Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  By PHIL ERVIN  |  Last updated 11/15/13
MINNEAPOLIS -- There are good signs, and then there areguarantees.Through two weeks, the Minnesota Timberwolves' seasonfeatures all the aesthetics of a promising one. It looks good. Feels good. Walkby a Target Center concession stand and catch a whiff of the popcorn, and itsmells good.The fun part for observers is predicting who will go offnext. Ricky Rubio for another triple-double? Or maybe it's Kevin Love's turn.Perhaps Corey Brewer makes a couple more transition layups and eclipses thecareer-high point total he nearly beat Wednesday. Perhaps Kevin Martin's returnafter battling a flu bug brings another 20-plus-point performance.Local followers are high on Minnesota's 6-3 start. Pundits,too.But promising and promised, the Timberwolves remain quick tonote, are two different things."We know what were capable of," Love said."We know we can also get better."So it's with extreme caution that the high-scoring,floor-running Wolves accept any praise for their best beginning since presidentof basketball operations Flip Saunders roamed the sidelines as coach. Eventhough they boast the NBA's No. 2 scorer and rebounder (Love), rank second inpoints per game and build sizeable first-quarter leads before stamping outadversaries the rest of the way, they remain reticent to take commendation."We're nine games into the season," coach RickAdelman said. "We're playing well, but we've got to keep working at it. Inthis league, it can slip away quickly."If there's any team that knows that, it's Minnesota. Thehistorically woeful franchise's lot in life appeared on the upswing early lastyear, too, before injuries with no compensating depth made for a 31-51 season.In the majority of matchups during the past decade, it'sbeen easy for foes to overlook the Timberwolves. Brewer thinks that stigmastill exists.The longer it's in place, the better, he said."We're still under the radar, which is a good thing forus," Brewer said. "No pressure, just go out and playbasketball."While Love and Rubio have become household NBA names,Minnesota still isn't as attractive an attention target as the Clippers,Warriors, Thunder, Spurs and Grizzlies have become. Those Western Conferenceorganizations have proven themselves worthy of credibility -- some onlyrecently, others through the course of several seasons.The Timberwolves aren't there yet. Compared to the likes ofSan Antonio and Oklahoma City, theyre nowhere close."We should be under the radar," Adelman said."We haven't done anything yet. Really, that's just the honest truth. It'sa whole new year, and it's a long season."Love hopes Minnesota can "stay surprising" andsneak up on opponents. If he and his teammates continue on their currenttrajectory, that won't be a possibility for long.The club's on-court leader, Love is off to one of thebest-ever individual starts to an NBA season. With a 33-point, eight-board,six-assist showing Wednesday against Cleveland, he became the first player inleague history to record more than 240 points, 125 rebounds and 45 assiststhrough the first nine games of a campaign.And he may not even be the team's most valuable asset at themoment.Brewer -- whom Saunders signed as an unrestricted free agentfor 14 million over three years -- has done just about everything as theTimberwolves' starting small forward. Early on, he virtually shut down KevinDurant and kept Carmelo Anthony in check while growing more and more synergeticwith Love's adept outlet passes. Then Wednesday, he knocked down all five 3s hetook, while Martin stayed home sick.Martin is sixth in the league in scoring and making 55.8percent of his 3-point attempts. Rubio has settled into a comfortable nook,adding more confident shooting to his already adroit passing and defendingprowess.The No. 1 key, in Adelman's well-trained eyes: selflessness."I think players have the tendency to be one way or theother," Adelman said. "A lot of it comes from what they grew up with.There may be some selfish players, but I look at it as sometimes they just playselfish. They dont mean to be that way, but they just play that way becausethat's what they always have done. The guys who are gonna be successful in thisleague are the guys who understand that it's a five-man game."And it's easy to share when everyone in the playpen ishaving fun. Sustaining such cohesion grows tougher as the schedule rolls along,fatigue sets in and more wary challengers enter the Target Center.So now is the time to mount a substantiated run. Minnesotacan't afford to wait.Even if it means attracting a little more attention."You don't want to be a team that wins a game, losesone, wins a game, loses a couple, wins a couple, just keep going back andforth," Adelman said. "We want to get some type of momentumgoing."Or, in this case, keep it. Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter
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