Mar. 1, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (right) and guard Ricky Rubio against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 104-95. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

NBA 2012 Offseason Grades: Minnesota Timberwolves

2011-12 Record: 26-40, fifth place in Northwest division, 12th in Western Conference

2012 NBA Draft: F Robbie Humel (Purdue, 58th overall pick, will play in Europe)

Offseason Additions: G Brandon Roy (2 years, $10 million), G Alexy Schved (acquired from CSKA Moscow), F Andrei Kirilenko (2 years, $20 million), F Chase Budinger (acquired from Houston Rockets), F Dante Cunningham (acquired from Memphis Grizzlies), C Greg Stiemsma (2 years, $2.6 million)

Offseason Losses: G Wayne Ellington (traded to Memphis Grizzlies), F Wes Johnson (traded to Phoenix Suns), F Michael Beasley (signed with Phoenix Suns), F Anthony Randolph (signed with Denver Nuggets), C Darko Milicic (amnestied)

Re-signed: N/A

Potential Starting Line-up: PG Ricky Rubio, SG Brandon Roy, SF Andrei Kirilenko, PF Kevin Love, C Nikola Pekovic


What’s “Love” got to do with it?

Pretty much everything at this point.

“My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I’m a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these (Team USA) guys seem to have great players around them.”It’s tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year, I don’t know what will happen.” – Kevin Love

It’s hard to really hate on the guy for coming out and making comments like that. Every team should want their franchise player to have a winning attitude and be fully committed to making the playoffs every single year. Kevin Love just wants to experience the same kind of success his USA Basketball teammates (Kevin was one of only 3 players on the team to not compete in the 2012 NBA Playoffs; Deron Williams and Anthony Davis were the others) had last season.

President of Team Operations for the Timberwolves David Kahn wants the same thing. It’s been 8 long, painful years since Minnesota last found themselves playing meaningful basketball in the summer. Kahn believes the moves he’s made this offseason will change that in 2013.

The first step in this process was luring former three-time all-star Brandon Roy out of retirement.

Roy is a career 19 points a game scorer with a 42.2% shooting percentage when taking game-tying or game-winning shots. His numerous knee injuries and surgeries have taken a toll on his body, but if he can give the Wolves even half of what he gave the Portland Trail Blazers, then he can and will still be a valuable player in this league.

Minnesota has been severely lacking at the 2 spot for quite a while now, so Roy should fit right in, whether it be starting at shooting guard or easing his transition back into the game off the bench.

(knock on wood) Just pray to the basketball gods that Brandon can maintain a clean bill of health (knock on wood).

Minnesota also shored up their depth at the small forward position, a position that perhaps didn’t need that much retuning.

Before the 2012 NBA Draft, the Wolves completed a deal with Houston sending their 18th pick over to the Rockets in exchange for forward Chase Budinger. To the casual basketball fan, Budinger is best known for competing in last years Slam Dunk competition during all-star weekend.

Remember that skinny white guy who jumped over P. Diddy?

To those who watched Chase play for the Rockets, they know how great a “glue guy” Budinger can be for this Timberwolves roster. He’s a tremendous three-point shooter (40.6% from downtown last season) with an athletic build and amazing leaping ability. The one concern with this deal is that Chase may have already peaked after just 3 years in the league. Can he be anything more than a 10 point, 4 rebound a game three-point specialist that he already is?

I don’t believe he can. The 18th pick in the draft could/would have had more potential long-term than Budinger, in my opinion.

Former Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko will also be making Minnesota his new home in 2012-13 after spending last season in Russia with club team CSKA Moscow. AK47 was named to the All-Euroleague first team as well as given the 2011-12 Euroleague MVP. He’s never averaged less than 10 points a game in a season and has career averages of 2.8 blocks and 1.4 steals.

At 31 years of age playing along side players very much younger than he is, Kirilenko will bring a veteran presence that this roster desperately needs. His defense will also greatly benefit a team that allowed almost 100 points a game last season (Minnesota was 1 of 6 teams with that distinction).

Kirilenko’s teammate in Moscow Alexy Shved will join the Timberwolves as well after signing a three-year, $10 million dollar deal with the team. During the 2012 London Olympic games, Shved scored 25 points to help lead Russia to a 81-77 victory over Argentina. Kirilenko and Shved have a repoire that they have built playing in Russia together that will hopefully be brought over to the Wolves next season.

With all these new forwards, it makes me wonder what kind of future former #2 overall pick Derrick Williams has with this team. Kirilenko, Shved, Budinger as well as Dante Cunningham (who comes over from Memphis) will take up time at the 3 and 4 spots backing up Kevin Love.

Where does Williams fit in with all of that? Who knows at this point.

With Kevin Love continuing his all-star level play, Ricky Rubio returning from injury to continue his tremendous start to his career as well as the depth David Kahn acquired this summer, the idea of a playoff appearance in 2013 isn’t at all farfetched.

Time is running out though. Love is the cornerstone of this team, and he’s running out of patience.

Minnesota has the longest playoff drought of any team in the NBA.

It’s time for that to change.


OTHER OFFSEASON RECAPS: Atlanta HawksBoston Celtics, Brooklyn NetsCharlotte Bobcats, Chicago BullsCleveland CavaliersDallas MavericksDenver NuggetsDetroit PistonsGolden State WarriorsHouston RocketsIndiana PacersLos Angeles ClippersLos Angeles LakersMemphis GrizzliesMiami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks

Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports

Tags: Alexy Shved Andrei Kirilenko Brandon Roy David Kahn Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves NBA

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