2010 NBA Off Season Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

2009-2010 record: 15-67

Unrestricted free agents: Mark Blount, Darko Milicic, Damien Wilkins, Oleksiy Pecherov, Aleksandar Pavlovic, Alando Tucker, Chucky Atkins, Brian Cardinal

C - Al Jefferson, Ryan Hollins
PF - Kevin Love, Nathan Jawai
SF - Ryan Gomes
SG - Corey Brewer, Wayne Ellington
PG - Jonny Flynn, Ramon Sessions

The Timberwolves just finished up another pathetic season. David Kahn was the butt of many jokes all season after the whole Jonny Flynn/Ricky Rubio draft, and could be the butt of a new set of jokes if he seriously brings back Darko Milicic to be his starting center, as he has already talked about. But besides that, the Wolves have a ton of holes on their roster, mainly a true center, a scoring wing and a bench.

Their two best players both play the same position. Power forward. It is clear that neither one can hack it at the center position. It is unfair to ask Al Jefferson or Kevin Love to defend even average centers, let alone the actual big men with offensive talent. They are just too out manned. It is time that one of these players be moved for a real center, or a shooting guard who can score. My guess is it will be Love. He was the personal choice of now gone GM Kevin McHale. He is a good player, a double double machine who can step out and hit a three pointer every now and then, and should be able to fetch a nice wing player if they so choose.

Jefferson saw his points, rebounds, blocks and minutes drop last year, maybe from the wear and tear of having to play center. Or maybe because teams could double and triple team him, knowing there was no other scoring threat on the floor. Either way, he is still the center of this team and a 20-10 threat. The Wolves just need to find a way to surround him with some talent so he doesn't end up like the guy he was traded for, Kevin Garnett. He is an offensive power forward, and needs to play with a defensive minded center so he can be used for what he does best.

One of the nicest surprises of the season was Corey Brewer, who was close to bust status before breaking out with a nice season in 2009-2010. He may be no more then a sixth man, but if the Wolves don't upgrade the wing positions, at least they know he can score 13 points per game and help them with some solid

defense and shooting. Kind of a Tayshaun Prince light.

Not to mention that the Wolves actually did get some production out of the 2009 draft. Jonny Flynn started all but the last game of the season for the Wolves, even though they brought in Ramon Sessions. It was an up and down season for Flynn, who showed that he is more of a scoring point guard then a passing one. He looks like he should have a lock on that position.

Other then that the Wolves are full of role players and journeymen. There is not nearly enough talent on the roster right now for them to make a playoff push. They will have plenty of cap space, with everyone but Jefferson making less then 4.3 million dollars. But, any free agents worth a damn will not want to go to Minnesota. They may be better signing a veteran or two with depth, trading Love and just continuing to build through the draft. It is going to be a long road back to the playoffs in Minnesota.

Draft Discussion

The Wolves were big losers on lottery night once again. They will pick fourth. They would obviously love to move up to second to take Evan Turner, but will have to dangle more then the 4th and 16th overall picks to make that happen. They have three picks in the first round, but will probably only use two and trade the third like they did last year.

At fourth overall, I think it comes down to DeMarcus Cousins and Wesley Johnson. Cousins would be my pick. He is a legit 7 foot load down low. If they do draft him it might make sense to trade Jefferson instead of Love, as I think Cousins and Love would compliment each other better. But teams seem to be weary of Cousins weight and attitude problems. I still he'd be worth the risk at this point in the draft. He plays at a premium position and had a monster year at Kentucky.

If they go with Johnson, he will offer an all around game at the small forward position, which is a huge hole in Minnesota. Still, I'd go with Cousins.

With their second pick, they could go with that athletic wing player with size like James Anderson, Paul George, Gordon Heyward or Luke Babbitt.

Like I said, I think they will trade their third pick. They really don't have a need for three more rookies.

Jonathan Carrano

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