March 9, 2006

Thank God It's March

It's nice to be able to watch basketball and not be mad at the team you're watching. Championship week, followed by the NCAA tourney is a breath of fresh basketball air. Instead of watching my team fold on itself in every fourth quarter, I can watch the hopes and dreams of college kids come true or get shattered. I mean, I was watching the Montana Grizzlies and they didn't fold down the stretch. Fairleigh Dickinson did, but I don't care about them. Syracuse bought themselves a little bigger bag of tournament hopes while Cinci may have ended their season. But it's all good, because I can watch them win and lose and I'm not emotionally scared afterwards. Watching a certain professional team from my hometown on the other hand is just plain excruciating. But, as I said, it's March, so for the next few weeks I will be immersed in a much less painful kind of basketball experience...

March 1, 2006

The Wackest Crews Try To Dis It Makes Me Laugh, When My Track Record's Longer Than A DC-20 Aircraft


That's the word of the day, children. We will sit here and study it until we have its complete meaning entrenched in our brains.


You see, young people, this basketball team lacks any semblance of anything that could remotely be qualified as being close to consistency. Up by 10? No problem. In the time it takes to drop a shot of Double Barrel into a frothing High Life, they'll be down by 5. Up by 2 going into half time? Stay for the dog show, leave when the Wolves take the floor. Because you can bet they're down double digits by the 10:00 mark.

Have they ever been this horribly inconsistent? I don't think they have, at least not since before the Wally days. Ah yes, Walter. You remember him, right kids? And he was a model in what?


Right. Yes he was. His shots fell at a 50% clip nearly all the time. Make one, miss one, make one and wear metrosexual sunglasses. All in a day's work for Walt.

Buckets, Banks, Blunt.... wow. They explode for 15 points unanswered, then can't hit anything for the rest of the quarter. KG just goes with the flow, he can't be fazed by it. I see the look in his eyes. "What? We're down by how much? But we're just playin ball, man!" Yeah, playing ball and losing.

Look, I'm not knocking this tempo of play. Lord knows I've stood up and screamed "Oh just HAVE YOURSELF SOME, BUCKETS!!!!!!" more than enough times. But this is the ride we paid for when we got these guys, so I guess the message is; make sure you're belts are fastened and be sure you've got plenty of dramamine.

It's still fun though... I mean it's fun to watch these athletes play this game. Losing's not fun, but if you're going to lose, better to play ghetto ball then to have Marko Jaric in the game, ever.

Next year, young students, next year. Yes, we're already talking about it. Because this year is shot and it's only going to bring more pain ("Vince dunks over Blunt AGAIN!!!!! Holy cow!!!!" is coming tonight), but let's take a look at the coming years. If these guys can form a cohesive unit and somehow run actual plays instead of street ball, just once in a while, we might have something. I'll defer to my associate for more analysis of potential trades, but to be sure, I'm excited about next year, and it's March 1st. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it just is.

Oh, and also, next year, it's very possible that a certain player could return to the Wolves. He wears number 32. He is one of the best shooters in the NBA. He shook my hand and changed my life. You know what his name is?


That's right. Go now, teach the others what you have learned.

Are You Reading This Deadzo?

Okay, so the Wolves need to do some work and since the trading deadline has passed, the offseason is where they’ll have to make their moves. We have needs a plenty, but before we delve into what’s needed, let’s focus on what we have.

Depth Chart

PG – Marko Jaric, Troy Hudson
SG – Trenton Hassell, Rashad McCants
SF – Ricky Davis
PF – Kevin Garnett, Mark Madsen, Eddie Griffin
C – Mark Blount

FA – Marcus Banks, Justin Reed, Anthony Carter, Richie Frahm, Ronald Dupree, Bracey Wright

Banks should get resigned, and if he doesn’t, the Wolves are retarded. AC will probably be back because he’s our new Darrick Martin, or a slight improvement. Richie and Ronny won’t be back and Justin and Bracey are sort of wildcards. Reed should be back, but we’ll see, it’ll depend on what kind of money we have left. Don’t forget about Freddy Hoiberg yet either, he may be back too.

So, this is what you’re looking at for next season

PG Marcus Banks then Marko
SG Trenton Hassell then Rashad
SF Ricky Davis then maybe Reed
PF Kevin Garnett then Mad Dog
C Mark Blount then Griff

Clearly this is not a lineup that leads to success, as we’ve witnessed thus far this season. We have zero outside shooting and we’re an awful rebounding and interior defensive team – the Bulls score 30 points in the paint in the first half last night. Ouch. Okay, so we need a sharp shooter and a defensive hog/rebound monster. The Wolves are over the cap, so they’ll only have the usual exceptions ($5m and $1m) to sign free agents, and most of that money should be used on the guys we already have (Marcus, Justin, AC).

There are two moves that I think could drastically improve this team.

Trade Trenton Hassell to Milwaukee for Dan Gadzuric

We could use a center that doesn’t need the ball, can play defense, and rebound. The Bucks could use some help defensively on the wings. Gadzuric’s contract has an extra year and roughly $7 million more than Hassell’s but he comes at a relative bargain for a 7-footer. He’s a better than average shot blocker, a solid defensive presence, and a very good rebounder, especially on the offensive end. He can score, but doesn’t need touches and he’s only 27, so he’s got a few good years left in him. Gadzuric’s minutes have been nearly cut in half this season due to the play of rookie Andrew Bogut and the early season trade for Jamaal Magloire, but in ’04-05 he was very productive. In 22 minutes he scored a little more than 7ppg, grabbed over 8rpg – 3.2 on the offensive, and blocked over 1 shot per game. He’s a team guy and he’s never been a problem in the locker room, even after seeing his playing time get choked out by Magloire.

What else would this trade accomplish?
Well, clearly we’d get a center who can provide some production on both ends of the floor, unlike Blount and Griff who only play on one end. What this also does is open up the starting lineup for Rashad McCants, who I believe will be ready for that spot come next year. He’s playing better defense and he’s looking more confident on the offensive end.

Trade Marko Jaric to New York for Quentin Richardson

This was a trade that was rumored right around the trade deadline before the Knicks acquired Steve Francis. We could really use an outside shooter and the Knicks need someone who doesn’t need to shoot, not to mention that the Q Experiment has not panned out the way Isaiah wanted it to. Again, we take on some extra salary, but we get rid of a GF who thinks he’s a PG and we get an outside bomber in return. Richardson is young, athletic, and thrives in situations where he can get out and run. Ricky and Marcus have already started the Wolves in the direction of a running team, and with a 3-point Shootout crown on his mantle, Q might just be what we need to complete that transition.

So if the Wolves could get these two deals done, this is what you’d be looking at.

PG – Marcus Banks then AC
SG – Rashad McCants then Q
SF – Ricky Davis then maybe Reed
PF – Kevin Garnett then Eddie Griff
C – Dan Gadzuric then Blount

There’s a lot of flexibility in that lineup, allowing the Wolves to go normal sized or small, but with an amazing ability to run – ala the Suns last season. Not to mention that if Fred Hoiberg comes back, he gives you another shooter. Troy could fit into that system as well, assuming his ankle can finally be fixed - but that’s a big assumption. Fill out the rest of the roster with Bracey (D-League), Mad Dog, and our draft pick – assuming we don’t make the playoffs and you’re looking like a relatively young, athletic team that could easily compete in the Midwest Division.