The Minnesota Timberwolves open their 2012-13 campaign Friday night at home against the Sacramento Kings.
This season offered such promise for the T-Wolves. Last season, before star guard Ricky Rubio tore his ACL and lateral collateral ligament in early March, Minnesota was a playoff-bound team.
Rubio crumpled, the team lost 13 of 14 down the stretch and the Timberwolves were back in the lottery.
Rubio won't be back in the near future for Minnesota, but All-NBA forward Kevin Love could carry them into the postseason, right?
Love broke his hand doing knuckle push-ups and will be out until close to Christmas.
"If we play good basketball and we continue the defense we've been playing throughout the preseason then we're going to win some ball games," said Love. "And the sooner we get Ricky and myself back and get to a full roster, I think we're going to have a major breakthrough and continue to play better."
The load will be left on last season's No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft, Derrick Williams, Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy. Kirilenko and Roy both missed all of last season. Kirilenko played in the Euroleague for CSKA Moscow and Roy retired before the 2011-12 season tipped off with knee injuries.
It remains to be seen what to expect from the Wolves, but the Kings gave a little indication Wednesday night.
Sacramento hung in there against the Bulls in Chicago, but fell 93-87.
Tyreke Evans led the way for the Kings with 21 points and eight rebounds. Marcus Thornton came off the bench with 15 and DeMarcus Cousins added 14.
A big problem for the Kings in their opener was turnovers. Sacramento had 21 Wednesday night, including seven for Cousins, and that number is way too high to beat a good defensive team like the Bulls.
"Unacceptable," Cousins said. "I know it was our first game, but we can't use that as an excuse. Twenty-one turnovers to this team is too much."
Trimming that number will be a main goal tonight, especially when you lose a heartbreaker in Chicago like the Kings did on Wednesday.
"We gave up 25 points off of turnovers. We cut that in half, we have a great opportunity to win this basketball game," philosophized head coach Keith Smart after the season-opening loss.
The Kings and Wolves split last season's series as the home team won twice.