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With Love out what’s next for Minnesota? Nothing. Yet.

Oct 18, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT

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Derrick Williams, hope you’re ready for your close-up.

Kevin Love has broken two bones in shooting hand and is now out for at least six weeks. Meaning we’re talking a return around Thanksgiving at the very earliest, probably more like the first week of December. That is in addition to Ricky Rubio being out from the ACL injury he suffered last March until likely Christmas.

Doesn’t matter, the goal for Minnesota doesn’t change — the playoffs. The Timberwolves want to be part of the dance. Which means until the Love/Rubio cavalry comes charging over that hill, they need to keep their head above water. They don’t have to have a winning record, but they can’t go 1-14 either.

If Love is back Dec. 1, that is 15 regular season games where Minnesota will be without both of its young stars, its two best players. The good news is this is not the murderers’ row part of the schedule — they play good teams such as the Pacers and Clippers in November, but they also have Orlando, Charlotte and Sacramento (twice).

So what does Minnesota do in the short term?

Trust in Derrick Williams, the No. 2 overall pick from a year ago who showed flashes as a rookie but also looked fully like a rookie at points. Now he can’t. Team owner Glen Taylor told Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune that there would be no moves in the short term — Williams and Dante Cunningham are going to get the chance to prove they can step up.


If that doesn’t work, don’t be shocked to see coach Rick Adelman use Andrei Kirilenko at the four for stretches.

Even if Williams steps up and plays well (no sure thing, but play along with our hypothetical here) he’s still not going to put up Kevin Love numbers. Also, he’s not going to dominate the boards the same way, he’s not going to draw double teams that opens up other players.

Some of the scoring load also falls on Nikola Pekovic, who was second on the team averaging 13.9 points per game last season while shooting an impressive 56.4 percent. His scoring numbers have to go up now, he has to draw defenses.

It’s going to take a lot of things, a lot of people to step if the Timberwolves playoff slot dream not to die before the season even really gets going.

  1. ebrownwareagle - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Coming out of Arizona, this kid was the Truth. This is his 2nd year Lets just see.

  2. albertmn - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Call me deluded, if you must. But, I think the Wolves weather this just fine. Thanks to the moves made by Kahn in the last couple of seasons, especially the last offseason, there are a lot more options at the 4 and with the offense in general. They won’t shine without Love, but I think they will survive without Love and be around .500 when he comes back. Then, you add Love and Rubio, and they will still make the playoffs.

  3. pacific123ocean - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Williams could be great if he didn’t float on the perimeter and shoot 3-pointers. Kid is a big, strong athlete, and he needs to take it to the basket more.

    • echech88 - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      He is a stretch 4 that was being forced to try and be a 3.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he thrived with minutes at PF. Remember when Durant was playing SG his rookie year and it made him look really 1 dimensional? Position matters.

  4. memphismiracle - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Cunningham got experience filling in for an injured PF last year in Memphis. He is good in stretches and hustles his butt off. I think they should be okay in the short term.

  5. mnsportsfan - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    The irony is that just a week or two ago there was a story on here about how we made a bad pick selecting Derrick Williams because we simply didn’t have minutes to give him. Well, I guess this just shows why you always take the best available player. Not saying Williams will step up and be the next great PF in the league. But having him in the conversation to fill in for Love is much more comforting than if it was just Dante Cunningham and Lou Amundson.

  6. joeyashwi - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    I personally believe that Derrick Williams will be a beast. People have short memories because this guy was awesome in college. He just hasn’t had the minutes yet and hard to adjust from being a starter to being a bench player. Derrick Williams will thrive with time to get in the flow of games. Williams, Roy, Barea, Pek, Kirilenko, Cunningham, etc. This team will surprise a lot of people and so will Derrick Williams.

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