The year of 2012 was equal parts exciting, devastating, promising, and frustrating for the Minnesota Timberwolves and their fans. The following is an overview of the calendar year. The ups, the downs, and everything in between. Enjoy.
Best Highlights of 2011-2012 Season
Due to the lockout in 2011, the Wolves played all but three of their 2011-12 games in the calendar year of 2012. The Wolves were 21-16 in 2012 prior to Rubio’s season-ending ACL/LCL tear against the Lakers on March 9. In short, Ricky Rubio will serve as our human highlight for the early part of 2012.
Worst Moments of 2011-2012 Season
Ignoring Rubio’s injury (let’s be honest, nobody needs to be subjected to seeing that video clip again), the rest of the 2011-2012 campaign would suffice as one gigantic “worst moment”. So, instead enjoy the horror of the following graphic, focusing on late March and April of 2012:
Most Underrated Off-Season Trade
With apologies to amnestying Darko Milicic, the most underrated move of the off-season was the trade of the 18th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to the Houston Rockets for swingman Chase Budinger. While Budinger only played in 5 ½ games before tearing the meniscus in his knee in Chicago on November 10, the swap of the unknown quantity of a mid-first round draft pick for a solid, above average NBA player on a cheap contract. Assuming Budinger returns by early March, his value down the stretch and in the playoffs will prove necessary, and hopefully the Wolves will be able to re-sign him during the off-season.
The Other Most Underrated Off-Season Trade
The Wayne Ellington-for-Dante Cunningham trade with the Memphis Grizzlies towards the end of the summer has proven to be even better than the consensus was at the time of the trade. What looked like a simple roster-balancing move has become vital to the team’s early season success. Throughout the uneven early season play of both Greg Stiemsma and Derrick Williams, Cunningham has been the one true, steady constant off the bench for the Wolves’ frontcourt. Throughout the games that Love has missed due to injury and illness, Cunningham has played with intensity on defense and surprising consistency on offense. I mean without him, Lou Amundson would be forced to play meaningful minutes. Nobody wants that.
The Olympics: Love and the USA Win the Gold Medal
Kevin Love played a vital role on the U.S.A. Olympic basketball team, leading the team in rebounds per minutes played, and being a consistent scorer off the bench. Love’s style of play is perfectly suited for international play, and it showed in London this past August. Enjoy the highlights below.