The Wolves are going to be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be good.
I am one of the final remaining Ricky Rubio supporters on the planet, and this is sort of his dream team. Minnesota is blessed with a million guys who can fill lanes, throw down dunks and fire up open threes, leaving Rubio’s passing ability on full display without forcing him to create his own shot. Obviously, the Spanish point guard will never reach his considerable ceiling if he shoots 36% from the floor and 29% from 3-point range, but if those numbers can spike to 40% from the floor and around 32% from three, his defensive abilities (he’s an elite defender) and court vision make him a highly above-average point guard.
Minnesota also employs a heck of a logjam on the wing. Number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins is the “main event” for the T-Wolves, but Thaddeus Young is probably the best of the bunch, and that ignores the returning starters in Minnesota with Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer. Did I mention that the Wolves also have a healthy Chase Budinger returning, Shabazz Muhammed still around and that lottery pick Zach LaVine will be trying to crack the rotation at shooting guard? If the Wolves are trying to win games, we will see a lot of Martin and Young, but if they realize what they are, it would be encouraging to see Wiggins and LaVine on display.
The Wolves will obviously be weakened by the loss of Kevin Love up front, but they do employ two above-average centers in Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng. Unfortunately, neither of them can really be used at power forward in packages where they play together, but provided Pekovic can stay healthy, they should find 48 minutes of competent play at that spot.
Flip Saunders is on the bench this season, and he’s going to try to win games. That should probably help Minnesota exceed its modest over/under, but in the end, Saunders would be smart to cede this season in favor of development, and if that happens, the Rubio-LaVine-Wiggins show will be a pleasure to watch.
Projected Record: 27-55, 14th in West