The Minnesota Timberwolves are going to look and feel very different compared to how they looked last season on a number of levels. What does this mean for the franchise and your NBA picks? Read more to find out.
The Timberwolves are going to be a truly backcourt- and wing-oriented team this season. Ricky Rubio is one of the most clever and creative passers in the NBA. He opens up so many opportunities for his teammates and gets them involved on offense. Andrew Wiggins, the top pick in last June’s NBA draft, arrives in Minneapolis to provide a lot of energy and scoring production for a team that used to look elsewhere for a big bucket: Kevin Love. Thaddeus Young comes to the Timberwolves as part of the blockbuster three-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s going to get a lot of shots with Rubio and Wiggins on the floor alongside him.
The new starting center will be Nikola Pekovic. He might find the transition to the center spot to be difficult, but he did average just over 17 points per game last season. He’s extremely talented, and might benefit from all the perimeter weapons this team has. Go down the roster and you’ll see even more talent at the guard positions. Kevin Martin is there. New acquisition Mo Williams, from the Portland Trail Blazers, is there. New draftee Glenn Robinson III, from Michigan, is there. New draftee Zach LaVine from UCLA is also in the mix. There’s a lot of perimeter skill and scoring to be found on this team. The Timberwolves’ offense should be very good in the coming season.
The Timberwolves might be great on offense, but they’re also going to be more imbalanced on offense. Worst of all, they’re going to be a nightmare on defense, a total mess. Minnesota lost Kevin Love to get Andrew Wiggins and also bust-level forward Anthony Bennett, who feels like a dead-weight addition to this roster. The pickup of Thaddeus Young was nice, but where is this team’s frontcourt depth? Bennett and Dante Cunningham will not make opponents fear the Timberwolves in the low post. Gorgui Dieng is an intriguing project as the backup center to Pekovic, but with Kevin Love no longer on the team, it’s really hard to project how these younger and less proven players will react to more extended minutes and gameday responsibilities. Dieng has length and excellent basketball instincts, but in college, he could parade around the lane in zone defenses as a roving defender. In the NBA, he has to be much more accountable to his man. If he’s unable to withstand a pounding in the post from thicker, more muscular guys, Minnesota won’t really have any paint-area defense to speak of. Minnesota rated in the bottom 10 of a lot of defensive and rebounding categories in the NBA last season. With the changes on the roster, it’s likely that the Wolves will continue to lag behind most of the league.
When choosing your NBA picks keep in mind the Timberwolves couldn’t even make the playoffs in the Western Conference with Kevin Love on the roster. There’s no reason to think this team will be able to make the playoffs.
Odds To Win Division: 100/1
Odds To Win Conference: 80/1
Regular Season Win Total: 25.5
NBA picks: Will Fail o Make the Western Conference Playoffs