The past several seasons for the Timberpups have proven to be quite a struggle, especially at the center position. With the 2011-12 season came an infusion of new talent and relative success, all the while exposing glaring holes on a young roster that needed to be filled in order to be a future contender in the deep Western Conference. A new coach, offensive system and a flashy, pass-first point point guard in Ricky Rubio allowed the emergence of new players to have success, most notably Nikola Pekovic.
Last season, Pekovic became known for his uncanny ability to pick up fouls in a very short amount time, averaging a foul per every 4.9 minutes. This limited his time on the court and hindered his ability to display his potential as a force down low. With Rick Adelman replacing Kurt Rambis and his “Bermuda Triangle” offense, Pek was able to see more minutes on the court. Playing alongside All-Star Kevin Love who was drawing more attention and double teams, Pekovic stood out by getting and maintaining great inside position on the low block, being relentless on the offensive glass, and showing off his lethal combination of elite strength and finesse on the low block. Essentially, Pekovic provided the Pups stability at the center position that they had not experienced since the days of Rasho Nesterovic (if you count that as stability), something that Darko Milicic has failed to do over his brief tenure with the franchise. Pek’s success can largely be attributed to his work with Timberwolves assistant coach Jack Sikma.