It is fast becoming a new era in Minnesota. With the trade of franchise centerpiece Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves have invested heavily in their future. The trio of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young mightn’t be the most experienced but they are energetic, exciting and they are the new, fresh faces of the Minnesota franchise.
When you add these young prospects with rookie Zach LaVine and sophomore swingman Shabazz Muhammad, you have a solid core to build around — or in this case rebuild around. While Minnesota had arguably a top 10 player in Kevin Love, that had never translated to postseason appearances.The Timberwolves were always full of potential, but were never able to realize it and turn that into success.
Ricky Rubio and his new young guns will be looking to try and change that.
Rubio is now the franchise leader both on and off the floor. The mercurial point guard is flashy, but will now need to prove he is worth building around, that he is worth a max contract and that he can lead the Timberwolves into the post-season, something Love was never able to do.
With Rubio running the point and the young Wolves running the floor, you can expect to see Minnesota feature heavily on SportsCenter, but can we expect them to chalk up wins? Will this rebuild model eventuate in success or will it be another blockbuster deal forced upon a franchise by its star which leaves the team floundering and struggling to bounce back?
Andrew Wiggins is the biggest talent in this deal. He had been touted as a future NBA star for what seems like and eternity and teams “tanked” as best they could to try and secure his services.
He has a complete, allo-around game that had front offices drooling and athleticism that will be well suited to the NBA style of play. There is no denying his talent or work ethic either which suggests the Timberwolves have secured themselves a bright future.
The best part (if you can narrow down a “best” part of Wiggins’ game) is that he plays defense — something that Minnesota has struggled with mightily throughout Kevin Love’s tenure.
Thaddeus Young provides a more mature, physical body in the frontcourt. He is no Kevin Love, but he is a versatile forward who has played in the league long enough to know what it is all about.
As far as the new additions go, Young is a veteran presence that the young core can look up to and learn from. Anthony Bennett was looming as a bust after a very average rookie campaign, but people didn’t realize (or didn’t want to acknowledge) that he was coming off shoulder surgery, an interrupted preseason and was in need of some guidance.
The talent appears to be there and with a renewed focus on health and fitness, a full pre-season and a new opportunity – young would be foolish to write him off.
When you add these guys to the returning roster (Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin) the Timberwolves appear to be fairly well balanced. They have had to give up a huge piece in Love, but they have definitely netted a worthwhile haul.
The rookies, Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III, will be given time to learn and grow under the more veteran players and Minnesota have brought in even more experience during the offseason.
Such a drastic change in personnel is going to take time to develop chemistry and ultimately deliver success. The Timberwolves know that, but must have had one eye on the future ever since Kevin Love expressed his desire to test the market.
Now both eyes will be firmly on the future — and the highlight reels. With this new core group of talented stars and athletic young players, you will be seeing plenty of high flying action.
In fact, the Minnesota Timberwolves may be the best reason to buy League Pass this season. Will is result in success, wins and a trip to the playoffs?
You’ll have to tune in to see.