After last season then when hanging out with Team USA, Kevin Love was more than happy to tell you how frustrated he was with the Timberwolves roster. Frustrated that their playoff chances blew up with Ricky Rubio’s knee. Frustrated that when Rubio went down the Timberwolves roster was exposed.
But this summer the Timberwolves got deeper and better — Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma, Lou Amundson and rookie Russian guard Alexey Shved (who impressed during the Olympics) are all coming to town.
And of late, Love has been nothing but positive and talking playoffs. He was doing that again on Tuesday.
“I have faith in this team,” Love said on Tuesday. “I have faith in what we’ve done this offseason.”
Love talked about the depth, talked about having a cohesive locker room (something missing last year). And he continues to talk about Minnesota making the playoffs.
“I really think we have a great shot to make the playoffs,” Love said. “If anyone else says otherwise, I think we have to go out there and prove what we’re made of.”
Well, they are going to have to prove it. Not because of what anybody says, but because in a deep Western Conference they are going to have to beat out teams like Dallas and Utah — pretty good teams — for a playoff spot.
Fortunately for all of us, the time for talk is almost over.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.