade and free agent decisions harder to deal with. With these two guys returning, Minnesota will get a couple of weeks to look at that, as well.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.

Around the Web