2010-11 SEASON IN REVIEW
FIVE TO REMEMBER
1 Kevin Love's transformational season: It started with him on the bench for the fourth quarter of the season opener and soon morphed into an All-Star year nobody could have predicted. Included was the first 30-point, 30-rebound game the NBA has seen since Moses Malone did it in 1982 and a 53-game double-double streak, the longest in the league since the 1976 ABA/NBA merger. When David Stern selected him as an injury replacement, Love became the team's first All-Star since Kevin Garnett was traded away.
2 Love's 31/31 game: OK, so we already mentioned it, but this season was as much about his individual accomplishments as anything else. It put the lowly Timberwolves back on the NBA map, and everywhere on ESPN for days and days.
3 Michael Beasley's glimpses: You might already have forgotten the player he was before he twisted his ankle in early January and then repeatedly turned it during the ensuing weeks. No doubt turnover-prone and shot-obsessed, he averaged 22.2 points a game (including a season-high 42 at Sacramento in the season's second week) through December and 16 a game after it.
4 Anthony Randolph's glimpses: He didn't arrive until late February, and strength and attitude still are issues, but there was a snapshot moment one night when he pushed the ball effortlessly on the break and fed Jonny Flynn with a pass that made him look like the most fluid 6-10 point guard on the planet. Now, about consistency ...
5 Winning streaks? Yup, the Wolves had four of 'em, if you count two games as a streak: Beasley averaged 38.5 points in victories at Sacramento and over New York (Love's 31-31 game) in November. They won back to back at Cleveland and New Orleans at home in December, at New Orleans and Houston in February, and then beat Indiana and Utah at home in March, their first consecutive 20-point victories in a decade.
FIVE TO FORGET
1 Jonny Flynn's lost season: Whether it's Kurt Rambis' system, July hip surgery or Flynn himself isn't certain. But there's no question one of David Kahn's first two big draft picks is getting left behind in a 2009 draft class of point guards that otherwise glistens.
2 Florida swing (and miss): You've forgotten the season's first road trip? Good. The Wolves allowed Miami 129 points one night, Orlando 128 the next in a season start when they lost their first four road games by an average of 30 points. Ouch!
3 Downright offensive defense: The Wolves have allowed 107.5 points a game -- last in the league -- and surrendered 135 (in overtime, though) and 130 points in their past two games and 129 points three other times this season.
4 Manna from heaven? The Wolves last summer signed Darko Milicic to a four-year contract that guarantees him $16 million when no other NBA team was bidding. Not as awful as the complete draft bust he was believed to be but certainly not heaven-sent, Milicic's season proved he is what he is: potentially the best backup center in the league.
5 A rookie's life: It's way, way too early to write off Wes Johnson, but the fourth overall pick's uneven rookie season raises some concern. He played great when he faced Kobe Bryant but disappeared at times when the challenge wasn't nearly as tough. He must learn to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket and show he's more than a standstill shooter.