NBA Minnesota Timberwolves

Nikola Pekovic Dominating the Post for Minnesota Timberwolves

Pek Timberwolves

Jesse Johnson – USA Today Sports Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves received the highly disconcerting news on Monday night that Kevin Love will miss the rest of the 2012-2013 NBA season after having surgery on his knee to remove scar tissue. This means that the star of their team will have played less than 20 games this year because of various injuries. Luckily for the Timberwolves, Nikola Pekovic has emerged as a breakout star in Love’s absence.

In the 60 games that he’s played this season, Pekovic has averaged 16.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. Pekovic has also led Minnesota in Player Efficiency Rating, posting a rating of 20.43 for the season. He has been absolutely monstrous and nearly unstoppable in the post this season.

Pekovic missed nine games at the beginning of March for the Timberwolves due to a minor injury and will also become a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Since he’s come back from that injury, he’s been playing like he wants to make a lot of money from the Timberwolves (or another team) this off-season.

In his last nine games, Pekovic has been one of the best frontcourt players in the entire league. Over that span he has averaged 20.6 points, 9.6 rebounds (including 3.6 offensive boards) and 1.2 assists per game. He’s also been shooting 59.8 percent from the field over that time, absolutely terrorizing opponents who haven’t really had much of an answer for him.

Though Minnesota is obviously a small-market team, they have to match whatever qualifying offer is made to Pekovic this summer. Pekovic is emerging as a force in this league that can elevate this team to a whole other level, especially when Love gets healthy. Pekovic has said publicly that he would like to stay in Minnesota, and the smart move for the Timberwolves would be to make that happen.

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