Monday, June 27, 2011

Timberwolves Back to Reality

The Timberwolves had a big week, but wouldn't you know that doesn't include a single win on the court. It was all in the realm of hope and potential. But you know what hope and potential have gotten the Wolves so far.

Still, David Kahn would probably say (and probably will say at some point) that the Wolves roster continues to improve. The latest upgrades, we hope, include Ricky Rubio over Jonny Flynn, and Derrick Williams over, well, not-Derrick Williams, not to mention Brad Miller over Darko Milicic.

But if Kahn has been accused in the past of an infatuation with point guards, now it's forwards. Add Williams to Kevin Love and Michael Beasley and you still may not have a small forward in the bunch.

So the Wolves depth chart has now settled and it looks like this.

C- Milicic and Miller, or Miller and Milicic
PF- Love and Williams
SF- Beasley and/or Williams and Martell Webster
PG- Rubio and Luke Ridnour
SG- Wesley Johnson and Wayne Ellington

How exactly this team will be any better than the ones that won 15 and 17 games the past 2 years remains to be demonstrated. OK, sure, Milicic and Miller is better than Milicic and Pekovic. And maybe Love, Beasley and Johnson will be better, and Webster healthier, and maybe Anthony Randolph has a breakout (taking playing time away from Love, Beasley and Williams?). How exactly do the pieces fit together even if, as Kahn has said, the "roster" is better. Does that make the team better?

The fact is the only thing that makes the Wolves categorically better is Rubio and Williams, and they're not going to do that in 2011-2012. No way. Too young, too green, too much to learn. So for the moment it probably comes down to Beasley becoming a more mature, consistent, reliable fellow. And that might be worth 5 wins.

So hope and potential is better than the lack thereof. But both will take time to come to fruition and it's already been an awfully long time since the Wolves were worth a damn. And by the time Rubio and Williams are ready to contribute, Kevin Love might be a free agent looking for someplace with a little bit of a winning attitude to play.

Well, I guess I should add that the second cause for hope is the possibility that Kurt Rambis was a worse coach than you even think, and a competent coach can boost these guys on to another plane. But you're also left to ponder the fact that the fellow who hired Rambis will be doing the hiring again this year.

Bottom line: If the dust has really cleared and the roster now is what it is, and assuming the coach is not gonna be the second coming of Bill Musselman? 22 wins.

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