2012-2013 Timberwolves Preview
A number of things contributed to the Timberwolves finishing 12th in the Western conference last season. Two of the biggest were certainly injuries and a lack of veteran presence. Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in March which forced him to miss the rest of the season. To that point, the Wolves had been riding the Rubio Wave, battling to a 21-19 record through 40 games. When Rubio went down however, the Timberwolve’s playoff hopes seemed to go with him as they finished the season a measly 5-20 in their last 25 games. Kevin Love was forced to take on even more responsibility with Rubio out, and it proved to be too much.
Then came the offseason, when Minnesota filled some serious voids, signing Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy. Both veterans and leaders on their previous teams, Roy and Kirilenko are expected to start and have an immediate impact. Some questions surround Roy, who has been out of the game for over a year as he battled reoccurring knee injuries. Roy formally retired just before the the 2011-2012 season, but after time off he says his knees have recovered enough to play again. Will he play at the same level he once did in Portland? Only time will tell, but you can be sure of one thing, if he gets anywhere near that level again, the T-Wolves will not regret bringing him to the City of Lakes.
Look for Kevin Love’s Olympic experience this summer to make him an even more dominant force in the Wolve’s front court and with Nikola Pekovic by his side, very few teams will be able to “out-physical” the Timberwolves in the paint. Aside from the addition of Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy, the Wolves also acquired forward Chase Budinger in a trade from the Houston Rockets, as well as drafting Robbie Hummel out of Purdue.
I won’t go as far as saying these are the “new look” Timberwolves, but there are certainly some new faces. If they can stay healthy, all signs point to the playoffs. Rick Adelman has to be counting on another MVP caliber season from Kevin Love and with a full offseason under their belt this year, he has to like their chances.
The Timberwovles open up the preseason on next Wednesday, October 10th when they host the Indiana Pacers at the Fargo Dome in Fargo, North Dakota.
Projected Starting Five:
26-40 (12th in the Western Conference)
SG Brandon Roy
SF Andrei Kirilenko
SG Robbie Hummel
SG Alexey Shved
SF Chase Budinger