2010-11 T-Wolves: Potentially Exciting, Definitely Interesting

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You really have to feel for the Timberwolves’ sales executives. Pushing Wolves season tickets has to be about as easy as unloading a McMansion in Rogers at 2004 market value. Jokes aside, if you like basketball, there are a few reasons to watch the local squad this season.

The addition of Michael Beasley has me most intrigued. The Heat basically gave away the 2nd overall pick in the 2008 draft because they needed cap room to finalize the contracts of Dwyane Wade, Lebron James and Chris Bosh. While he comes with some baggage, Beasley is the one player on the team with superstar potential. Whether or not he realizes it over the next couple seasons will be a compelling storyline. If he does, the 6-8 forward would become Minnesota sports’ biggest steal since the Vikings plucked a troubled WR named Cris Carter off waivers from the Eagles in 1990. If not, it was worth a shot. I applaud the opportunistic David Kahn for this move.

Kevin Love got the attention of basketball junkies with his solid performance at last summer’s FIBA World Championships in Turkey. ESPN’s Bill Simmons even touted the power forward as one of his “favorite players”. Love possesses a unique skill set; at 6-10, he has soft hands and above average post moves. He is already one of league’s top rebounders and low post passers and, having just turned 22 in September, should only get better. Maybe Kevin McHale actually made a good decision dealing O. J. Mayo for Love on draft night two years ago.

Martell Webster, another Kahn acquisition, will miss 6 to 8 weeks due to back surgery. Nicknamed “The Definition” (Webster, dictionary – get it?), the 23-year-old is an outside scoring threat who was drafted 6th overall by Portland out of high school in 2005. He averaged 9.4 points in 24.5 minutes and shot over 37% from 3-point land with a talented Blazers squad last year.

The team’s latest lottery pick, the long, lean Wesley Johnson from Syracuse gives the team the athletic small forward with shooting range they’ve been lacking for years. Speaking of the Orangemen, the start to Jonny Flynn’s sophomore season has been put on hold by hip surgery, but the point guard should be back in action by Thanksgiving. Flynn struggled at times during his rookie season running Rambis’ offense, but he has the tools to be an effective floor general.

It will also be interesting to see if the much maligned Darko Miličić can develop into a legitmate center, Corey Brewer can continue to improve his shooting and Wayne Ellington can become a consistent 3-point threat.

Given 200-to-1 odds to win the NBA Championship, the Wolves won’t be selling any playoff tickets this spring, but they will be young, athletic and more entertaining than they have been since you-know-who was traded to Boston over three years ago.

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