Previews

NBA season preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

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STAYING: Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, Kevin Garnett, Tyus Jones, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Adreian Payne, Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

ADDED: Cole Aldrich (LA Clippers), Kris Dunn (Providence), Jordan Hill (Indiana), John Lucas (Piratas de Quebradillas), Toure Murry (Sioux Falls Skyforce) and Brandon Rush (Golden State).

GONE: Damjan Rudez, Tayshaun Prince and Greg Smith.

STRENGTHS: Best young nucleus in the NBA … A superstar in the making in Karl-Anthony Towns, who comes off one of the best rookie seasons in recent league history … He just brings the whole package … Wiggins has the potential to become one of the league’s top wing players … The Towns-Wiggins 1-2 punch could be a nightmare starting this year … Ultra athletic squad with Towns, Wiggins and Zach LaVine on the floor … Call them Lob City East … Ricky Rubio is a glue guy for this team … His defense and vision of the court are important assets for Minnesota … Should be a very interesting point guard duo with Rookie of the Year candidate Kris Dunn … Improved depth in the frontcourt with solid veterans like Jordan Hill and Cole Aldrich now in town … Tom Thibodeau maximizes talent – especially in the regular season … It’s going to be a culture of hard work … With Kevin Garnett around, you know the young guys will be held accountable.

WEAKNESSES: Towns and Wiggins combine for just 42 years … They have nine players born in the 90’s … Youth and inexperience will cost the Timberwolves wins … There’s no way around it … They are not going to scare teams from three-point range … Rubio and Wiggins combined for for 31.3 shooting from beyond the arc last season … No Timberwolf shot better than 39 percent from three in 2015-16 … Unless there’s been a lot of in-house improvement, outside shooting will remain a problem … Rubio’s jumper is broken (or his confidence is) and that allows opponents to put extra pressure on his teammates … Wolves have to cut down on the turnovers … With Thibs there, defense is going to improve, but they are starting from a very low point.

PREDICTION: 2nd in the Northwest Division, 5th in the Western Conference.

SALARIES:

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