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Updated: October 28th, 2013 3:26pm
One NBA power ranking has Wolves 12th overall, but is that too high?

One NBA power ranking has Wolves 12th overall, but is that too high?

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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NBA seasson is right around the corner, and as such, hope springs eternal. The Wolves are ranked 12th in Marc Stein's latest ESPN NBA Power rankings. 

That's up one spot from where ESPN had Minnesota pegged in the training camp edition of the rankings. But that had more to do with a precipitous drop by the team that was formerly ahead of the Wolves.

As Stein noted: 

Between the Training Camp Edition of ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings and the annual installment that appears on the eve of the regular season, generally only injuries can cause a real shakeup at the top.

The catch here is that Chase Budinger was injured after those rankings came out and the Wolves still moved up in this latest ranking. Corey Brewer will likely be in the starting lineup, although he may have been ticketed for the starting small forward before Budinger's injury.

The training camp edition of the rankings were out for maybe an hour when the Wolves lost key reserve Chase Budinger to another knee surgery. So the "When will it ever end?" talk has already begun for the injury-ravaged team sporting the league's longest playoff drought (nine seasons).

The implication of having the Wolves rated as the No. 7 team in the Western Conference, of course, is that they're currently projected as a playoff team. 

That might be an optimistic view, but I think it fits. The Wolves will be an entertaining, high-scoring  offense, and head coach Rick Adelman should help orchestrate a team defense that can cover up individual shortcomings. It's easy to fall into an overly optimistic outlooks before a team has played a game. Call me crazy, but I think this projection is about right. 

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger
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