Devil Dish: April 4

You might laugh at this now, but the Minnesota Timberwolves could be the next up-and-coming threat in the NBA.

After finishing with the league’s worst record at 17-65 last season, the Timberwolves eclipsed that mark halfway through the current season. Until rookie point guard Ricky Rubio sustained a season-ending torn ACL, Minnesota was flirting with the Western Conference’s last playoff seeds.

The team’s success starts with Kevin Love. Love has consistently put up video-game-like stats all season long, and the 6-foot-10 power forward has now proven he is a threat from the 3-point line.

Minnesota has also seen huge contributions from center Nikola Pekovic, who has emerged as a candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award. Rubio, Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley have also become an ideal supporting cast for Love. They could be a complete team if they pick someone like Austin Rivers early in the NBA draft.

What separates the ‘Wolves from other pretenders is coach Rick Adelman. Adelman has a long postseason résumé and deserves credit for the team’s emergence.

San Antonio and Oklahoma City have both proven that teams in small-market cities can be legitimate contenders in the West with smart drafting and roster moves. Maybe the Timberwolves can join that trend as well.

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