2008-2009 Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview
2008 Minnesota Timberwolves basketball preview from Maddux Sports handicappers. If you are a sports bettor you will love Maddux's NBA lines page where you can compare daily odds
Last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves (20- 62) put in a typical lone wolf season, except this time they did it without All-Star Kevin Garnett. Garnett, who had been traded to the Celtics for Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes, was busy helping Boston win it’s first championship in 22 years. Minnesota’s GM, Kevin McHale, who played on that title Celtics’ team, made the deal. The move was not a bad one. But other decisions didn’t look so good such as the drafting of Corey Brewer sixth overall. On the court, the T-Wolves’ offense was 18th in efficiency after the All-Star break, which was a big improvement over their ranking of 29th prior to the break. Minnesota had a tough time in doing much of anything. They were last in forcing dead ball turnovers, next-to-last in foul shot opportunities versus field goal attempts and 29th in percentage of shot’s blocked by opponents.
The team ran on the gas of Jefferson, who was a major factor in rebounding and scoring. So many players seemed to do next to nothing on the court—Corey Brewer, Sebastian Telfair, Marko Jaric and others. Both Antoine Walker and Gerald Green threw the ball up a lot, hitting just 36.5% and 33.1% of their shots respectively.
The Wolves chose O.J. Mayo in the draft and then traded him to Memphis for draft-pick Kevin Love and veteran Mike Miller. It was a bold move by GM McHale. He then used his 31st pick to secure Nikola Pekovic, who will not be available this season due to contract obligations in Europe. Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth, both frontcourt guys, were acquired from the 76ers.
Last season, the frontcourt was primarily composed of the play of forward/center Al Jefferson. Jefferson led the team in scoring, averaging 21.0 PPG. He also was tops in rebounds with 11.1 RPG. Rookie Love, at six-foot-ten and 225 pounds, will provide much needed assistance. Swingman Miller averaged 16.4 PPG and 6.7 RPG last season and will be a big help. Forward Ryan Gomes, who had 12.6 PPG and 5.8 RPG, is an excellent contributor. There’s some fine depth off the bench too.
The point still looks to be a major problem for the Jazz. Randy Foye, who begins his third NBA season, may be able to finally find his way to becoming the ultimate court general. He possesses some fine skills and tools but is unable to command the floor. He hit threes 41% of the time and frees 82%. Again, Miller, a swingman, may need to man the shooting spot. His three-point shot hits 43% of the time. Rashad McCants will back him up.
The Minnesota front office continues to make bad decisions and yet the acquisition of Jefferson, a true All-Star, and the addition of Miller and Love have put them on decent footing. The bench offers some sound talent too. But the Wolves are not yet ready to make a post-season appearance. Their defense will once again be lacking. They’ll finish fifth in the Northwest Division and in the bottom half of the conference.