There are a lot of high expectations for this Timberwolves team this season. They were very competitive last season initially.
This enthusiasm and competitiveness died down after Ricky Rubio tore his ACL. They were playing .500 basketball at that point and vying for the last playoff spot in the west.
For an offense that has a lot of players who struggle to create shots for themselves losing Rubio was a huge blow.
Rubio paired with a top 10 player in Kevin Love is something that teams fear–the Wolves will go into the season without both of them though.
Ricky Rubio isn’t fully recovered from the ACL tear that he suffered from in March and is going to need a few more months until he’s ready to be back on the floor again.
Kevin Love reportedly broke his hand doing fist push-ups and will be out for five to six weeks according to Yahoo! Sports.
This sets him to return around the last week of November. That will keep him out for at least one month of the season.
Now that the injury bug has suddenly crept up on the Timberwolves, we’ll have to hamper our expectations some. I thought that they could contend for a 4-6 seed, but they’ll start off too slow for that now.
With their two best players out of the game for at least a month the future is foggy for the Timberwolves. This serves for the perfect segway into what i’ll get into next.
The Plight of Derrick Williams
After being the 2nd overall pick behind star guard Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams has had somewhat of an underwhelming career.
When he came into the NBA there were many people who thought that Williams was going to be a better player than Irving. Well, thus far, its turned out to be the exact opposite.
We don’t want to write Derrick Williams off too early, but its okay to say that he hasn’t been able to succeed yet.
Part of that is playing behind Kevin Love. Williams can play small forward on the offensive end, but he’s much better suited as a power forward.
He could be a Josh Smith type of player if things work out for him. Once he stops settling for perimeter shots and go in the paint where he works best he can be a huge threat to any team.
Williams will have that opportunity with Kevin Love out of the picture for the first month. He’s going to be able to show us whether he was worth the second selection in 2011.
I think that he’ll step in and provide a nice spell for Love while he’s out. He’ll get that he needs to be more aggressive and assertive. Once he stops settling for jumpers, he’s a good to very good player.
He’ll prove to be a much more efficient player. That 41% from the floor will take a major boost.
The Timberwolves should still be a lot better than they were last season. They added Brandon Roy to their team and also brought in defensive stalwart Andrei Kirilenko. That’s going to help them on both ends of the floor.
They found a true center in Nikola Pekovic and have a lot of depth at the point guard position. They should be able to win at least 5-6 games with Kevin Love out.
Luke Ridnour- 30.3 Mpg
Brandon Roy- 27.3 Mpg
Andrei Kirilenko- 29.4 Mpg
Derrick Williams- 33.2 Mpg
Nikola Pekovic- 30.8 Mpg
J.J Barea- 21.7 Mpg
Alexy Shved- 19.4 Mpg
Greg Stiemsma- 23.7 Mpg
Malcom Lee- 18.7 Mpg
Dante Cunningham- 19.2 Mpg
Chase Budinger- 18.6 mpg
Louis Amundson- 15.5 Mpg
Once Love and Rubio return, things should be back on track for the Timberwolves. As a combination those two make this team so much better.
They have to get through this stretch of games without them if they want to be a playoff team. Its not going to be easy to do but its something that is possible.