We gushed early last year about the Timberwolves' improved defense -- aided by young Ricky Rubio. Then Rubio got hurt and things fell apart in a big way. Team defense fell apart. The team had a lot of players getting big minutes who had little to no interest in defense. And it showed.

A lot of those players are gone. In their place are some terrific individual and help defenders (Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham, to name a few). And that is why, even though the Wolves are comically banged up right now, they are 5-2 and giving themselves a chance to win every game.

In victories this season, they have already had games where they allowed 82, 80 and 75 points. They had five games all of last year where they allowed 82 points or fewer -- all victories, with four of them coming before Rubio was hurt.

Rick Adelman preaches defense, and he has praised the effort so far. If this group can continue to play enough defense and get healthy enough by mid-January to make a real charge, look out. Seriously, the ceiling might be higher than any of us thought.

Older Post

TFD: Here's a glorious look at all 32 of Adrian Peterson's 100-yard games

Newer Post

The University of Washington is counting your tweets and will punish you