|Can't wait to see Ricky back in uniform next year...|
Prior to the Rubio injury on March 9, the Pups were must see TV, since the injury...not so much. I still have my DVR set to record every FSN broadcast of the Timberwolves, but I have to admit, after Rubio went down and I saw the direction the Wolves were headed was also down, so I haven't been watching them, just deleting them. Call me bandwagon if you want, but really I think it is more of just being realistic that the games being played right now by the Wolves are worthless. After blowing a 20 point first half lead last night at home against a crappy Golden State team it shows that the Pups even know that it's worthless at this point. Also proving they lost their fire when Rubio lost stability in his knee is their 4-11 record since the ACL went "pop". So who is ready for the off season?
This has been the best part of being a Wolves fan since KG left anyways, go to the off season after a shitty regular season and hope and pray with out a chance in the world of winning the Draft Lottery. Then more recently moving from the Draft into watching all the craziness and excitement of David Kahn wheeling and dealing via 1000 trades and PG signings while trying to put together a roster.
This year's off season will be different. With Rubio, this Wolves team was legitimately in the playoff race. With Rubio, this team played with passion and looked like they were having fun on the court. So instead of David Kahn and the front office looking at the roster and getting out their sledge hammers, they will be choosing more delicate weapons...like sand paper...the fine kind.
That's not to say there aren't a lot of spots that could change from this year's team heading into next season. If you look at it there are really only a few guys that would be considered untouchable by off season moves:
Kevin Love - Completely untouchable, if the Wolves were still winning he'd have an argument for MVP votes.
Ricky Rubio - Give us Lebron and we'll consider it.
Nikola Pekovic - By far the biggest surprise to be on this list coming from his preseason standing.
Derrick Williams - A bit shaky here, but I think heading into the off season he will be considered untouchable...the right call and offer is made though...Kahn may listen.
Of that list, Pekovic will be heading into his final year of his rookie contract so he will be the only one with possible contract negotiations. He has definitely earned a big pay bump. Now under the Kahn regime, this is four more guys than have ever gone into the off season as anything near untouchable. So that is why this year is different. There actually is a core of a winning product already there for the Wolves.
Of the guys I think will be back to compliment the core:
Wes Johnson - At this point his value is sadly greater to the Wolves than anyone else. So he'll probably stay.
JJ Barea - How many times can Kahn sign a PG then get rid of him within a year?
Malcolm Lee - Finally getting PT, looks ok, coaching staff supposedly likes him.
Anthony Tolliver - Simply a good guy, who fits a role.
Luke Ridnour - He has value, and we kind of have some depth at PG, so I could see Luke being dealt, but who knows?
The rest should be gone in my opinion:
Michael Beasley - No reason for him to resign and the team definitely was looking to deal him at the deadline, his expiring $6.2 million contract will hopefully come in handy in signing a good free agent.
Darko Milicic - Mana from Heaven? More like explosive diarrhea from Taco Bell. (not my best effort...just like Darko's)
Wayne Ellington - Simply because the Wolves HAVE to add a legit SG this off season and that will push Wayne out.
Martell Webster - Seems like a well spoken, smart guy in interviews, but on the court he is mentally handicapped.
Anthony Randolph - He gone!
Brad Miller - He is calling it a career and starting a hunting TV show.
Looking ahead the free agent list is tough to predict with teams getting a shot at resigning the guys they like first and all that. So we'll address that in the future. For now, let's just all root for Utah to make the playoffs and then ensure the Wolves getting their first round pick that is lottery protected. If that were to happen, here are some choices the Wolves maybe able to look at in the middle of the first round with that pick:
Doron Lamb - True SG, great outside shooter with a nice handle, fearlessness and swagger, but a bit undersized at 6'4.
Terrence Ross - Washington product is a good athlete with nice size at 6'6, also a good shooter with nice upside.
Fab Melo - 7 footer from Cuse, even though the Wolves have Pekovic now at center, they still need a guy that can protect the rim and with the departure of Darko (God willing) we will need depth at this position.
John Henson - Another PF? Yes, but this one is a shot blocking fool and will be able to bring that skill set to the court from day one and if he adds some bulk could guard some NBA centers with his crazy length.
William Buford - Another solid shooter, less upside than the players above, but also might be the most well rounded.
The Draft will change as the college and NBA early entry deadlines come and go in the next couple weeks.
So, the Wolves off season has already started for me, these are just some of the things rolling through my head as we approach the first big step of the off season with the Draft. Barring another horrible injury like Rubio's this year, next year has a lot to look forward to. Some nice additions in this off season will only add to that.