The Beatles once said, "All you need is love," The Timberwolves clearly proved that theory wrong last year. Of course, I'm not sure how much weight you want to put into that because they're the same people who once said, "Can't buy me love," It's looking like the Cavs are set to prove that wrong as well. That brings up my question: Do we even need Love?
The first thing any Love critic will point out is defense, or, more specifically, the fact that he doesn't seem to try. Assuming that the current deal everyone's talking about, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and next year's first round pick for Love goes through, their defense will improve immensely. Wiggins could be the best perimeter defender in the league in a few years and is already long, athletic and has good instincts. If he takes minutes away from Kevin Martin, another uninterested defender, the defense will improve a ton.
Here's another thing that will improve with Love's absence: Ricky Rubio. The gifted passer doesn't do as well in a system with one go-to scorer. Last year there were way too many possessions when Rubio brought the ball up, dumped it into Love and stood around watching him. With Love out, Rubio will be much more of a distributer and will be given many more opportunities to create.
The Wolves had quite possibly the worst luck of all time at the end of close games last season. They were 6-13 in games decided by four points or less and choked away more late leads than Tony Romo. It's inevitable that they'll be at least a little better in crunch time next year.
Rick Adelman was terrible with subs last year. There's no other way to put it. He refused to play Shabazz Muhammad despite him scoring 20 on the Suns in one of his few chances at extended playing time. The only reason rookie center Gorgui Dieng got any playing time was when he somehow managed to catch Adelman's attention with a 20-20 game against the Rockets. If those two played all season the Wolves would've been better. I have no doubt about that.
This is all just talking about next year. I've never even mentioned about what's going to happen down the road. There's a decent chance Wiggins fulfills his potential and turns the Wolves into a playoff team, there's a decent chance Rubio makes the leap this year and becomes a good shooter. (Not out of the question. Rubio's percentages have gone up every year.) There's a decent chance Lavine shows us why he was projected to be a top five pick in early conference play. There's a decent chance Glenn Robinson III turns out to be a second round steal. There's a decent chance all Anthony Bennett needed was a change of scenery and body type. (Unless they trade him for Thaddeus Young. Which they shouldn't but probably will) When you add all of those up, there's a decent chance that the Wolves become a Western Conference power in a few years.