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To the Core

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I came upon this Q&A with the Mille Lacs County Times sports reporters that had the following quote:

Question: Minnesota Timberwolves General Manager Kevin McHale was quoted as saying the team, with a good college draft, had the nucleus of players to improve to 40 or more victories next season.

Now we all remember McHale's prediction of 20 more wins next year. But what struck me reading this question was the idea of the nucleus of our team. We have such a melange of young players with a mix of talents and varying levels of readiness, it's tough for me to tell who the obvious core is. All I can come up with is Al Jefferson.

Sure there's Ryan Gomes who I think everyone agrees should be brought back considering his contributions, consistency and personality. But he, along with Telfair, Smith, Richard and Snyder, are all young free agents this offseason. So, while one might consider them a part of the team's core, it's tough to count on them until they're locked up.

Then there's the lotto-crew of Rashad McCants, Randy Foye and Corey Brewer. Are they part of the "core" or are they movable pieces?

Moreover, what defines a core? Is it just those players you're absolutely sure of hanging on to, or do you include those who haven't shown their full potential yet?

As you can probably tell, I've got more questions than answers on this one. So I'll say my piece, but what do you think? What's the core and who's in it?

My delineation is probably a copout with so many levels, but as they say in the biz "T.S."

Inner Core (must keep them, they're the foundation of the future): Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes

Outer Core (too early to decide how valuable they are to the team; hence too early to move them): Randy Foye, Corey Brewer

Mantle (guys who have shown value, but that we can live without): Rashad McCants, Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, Chris Richard

Crust (some people's favorite part is the crust, some people like it cut off; either way is ok): Kirk Snyder