The new look Timberwolves are set to begin the 2012-2013 season. Although there is plenty of which to feel good about for the first time since Kevin Garnett roamed Target Center, there are still plenty of questions that will be answered.
1) Ricky Rubio and Brandon Roy's knees
Our great knee conundrum has multiple facets. In one case, a guy is trying to come back and the other is trying to hang on. It may sound like a broken record that a local team has its season hinging on a player or players returning from major knee injuries. Rubio reportedly aims for a December (or later) return from an ACL tear. Although he is ahead of projections, he isn't Adrian Peterson.
Brandon Roy returns from the NBA after a one-year retirement and while it is unknown how much the former All-Star guard has left, he will add a dynamic early to a team that is in need of scoring options. If Roy contributes in a big way, this team is going to be in excellent shape.
2) Who plays D?
Only five teams allowed more points last season than the Wolves. That will need to change if the Wolves are going to get serious and play meaningful games in April. Newly acquired Andre Kirilenko and his 2+ blocks per game should help, but how will our shooting guard keep up with other scorers will be a question.
3) Can the team play .500 until Rubio returns?
The Wolves have six guards on their roster. None of them bring the skills that Rubio does. Can the team survive with a Luke Ridnour, JJ Barea, Alexey Shved, Brandon Roy combo until Ricky returns?
4) Where's the beef?
Right now, the team has two true centers on their roster in Nikola Pekovic and Greg Stiemsma. As in prior years, Kevin Love will be forced into center duty depending on the match-up. If you have seen T-wolves.com writer Mark Remme's interview with big Pek it is nothing short of impressive. Nikola is a workout hound and everyone inside of Target Center expects him to have a breakout season.
5) Can D-Will up his game?
Derrick Williams was in large part a disappointment last season. He averaged only 8.8 points per contest and grabbed under five rebounds. The Wolves are banking that Williams can become the player they thought they selected him with the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. With the player moves in the off-season, there is no bigger question mark than what Williams will contribute to the team. If it is little early, he could get lost on Rick Adelmen's bench.