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Are the Minnesota Timberwolves Becoming a Surprise West Threat?

By Erik Lambert

Mar 19, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) talks with guard Ricky Rubio (9) during a break in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody assumed the loss of Kevin Love would sink the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Could the opposite actually be coming true?

Thaddeus Young and Andrew Wiggins poised to join Ricky Rubio

When the word first came down that Minnesota was going to deal Kevin Love to Cleveland in exchange Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future 1st round pick it was felt they were basically conceding the present in favor of long-term NBA success.  However, recent developments may hint the Timberwolve could get the best of both worlds.  They may form a new core that is not only competitive right away, but young enough to grow together.

According to the most recent rumors, Minnesota will send Love to the Cavs in exchange for Wiggins, Bennett and a future 1st rounder as initially reported.  The twist on the situation comes from a third party, the Philadelphia 76ers.  Anxious to deal power forward Thaddeus Young, who hasn’t fallen in line with the teams’ plans, they jumped in on the deal that would net them the Timberwolves’ 1st round pick in 2015 and some players with expiring contracts that would help their salary cap.

It’s a somewhat complicated deal but looking at it from afar, the Timberwolves are essentially bringing in three quality players, all 26 or younger, all without losing a 1st round pick next year.  Now, Young is not Love by any means.  He doesn’t have the same size nor the scoring or rebounding prowess.  However, he showed last season he can put up 17 points a night and also brings value on defense (2.1 SPG).  Throw in the #1 picks of the previous two drafts in Wiggins and Bennett together with point guard Ricky Rubio, a good defender and passer in his own right, and this team suddenly has a different look about it.

Granted, much of the aura is based of the high ceilings of Wiggins (rookie) and Bennett (2nd year) but the sheer talent level actually eclipses what Minnesota had in total when Love was on the floor.  It may take them awhile to figure out playing with each other, but as far as turning garbage into gold, the T-Wolves may have knocked it out of the park.