Apr 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Louisville Cardinals center Gorgui Dieng cuts down the net after Louisville won the championship game in the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four against the Michigan Wolverines at the Georgia Dome. Louisville Cardinals won 82-76. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Rookie Projections for Minnesota Timberwolves

Shabazz Muhammad

Shabazz Muhammad could have a big season this year. Even with questions about his work ethic if he puts in work and tries to get better Coach Adelman will reward him with more playing time and I could see Muhammad sliding up to the 6th man spot on the rotation. If Muhammad averaged 20 mpg I think his stats would look like this: 13.3 PPG, 1.1 APG, 3.3 RPG. Muhammad is a pure scorer and if developed correctly Muhammad could become a 20 points per game scorer. Of course for this to happen Muhammad would have to solve his off the court issues. If Muhammad gets his head straight and becomes more of an all around player he is a serious Rookie of the Year candidate but that is a big IF. Many people forget that Shabazz was predicted as a possible number one pick in this year’s draft before his inconsistent season but Muhammad has a high ceiling and the major challenge for him is to reach that ceiling.

Gorgui Dieng

With the Timberwolves having Greg Stiemsma as a potential backup for Nikola Pekovic it was vital that the Timberwolves looked to get more solid help at the five and they did just that by drafting the big man out of Louisville, Gorgui Dieng. Dieng will be a defensive anchor on the second unit and should provide a huge spark off the bench for the Timberwolves. Dieng was huge in Louisville’s championship run last season contributing 9.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 APG. For the Timberwolves he should expect to see 15 minutes of action each time he takes the floor. Dieng will not be called upon as a huge offensive force because of the offensive forces such as newly brought in Kevin Martin, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, and Shabazz Muhammad. Dieng will be looked upon as a defensive anchor and should looked to be developed into a guy who can go off for a 14 point, 12 rebound game with a block or two each time the Timberwolves hit the floor. Dieng will probably be the front court powerhouse of the Timberwolves second unit and should have pressure to succeed from the first day in training camp as the Wolves look for a playoff berth this season. Expect Dieng to have a stat line that looks a little something like this: 15 MPG, 7.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.2 BPG on 54% shooting.

Lorenzo Brown

Lorenzo Brown is a second round pick and should not expect to see too much playing time this coming season. While Brown is a natural point guard at 6’5 he will likely be playing more shooting guard for the Timberwolves. Although there is a possibility of Luke Ridnour or JJ Barea getting moved this offseason to free up salary space. Even if one of these players gets moved he would still be the third string point guard and Brown will likely being play at both guard spots this season. My prediction for his 2013-14 season stats are: 10 MPG, 4.2 PPG, 2.8 APG, and 0.5 RPG. Brown will likely be the third spot in the rotation for either guard spot and should not expect a lot of playing time this season. If he works hard and develops a three point shot Brown could become a solid player in Minnesota’s rotation in future seasons. The key for Brown’s success is to develop his inconsistent three point shot which was unreliable for him at NC State as he shot 29% from behind the arc for NC State during his junior year.

*Note Bojan Dubljevic who the Timberwolves drafted with the 58th pick will likely stay in Europe to refine his game for a few more seasons.

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Tags: Gorgui Dieng Lorenzo Brown Minnesota Timberwolves Shabazz Muhammad

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