By Whitney Becker, Sports Editor
It’s that time of year again, and the NBA preseason is underway. While some of the teams in the NBA seem set for the season, others are suffering some setbacks. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who could have looked forward to the season with some optimism, will instead be one of the latter due to two key injuries.
Kevin Love, Minnesota’s star power forward, broke two bones in his right hand while doing knuckle push-ups during a workout.
The good news for the T-Wolves is that the hand does not require surgery. The bad news is that he’s still going to be out for six to eight weeks (enough to miss 20 games), and meanwhile the Timberwolves are going to have to find a way to make up the star power they’re losing for now.
To make matters worse, the dazzling passes of point guard Ricky Rubio will be missing as well. Rubio is out until December because of a torn ACL.
The loss of these two crucial players leaves many people wondering just how much the Timberwolves’ record will be suffer this season, after going 2-9 last season without Love to save them. With Love, the Timberwolves are a completely different team.
Losing Love means losing 26 points and 13 rebounds per game. Love was third in the league in scoring behind Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. After losing Rubio as well, the Timberwolves need all the help they can get.
Only three more preseason games remain before the Timberwolves begin their regular season, scheduled to begin on Nov. 2 against the Sacramento Kings.
With the start of his second season fast approaching, Coach Rick Adelman has his hands full trying out new options.
Some of the possibilities include starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko, Dante Cunningham, Lou Amundson and Derrick Williams.
Williams was the second overall pick in last year’s draft, the highest pick in the history of the franchise, but the youngster still has a lot to prove to reach the status of Love or Rubio.
Unfortunately, Williams’ ball-hogging and lack of experience has caused problems for Adelman and the team, as Williams shot 41.2 percent last year.
If you’re going to hog the ball, you have to make your shots count, and Williams just wasn’t getting the job done. It’s definitely not safe to assume that Williams will adequately fill Love’s role for the next several weeks.
With the status of the Timberwolves’ star players up in the air, a shot at the NBA playoffs is also in question as they approach the upcoming season.
The biggest question is where do they go from here? The team has to be hoping that they don’t repeat last year’s late-season collapse.
It’s also clear that players like Kirilenko, Cunningham, Amundson and Williams are going to have to step up while Love and Rubio are recovering.
Whether or not they’re up to the task, we’ll let the next few games decide.