Kevin Love, Michael Beasley say playoffs are possible next season
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The Minnesota Timberwolves hit the 60-loss mark for the eighth time in their 22-year existence in Saturday's 106-89 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The team was without starters Kevin Love (groin) and Darko Milicic (ankle), who didn't make the trip, along with reserve Sebastian Telfair, who missed his second consecutive game for personal reasons.
Sixty losses are more than Love and Michael Beasley had in their high school and college careers combined. But they both said they think this Wolves team can make the playoffs next season.
"I'm shooting for the playoffs next season," Beasley said. "I'm not taking anything less. I'm going into the summer with a workout plan. I'm not taking a break like I did last summer. I will work hard all summer and come back a better player, a better teammate. We're going to come back a better team."
The Wolves not only will miss the playoffs this season, but are within two games of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the worst record in the NBA. The 17 wins they currently hold are good for second-lowest in the league, and they'll once again be big players in the annual NBA Draft Lottery to vie for the No. 1 overall pick.
All-Star and de-facto team leader Love, who pegged the Wolves for 30 wins in a GQ blog before the season, agrees with Beasley that this team can contend for the playoffs next season.
"I agree with that," he said. "We have a lot of growing up to do. We have to add a few veteran guys to help not only on the court but in practice, every day in the locker room, helping us be consummate professionals, close out close games. If we can figure that out, we can win."
When told that Love and Beasley said the team was close to making the playoffs, coach Kurt Rambis jokingly asked if the team they were talking about was the Miami Heat. But he still echoed a similar opinion.
"Well, we have to do everything right," Rambis said. "We have to make a significant commitment to doing things right and things have to work out for us too. We can't go through the injury situation we went through to all the players on our team. Hopefully, personal issues won't arise as well -- personal, family issues.
"If our guys make the summertime commitment, the mental commitment to come to camp next year to do all the things we talk about this year, there is no reason we can't be a better team than we were this year. But it's hard to predict what is going to go on, there are an awful lot of really good teams sitting out there in the West.
"We have to get better."
It has been widely publicized that the team president of basketball operations David Kahn put together is the youngest in the league. Rambis and his players have spoke at great lengths the need for a veteran presence on the roster.
"Our team is very, very young," Rambis said. "We have a lot of growing, a lot of maturing, a lot of developing to do. There is a lot of things that go into that. Every team is constantly looking to upgrade there team so we have a lot of areas where we can see we need to upgrade."
Love has been very open about how much a veteran would help -- both on the court and off -- for a while now, citing how crucial Al Jefferson was to his development as a player, before he was shipped to the Utah Jazz.
"It is going to be better next year," Love said. 'We know what we need to do. I guarantee next year will be better."