It is currently the middle of the first Wolves game of the year, and I decided that I needed to make some predictions for the next 82 games and subsequent offseason. (Also, I'd like to mention that through 3 quarters, the Wolves have thoroughly outplayed the expected Northwest division winner, the Denver Nuggets)
Prediction 1: Al Jefferson averages a solid double-double. Jefferson will be one of the West leaders in rebounding, and will average upwards of 20 points. I don't expect an average of more than 20 points a game just because the Wolves will be able to spread the ball around a lot, to Foye, McCants, Gomes, Smith, and Walker.
Prediction 2: The Wolves will have no problems with Antoine Walker. Walker reportedly was overweight for the Heat, and had fallen out of favor with Heat coach Pat Riley. I think as a veteran presence on this roster, he will help a lot of the players, and eventually average upwards of 10 points a game once he learns the offense.
Prediction 3: The Wolves will stop talking about KG around the All-Star game, once Jefferson makes it. This is more hopeful than anything. They need to celebrate these new guys, and move on from KG. These new guys look pretty damn good.
Prediction 4: Theo Ratliff will have his best season in 5 years. The guy looks rejuvenated this year, playing hard both on offense and defense. I think he could play his way into a new contract with the Wolves if he does well this season as their starting center, especially after considering their lack of talent there in the past. I think in general they will try to keep this team together for a while.
Prediction 5: The Wolves will contend for the last playoff spot. Yes, I realize this is a big prediction, but I honestly feel that without Blount and Davis, this roster will flourish. These guys will learn to love playing with each other, and it will be like a playground game out there. They don't have the immediate talent of other teams, but these guys are hungry to prove something. I expect them to surpass their 32 wins from last season and be in the hunt for the last spot for a while, and there is a possibility they could win that 8th spot. No one expects it from them, and that almost makes it easier for them, since no one will take them seriously. Honestly, there has never been a team much like them in this or any other professional league, a team with nearly all unproven players. Just because they are unproven, doesn't mean they aren't good.
Well there they are, my season predictions. I won't be the least bit disappointed if they don't make the playoffs, but if they do, you heard it here first. I also want to say that Foye will average over 15 points a game and 5 assists, and McCants will average nearly as many points per game as Foye. Again, just a prediction.
Either way, you need to watch these teams. There is an excitement to these games that hasn't been seen since 2004, and I know that I've been convinced just in these first 3 quarters.