ESPN basketball insider, John Hollinger, recently posted his predictions for the Western Conference standings on ESPN.com. Hollinger predicted the Minnesota Timberwolves to finish a surprising 10th out of 15 teams in the conference. Hollinger is a very credible basketball mind, known in the media for his complicated stat formulas for analyzing player performance, predicting outcomes, and more. Now, let’s keep in mind Hollinger also predicted the Denver Nuggests to finish 2nd in the West (crazy!) , but nonetheless his opinion is very much worth noting here. Hollinger predicted the Oklahoma City Thunder to finish 1st in the West (a popular pick right now). The Timberwolves open the season against the Thunder at Target Center on Monday, December 26th.
- Not getting the ball to Darko Milicic so much! This is about as obvious as statement as stating “Larry Bird has white thighs”. But according to Hollinger, the Timberwolves unexplainably kept feeding Darko the ball last season when he was one of the least effective players in the NBA on a per-possession basis. Simply by changing up the offensive focus and distributing the ball to his more effective teammates more often will help.
- Rick Adelman is here. Rambis and his bald spot are gone. Everyone who followed the Timberwolves the last 2 seasons were frustrated with Ramis running the triangle and not adjusting to the players that he had. Rambis was a huge bust, and getting rid of him alone should improve the team by 5 wins. Now you add a future Hall-of-Famer in Adelman, and you are ramping up even more.
- Additional talent plus the existing talent that is more experienced and improved. SEE RUBIO TO WILLIAMS ALLEY OOP DUNK. SEE J.J. BAREA ENERGY AND CONFIDENCE. Most of the Timberwolves core from last season were 25 years old or younger.
- Playing small. The Timberwolves are are loaded with combo forwards who could thrive by playing small-ball. Love could play center, Anthony Randolph can play the 3-4-or the 5, Beasley and Williams can both play the 3 and the 4. Rambis refused to look at this option. Perhaps because the options weren’t as prominent while he was here. Now the Timberwolves have a ton of options in the front court and could really thrive by running with their new point guard options.
Holliger does stress that the Timberwolves will not be a playoff team, but they will be much more exiciting and improved. I think Hollinger is right on with his prediction for the Timberwolves. I would personally like to welcome back the pick-n-roll to the Timberwolves offense! Rambis would rarely consider letting his players execute the most effective play in the game, especially in the NBA. John Stockton hasn’t got any sleep in the last 2 years. Rest easy John, the pick-n-roll is back in Minnesota!