How long can Wolves hold out?
Can Minnesota stay afloat until Love and Rubio return?
The team's news release was short and term, and it's the exact kind of thing you hate to see pop into your inbox during preseason:
"The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that forward Kevin Love suffered a fracture of his third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand. The injury occurred this morning while working out. Love is expected to be out approximately 6-8 weeks."
Heading into his fifth NBA season, Love was poised to become an MVP candidate. At 24, he's still at an age of ascension. SCHOENE, our projection system at Basketball Prospectus, had Love forecasted for the fourth-most WARP (wins above replacement) in the league, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.
Perhaps just as important when you're talking about MVP candidacy, SCHOENE liked Minnesota as the breakout team in the league. This was the case even after accounting for the uncertain recovery of point guard Ricky Rubio from his torn ACL. With Rubio's playing time forecast slashed, SCHOENE still saw the Wolves as a 56-win team, slotting them third in the West.
Now we have to reconfigure those predictions.
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