NBA training camps start up in a couple weeks. In the meantime, we’re going team-by-team, from 1 to 30, exploring what each team’s ceiling is for the upcoming season and where their basement is. In other words, what are the realistic best-case and worst-case scenarios for each squad?
Additions: PF/C Kevin Love, SF Mike Miller, SF Rodney Carney, C Calvin Booth, SF Brian Cardinal, C Jason Collins.
Losses: SF Antoine Walker, PG/SG Marko Jaric.
Ceiling: 4th in the Northwest Division
Immediate returns in the post-KG era haven’t been as miserable as many predicted. The young Wolves began the ’07-08 season looking historically bad, but showed significant improvement during the second half of the schedule while establishing a legit franchise cornerstone in Al Jefferson (21 ppg, 11.1 rpg). This year Minnesota will surround Big Al with a healthy Randy Foye, Lottery pick Kevin Love, veteran sniper Mike Miller, a rapidly progressing Rashad McCants, and role-player stud Ryan Gomes. On paper, Minnesota is better than division rival Oklahoma City, however it’s still a stretch to see them making much more headway in the Northwest that would get them past Utah, Portland or Denver.
Basement: 23 wins
At the very least, the Wolves will improve on last season’s 22-60 record, although it may not be by much. Jefferson is a rock, but Foye played just 39 games last year with a bad knee, Corey Brewer had a disappointing rookie year that led many to believe he’s not as good as previously advertised, and while I personally think K-Love will be a good pro, he is dripping with “bust” potential. Hardly anyone on this team has experienced winning on the pro level, and those who have (Mark Madsen, Michael Doleac, Jason Collins) won’t be getting any burn anyway.