Season preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

Season preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

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Season preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

STAYING: Cole Aldrich, Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

ADDED: Anthony Brown (Erie BayHawks), Jimmy Butler (Chicago), Jamal Crawford (LA Clippers), Marcus Georges-Hunt (Orlando), Taj Gibson (Oklahoma City), Justin Patton (Creighton) and Jeff Teague (Indiana).

GONE: Omri Casspi (Golden State), Kris Dunn (Chicago), Jordan Hill, Zach LaVine (Chicago), Adreian Payne (Orlando), Ricky Rubio (Utah) and Brandon Rush.

STRENGTHS: As far as talent, this is one of the best rosters in franchise history … In matchup nightmare Karl-Anthony Towns, they have perhaps the top young big in the NBA … He was already quietly putting up super numbers and you should expect those to translate into way more wins with the kind of personnel Minnesota has put together around him … Wolves now have a bona-fide two-way star in Jimmy Butler … His experience and winning character should do wonders for the team … Terrific wing combo with Andrew Wiggins, who may finally become the star player we expected him to be by now … Pretty good depth, especially in the frontcourt … They should be really strong on the boards … Quite an athletic bunch.

WEAKNESSES: Defense was supposed to improve under Tom Thibodeau, but certainly didn’t happen in his first year with the Wolves … Can they turn it on there with the new additions? … Wiggins has been a very disengaged defender so far … Both Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad were in the bottom 12 in the NBA in defensive rating last season … Minnesota will not scare opponents with outside shooting … Jamal Crawford is the only perimeter player on the squad ever to shoot above 40 percent from three in a season … It happened 15 years ago.

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

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