NBA Preview 2013-2014 Season: Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Season: 31-51 (Finished 12th in the Western Conference)
Key Losses: PG Luke Ridnour
Notable Free Agent Signings: PF Ronny Turiaf, SF Corey Brewer, SF Shabazz Muhammed (signed after being picked in the 2013 NBA draft), SG Kevin Martin, and C Nikola Pekovic (re-signed).
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a very interesting, talented, and injury-prone roster. They had potential to go far last season, but injuries to stars Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love prevented them from doing so.
As far as anyone knows, everyone on the Timberwolves roster will be entering training camp at full health, which means the Timberwolves are the wildcard for the upcoming season. They could make a deep run in the playoffs, or they could fail to play in the postseason altogether.
I really liked all the moves that the Timberwolves made this offseason; they improved their team defence and secured a dependable scorer in Kevin Martin while re-signing talented big man Nikola Pekovic. Without losing any players of major significance, the Timberwolves will enter the 2014 season with a much-improved roster.
What we are looking at is a core of Pekovic, Love, and Rubio. Nikola Pekovic emerged last year as the perfect complement to all-star power forward Kevin Love. A brick wall on defence, Pekovic is also an excellent rebounder at close to nine boards a game.
Pekovic was Minnesota’s go-to scorer after the team was decimated by injuries last season, and he has proved he is no slouch on the offensive end either, averaging a career high of 16.3 points per game.
While his overall numbers are expected to slightly dip with the return of Love, Pekovic will anchor Minnesota on the defensive end this upcoming campaign and prove to be an invaluable asset to the Timberwolves (if giving him a $60 million contract doesn’t prove that the ‘Wolves know that already).
The health of Love and Ricky Rubio is the key to Minnesota’s success this year. When healthy, Love is a rebounding machine. Just a couple of seasons ago, Love was averaging around 15 rebounds per game. That’s fifteen. Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum weren’t averaging anything close to that.
Love has a soft touch around the rim and a deadly one beyond the arc. However, the hand injury he suffered last season forced him to miss 65% of the shots he took so it remains to be seen if he was able to rehabilitate it properly this past offseason.