Areas of Strength
After last season's injury woe, the Wolves must feel that luck will be on their side next season. Better yet, by the last two months of the season, Ricky Rubio had regained confidence in surgically repaired left knee and averaged 12.8 ppg and 7.3 apg after the All-Star break. Double-double machine Kevin Love will be back after a wasted season limited to 18 games by a twice-broken hand. So Minnesota heads into next season with its two stars ready to roll.
Emerging center Nikola Pekovic, a restricted free agent, will get offer sheets from other teams, but he needs to be re-signed or a gaping hole will exist in the paint. Young Russian shooting guard Alexy Shved really tapered off at the end of last season and shot just 37.2 percent overall and 29.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Two Stats That Matter
3 -- The number of games that Rubio and Love were simultaneously active for in 2012-13. Rubio, who turns 23 in October, already is deemed one of the game's most exciting playmakers and Love is an offensive force for anywhere on the court. He also grabbed 15 or more rebounds 20 times in 55 games during the 66-game 2011-12 season.
1,002 -- Coach Rick Adelman, 66, hit the thousand-win milestone later than anyone expected last season because of the incredible number of injuries the Wolves sustained. Adelman also missed a number of games to tend to his wife who had health issues. While his return to the bench for a third season in Minnesota and 23rd overall as a head coach, is expected, it is still no certain.
The Way To Go
General manager David Kahn is no longer around to push around. Owner Glen Taylor allowed Kahn's contract to expire and hired former Wolves coach Flip Saunders as head of basketball operations. All those injuries sabotaged a season with playoff potential, but it gives Saunders a chance to nab a contributor with the No. 9 pick where he can take the best player on the board. He also has the No. 26 pick (from Memphis via Houston).
2012-13 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 100.1 (25th)
Defensive: 102.9 (14th)
F: Kevin Love
F: Andrei Kirilenko
F: Derrick Williams
G: Ricky Rubio
G: J.J. Barea
G. Luke Ridnour
G: Alexy Shved
C: Greg Stiemsma (non-guaranteed)
F: Dante Cunningham (team option)
G: Malcolm Lee
F/C: Chris Johnson
F: Mickael Gelabale (team option)
C: Nikola Pekovic (restricted)
F: Chase Budinger
G: Brandon Roy
Recent Draft History
2012: Robbie Hummel (58)
2011: Derrick Williams (2)
2010: Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30)
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)
-- Jeff Caplan