Just out of curiousity, how is that start anything remotely outstanding?When Rubio went down last year Minnesota was the 8th seed. This team if fully healthy is a lot better than the team from last year. I think you are really underselling just how much talent is on the Wolves.
They are pretty much shorthanded, I know, but let's face the truth, their best win was against the Nets, who blew up a 20-plus-point lead in the final quarter.
The other wins are against Kings, a team in a mess, Magic, one of the worst NBA teams at the moment I believe, Pacers, a pretty mediocre team without Granger in the lineup, and Mavs, a team that is definitely lottery-caliber with Dirk out.
And dropping games to Raptors, Bobcats and Warriors doesn't really make it more sensible.
In my opinion, they can contend for spot 7 or 8 at best in full health. There is no way they are catching up with Grizzlies and Clippers, if you ask me.
Then again, it's just my personal opinion.
Yes, they're better if Kirilenko stays focused. I'm not counting on Roy that much, though. His overall play seemingly regressed understandably.
So, their overall success is going to be determined by these (leaving health out, that's a concern for every NBA team):
-Kirilenko staying focused.
-Pekovic improving his performance a notch (He had one of the best post move packages in European basketball).
-Shved keeping up his very good rookie campaign start (Actually, even if he hits the so called rookie wall, Rubio's return will take a load over his shoulders, so, he'll be fine).
This is a better team on paper, but they are yet to play a single game together in that fully healthy condition, so, I'm really underselling at the moment, because the Grizzlies and the Clippers are at/close to being at full health (Billups) and I got to see what they are made of.
For Wolves, I cannot say anything like that. I just made an assumption based on the competition's strength and only time will tell if I end up with the wrong answer (=