Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 10/29/12
MINNEAPOLIS The countdown stands at four: four days until the Timberwolves open their season against the Kings on Friday. They're one of the last teams to debut this year, and Friday's matchup will in fact be the Kings' second game they open up in Chicago on Wednesday which will give the Timberwolves plenty of time to rest and plan.Whether that's too much time remains up for debate. Coach Rick Adelman said he'll never frown upon practice time, which was obviously in short supply last year, but players like Derrick Williams and even Brandon Roy have admitted the drawbacks of the schedule. To Roy, the extra practice is good, but it's hard to know what the team has until it's in a game that means something.Roy sat out Monday's practice after banging his knee, in Adelman's words, but the coach stressed that he's fine and will be scrimmaging with the team on Tuesday. Other than that, it's status quo with injuries. No decision has been made definitively about Luke Ridnour's back, but he practiced, and Nikola Pekovic's hand issue seems like a thing of the past. Kevin Love will rejoin the team Wednesday, most likely, although he's still a few weeks from returning to the court.A bit more on the preseason: The NBA released its compiled preseason stats for every team, which revealed that the 80.9 points per game that the Timberwolves allowed were the fewest of any team in the preseason. The Bulls gave up an average of 87.1 for the next-best mark. In addition, the Timberwolves' 11.6 point differential was the best of any team; the 76ers were next-best with 11.0.But to put all this in context, the Lakers had the worst point differential of any team, -15.3, and the Timberwolves have had plenty of recent preseason success before losing seasons. That shows exactly how much stock one can put in the preseason. Without a lock-down defender, the Timberwolves are capable of being competent on defense but won't lead the league in the regular season, and their offense will have to improve from its seventh-worst ranking in terms of preseason scoring.Other categories in which the Timberwolves ranked high within the league: defensive rebounding (sixth-best), rebounding (ninth-best) and steals (fifth-best). The importance of Kevin and Ricky: Yeah, yeah, I know this isn't what you want to hear now, with another two-ish months until the Kevin-Ricky tandem takes the court together. But before descending into a fit of self-pity borne of Kevin Garnett abandonment issues from 2007, know this: With Ricky Rubio and Love healthy, it was pretty good last season. With this year's improvements, it can be even better.Last season, the Timberwolves best-performing five-man unit on the court consisted of Love, Rubio, Wes Johnson, Ridnour and Pekovic. With the exception of Johnson, who was obviously the weak link of the bunch, the group remains intact and will be a viable option for the Timberwolves come December or January. That lineup played 267.7 minutes together last season, the most of any combination, and of the nine most-used lineups, it was the only one with a positive plus-minus. In fact, of all the lineups with positive plus-minuses, only three did not involve Rubio and only two involved neither Love nor Rubio.Here's another thing to chew on (or cry over): The Timberwolves' best lineup only played together for those 267.7 minutes. The Thunder's best combination (Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins) saw 664.0 minutes together on the court, and its second-best unit (sub in Harden for Sefolosha) played 408.7 minutes. There's the destructive power of injuries.Think about this, now: The Love-Rubio-Ridnour-Pekovic group will still be around this season, and with, say, Andrei Kirilenko or Chase Budinger in the mix, it should perform significantly better than when Wes Johnson occupied the small forward spot. There will also be more versatility (Roy at shooting guard rather than Ridnour, for example) and combinations, so the core group will be able to rest or play to its strengths based on matchups. Last season, to take it out was to downgrade significantly the second most-used lineup had a winning percentage of 40.0, down from 57.8 with the first whereas this season, the discrepancy should hardly be so big.Bring on December Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks


Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

Reggie Bush reportedly closing in on contract with Bills

Report: Eric Berry planning to no-show training camp

Eagles could have interest in Gordon if Browns trade him

Report: Fitzpatrick, Jets not likely to have deal before camp

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

Report: Kansas City Chiefs' Justin Houston likely to miss regular-season games

Padres reportedly making progress on Cashner trade

NFL Network to stream on PlayStation Vue

Report: Eagles’ Nigel Bradham charged for assaulting cabana boy

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker