The Timberwolves could be a playoff team this season. As Clarence Swamptown will remind you, our usual bout of optimism when it comes the Wolves is a good annual reminder to check your smoke alarm batteries.
But really, this could be the year they turn it around.
They have depth, they are no longer incredibly young and new President Flip Saunders seems to have a sense for what he is doing (our disagreement over the Shabazz Muhammad pick notwithstanding).
What is particularly interesting to us, though, is that the Wolves' roster once again seems constructed without a bona fide plan for one of its most talented players: Derrick Williams.
Zach Lowe of Grantland rightly dubs Williams 'The Great Unknown' and says this about him:
There are higher-profile sources of intrigue — DeMarcus Cousins, for one — but I'm not sure any player is generating the same churn of curiosity, confusion, and opportunism around the league.
Lowe goes on to describe just how difficult Williams has it in trying to either turn into a small forward or earn minutes at power forward, then ends thusly:
These problems aren't as serious if Williams settles into a role as a heavy-minutes backup power forward, spotting up and defending less threatening backups. But that's not the ideal outcome for a no. 2 pick, and it might not be worth $6.3 million to Minnesota. Saunders wouldn't comment on Minnesota's plans for Williams's fourth year, but he knows teams are eyeing Williams as a potential buy-low trade candidate.
We're ready to arrive at this conclusion: If Williams is a scoring threat off the bench as a 25-minute a game guy and can carve out a niche as a player who can play multiple positions, the Wolves WILL be a playoff team barring other major injuries. If not, it really is time to move on from him regardless of Kevin Love's future status.
Your thoughts, as always, in the comments.