The best move any team made this offseason? The Warriors adding Kevin Durant, obviously. Second best, though, was the hiring of Tom Thibodeau by the Timberwolves. He is an exceptional coach and pretty much an ideal fit for this team at this point. Coaching has really lacked consistency with this team for years - Thibodeau is the sixth head coach in a decade. Hopefully there can be some stability at the top here, and that can help this team reach their potential. And that potential is just massive. They basically have all the young talent in the league right now - or at least it feels that way. It's not a question of if this team will be good. It's just a challenge of figuring out when it will happen.
2016 Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Storylines
It's all starts at the top. Karl-Anthony Towns is spectacular already as a sophomore, and he is going to be a megastar sooner rather than later. Andrew Wiggins is very good and will be an all-star many times over as well. Those two alone would mean that this team is in good hands. There is so much more, though. Zach LaVine, Tyus Jones and Ricky Rubio are a solid backcourt rotation with plenty of room to improve. Kris Dunn has a chance to be special. It's a heck of a core to build around. By far the best young core in the league - and there are some good ones out there to compare them to.
Ricky Rubio is an interesting case here. He is a strong defensive player and a good playmaker as well. He's also a good transition player, which is a big asset with the tools he has to work with. This team is almost embarrassingly deep at guard, though - LaVine, Jones, Dunn. Thibodeau has one of those good kinds of problems when it comes to figuring out how to best use all that talent. Rubio is a strong player, but he's also the oldest one of the group - and he has the lowest range of potential improvement as a result. I wouldn't bet on Rubio being here long term - if he can be turned into another asset. They have the luxury, though, of not needing to be in a hurry. Of the group it sure feels like Dunn is the future. He's a dynamic defender who can score and create - a prototypical Thibodeau guard.
A player that could really thrive and blossom under Thibodeau is center Gorgui Dieng. This is the fourth season for the big man, and he has shown that he can create at least some offense while concentrating on strong defense. If he and his new coach can find some chemistry then this is the kind of player who, in the shadow of the stars around him, could quietly move forward and become a major contributor for this squad. Not every player on a team can be a superstar - at some point you can't afford that. Dieng is quite possibly the perfect low maintenance complement.
2016 Minnesota Timberwolves Additions and Departures
Four players are gone from last year. Three will not be missed - Tayshaun Prince, Damjan Rudez and Greg Smith. The fourth is Kevin Garnett. The legend was hardly a factor on the court last year, but having him around had to be positive. Still, ultimately the team will be fine without him. Veterans that they have brought in include Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, John Lucas, Toure Murry, and Brandon Hill. By far the highlight, though, is obviously Dunn, the fifth pick in the draft, and the only player they drafted. As we have touched on, he has the chance to be a very special player. If all goes to plan then Towns, Wiggins and Dunn could be a homegrown Big 3 that could strike fear into everyone.
2016 Minnesota Timberwolves Futures Odds and Trends
Minnesota was 39-42-1 ATS, so there was no money to be made on them whether you bet on or against them. They went "over" the total in 45 games and "under" in just 36, though, so good money was made for those who bet the over consistently.
Minnesota Timberwolves Futures Odds (from Bovada)
NBA title odds : +6600
Western Conference title odds : +3300
Andrew Wiggins MVP Odds : +12500
Kris Dunn ROY Odds : +700 (third best)
Season win total (from Westgate): 41.5
2016 Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
It's hard not to be excited about this team and where they can be. Add in a great core with a great coach and magic could happen. It is crucial to have patience, though. These guys are all young, and youth can't be rushed - no matter how impressive. I don't expect them to make the playoffs this year, but next year they will. This year the clear target should be to finish at better than .500. That seems very achievable.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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