2014 Minnesota Timberwolves

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Year: 40-42)

2013-14 Season Summary:
Had the Minnesota Timberwolves been in the Eastern Conference, they would have been in the playoffs. Instead, the Timberwolves finished 10th in the more competitive Western Conference and extended their playoff drought to a decade. As a result, the club fired its general manager and head coach and now faces the dilemma of what to do with the face of the franchise, Kevin Love, who will be entering the final guaranteed year of his contract.

2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Nikola Pekovic/Gorgui Dieng/Ronny Turiaf

PF: Kevin Love/Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

SF: Corey Brewer/Chase Budinger/Shabazz Muhammad/*Robbie Hummel

SG: Kevin Martin/Alexey Shved

PG: Ricky Rubio/J.J. Barea

NBA Free Agents:

PF-Dante Cunningham (UFA)

*SF-Robbie Hummel (RFA)

2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $66.5 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. What’s Love got to do with it?: Let’s be realistic; Love’s days in Minnesota are numbered. Sorry, Timberwolves fans. There is no way he is re-signing with Minnesota and will certainly be testing free agency next summer since numerous more desirable destinations will be coveting his services. So what are the Timberwolves waiting for?

They need to pull the trigger on a trade that can net them some key pieces without having to go into a massive rebuilding effort like the franchise experienced after dealing Kevin Garnett. A quality veteran, a young player, and a high draft pick would be the ideal coup for Minnesota, and there should be a bidding war for Love’s services. Making a move prior to the season would be more beneficial than waiting until midway through the year.

2. Strengthen Second Unit: The Timberwolves starting five was highly productive, but the team struggled to find steady production from the bench as Rick Adelman was constantly juggling lineups to try and find a consistent solution. Minnesota should be able to land a solid role player with its first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Finding a frontcourt scoring option off the bench should be a goal, especially if Dante Cunningham is not re-signed.

3. Defense: While the Timberwolves put a lot of points on the scoreboard, they also gave up a ton to their opponents. The late-season development of Gorgui Dieng helped provide a bit of a defensive presence in the middle, but Minnesota’s perimeter defense was rather poor and needs to improve.

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