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Kevin Love is confident Timberwolves will make playoffs

Sep 20, 2012, 4:23 PM EDT

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves competes in the three-point contest during the NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando Reuters

The bar is set in Minnesota and it’s clear — playoffs or bust.

They were on the bubble last year until Ricky Rubio’s ACL decided to tear. Now this year Minnesota has added real, veteran depth — Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma and Russian rookie Alexey Shved — to the roster.

And now team leader Kevin Love is made the plans clear — Minnesota is going to the playoffs. He was clear speaking to the Portland Tribune.

“It will be a big surprise to me if we didn’t make a huge leap this year and make it to the playoffs,” the Lake Oswego native told me Wednesday…

“We’re going to have a chance to be very good,” Love said. “We’re hoping Brandon can stay healthy through 82 games. Kirilenko is a big addition. Shved hopefully is going to be a big deal for us.

“We’ll have more firepower in terms of veterans. Brandon and Andrei will help our locker room and on the court. It will make Coach Adelman’s job a lot easier. If everything is put together, if Ricky comes back healthy, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Their biggest challenge is what they learned last year the hard way — there is no margin for error in a deep Western Conference. The Thunder and Lakers are considered the conference co-favorites, but just a step behind them you have the Clippers and Spurs. Memphis was the four seed last year and is very good; Denver was the six seed and got a lot better with Andre Iguodala. That’s six pretty much playoff locks. To get into the post season, Minnesota is going to have to get by pretty good teams in Utah or Dallas. No easy task.

But you have to like Love’s attitude. This is his team, and he picked up hanging around the other Olympians this year what it will take for him to get Minnesota over the hump. And that is not to accept less from them. Set the bar high — say you are going to make the playoffs — then get them to reach for it.

  1. minnesotablizzard - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Can’t wait for the season to start. With the NHL lockout looming, the Vikings being the Vikings, the Timberwolves are going to take over the Twin Cities; much like they did last winter. The target center is going to be rocking because we don’t really have any other sports teams with any hope for this season (NHL lockout pending). Not to mention this team is just plain fun to watch, and the Euro flavor and characters on this team are really likeable.

  2. skinsfanwill - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Kirilenko still has no confidence in himself and Brandon Roy can barely walk. Greg Stiemsma, and Alexi Shved….Really?………..Really though?…. You better watch out for Golden State and Portland. I actually like Minnesota, but this team was not built to win. It was built to make moves to appear to be doing something. But all these moves were just dumb to me. At least they will compete and not just lay down for everybody.

    • abasketballthing - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      Also, Rubio’s injury takes two years to fully heal. Everyone talks about him being 100% percent, but that’s impossible for this season.

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