Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Offseason Overview: Minnesota Timberwolves

What a bummer, huh? Pegged by many to be right at the top of the West with the Spurs and Kings, the Timberwolves didn’t even make the playoffs. Why? Well, for one, Latrell Sprewell returned to his former self – off the court, not on it – and Sam Cassell was injured and full of complaints himself. Now that they’ve jettisoned Tweedle-Dreads and Tweedle-Dum, hopefully they’ve gotten rid of all their distractions, and folks will fall in line behind the leader. But who will fall where?

The Stud: Ndudi Ebi, SF
I kid, I kid. Of course, the real stud here is none other than Kevin Garnett, perennial number one fantasy pick in just about every league. This year may be more up in the air due to the rise of LBJ, but that’s not a knock on KG. He’s as consistent as ever, a 7-category player who even hits three-pointers once in awhile. He dominates in boards, and his assists and steals are spectacular for a forward. Oh, and he hasn’t missed a game in 3 years. He’ll be gone after the second pick in every draft, and rightfully so.

The Support: Marko Jaric, G
Yes, really, this is the next best fantasy prospect on the Wolves. But really, Marko is a nice sleeper pick this year. He’ll get plenty of minutes, contributes in 3’s, steals, and assists, and should be a nice 3rd guard. Think Andre Miller with fewer points but more threes.

The Supporting Support: Wally Szczerbiak, SF
Something is rotten in Wally World. Originally drafted as a big, versatile shooting guard, Szczerbiak has turned into little more than a spot-up shooter. He grabs a rebound about every 8 minutes he’s on the court, isn’t particularly interested in “passing”, and his defensive numbers are pretty dismal. He’s gonna be on a roster, but don’t let it be yours.

The Sleeper: Eddie Griffin, F
There aren’t many people with the skill set that Eddie Griffin brings to the fantasy basketball table. A big plus in blocks, he also helps in three pointers and rebounds, despite only getting 21 minutes per game last year. Imagine what he could do with 35 mpg. If he gets those minutes, he’s a top-50 fantasy player waiting to happen.

The Slacker: Michael Olowokandi, C
I’ll admit, after his 12.3/9.1 with 2.2 blocks in 2002, I was ready to watch the Kandi man explode with the T-Wolves. But now, it’s time to cross him off your draft lists. He’s probably got some potential still, but at this point the odds of him reaching it are so slim, he’s not worth taking.


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