MINNEAPOLIS -- Kings and pawns, captains and crew members, cornerstones and building blocks.
Rick Adelman saw the picture clearly when previous Timberwolves president David Kahn coaxed him out of hiatus in 2011: Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio working in harmony, with the rest of the pieces falling into place around them.
The first part of the veteran hoops sage's vision came to fruition during that lockout-shortened campaign. Love had the best season of his career, and Rubio worked his way into rookie of the year consideration before a March 2012 ACL tear crushed that sentiment.
Without a viable supporting cast for its burgeoning tandem, Minnesota won 26 games and finished fifth in the Western Conference's Northwest Division. By the time Rubio returned to action last year, his running mate had broken his hand and was well on the way to missing 64 games, and the Timberwolves' doormat days continued.
Now, back together and fully healthy, Love and Rubio remain the unquestioned leaders ...