Minnesota Timberwolves Will Be the Worst Team in the NBA


David Kahn Ricky Rubio

David Kay begins his 2010-2011 NBA previews with the worst team in the league.  The Minnesota Timberwolves are giving new meaning to the phrase re-building behind oft-criticized general manager David Kahn who is the opposite of Benjamin Linus when it comes to having a plan.

Minnesota Timberwolves (15-67 in 2009-2010)

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 $43.6 million

Offseason Moves: (click on links for further analysis)
-Timberwolves sign F/C Anthony Tolliver to 2-year, $4.8 million deal
-Timberwolves waive G Delonte West
-Timberwolves acquire G Delonte West and PG Sebastian Telfair from Cavs for PG Ramon Sessions, C Ryan Hollins, and 2nd round pick
-Timberwolves sign PG Luke Ridnour to 4-year, $16 million deal
-Timberwolves acquire C Kosta Koufus and two 1st round picks from Utah for PF Al Jefferson
-Timberwolves acquire PF Michael Beasley from Heat for two second round picks and cash considerations
-Timberwolves sign C Darko Milicic to 4-year, $16 million deal
-Timberwolves sign C Nikola Pekovic to 3-year, $13 million deal
-Timberwolves acquire SF Martell Webster from Portland for SF Ryan Gomes and SF Luke Babbitt (16th pick)
-Timberwolves acquire SF Lazar Hayward (30th pick) and F Nemanja Bjelica (35th pick) from Washington for PF Trevor Bookers (23rd pick) and C Hamady Ndiaye (56th pick)

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 $16 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.

Michael Beasley Timberwolves

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 deal which then led to dealing last off-season’s key free agency signing, Ramon Sessions to Cleveland for cap space.  But at least Kahn did not compare Darko and Chris Webber to Webber’s face on NBATV.  Oh wait…   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 add 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 post-season is a completely unrealistic goal for this team.  2010-2011 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.

Ricky Rubio TimberwolvesLooking Ahead to Next Summer:
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 one 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 off-season intrigue and entertainment.

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  1. Although I agree that the wolves will be a young and trying team this year, I disagree with you on so many things that I think you must get your Basketball knowledge from a box of cracker jacks.

    First, paying for Big Al to be part of a up tempo team would be like putting Brett Farve in the Wildcat. To get 2 first round picks is a steal for big Al, who wouldn’t play defense or pass the ball, couldn’t run the floor and would drive Kevin Love away playing the same position. He ain’t Karl Malone and Utah will find that out soon enough.

    Second, You were dead wrong on Pechovic not playing in the NBA. He is the kind of low post enforcer that will protect the paint for the wolves. Our low post of Darko, Peck, KLove and Beasley will be as good as many teams in the West (not saying much, but still) As for the surplus of Wings and point guards. Kahn made sense with collecting these picks because he will find gold in a couple and trade bait with the rest.

    Lastly, Rubio will come to the NBA because he is the kind of player that needs to play in the NBA. The kind that needs to know if he is that good. So Kahn is brilliant for telling Rubio he will play for us for at least three years and by then we will know. If he is the glue to move the offense, then you eat crow for saying Kahn didn’t have a plan. If he is just a young kid who demands the big lights, then playing for the wolves will increase his value and we trade him for a bunch of stuff to NY or LA.

    If Denver has to Trade Melo, or God Forbid loses him like Cleveland lost LeBron, the Wolves will be a better team. Also Golden State without Nellie to run his crazy no center offense will be a terrible team and remember the Clippers are a team that can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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