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Updated: April 16th, 2011 8:25pm
Timberwolves season review: Rating the NBA's worst player-by-player

Timberwolves season review: Rating the NBA's worst player-by-player

by
1500ESPN.com

By the numbers

Record: 17-65 (Last).

Points per game: 101.1 (10th).

Opponents points per game: 107.7 (Last).

Moral victories: 45 (First).

Coaches fried: 0. So far.

Kevin Love

Love was far and away the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.

He surpassed almost everyone's expectations, becoming the first franchise All-Star since Kevin Garnett and compiling a historic 31-point, 31-rebound performance, a rebounding title and enough consecutive double-doubles to set an impressive -- albeit somewhat controversial -- modern-era mark.

He finished with averages of 20.2 points, a league-leading 15.2 rebounds and 47% shooting, including an impressive 41.7% from behind the arc. Love played just 73 games after a groin injury ended his season prematurely but still managed to play the most minutes of his career thanks to a head coach finally giving him a chance.

Love is one of the leading candidates to take home the most improved player award, but he would be the first to tell you being on the league's most improved team would mean a lot more to him. As impressive as the 53-game double-double streak was, the team went just 13-40 in that stretch. Personal statistics get you All-Star berths, but they don't necessarily win you basketball games.

The big question going forward for Love is if he the Wolves can sign him long-term. Love has said he would like to remain in Minnesota but wants to see the team take a step in the win column. During his season ending media availability -- with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek -- Love cracked, "If they want to have me here long-term." President of basketball operations David Kahn says he "isn't worried" about locking Love up but it will be one of the more intriguing plot lines as this train wreck rolls forward.

Michael Beasley

The man his teammates call "B-Easy" finished the season with a career-high 19.2 points per game (second only to Love), 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in a career-high in 32.3 minutes.

Beasley's season was something of a roller-coaster ride, full of ups and downs. He started off well, making those who predicted a resurgence from the troubled third year player look smart. But once the calendar turned, an ankle injury held him out of 8 games and he admittedly lost his confidence and swagger.

No one has ever questioned the freakish athletic ability of Beasley -- it has been whether he has the mental ability and work ethic to turn into a true superstar. This will be a big offseason for Beasley to see if he can take his game to the next level and proving critics wrong.

"I think (he has the right work ethic), but the proof will be in the pudding," Kahn said.

Beasley said he will spend the summer in Los Angeles working with teammate Wesley Johnson -- and that could be a case of the blind leading the blind. Johnson is coming off his rookie season and Beasley himself is only 22 years old. A veteran presence would certainly go a long way for them.

Luke Ridnour

Ridnour was brought in from Milwaukee to be a fill-in starter while Jonny Flynn recovered from hip surgery. He ended up taking a backup role and serving as a mentor.

Well, as we know, that didn't exactly go according to plan. Ridnour ended up starting 66 games, which would have been more if not for injuries and personal issues, while Flynn fell flat on his face in his sophomore season.

Ridnour, who turned 30 during the season, played more minutes this season than he had since he was 24 years old and playing for the Seattle Supersonics. Throughout the course of the season, Ridnour showed exactly what he is: a quality veteran backup. His play was not immune to the same mental errors that were more excusable for his teammates in their mid-20s. The Wolves will hope that Ricky Rubio will be in Minnesota next season, and Ridnour can assume the backup role he was brought in for.

Darko Milicic

Oh, how a difference one season can make.

During the summer league in Las Vegas, Kahn referred to Darko as "Manna from heaven." Nine months later, on the last day of the season, Kahn called Darko a "player on the team."

Not exactly the bang the Wolves were hoping to get for their buck when they inked him to a four-year. $20 million dollar deal over the summer.

The same problem that plagued Darko his entire seven-year career continued to plague him -- he just doesn't seem interested. This shouldn't come as any shock to the Wolves, either. Prior to signing him long-term, he was considering retiring from the NBA and playing in his hometown of Serbia. Clearly, the drive wasn't there then for the former No. 2 overall pick, and it still isn't.

Darko put up a career-high 8.8 points per game and grabbed 5.2 rebounds in just 69 games while he battled a laundry list of lower-body ailments that would easily exceed the word limit in this space.

Wesley Johnson

The fourth overall pick from Syracuse did not exactly light the world on fire in 79 games in his rookie season. Johnson averaged 9.0 points per game, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 26.2 minutes. He assumed the starting role early in the season, cracking the starting five 63 times.

The problem for Johnson, as well as the entire team as a whole, is his progress during his rookie season hit a wall at around the All-Star break and he simply flatlined. Johnson will need to make big steps in Los Angeles with Beasley this summer if he wants to be a big piece going forward.

There aren't many other teams in the league that Johnson would start 63 times for. But as is the case for all rookies, it is early in his career. Johnson was a rookie simply by experience -- at the age of 23, he is older than Beasley, Love and a number of his other teammates.

Anthony Tolliver

It was always interesting to see what kind of effort level would be put forth by the Wolves every night as it hit remarkable highs and lows. The one player on the roster -- other than Corey Brewer, who was traded -- whose effort was never questioned was Tolliver's.

Tolliver provided a spark off the bench as the guy who could bring it on both ends of the court. Unfortunately, by the time he was given the chance to ignite that spark, the starters had dug themselves into such a hole.

Tolliver, who serves as the Wolves' players representatitve, was by far the hardest worker on the team and is a positive influence on a group of young players still finding their way. He has done a solid job carving out a niche for himself in this league and on this team, and he will continue to do so next season.

Jonny Flynn

There is no need to sugarcoat it: Flynn's tenure with the Wolves was a complete disaster.

The biggest Flynn fan in the world, Kahn, basically admitted so during his season-ending press conference, saying he didn't know if Flynn would be a part of the team's future. Flynn was not with the team for the last game of the season for "personal reasons," all but officially ending his run with the franchise.

In fairness to Flynn, his season was derailed because of hip surgery. But he did nothing before or after to demonstrate he was capable of even being a quality backup, let alone a starter.

Wayne Ellington

The second-year player out of North Carolina had a remarkably similar year to his rookie season. He once again averaged 6.6 points, 1.2 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 62 games, eight of which he started.

Ellington showed flashes at times but still has a ways to go if he wants to be a difference-maker in this league. As of now, he remains a role player off the bench for the worst team in the NBA.

Anthony Randolph

Kahn had coveted Randolph since he showed some spark in the always-important summer league and eventually acquired him in the deal that sent Brewer to Denver.

The words "long," "athletic" and "potential" are thrown around whenever Randolph's name is brought up, and they certainly do apply here. The biggest question, however, is what position does he play?

Randolph is a versatile talent who can block a shot on one end and run the fast break down the floor, but he doesn't necessarily excel at any one position. Power forward is probably his best spot, but the Wolves are pretty set there.

It will be interesting to see how much he and Love can play on the court at the same time. But the potential is certainly there, and Kahn has said Randolph will be a big piece going forward, so Wolves fans can expect to see plenty more of him 2011-12.

Martell Webster

Frustration was the name of the game for Webster this season.

After a promising preseason, the veteran missed the first 24 games because of back surgery, related to an injury he suffered in the playoffs last season as a member of the Portland Trail Blazer.

The aftermath of the surgery lingered once he returned and his play suffered. Playing in just 46 games, Webster averaged 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23.8 minutes. He finished his season strong during the Wolves' 15-game losing streak to end the year, finally living up to the flashes of brilliance he displayed in the preseason.

The other half of the frustration came from the amount of loses that piled up throughout the season. Often times after games, Webster would be visually upset with his team's performance and was never one to mince words. It is clear that Webster is a player that truly does care about getting the team better and helping his teammates develop. He will be a key role player in the coming years for the Wolves.

Nikola Pekovic

In a word: raw.

Pekovic -- the 6-11, 243-pound phenom from Montenegro -- was certainly a presence on the court but lacked any sort of finesse or touch.

The other hurdle Pekovic must get over is adjusting to the rules and customs of the NBA. Coach Kurt Rambis said Pekovic would often get frustrated for getting whistled for fouls that were common practice overseas.

There is no doubt the big man has potential, but it will take a lot of work to develop his game to the point he could be a reliable starter. Until then, he will be a backup to the apathetic Darko.

Sebastian Telfair

He couldn't get any run over Flynn. That about sums it up.

Sundiata Gaines

He was cut once Flynn returned from hip surgery. That about sums it up.

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