Minnesota enters the 2009-10 season playing the role of the proverbial team in transition. Ever since the departure of beloved Wolf Kevin Garnett, Minnesota has languished near the depths of the NBA’s pool of teams. Minnesota had a dismal 2008-09 season. The fallout began when the former General Manager Kevin McHale traded the draft rights to O.J. Mayo and several scrubs for the draft rights to Kevin Love and cash considerations. Mayo had a stellar rookie year, averaging over 20 points per game for the Memphis Grizzlies, while Love languished on the Minnesota bench.
Now, former Laker’s assistant Kurt Rambis takes the reins in Minnesota, and takes over a team that desperately needs a sense of identity after a 24-58 season.
As this article is meticulously penned, Corey Brewer is the team’s longest tenured player. The former University of Florida swingman led the Gators (Chomp! Chomp!) to two national championships and was even named MVP of the second game. The team features Chucky Atkins and Bobby Brown (no, not that Bobby Brown) at guard, but another curious draft masterminded by McHale severs to shake things up at guard.
Minnesota selected Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio in the first round of the 2009 draft. Two picks, two point guards. Then McHale added Wayne Ellington, another guard, with the team’s second round pick. The roster serves to be shaken up again.
The only player who is a lock to start for the Timberwolves is the talented Al Jefferson. Jefferson was the centerpiece of the Kevin Garnett trade and is coming off a season where he averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Brewer and Love figure to be in the mix as do Flynn, Rubio, and Ellington. Although Rubio can choose not to opt out of his Spanish contract and remain in the homeland of Sergio Garcia.
Jonny Flynn will likely start at point guard over Ramon Sessions and second round pick Wayne Ellington will likely take over at shooting guard. Starting two rookie guards could make or break the Timberwolves season. Corey Brewer, a versatile swingman, will be featured at small-forward, and former Bruin Kevin Love is presumed to become the starting power forward after a disappointing rookie campaign where he spent a great deal of time frustrated at the far end of the bench. All-Star center Al Jefferson is coming off a season where he averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game; monster numbers for one of the league’s most underrated players.
How will the Wolves fare in 2009-10? Who am I to answer that? Timberwolves fans long for the postseason ecstasy of the Kevin Garnett era. With Garnett, nothing came before the “blood, sweat, and tears” of a good hardwood battle. Will these young, talented, Rambis-led Wolves take Minnesota fans back to the Promised Land? In all of our latent wisdom here at Paints in the Point, we collectively agree that Minnesota is, at least for the time being, destined for another lottery pick.
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