The Timberwolves have made nearly wholesale roster changes this offseason, and it looks like our offense should be much improved with our added jump-shooters.
However, when I look at the new roster I see much larger improvements on defense. The Wolves were likely the worst defending team in the league last year and have nowhere to go but up. Both David Kahn and Kurt Rambis have talked about adding toughness to their team and it appears they have done that with guys like Martell Webster and Lazar Hayward. I thought I'd take a stab and putting our players from last year and this year into tiers as far as how they performed, and will be expected to perform, defensively
2009 Tier 1
Darko Milicic (for the last 15 games or so)
This year I project something like this:
2010 Tier 1
Wes Johnson (I know he's from Syracuse but from what little I've seen from him the guy looks like a natural defender)
This is purely my gut instinct from what I've seen in summer league and the opinions that seem to be consensus about some of our new players.
It would appear that we move from the worst defensive team to something like a below average defensive team, but with the talent to grow into something pretty solid in time. A lot of our defensive problems have been about communcation and "gelling" as a team. We've gotten better individual defenders but with so many new players it will likely take until midseason before we start seeing major development there. Still, I have to believe our improved quickness alone has to amount to many more posessions this year. If Jonny can cut down the TOs we'll have some very nice nights to look forward to.