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NBA Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 Things to Look Forward to Next Season

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Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 Things to Look Forward to Next Season

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

If you were assigned to pick the perfect title of a novel in which described the 2012-2013 season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, what exactly would you name it? There are many titles that come to mind. Several keywords you might select could include: grueling, injury-ridden, disappointing, underperforming, losing, among probably a few more. The regular season was not kind to the Wolves in any way, shape or form.

To start with, the Wolves were without two of their stars for the beginning of the season. Both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio were dealing with injuries that would keep them out a while. Rubio was on his way back from an ACL tear that typically takes anywhere from 9-12 months to heal. Love, meanwhile, had broken his hand and continued to rehab that injury in hopes to return midway through the year. The disappointment came when Love re-injured his hand in January and ended up missing the rest of the season. Rubio did return and played quite well.

Other injuries continued to mount as newcomer Chase Budinger endured an injury that would keep him out until March. Big man Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko were also in and out of the lineup quite frequently this past season. One of the more disheartening injuries Minnnesota encountered was that of the fresh-out-of-retirement guard Brandon Roy, who looked to build on his encouraging knee rehab and make a successful comeback in the NBA. Roy ended up only playing a few games and could not bear the continual pain he felt in his knees.

While it was very saddening to watch the injuries mount and potential diminish if you are a Minnesota fan, stay positive because there is a lot of exciting aspects of the 2013-2014 season to look forward to.

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Rick Adelman's True Coaching Capability

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This first one is quite obvious. Head coach Rick Adelman became one of only seven coaches in NBA history to win 1,000 games at the professional level this season. As a tenured, wise and highly respected coach, Adelman was able to do the best he possibly could with such a decimated roster. He continued to help center Nikola Pekovic develop his game into one of the league's best while point guard Ricky Rubio amazed Adelman with his ability to never stop improving during such an unbearable year. Going into the 2013-2014 campaign, the Wolves have to be confident knowing they should all be healthy while being led by one of the NBA's best in Adelman.

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No More Derrick Williams?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This is a bold prediction of mine. I don't know if it will come to pass or not, but forward Derrick Williams is seeing his highest trade value right now as he enters his third year. The former No. 2 overall pick has been disappointing for the Wolves and has not quite found his role on the team yet. At times, he had shown promise of being the dominant offensive option for his team during crunch time. Other moments saw him vanish before our eyes. He has much to prove as a pro, and moving him may be the best option for Minnesota at this point. To be able to get rid of an inconsistency and in return fulfill a desperate need of theirs, I would advise them to take that opportunity.

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A Legitimate Shooting Guard

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The Wolves cannot continue to ride four point guards consistently getting time within their rotation. It just hasn't worked. Luke Ridnour spent most of his time at the two-guard this year and proved yet again that he just cannot handle the position. He is considered, when playing his best basketball, to be one of the better shooters the Wolves have on board. However, Minnesota needs to dump this philosophy and go after a legitimate scoring option on the wing. Chase Budinger is great as a reserve, but with Williams as trade bait as well as a gaping hole at the shooting guard spot, Minnesota absolutely needs to make this move. I believe they will end up getting their man in the off season, and will be even better set for a playoff run in 2014.

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A Dominant Front Court

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Assuming all of the injuries are over with and the speculation he may not be happy in Minnesota dissolves, Kevin Love will round out this front court and take it to a level the Wolves haven't seen in a long time. Alongside center Nikola Pekovic, these two provide Minnesota with a phenomenal front court that can do it all. Both are great rebounders specifically Love. Pekovic is a tank down low for defenders to handle. Love has a long-range game that defenses hate planning around. Especially on the offensive side, these two will make some noise in the All Star balloting in 2014. It will be a lot of fun to see how Love and Pekovic take their games to the next level while both enter this upcoming season at full health.

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A Healthier, More Developed Ricky Rubio

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Could Ricky Rubio have played any better while showing visibly that he has not still fully recovered from his ACL tear in 2012? Between timeouts and whistles even towards the end of the season, Rubio would limp every once and a while or slightly grimace in minor pain as he fought to stay in the game. He said numerous times to reporters that he cannot stand to lose and that's why he plays so hard every single night. The exciting thing about Rubio, aside from his youth, is that he hasn't even come close to tap his potential offensively. He is already one of the best point guards in the West. Sadly, he doesn't have a jump shot that can be counted on even at the mid-range distance. I assume Rubio will continue to work on his offensive game this offseason. Combined with his frightening court vision and tenacity on the defensive end, Rubio is going to be a heck of a lot better for the Wolves come next season.