We are a bit late with this considering #TWolvesDay was Tuesday, but better late than never. We reached out to our pals at TWolves Blog to get a better picture of the trendy pick to make the Playoffs out of the Western Conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves. TWolvesBlog.com staff writer Jon Schweppe took the time to answer some of our questions:
Philip Rossman-Reich, Crossover Chronicles: What was the biggest change to the Timberwolves this offseason? Has the mood about the team really changed?
Jon Schweppe, TWolvesBlog.com: This is a completely different team. David Kahn did a pretty good job this offseason jettisoning the parts that just didn't work last year and replacing them with some really decent options. We know this team will be solid, but there are still a lot of questions. Will Andrei Kirilenko be as good as he was in the Olympics? Will Ricky Rubio return healthy and improve on his impressive rookie campaign? Will Alexey Shved contribute? If a few things fall the right way, this could be a very competitive team in the West.
Coach Adelman recently commented on how impressed he was with the team's basketball IQ during training camp. My hope is that this is a sign of things to come. But needless to say, Timberwolves fans are pretty darn excited. We have a lot to look forward to this season.
CC: What are you expecting from Brandon Roy this year?
TWB: Brandon Roy has always been one of my favorite players, and I was thrilled when the Timberwolves signed him this summer. Injuries are a depressing thing, and there's no doubt the odds are against him, but I think Roy will be a big contributor this season. If we get Brandon Roy anywhere near an all-star level, look out. He's exactly the type of playmaker this team sorely needed last year, the type of player that Michael Beasley just isn't capable of being night in and night out. And worst case scenario, even if we get Brandon Roy at 25 percent of his former self, that's probably a huge improvement over Wes "I can't hit corner 3's to save my life" Johnson.
CC: What is the biggest concern for the Timberwolves this year?
TWB: No doubt it's injuries. Will Ricky Rubio fully recover from his ACL injury? How will Brandon Roy's knees fare in an 82-game season? Fully healthy, this is potentially one of the better teams in the West, but that's not how these things tend to go for us TWolves fans. Hopefully the team will dodge the injury bullet, especially to their top contributors like Rubio, Love, and Pekovic.
CC: Have the Timberwolves done enough to begin swaying Kevin Love to stay in Minnesota? What is left for the team to do?
TWB: Win. That's what's left to do. I think they did the best they could this summer. But I don't think Love stays with the Timberwolves unless they become a perennial contender. The guy has a passion for winning, which is admirable, and I can't blame him for that. Hopefully everything will pan out so he can achieve his destiny… becoming a Minnesota sports cult hero (and maybe an NBA champion!)
CC: Can the Timberwolves make the Playoffs this year? What is the next step in this team's progression?
TWB: The Timberwolves haven't made the playoffs since 2004. It's time for that streak of ineptitude to end. I think the goal this season should be to make the playoffs and win a playoff series, and then go from there. Barring a string of injures, I think this Timberwolves squad will end up surprising some people and do just that.
Many thanks to Jon for taking the time to answer some of our questions about the Timberwolves. You can read Jon's work and get complete coverage of the Timberwolves over at TWolvesBlog.com. You can also join our discussion on the Timberwolves in the comments section below or on Twitter by using the hashtag #TWolvesDay.