MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Kevin Love. He lost 20 pounds last summer and transformed himself from a double-double machine into the league's fourth leading scorer with a 26-point average and a legitimate MVP candidate someday soon if his team continues to improve.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER
Wes Johnson. The fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Johnson started all but one game -- he was ill one night -- this season and yet never grasped the opportunity offered to him all season. He started all season because the Wolves needed his size and defense at small forward to defend opposing stars because Rubio and Luke Ridnour started in an extremely undersized backcourt until Rubio was injured in early March. But he never found his way in Rick Adelman's offense and was nearly non-existent there much of the season, averaging just six points a game on 39.8 percent shooting, including 31.4 shooting from three-point range.
Veteran leadership on a team that had too many young players, particularly too many young knuckleheads. Proficient ball-handling, playmaking wing players at the small-forward and shooting-guard positions; it wouldn't hurt any if those players can shoot, either. A shot-blocking center/forward who will complement Nikola Pekovic, who is many things but not exactly a rim protector.
FREE AGENT FOCUS
Forwards Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph will be unrestricted free agents come July unless the team offers them an $8.1 million and $4 million qualifying offers, either of which is unlikely. There's a chance that both players could be re-signed, but it'd have to be at the right price. The Wolves also can buy out the final year of Martell Webster's deal for a fraction of his $5.7 million salary for next season. Forward Anthony Tolliver will be an unrestricted agent, but there have been informal contract discussions with his agent and he said he'd like to return.
--C Nikola Pekovic finished the season with a 56.4 shooting percentage from the field, best in club history. Until now, Kevin Garnett's 52.6 was the team record. Pekovic made 256 of 454 attempts, all but a handful of them within probably four feet of the basket.
--SF Wes Johnson finished with six points -- exactly his season average -- in the season's finale against Denver. He went scoreless eight times this season and scored just two points in four other games.
--C Darko Milicic did not play in 22 of the 23 games, supposedly because of a variety of injuries. Clearly, he had fallen out of favor with coach Rick Adelman and he almost certainly has played his final game for the Wolves even though he has two years remaining on his four-year contract (the final year is mostly non-guaranteed). He likely either will be released eventually through the new CBA's amnesty clause or perhaps just sent home until his contract is used to facilitate some type of trade.
--G Ricky Rubio will remain in Minnesota through mid-May, until he returns to Vail, Colo., for a checkup on his knee after having surgery there March 21 to repair two torn ligaments in his knee. He then likely will return to Spain after that to continue rehabilitation, intending to be ready to play again sometime from the start of training camp until the regular season's opening weeks. That's anywhere from early October to early December, following a wide 6- to 9-month timeline given for his recovery.
--C Nikola Pekovic will have surgery May 15 to repair bone spurs from his right ankle, a condition that bothered him throughout the season's final weeks. He will return home to Montenegro immediately after the season, then come back to the United States to have the surgery. He expects to be fully healthy long before the start of training camp.
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