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ESPN predicts last place finish, 26-win season for Wolves

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It took 49 wins to make the playoffs in the Western Conference last season. If that win total holds true again in 2014-15, the Timberwolves are in deep trouble, according to the newest ESPN predictions.

ESPN.com unveiled its predictions for the Western Conference next season, and the Wolves are in the basement, looking up at every other team in the West.

Minnesota won 40 games last season. Does the departure of Kevin Love in the reported, but yet to happen trade to the Cavaliers suggest that Love is worth 14 wins? Who knows, but all eyes now are on whether Andrew Wiggins, the centerpiece of the trade for Love, can develop into a franchise player.

If he can't, the Wolves are doomed. Here's more on that doom from ESPN The Magazine and True Hoop blogger Ross Marrinson.

So are we excited about Wiggins? Sure. Will we embrace him? Of course we will. He plays defense, seems like a hard-working kid and has a nice smile. We love that stuff. And whatever Wiggins ends up to be -- a Tracy McGrady or a Corey Brewer or somewhere in between -- the Wolves win: If he’s close to the top of that range, they’ve got yet another chance to build around a franchise player, and on the cheap for the next five seasons. If not, if he’s an energetic sixth man, they'll once again find themselves at the top of the draft -- familiar territory for a team that’s made 20 lottery picks in its 25-year history.

We'll have more Wolves info after 5 p.m. today when the NBA unveils the 2014-15 schedule. Minnesota, according to one report, will open the season October 29th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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