• Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves (24-44) at Detroit Pistons (24-47)
  • Date: March 26, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After earning huge praise for their moves during the offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves have disappointed.

It was assumed that Rick Adelman would get the club in position to contend for a playoff spot given the talent he had on board. Couple that with his offensive schemes and it seemed like a foregone conclusion his group would be hovering somewhere around the eighth or ninth seed in the Western Conference standings throughout the season.

Ah, but injuries are the great equalizer.

Kevin Love — one of the best power forwards in the league — has missed the majority of the season. Their stud point guard Ricky Rubio missed a third of the campaign, thus robbing Minnesota of their top playmaker.

There was a little hope that Brandon Roy would be a solid and productive player for the Wolves, but quite frankly his stay in Minnesota has been awfully reminiscent of his last few seasons in Portland.

As a Trail Blazer, Roy was forced into retirement because of injuries.

Granted, every team in the league deals with players missing time because of health concerns, but in the case of Adelman, he’s been forced into coaching this season without his best players.

Consequently, one of the most gifted offensive minds in the league is stuck with an offense producing 99.4 points per 100 possessions. That figure is in the bottom five of the Association.

It’s quite perplexing to see them rank so low statistically given all of the things the team does in terms of sets and plays. The Wolves start two point guards in Rubio and Luke Ridnour, which is good for ball movement.

Adelman runs plays with a lot of counters and misdirection, which tends to fool defenses. The constant movement of players makes just about every a player a threat on each possession.

They will run some screen-the-screener action and then follow that up with pick-and-rolls, which gets defenders completely discombobulated. Combine Rubio’s incredible court vision and flair for passing and this team has some serious highlight potential.

There’s just one problem: these guys can’t shoot.

The one constant the Wolves can count on is Nikola Pekovic on the interior. He is a bruising talent that tends to move players. Rumor has it, he once posted up the Equator and moved it further down south by virtue of his superior strength.

He is great in the paint and around the rim. The rest of his teammates though, not so much.

Hence, scoring is quite a chore for this team.

They are an average unit defensively at best. That would have been sufficient for the group to contend for a postseason berth with an above average scoring, but the absence of shooting and talent has torpedoed the offense and consequently the season.

The Wolves have broken the 90-point barrier (!) in four of their past 10 games. That’s hardly a recipe for success in the NBA and not so coincidentally, they have been victorious three times during that same stretch.

It’s sad to watch the Wolves and simply wonder what could have been if not for health.

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves.