2009-10 Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview
Do you hear that howl? Is it the cry of the Minnesota Timberwolves (24- 56) or of former GM Kevin McHale? Four the fourth year running, the Wolves posted a losing season, and for the second straight year they won less than 25 games. Kevin McHale is gone and former Pacers executive David Kahn is now on-board. Kurt Rambis, yes he who McHale clothes-lined so many years ago in the NBA Finals, is the team’s new coach. There’s been a whole lot of shaking up in the Timberwolves organization. And there’s good reason for it. Last year, the team started the season with a 4- 23 mark. That got coach Randy Wittman fired. Center Al Jefferson and shooting guard Corey Brewer both tore their ACLs. Additionally, the other guys on the team underperformed. McHale took over interim coaching duties and the Wolves went 13- 10. But with the 25th ranked offense and 27th rated defense, the wheels were bound to fall off again and they did. The team was worst in field goal percentage and in first shot defensive efficiency. It was certainly a season to forget.
Center Al Jefferson (23.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.66 BPG) is a solid big man who can crash the hoop, post up and steal the ball. At power forward Kevin Love (11.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.62 BPG) is a big guy who needs to pick up the tempo a bit or he’ll get left in the dust. His defense is weak. Ryan Gomes (13.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG) is a solid all-around player who can defend, shoot and pass. He’ll do whatever a coach needs done on a given night. Swingman Ryan Hollins (3.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.2 APG) is a gifted athlete who can contribute off the bench.
Rookie point guard Jonny Flynn looks to get the nod and start in his first season. He can run the floor, make things happen with the ball and hit from outside or slash to the basket. Shooting guard Corey Brewer (6.2 PPG, 1.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.00 SPG) has some decent “D” skills. The signing of guard Ramon Sessions will greatly help the backcourt.
The strength on this team lies in the realm of rebounding. The guys upfront are big and aggressive and very good in controlling the paint. The weakest aspect of Minnesota’s game can be found in the wings. Brewer is not a very good shooter, but he’s become a decent defender, and Gomes is best at knocking in points but he is slow of foot. There’s no one behind them.
There is a whole lot of work to do here and it starts with coaching. Bringing in Rambis was a good idea. Sessions, Jefferson and Love create a solid core as long as they stay healthy. Additionally, new GM Kahn has generated some good energy around the franchise. The Wolves won’t be the worst team in the West, but they will be close to it. Fifth in the Northwest and 13th in the West are fairly certain.