1. How healthy is Brandon Roy?
A great, great deal of the Wolves' success this season is on the knees of Roy. Those knees are the difference between the Wolves having an All-Star caliber go-to shooting guard, and the Wolves having a ball-stopping defensive liability (and, let's be honest; something of a diva) on the end of the bench. So...yeah...Roy says he feels better than ever and expects to be a starter and 35 mpg guy. Adelman's not quite so confident. But preseason is going to be a great chance to see just where Roy's health is at.
2. Are the lion's days as a Wolf numbered?
It's no secret that Derrick Williams was a bit of a disappointment last year. The headlines say he had trouble playing out of position at small forward, but the statistics was he was equally bad as a 4. He found burn last season because our wing situation was so terrible, having him struggle at the 3 wasn't much different than putting anyone else there, but this season is different. He's still not going to cut into Love's playing time, and now he has to compete with Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger as well....two guys with proven histories, more complete skillsets, and a more perimeter-oriented mindset.
Making the leap from the paint to the perimeter is not trivial. Losing weight won't change years of ingrained habits and coaching lessons about where the right place to be is and when. And even if Williams manages the transition successfully, he's still in an uphill battle for playing time.
3. Can the Wolves play any defense?
Before Rubio's injury last season, the Wolves were a respectable middling team on defense (hovered around the 16-18 overall range). After Rubio's injury, the Wolves lapsed back into one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
We start this year with no Rubio, but having added a couple individual defenders in Budinger and Roy (if healthy), and a couple spectacular team defenders in Kirilenko and Stiemsma. Preseason will be a good indication if the team will be able to hold its ground on the defensive end without its defensive key.
4. Can the team play with any consistency?
Another issue that has plagued the Wolves of late is the inability to play a full 48 minutes of basketball. They instead alternated great halves or great games with terrible ones, and fell apart in the closing minutes more often than not. In the end, after all the dissection of coaching philosophy and closers and what have you, the bottom line is it's on the players to execute.
5. What haircut will Kirilenko go with?
The possibilities. Endless, they are.