The Minnesota Timberwolves are at a crossroads. Like the crossroads in a long lost Blues song, Minnesota fans would almost certainly sell their soul to the devil for a winning basketball team. They have spent numerous years dwelling at the bottom of the Western Conference and barring injury, this season should be considered the true measure of whether or not they can compete with their current squad or continue on singing the blues.
Their current squad is one filled with talented players. Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are the two biggest stars for the Wolves and they’re two players who missed 64 and 25 games respectively last season. With both stars missing for so much of last season the Timberwolves missed out on the playoffs for a ninth straight season and the time has come for them to get the results from their years of rebuilding through the draft.
Kevin Love, provided he’s healthy, will provide so much to the struggling Minnesota team this season. Looking back at his efforts in 2011/12, he put up phenomenal numbers; 26.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game on 44.8% shooting from the field and 37.2% from behind the arc. All this from a guy who was only 23! When you also look at some of his better performances from the season, his 30 point, 30 rebound game, which was unseen in the NBA for 28 years, you see just how much he is the future in Minnesota.
Ricky Rubio is a maestro with a basketball in his hands. A real pass first point guard with a high basketball I.Q and a variety of crowd pleasing, slick no look passes, Rubio is the on court general for the team and he is more than capable of running an offense. When Rubio went down with an ACL injury, the season was all but done for the Wolves.
2012/13 was supposed to be the season with which Minnesota were to break the shackles of the playoff-less past and show the world just what they were capable of. The injuries to both Rubio and Love meant that they finished with a 31-51 record and another shot at the lottery, which has become all too familiar for them.
With another year gone by and both Love and Rubio fully fit, the offensively talented Shabazz Muhammad obtained via the draft, Nikola Pekovic looking even more like some sort of Thor-like god, but bigger and sharp shooter Kevin Martin picked up via a trade, the Timberwolves look ready to make this season a winning one but what so many fans in the know are already aware of, the Timberwolves have already won.
The biggest offseason move for Minnesota came from the front office not the hardwood. Ex GM David Kahn was considered by many to be the catalyst for almost a decade of ridiculously bad player moves. From his questionable draft picks, who can forget him taking Rubio and Jonny Flynn ahead of Steph Curry or Wesley Johnson ahead of DeMarcus Cousins, to his outright refusal to admit he had done anything wrong it’s almost a god send that he’s gone from the franchise.
His replacement is Flip Saunders, the same Flip Saunders who coached the Timberwolves to their eight straight playoff appearances, which is the only time they have seen any post season action in their history. Saunders brings a wealth of basketball knowledge to the table for Minnesota and whilst it’s no guarantee that they will make all the right moves from here on out, the future is bright with him at the helm of basketball operations.
With their star players healthy and their front office looking promising, Timberwolves fans have a lot to look forward to because this could very well be the year they taste playoff action once again. If not they could always make a deal with the devil at the crossroads.