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2013 NBA Championship Odds and Betting Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

The NBA season is right around the corner and the Minnesota Timberwolves 2013 NBA Championship Odds are currently at 150-1 ($100 bet pays $15200). They are 70-1 to win the Western Conference and their over/under season win total projection is 39,5. Below is the overall season preview by Pregame Pro André Gomes

Ricky Rubio finally decided to play in the NBA and this alone was motive enough for a level of enthusiasm that wasn’t seen since the Kevin Garnett era. In a surprising way, Rick Adelman accepted to be the new Timberwolves coach and their fans saw with hope the beginning of a new era in Minnesota after several terrible seasons in a row.

2011-12 Regular Season Numbers:

Advanced Numbers

4 Factors

Overall

#'s

Rank

Offense

#'s

Rank

Defense

#'s

Rank

Pace

92.09

4

eFG% Off

47.7%

21

eFG% Def

49.1%

18

Offense

105.86

19

TO% Off

13.93

17

TO% Def

12.25

29

Defense

107.83

19

Reb% Off

27.74

10

Reb% Def

26.61

14

Rebound

50.57

12

FT% Off

23.82

5

FT% Def

19.08

6

 

Minnesota was able to be extremely competitive in some moments of the past season, especially when Adelman decided to give minutes to Pekovic, while Rubio was already shown that he was one of the best players of the team. Pekovic’s first appearance on the team was in the 7th game of the season when he played… 2 minutes, while the first time he played more than 10 minutes was just in the team’s 12th game.

Minnesota’s advanced stats with Pekovic, Love and Rubio:

Minnesota

W

L

PACE

Off. H

Off. A

Net Gain

Reb% H

with all

17

13

92.0

107.5

105.8

1.7

51.6

without Pekovic

4

7

91.9

106.2

105.0

1.3

51.3

without Rubio

4

13

92.3

107.5

113.6

-6.0

50.5

without Love + Rubio

1

7

92.6

99.5

109.9

-10.4

46.3

 

The way Minnesota was able to be competitive as soon as Pekovic started to have minutes is indeed curious. Adelman was able to maximize what their best players had to give to the team, while he also had to give minutes to some players who were absolutely horrible.

Pekovic, Love and Rubio showed that they have potential to be All Star players, in fact Love has been at this level on the last two seasons, while Luke Ridnour gave the team in my opinion a reasonable contribution.

The problem is that the Timberwolves never had a quality SF throughout the whole season because Wesley Johnson didn’t show at all that he could be useful to the team. However, Adelman was forced to use him, as he didn’t have any other options.

Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic were also far from producing what were expected from them, looking at the minutes per game they received from Adelman. Milicic was quickly relegated to the bench in favor of Pekovic, while Beasley only shown that he can shoot, but without contributing in any other area and still, 45,5% FG isn’t a great mark for him.

As soon as Rubio got injured against the Lakers, the team stopped defending and as soon as Love got also injured, the Timberwolves simply stopped winning. But it was clear from the past season that Minnesota has a bright future ahead of them and that with a good offseason, Minnesota would have good conditions to be more competitive this season.

Offseason moves 2012-13:

GM David Kahn had in hands a relatively easy task because of the Timberwolves’ roster was so unbalanced last season that it was easy to realize which players should stay and which players the Wolves needed to move.

As expected, Darko Milicic was amnestied, Michael Beasley didn’t receive an offer from the Timberwolves to resign, with the same happening with Anthony Randolph, while Wesley Johnson was traded to Phoenix.

With this roster cleaning, it was up to Kahn the replacing of these players for more productive ones, a task that wasn’t very hard to do.

For the Small Forward, Kahn went to Europe to sign Andrei Kirilenko, who was the best player playing in Europe last season, while they also took advantage of Houston’s preference for Chandler Parsons to sign Chase Budinger, in exchange for a draft pick.

The Wolves had only Rubio and Ridnour as viable options for the backcourt and Kahn for this season decided to improve the backcourt by signing Brandon Roy back to the league, while he went back to Europe to sign a starting guard of the Russian national team, Alexey Shved, who shone in the Olympic Games by scoring 25 points in the game that gave the Russia the bronze medal over Argentina.

Finally for the frontcourt, Kahn signed Greg Stiemsma who had a good rookie season in Boston, especially at the defensive end, while he also traded for Dante Cunningham, in exchange for Wayne Ellington. 

Minnesota in the 2012-13 Playoffs?

Ricky Rubio suffered a several knee injury and there are talks he might only play in January. If he is able to return and play at a good level almost immediately, then the Timberwolves may be a playoff contender already for this season.

Rubio had an excellent rookie season, having in account all the circumstances. Let’s not forget that Rubio debuted on the NBA on the toughest schedule ever in the history of the league and still, he was 2nd in the rookie of the year award, right behind Kyrie Irving.

Rubio’s passing skills were visible for everybody who watched Minnesota’s games or the league’s daily highlights, as the Spanish player was 6th in the league in assists per game with 8.2! Rubio’s shooting problems was also evident, but it was on defense that Rubio had the biggest impact. The numbers say it all: when Rubio on court, Minnesota had a defensive rate of 101.6, while with Rubio out, they had a defensive rate of 109.3!

With Rubio at a good level, the Timberwolves have potential to be very competitive. Kevin Love has already established as one of the best players in the league last season and he is certainly one of the best three PF’s in the league. His rebounding skills are impressive, especially when he played more time in the perimeter last season by attempting more than 5 3pts shots per game, but he was at the same time the league’s best offensive rebounder! This playing style of Love combines very well with Pekovic, who is a player who exclusively works near the basket.

But the team’s biggest upgrade is indeed in the backcourt. There is no possible comparison between Andrei Kirilenko and Wesley Johnson. Kirilenko decided last season to play in Europe for CSKA Moscow and he was elected the best player in the Euroleague Final Four and the defensive player of the year. His versatility in both ends of the court will give a lot of different options to Rick Adelman.

Last season, Adelman played most of the season with Rubio and Ridnour at the same time in the backcourt, but that won’t happen this season. Brandon Roy decided to return to the league this season, but his physical shape is still a big doubt. We won’t surely see the same Roy we saw for some seasons in Portland, but Roy will still be an upgrade from what we saw happening in Minnesota last season.

Final Thoughts:

Besides the players already mentioned, the Timberwolves also have more interesting players on their roster, such as J.J. Barea, Chase Bundinger, Derrick Williams, Greg Stiesmsma and Louis Amundson that will form a very interesting second unit.

We are in front of a team with tremendous potential and led by an excellent coach and so, it isn’t crazy to think that the Wolves will reach the playoffs this season. If everything goes their way, and I’ve especially thinking about Rubio’s comeback, then the Wolves will easily reach the playoffs!

After several years living on the mediocrity, this is the final real opportunity of the Timberwolves to do interesting things in the league since the Kevin Garnett era ended.

Follow Andre Gomes on Twitter @GomesCapper

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My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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