Placing last season: 26-40 (12th in Western Conference)
Key moves: The Timberwolves drafted Terrence Jones with their first-round pick before quickly offloading him to the Houston Rockets, in exchange for Chase Budinger and Lior Eliyahu.
They also dealt veteran Brad Miller to get some cap relief. Their biggest moves were made in free agency, where they signed former all-stars Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy.
Challenges ahead: Whether Kirilenko, following a year out of the NBA, and Brandon Roy, back from retirement, can recapture the magic that they showed in seasons gone is yet to be proven.
Reason to be positive: This is generally a young team with a solid core of players, including Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, who prior to injury had led Minnesota to the verge of the playoffs.
Only a 1-9 record in their last 10 games took it out of their grasp. If Roy and Kirilenko can dazzle once more this is a team that could definitely challenge for the eighth seed.
In winning the bronze medal at the Olympics, Kirilenko proved that he still has the ability to compete against NBA-level opposition. Budinger also makes the team immediately better than Terrence Jones would have, even if his ceiling isn’t as high.
Prediction: 44-40 (9th in Western Conference)
image: © Keith Allison