We've looked plenty at the Cleveland Cavaliers' futures following the trade for Kevin Love. However, what can we expect now from the rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves this season? Bovada has released a few NBA props for the team.
Solid Return For Love
In my opinion, the Timberwolves did very well for themselves in the Love deal considering he made it clear that he was going to leave as a free agent after this season. They weren't going to be a playoff team with him -- their best record in Kevin Love’s six seasons in Minnesota was this past season’s 40-42 -- and were able to land the last two No. 1 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from Cleveland, solid forward Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia and a $6.3 million trade exception.
It's true that Bennett was a bust last year for Cleveland Cavaliers, but he reported to the team out of shape following surgery after his freshman season at UNLV, and he looked like a different player in the Summer League, averaging 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in four games. He has dropped about 25 pounds. Wiggins could be a future superstar whose athleticism is off the charts. You hear comparisons to a young Scottie Pippen. Wiggins needs work on his shooting but should be a tremendous defender from the get-go. Young averaged a career high 17.9 points and 2.1 steals (third in the NBA) along with 6.0 rebounds for Philadelphia 76ers and has two years and $19.4 million left on his deal. That's not a terrible contract; he can opt out of the final season or make $9.9 million in 2015-16. This trade appears much better than potentially getting Klay Thompson and David Lee from Golden State. Maybe not for next season but down the road.
The Wolves now have a nice nucleus. Point guard Ricky Rubio can't shoot a lick but is perhaps the best passer in the NBA. Shooting guard Kevin Martin is a bit overpaid but still a productive player as he averaged 19.1 ppg last year. Nikola Pekovic is probably one of the Top 10 centers in the league. The Wolves got hyper-athletic Zach LaVine with their top pick in this year's draft and grabbed Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng in the first round last year. Dieng really started playing well toward the end of the year when Pekovic was in and out of the lineup due to injury. In April, Dieng averaged 11.9 points and 10.7 rebounds. Shoot, if this team was in the Eastern Conference it might be in the running for the No. 8 seed. In the Western Conference it's going to take some lumps for sure.
Bovada lists Minnesota's wins total for next season at 30.5 with both options at -120 as NBA picks. So was Love worth 10 wins? Don't get me wrong, Love is a great player and a double-double machine. But he got a lot of garbage stats and shot way too many 3-pointers (505, sixth in the NBA) and hit only 37.6 percent of them (61st in NBA). A total of eight teams won less than 30.5 games last season. In 2012-13 when Love was limited to 18 games because of injury, the Wolves won 31 games. This team is better than that one simply because of Rubio, who was limited to 57 that year off ACL surgery and clearly wasn't 100 percent yet. Martin wasn't on that '12-13 team, either.
On the individual props, Young is given an average of 'over/under' 16 points for this season, Wiggins is at 14.5 and Bennett at nine (all at -120).
NBA Free Picks
Go 'over' the 30.5 wins in the NBA odds, although it won't be by a lot. Young should get plenty of shots, just like he did last year, so go 'over' his points. Wiggins isn't offensively ready to average 14.5 points yet and probably won't even start. 'Under' there. Ditto on Bennett, who may not get enough touches coming off the bench behind Young.