With little more then a week til the first tipoff of the 2016 - 2017 season for the Minnesota Timberwolves I thought it was just about time to get a preview of the team in. For those who want more in-depth analysis game by game over the course of the season check out the links at the bottom of the page.
To date, the Pups have played five of their seven preseason games. Two against the Heat, and one against the Hornets, Nuggets and Thunder. Their last two discount games are at Target Center against the Grizzlies and Hornets. That's seven games against teams that have or likely will compete for playoff spots in their conferences. Preseason practice time is crucial for the team but getting to go up against teams that they'll have to leap frog to break the playoff draught is also important!
Before I go any further, let's take a look at key additions and subtractions to the roster.
It may be a stretch to call all those guys key additions, but of the players added from last season's team those five are the most important.
None of those guys would have contributed much on the court this year but do represent nearly 40 years of NBA experience for the youngsters to benefit from.
I realize that Pek is still on the roster but since he's pretty much just a giant mass of muscles for the bench to hold up, I'm categorizing him as a subtraction.
When KG was brought back I was excited as everyone else. It wasn't quite the storybook ending that it could have been, but at such an advanced age, him playing much was a pipe dream. Then came the retirement drama. I haven't mentioned it til now and even though it doesn't have anything to do with the 16/17, I'll mention it briefly. If KG doesn't want to retire then he should go to whatever team will take him. But seriously, getting whiny after being paid millions of dollars just to retire wreaks of being a spoiled athlete. He's an HOF but the way things have ended for him in Minnesota ruins my view of him. I can only hope that it doesn't permeate the mentality of our young stars as they seek new contracts in the coming years!
After a season that saw a 50% increase in wins from the year before and another rookie of the year for our young squad, the optimism is palpable! It's even infecting Vegas. According to Bovada, the Timberwolves have a 40.5 season about to start. That would be another 34% increase from last season and would put us right in the mix for a playoff spot.
None of that's news to anyone who follows the team, but I'm looking to break news right now. Just give a preview. 40 wins. I don't know if Minnesotan's can handle the potential of that much positivity (between the Vikings and the Timberwolves)! Making the playoffs needs to be the number 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 goal for the team. If there is another though, as a consolation I wouldn't mind the positive history that would be a third consecutive rookie of the year.
I don't know how Dunn will be utilized this year but even if he comes off the bench for most of the year, hopefully he can do enough to merit the award. Taking another look at Bovada; Dunn, Hield, Simmons, Ingram, and Embiid are the front runners right now.
Ben Simmons has already been 76ered. I'm not sure how Embiid is still classified as a rookie since he was drafted in 2014, but maybe it has to do with playing time. That would make it a three horse race out of the gate. Surprises are always a possibility over the course of 82 games so someone else may jump up.
Positive sports history is still very much in the minority in the Minnesota pro circuit so I'll take whatever we can get! Whatever happens between now and May, let's enjoy the ride and cheer on the Blue.
Between now and February which player not name Towns do you think has the best chance of deserving to make All Star weekend events again this year? (LaVine, Wiggins and Dunn are easy, can anyone surprise me?)