In the 23 years of Timberwolves basketball, the team has an all-time 762-118 record (.397). With Kevin Garnett at the helm, the team amassed a 469-401 record (.539). The post-Garnett era has given us an astounding 167-391 record (.299). Sadly, the 31-51 campaign our team posted was the best record ever in a season where Kevin Garnett wasn't on the team! To the credit of former and current management, everyone in the league is expecting this team to become better and contend for a spot in the playoffs next season.
New POBO/GM/POT Flip Saunders has confirmed Kevin Love is here to stay. Kevin Love reciprocated that sentiment, and he is expected to come into next year fully healthy sans knuckle push ups. Ricky Rubio, the diamond in David Kahn's rough, will be ready to start his first 82 game season entirely healthy. Thanks to the shortened season and ACL injury, Rubio has played the equivalent of one full season and a deep playoff run in his first 2 NBA seasons. The two best players are actually 100% healthy coming into next season. Knock on wood.
We also have some great role players and/or fringe stars on the roster. Nikola Pekovic will more than likely be retained, even if it means overpaying $1-$3 million per year. Chase Budinger's knee injury hampered his season and reduced his market value by a little bit, but I still expect the team to lock him up especially since we traded our first round pick last season for him. Alexey Shved had a roller coaster season, but he has plenty of room to grow as a ball handler and can learn to pick his shots a bit better. Dante Cunningham and Greg Steimsma have their moments, but a guy like Malcom Lee has become rather expendable.
Some of the big question marks involve the likes of Luke Ridnour, JJ Barea, Derrick Williams, and Andrei Kirilenko. It seems very possible that either Ridnour/Barea will be traded (more likely Barea). There are also rampant rumors of Derrick Williams being packaged in a deal to move up in the draft from the #9 spot. As for Kirilenko, will he opt out of his deal? If he does, it frees up $10 million in cap space and allows the team to pursue larger trades or a big name free agent.
We seem to be set up very well for next season. We could perhaps gain some leverage through the draft with a guy like Victor Oladipo (trade-up scenario) or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (stay put) in addition to another role player like a Jeff Withey at 26. Sign a veteran sharp shooter to pair with Rubio and this team appears destined for the playoffs. Our starting five could very well look like this:
Rubio, Oladipo/Caldwell-Pope, Kirilenko, Love, Pekovic.
I don't know what you think, but that sounds like a great 2013-2014 season!
That quote by Louis C.K. sums up each year of Timberwolves basketball for me. Even the KG-Cassell-Sprewell Western Conference Finals run ranks up there with those 15 and 17 win seasons. In all honesty, I have confidence in the new management that they can field together a great team that can compete with anybody in the league. However, every year I tell myself this and my dreams are dashed away faster than a Kardashian marriage.
Over the years I have learned my lesson to never put all my eggs in one basket, but for the love of god can something please go right this season? I'm going to quit trying to hype up this team until it actually goes somewhere. The pieces are in place, and the playoff potential is there. Bill Parcells once said that potential means you haven't done anything yet, and this team is the epitome of that saying. Ok, I'm done ranting and torturing you all with these gruesome images. If you beared through this then kudos to you, but I just needed to get this off my chest.