10 years removed from their lone Western Conference finals appearance, the Minnesota Timberwolves are picked by many NBA analysts to make the playoffs. A playoff appearance would end a 9-year playoff drought in Minnesota, and a career-long 4-year playoff drought for head coach Rick Adelman.
The Big 3
After playing just 13 minutes together in 2012-13, the Wolves' Big 3 of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic are each entering the season healthy.
Kevin Love at point forward
Adelman has challenged Love to become more of a facilitator this season, much like Chris Webber did with his Sacramento Kings teams. Can Love become a 20-15-5 guy?
Love's health and fitness
Two separate broken hand injuries forced Kevin Love to miss all but 18 games last season. The Wolves said their star forward went through a rigorous offseason training routine, getting back down to 240 lbs – his playing weight of two seasons ago.
Ricky Rubio's shooting
Rubio dedicated his offseason to improving his jump shot. In preseason, he led the Wolves by shooting 54.5 percent on three-pointers..
With stronger shooting on the wings, Ricky Rubio could make a push for the Timberwolves franchise record for assists in a season (734, set by Pooh Richardson - 734). No Wolves player has ever led the NBA in assists.
Rubio could also contend for the NBA lead in steals.At 2.4 spg last season, Rubio finished second in the NBA in steals and set a new single-season Wolves record.
Rubio became a nightly triple-double threat in the final two months last season, notching his first career triple double on March 12 vs. San Antonio with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. The Wolves' single-season high for triple doubles is six (Kevin Garnett, 2002-03).
Search for a shooting guard
The Wolves believe they have finally found a shooting guard Kevin Martin, who enters this season averaging 17.8 points per game in his career.
With the addition of Martin and the return of a healthy Kevin Love, the Wolves expect to be a much improved three-point shooting team this season after struggling from distance in 2012-13. The Wolves were fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting during preseason (37.7%), led by Rubio (54.5%) and Alexey Shved (50.0%).