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2010-11 NBA Season Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Year: 15-67)

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Darko Milicic/Nikola Pekovic/Kosta Koufus

PF: Kevin Love/Michael Beasley/Anthony Tolliver

SF: Wesley Johnson/Martell Webster/Lazar Hayward

SG: Corey Brewer/Wayne Ellington

PG: Jonny Flynn/Luke Ridnour/Sebastian Telfair

Head Coach: Kurt Rambis (2nd season)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $44.6 million

Off-Season Grade: D-
The T-Wolves had a very Kahn-ian summer (and that is not a good thing.) Minnesota turned five draft picks into four small forwards and a foreign big man who will likely never play in the NBA. The free agency period began with the top priority of giving $20 million to Darko Milicic because he showed a faint pulse in his brief stint in Minnesota at the end of last season after being one of the biggest busts in the NBA for the past seven years.

Kahn then acquired Michael Beasley for next to nothing, but was fined $50,000 for openly talking about Beasley's previous fascination with marijuana. While I like the Beasley deal, his acquisition prompted Kahn to deal his best player, Al Jefferson, for Kosta Koufus and a pair of future first-round picks. At least Kahn didn't sign another point guard to a long-term deal. Oh wait... he did that by giving Luke Ridnour a 4-year, $16 million contract which then led to dealing last offseason's key free agency signing, Ramon Sessions to Cleveland for cap space. You think you have a headache by reading all of that... imagine how Timberwolves' fans feel.

2010-2011 Outlook:
While nine new players come to Minnesota, it is hard to say that those additions will make this team better. The Timberwolves are the youngest team in the league with an average age of slightly more than 23 years and chemistry will be a major issue with so many new faces.

With Big Al gone, the T-Wolves will have a major void for a scorer. Kevin Love, Jonny Flynn and Corey Brewer are by no means "go-to" players in the NBA and it would be asking a lot of fourth-overall pick Wesley Johnson to assume that role during his rookie season. Bringing in Beasley, Martell Webster and Ridnour adds needed depth and scoring punch to the bench, but that will not matter when the second unit comes in and Minnesota is already down 15 points.

Even sniffing the postseason is a completely unrealistic goal for this team. The 2010-11 season will be all about these young players trying to find a togetherness and develop their game to hopefully be pieces of the puzzle for the future. There is no question Minnesota will be Taylor Swift-live singing bad and I would not be shocked at all if they do not reach their 15-win total from last season.

Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2011:
Ricky Rubio. Ricky Rubio. Ricky Rubio. Next summer we will find out if Rubio will indeed come to the NBA and call Minnesota home as he will be able to get out of his overseas contract without having to pay a massive buyout. Kahn has continually insisted that he would wait for Rubio to become a member of the Timberwolves and truly believes that will happen. Most fans are hoping the dazzling point guard can be the franchise's savior, but from Day 1 of this marriage I have expressed my belief that the Spanish sensation would never play a game in a T-Wolves jersey and I am sticking with that theory. If that does happen, will Kahn trade away Rubio, or call his bluff and hold his rights hostage? The Kahn Era may not produce a whole lot of winning basketball, but damn is it full of offseason intrigue and entertainment.

2010-2011 NBA Power Ranking: 30th

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to:

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