Wolves Season Preview 2009-10

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer
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Al Jefferson, Center/Forward #25
Height: 6-10
Weight: 265
Birth: 01/04/1985
Experience: 5
From: Prentiss HS, Mississippi

2008-2009 Stats:
23.1 PPG 11 RPG 1.7 BPG

Team Take:
"Al has a tremendous knack for getting his defender out of position and working his way around them, whether it's one defender or two defenders he can just fit himself in little gaps and find a way to score." - Kurt Rambis

Timberwolves.com Take:
The league began to take notice of the immense skill-set from Jefferson last year. The 6-10 post player is an absolute defensive nightmare for opposing big men. While receiving the ball on the low blocks, Jefferson is strong with his back to the basket and facing up with a solid jumper from 16 feet. Jefferson makes defenders look foolish by using an array of pump fakes to find open space inside the paint. He will need a couple of weeks to regain game conditioning as the forward/center returns from an ACL knee surgery last February. If healthy, Big Al should make his All-Star debut this year along with rising towards to the top of the list for best post players in the NBA.
Kevin Love, Forward/Center #42
Height: 6-10
Weight: 260
Birth: 09/04/1988
Experience: 2nd Year
From: UCLA

2008-2009 Season Stats:
11.1 PPG 9.1 RPG 1.0 APG

Team Take:
"He improved in a lot of ways this year in this off season. Of course he is a great rebounder; he's also a scorer. He made my job a lot easier when I'm not there; he's a great passer too. All I have to do is make eye contact with him and the ball was coming. So he made my job a lot easier in the first half I played." - Al Jefferson

Timberwolves.com Take:
The injury to Love's fourth metacarpal in his left hand was disheartening considering the amount of offseason work witnessed from the second-year forward. Love posted tremendous numbers in the amount of minutes he received last year. Publicly, Love will not admit to playing with a chip on his shoulder after the rookie-sophomore game snub and sixth place finish in the Rookie of the Year balloting. The former UCLA standout displayed the same-type of rebounding prowess in the preseason as seen in 2008-09. Love snagged an eye-popping 21 percent of available rebounds last year. He is an underrated offensive player and will look for his outside jumper this season. Forget all the statistics (9th in the league in rebounding), Love ascended throughout his rookie campaign while avoiding the proverbial rookie wall.
Corey Brewer, Forward #22
Height: 6-9
Weight: 188
Birth: 03/05/1986
Experience: 2
From: University of Florida

2008-2009 Stats:
PPG 6.2 RPG 3.3 APG 1.7

Team Take:
"Teams always need defenders, teams always need guys who play hard, teams always need guys who have a passion for playing and he has all of those." - Kurt Rambis

Timberwolves.com Take:
Brewer is back to what he does best: defense. Minnesota will rely on the third-year swingman to defend the perimeter and at the small forward position. Brewer is showing no ill effects of the knee injury that cut his 2008-09 season short. In Rambis' new style of offense, Brewer should flourish in the up-tempo scheme. Brewer spent a considerable amount of time working on his outside jumper to make the opposing team play honest defense. At 6-9, Brewer started several games at the shooting guard spot in the preseason. Expect a focused demeanor from Brewer as he enters a pivotal year.
Wayne Ellington, Guard #19
Height: 6-4
Weight: 200
Birth: 10/29/1987
Experience: Rookie
From: University of North Carolina

2008-2009 College Stats:
15.8 PPG 4.9 RPG 2.7 APG

Team Take:
"He's a good one on one scorer, even if taller guys are guarding him he creates enough space to get the shots off, he has different shots in the lane, he can finish and his athleticism is unquestionable. He's going to give us a nice scoring punch at the two guard position." -Ryan Gomes

Timberwolves.com Take:
College basketball fans know all about this sharpshooter out of North Carolina. Ellington could end up becoming the steal of the 2009 NBA Draft with his ability to drain shots from the perimeter. The Wolves desperately need Ellington to stretch the defense with his shooting skills. During summer league action, Ellington also demonstrated a knack for reaching the lane and finding open teammates in a drive-and-dish situation. Ellington has already made an impact off the floor as an easy-going type of guy that is easy to cheer for this season.
Jonny Flynn, Guard #11
Height: 6-0
Weight: 185
Birth: 02/06/1989
Experience: Rookie
From: University of Syracuse

2008-2009 College Stats:
15.7 PPG 2.7 RPG 6.7 APG

Team Take:
"I need him to be a leader on the floor and to show his team how to play and how to execute and how to play together, that's part of his role as a leader out there." -Rambis

"His enthusiasm is so infectious. As we all figured, I think he's going to be one of the natural leaders on this team." - David Kahn

"He's a beast. He's tough as nails." - Al Jefferson

Timberwolves.com Take:
Don't blink...or you will miss the highlight. J Flynn is a dynamic point guard that possesses all the necessary skills to lead a team as a rookie. Expectations are extremely high but Flynn is highly confident entering the 2009-10 season. An under six-foot playmaker, Flynn is extremely strong for his size. Flynn penetrates the lane with ferocity and will find a home at the charity stripe all year. The point guard out of Syracuse needs time to learn the NBA game to make the correct decisions in a complicated offensive scheme. There is no doubt that Flynn will become a fan favorite here in Minnesota while earning a spot on the nightly NBA highlight reel.
Ryan Gomes, Forward #8
Height: 6-7
Weight: 245
Birth:09/01/1982
Experience: 5th year
From: Providence College

2008-2009 Season Stats:
13.3 PPG 4.8 RPG 1.3 APG

Team Take:
"[Gomes] is one of the best role players in the league. He can defend, he can post up, he can put the ball on the floor and he can make midrange jumpers. He's a very valuable asset because he can do a lot of things." - Kurt Rambis

Timberwolves.com Take:
Gomes offers versatility on both ends of the floor. With Brewer out for a majority of last year, Gomes was forced to defend the opposing teams best shooting guard, small forward, or power forward on most nights. The 245-pound veteran increased his scoring production after Jefferson suffered a season-ending knee injury last February. Gomes is most comfortable shooting near the baseline from about 17-feet. As one of five players returning to the Wolves roster this year, Gomes will be a leader both on and off the court.
Sasha Pavlovic, Guard/Forward #11
Height: 6-7
Weight: 235
Birth: 11/15/1983
Experience: 7th year
From: Serbia & Montenegro

2008-2009 Season Stats (Cleveland Cavaliers):
4.6 PPG 1.1 APG 41 3P%

Team Take:
"His size and athleticism will help round out our wing position and provide us added experience." - David Kahn

Timberwolves.com Take:
Pavlovic decided to sign with the Wolves after five years in Cleveland. At 6-7, Pavlovic can score from the perimeter and hit jumpers while adjusting his shot in mid-air. The Minnesota coaching staff is working with Pavlovic to make sure the guard-forward is balanced before launching a jump shot. Look for Pavlovic to pull the trigger without any hesitation, which is exactly what this team craves. Pavlovic may surprise teams around the league as an underrated defender.
Ramon Sessions, Guard #7
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190
Birth: 04/11/1986
Experience: 3rd year
From: University of Nevada-Reno

2008-2009 Season Stats (Milwaukee Bucks):
12.4 PPG 5.7 APG 1.1 SPG

Team Take:
"I think that Ramon is clearly more capable of helping us right now than Ricky [Rubio] would have been because of where he is in his development stage. The team became more mature and improved [by adding Ramon]." - David Kahn

Timberwolves.com Take:
The former Bucks point guard is a humble, yet vocal leader on the court. Sessions elevated his free agency status by posting terrific numbers for Milwaukee last year. This floor leader will be asked to orchestrate the offense and shift between two positions in the backcourt. Sessions is strong off the dribble in navigating towards the paint. The 6-3 guard offers more length than Flynn and three years of professional experience.
Ryan Hollins, Center/Forward #1
Height: 7-0
Weight: 230
Birth: 10/10/1984
Experience: 4th year
From: UCLA

2008-2009 Season Stats:
3.2 PPG 2.2 RPG 0.7 BPG

Team Take:
"His athleticism will come in extremely handy. I think he has a chance to be a good player. He just has to learn how to set himself up and use his athleticism better." -Rambis

Timberwolves.com Take:
The best place to find Hollins is high above the rim. Another newcomer to Minnesota this year, Hollins is a devastating dunker and shot blocker. David Kahn believes Hollins is full of potential, which NBA fans witnessed last year in the playoffs. Hollins vaulted over Tim Duncan for a thunderous dunk as one of the top highlights of the 2009 postseason. Defensively, Hollins will create havoc from the weak side and he is focused on making an impact on that side of the floor.
Brian Cardinal, Forward #14
Height: 6-8
Weight: 240
Birth: 05/02/1977
Experience: 9th year
From: Purdue University

2008-2009 Season Stats:
3 PPG 2.2 RPG 1.2 APG

Timberwolves.com Take:
Cardinal brings the lunch pale and a little bit of levity to this Wolves squad. The veteran forward seems to maintain a healthy perspective during a difficult rebuilding situation in Minnesota. On the court, Cardinal is a relentless worker with a solid outside jumper. Fans love the “Custodian” for his aggressive and pesky approach to defense. Opposing players are often aggravated by Cardinal’s bruising style but the Wolves will rely on him as a key member off the bench.
Oleksy Pecherov, Center #4
Height: 7-0
Weight: 234
Birth: 12/08/85
Experience: 3rd year
From: Donetsk, Ukraine

2008-2009 Season Stats:
3.6 PPG 2.4 RPG 0.1 BPG

Timberwolves.com Take:
Pecherov is an intriguing player at the center position. At 7-0, Pecherov can score around the basket with either hand and will often step deep out on the perimeter to shoot jumpers. The former Wizards center is not quite a polished product but possesses a high upside for the future. With Love missing the first month of the season, Pecherov will garner a bulk of the minutes to fill the void in the post.
Damien Wilkins, Forward #3
Height: 6-6
Weight: 225
Birth: 01/11/1980
Experience: 6th year
From: University of Georgia

2008-2009 Season Stats:
5.3 PPG 0.9 APG 1.2 37.5 3P%

Team Take:
"Damien is my co-captain because he's been in the league the same amount of time as me, but he's been in the playoffs, he's been in a lot of good positions. He's helping me a lot." - Al Jefferson

Timberwolves.com Take:
Wilkins joins the new-look Wolves from a trade with Oklahoma City this summer. Versatility is Wilkins best asset as he looks to contribute from the shooting guard and small forward positions. The 6-6 nephew of Dominique Wilkins will contribute in all areas along with creating depth on the wing.
Jason Hart, Guard #6
Height: 6-3
Weight: 180
Birth: 04/29/1978
Experience: 9th year
From: Syracuse

2008-2009 Season Stats:
2 PPG 1.2 APG .3 SPG

Team Take:
"[Hart is] somebody who's played against the other guards in the league, and that's always going to help." - Kurt Rambis

Timberwolves.com Take:
Hart may feel like the elder statesman on this Minnesota roster. With eight years of experience, Hart will assist Flynn and Sessions in the backcourt. Hart also shares a connection with Flynn; both guards played for the Syracuse Orangemen. Just four years ago, Hart averaged 32 minutes for the Clippers and posted nine points a game.
Nathan Jawai, Forward #15
Height: 6-10
Weight: 280
Birth: 10/10/1986
Experience:2nd year
From: Australia

2008-2009 Season Stats:
.3 PPG 0 APG 0 SPG

Team Take:
"Nathan is a young project who likely will add depth to our roster at his position." - David Kahn

Timberwolves.com Take:
Jawai arrived in Minneapolis just a week ago but the coaching staff is pleased with his progress in the short amount of time. The Australian native is a smaller version of Shaq and should be able to carve out space on the blocks. While watching a couple of practices, Jawai showed nice touch for his incredible size.
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