2011-12 record: 26-40
Fifth place, Northwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Areas of Strength:
Power forward Kevin Love is around for at least the next three seasons, if Minnesota fends off trade pursuits, and is a double-double machine. Point guard Ricky Rubio had created a buzz off the court and dazzling highlights and geometry on it before his season-ending knee surgery. Center Nikola Pekovic is a bull inside.
Once Rubio went down, the Wolves' deficiencies were exposed, particularly their shaky outside shooting -- Wes Johnson, hello? -- and athletes with good handles who can create scoring chances. Rookie Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in last year's draft, answered few questions and maybe raised some new ones.
Two Stats That Matter:
.581 -- Minnesota's winning percentage (18-13) with Ricky Rubio as its starting point guard, compared to .229 (8-27) with anybody else.
48 -- Double-double games for Kevin Love with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, out of the 55 games he played. From the same guy who won the 3-Point Shooting Contest at All-Star Weekend.
The Way To Go:
No one in the Twin Cities has much confidence that basketball prez David Kahn will make a productive selection at No. 18 (which came to Minnesota via the Al Jefferson trade with Utah. Its own pick wound up in New Orleans, No. 10, from the long-ago Marko Jaric deal). A scoring wing would be nice but finding one via trade or free agency might be a more reliable route, based on Johnson's bust (fourth overall) from 2010.
2011-12 Team Stats:
Offensive: 101.5 (18th)
Defensive: 103.6 (21st)
G: Ricky Rubio
G: J.J. Barea
G: Luke Ridnour
G: Wayne Ellington
G: Wes Johnson
G: Malcolm Lee
G-F: Martell Webster
F: Kevin Love
F: Derrick Williams
C: Nikola Pekovic
C: Darko Milicic
F: Anthony Tolliver (unrestricted)
F: Michael Beasley (restricted)
F: Anthony Randolph (restricted)
Recent Draft History:
2011: Derrick Williams (2), Donatas Motiejunas (20)
2010: Wesley Johnson (4), Luke Babbit (16), Trevor Booker (23), Paulo Prestes (45), Hamady Ndiaye (56)
2009: Ricky Rubio (5), Jonny Flynn (6), Ty Lawson (18), Wayne Ellington (28), Nick Calathes (45), Henk Norel (47)
2008: O.J. Mayo (3), Nikola Pekovic (31), Mario Chalmers (34)
2007: Corey Brewer (7), Chris Richard (41)
2006: Brandon Roy (6), Craig Smith (36), Bobby Jones (37), Loukas Mavrokefalidis (57)
-- Steve Aschburner