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Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves did a great job of signing free agents and trading players and resigning players this offseason. For this reason, I think the Minnesota T-wolves have a great shot at making the playoffs next season, not as a seventh or eighth seed, but maybe even higher.

First and foremost: Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Both of these All-Star level athletes have come off of huge injuries which destroyed any chances of making the playoffs last year. But with these players back, the Timberwolves are already looking strong.

In the 2011-2012 NBA season, Kevin Love averaged 26 ppg and over 13 rpg. These stats are not even for a Center, he is a Power Forward! Also, with Nikola Pekovic in the paint, these two can transform the T-Wolves organization into one of the strongest rebounding frontcourts in the NBA. Not to mention Kevin Love is an outstanding three point shooter. As a six foot, ten inch PF, Love can spread the floor with his threat outside. The only thing that Love should work on is his inside game. He is a soft player, which is why he is a great shooter outside the arch, and doesn't have any post moves. If he can develop an inside game with Pekovic in the interior, defenses will have huge match up troubles. 

Secondly, with Ricky Rubio back, the offense will flow much better, reducing turnovers and making their game more fast paced. Ricky Rubio is one of the most fun players to watch on a fast break with his quick dribbling moves and passes to other players. Not to mention that he averaged over 10 points and 7 dimes a game alongside Love. Also, with him back, the Timberwolves have gained huge depth in the point guard spot as JJ Barea sits right behind him. Although both these players are small, they are both dynamic off the dribble; Rubio is past first minded while Barea is looking to take it to the hole.

Besides their two superstar players on their roster, the Timberwolves made a great move to sign Kevin Martin. When he was on the Thunder, Martin averaged 14 points OFF THE BENCH! Because he is starting in Minnesota, Martin can easily average 17 ppg, which is around his career average. Not to mention he is one of the best three point shooters right now.

So if you put the pieces together, the Minnesota Timberwolves will have a tremendous perimeter game and a solid paint game. As explained, the Timberwolves have two of the best three point shooting players in the NBA in Kevin Love and Kevin Martin and along with them is a pass first PG in Ricky Rubio. Once the three point shooting escalates in games, defenses will start having to play tight on players like Martin and Love to stop their shooting, and in turn causes one-on-one isolation post plays with Nikola Pekovic. And if players have to rotate to stop the big man down low, he can kick it out and find an open shooter. Their perimeter game and inside game coincide with one another, which makes them lethal.

Also, with the acquisition of UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad, the T-Wolves have strong depth in the Small Forward position. Although he is a third string player right now, I think he will move up in the rotation and become another three point shooting role player until his third year in the league. 

The only real problem that the team faces is their backcourt defense. The Timberwolves, like explained before, have a solid rebounding presence inside, but their outside defense isn't spectacular. 

Besides the fact of their perimeter defense, the Timberwolves have looked strong in their offseason moves by acquiring shooters like Kevin Martin and Shabazz Muhammad. Also, they have retrieved their two superstar players in Rubio and Love which makes me believe that they have huge upside going into next season.