The Minnesota Timberwolves will be good this year if they can stay healthy. One of their key players, Chase Budinger, already underwent surgery and the season hasn’t even started. Wolves fans are used to this by now, and they are tired of knowing their team not living up to its potential. Even without Budinger to start the year, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are entering their primes, and the Wolves should grow and improve with them. While the current team is not yet constructed to win a championship, they have an accomplished coach in Rick Adelman.
Rubio, Love, and center Nikola Pekovic are the future of the Wolves and should all stick around for a while barring a disastrous season. Kevin Martin is getting older, but he is still good enough to play a major role on a playoff team. There are questions surrounding the rest of the lineup, though, as a player like Corey Brewer is more suited to a bench role and players like Derrick Williams and Alexey Shved still need to break out. The Timberwolves have a lot of young players like Williams and Shved who have plenty of potential but haven’t yet lived up to it or haven’t yet had a chance to play. If these players play well and develop successfully, the Wolves do have the main pieces to build a great team.
The Wolves made a great hire in coach Rick Adelman whose track record includes 16 playoff appearances in 22 seasons. Adelman hasn’t taken the Wolves to the playoffs yet, but it is definitely his and their primary goal. He has a reputation as a patient coach who is well-liked by players, including Kevin Martin, who has played under him for two different teams. The returning Timberwolves are accustomed to Adelman’s system, and the young players and rookies joining the Wolves this season will benefit from his experience as they develop.
Despite having some potential superstar talent on the roster, the Timberwolves have plenty of needs to fill before they can be considered contenders. Their young players must develop, and Rubio and Love must continue to improve and stay on the court. If they can do that and the front office can make some smart moves, the Wolves can become perennial contenders within the next two or three years. As it stands, they have a decent chance to end their playoff drought this year and earn a No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Prediction: The Minnesota Timberwolves will finish the season 43-39.