The NBA released the 2012-2013 schedules earlier tonight and the Minnesota Timberwolves will play on national television (ESPN & TNT) six times during the season.
This is exciting news for a franchise that will feature star players Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, along with the 2011 #2 overall pick Derrick Williams and second year head coach Rick Adelman. And these national games aren’t against any scrubs either. The T’wolves will be playing the best teams in the Western Conference. They have two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers, and one each with the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.
The T’wolves were in the thick of the playoff race last season before their point guard (Rubio) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament against the Lakers. From that point on the T’wolves slowly drifted back in the playoff picture until Love suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the last few games of the season. Minnesota finished 26-40, missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
But president of basketball operations David Kahn has made a lot of moves this off-season in hopes of improving this team and making them a playoff contender. They added Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved, Dante Cunningham, Greg Steimsma, and Andrei Kirilenko to go with Love, Rubio and Williams. Rubio will be out until November, recovering from ACL surgery, but it has been reported that he is “ahead of schedule”.
Only time will tell. If the T’Wolves can count on anything this season, it will be that they will have the chance to showcase their team and talent to a national audience.
That’s something they couldn’t count on a few years ago.