November 29, 2007
Sometimes I think teams feel this way, too. And when you see a negative reaction afterward it's usually because they either can't handle it, or it wasn't much to begin with. Last month's Clip Ship update almost predicted a return to earth in quick timing. This, of course, happened. And specifically it has thunked the team back to mediocrity this week. While the Warriors finally came out to play, the Clips have quickly fallen backward. And I'll admit it was a bit disheartening seeing the 4th quarter beat-down by the Rockets. Those were how the Clippers games usually went at the start of the decade - End of 1: Wow, they look good. Halftime: We've got the lead, I'm surprised. End of 3: Well, we're only down 6. Final: Do you remember where we parked?
Well, enough of the usual. (Someone just looked in again...Christ) I'd like to turn this over to an addition in one of our links. We here at the Wolves Den are large fans of Andrei Kirilenko's site, but his wife is now writing as well. Here now is her first post, unedited by me, titled "Masha Started Writing Her Blog":
It took me a quite a while to start my own blog: Masha Kirilenko blog. I thought somebody gotta do it in our family. Since Andrei is so busy playing basketball … or Word Of Warcraft..I gotta do it. We could of course pretend that it is he who is writing it, but that would be unfair. Whatever you like or not I’m going to be author.
It’s our seventh season in NBA. Seems like an eternity. I wonder how Karl and John felt about the years. It’s like in a movie – The Greyhound Day. But still very exciting. Each year I look forwards the season. By the end of each October I feel that adrenaline buzz in my veins. And I know for sure that I’m basketball addict. And this is not because my husband plays every second night of my life. Simply: Basketball is the best game with the ball on Earth! Last night we played Golden State at home. They left for L.A. though right after. It was a good and easy win. Andrei played really well. And when I say well, that means he played well because I am the worst judge. It is never enough for me in this game. I always think that he could do better. Not enough points, not enough rebounds or assists. What he always has enough for me is turnovers. Last night it was 3.
I buy seasonal tickets for myself each season and sit right across Andrei. Not sure if Jerry Sloan likes that ;). So during the game I can talk to Andrei. Well, not really talk but I do read lips and he reads mine. Not that somebody were deaf and dumn in our family, but we just love reading each other lips. All the fourth quarter I was begging him to hit 3. And yes, he got it done.
The game last night was fast and dynamic. Believe or not sometimes the games can be really boring. Slow pace. Whistle by a whistle. And just wanna shout to refs “let them play the ball”. So last night the game was beautiful. First of all I was happy for my friend Al Harrington who scored 38 last night!
Al is a great guy. We were on vacation in France this summer. We were playing Charades on the boat and he was supposed to show the word “cucumber”. He was doing it so funny that nobody guessed what it was ;). He had no luck expressing or acting out the word “cucumber”. But last night he did some luck hitting 15 shots of his 20! Andrei and Al worked out together at the Abunasaar Academy trying to improve their jump shots. I guess it really helped Al. But not Andrei. Jeff Hornacek (bless his heart) has been working out with Andrei for the whole preseason, but still I don’t see the result I wanna see. My dad says (he used to be a professional basketball player) that Andrei WILL start making his shots very soon. The quantity should become quality. He says it is a law of life. I hope he is not mistaken.
Now, to choose a "favorite" part of that is not easy, but what I enjoy the most is the style of prose. And this is by no means an insult...it's the idyllic charm of a foreigner who gets all the words down, but is missing the slight sentence nuance. But that's OK because they plow ahead anyway. Strong on plow. But they don't care and we shouldn't either. Hell, when the Rad Man was on the Clips, he was quoted as telling me "Victory for Clippers, OK!" I knew what he meant AND I liked the way he said it. Hell, could you do a charade of "cucumber" to foreigners and not expect a high comedic moment? Of course not.
Back to it here - and hoping another victory against Denver rights this ship.
November 28, 2007
In college however, that's different. The most important factor in March is the guard play. Ben Gordon taking the Huskies off Emeka's back, Tyus Edny streaking up the floor, or Gerry McNamara lighting up MSG one last time. Yes the big guys play their parts but there's a role reversal in the college game.
Derrick Rose is again a spotlight guy here - I know, it's annoying, but he's so damn good. He's a fresman and a rising leader on a top-5 team. He came back from a clunker of a game to score 19 points along with 12 assists in another big Tigers win. We all know he can score and make the flashy pass but it's the little stats that show me how good he really is. He's attempting nearly 7 free throws per game, which is a great number for a freshman guard. He's scoring 17.8ppg while only taking 11 shots per game, which shows me he's not getting in the way of his teammates. He may not be a stellar defender but he's only averaging 2 fouls per game while playing good enough defense (and offense) to stay on the floor. He and Mr. Douglas-Roberts will be huge for Memphis come March.
Eric Gordon has also shown up on this here blog previously. But again, another young lead guard who's showing a lot of poise and talent early and often. He's scored 20 points in each of his 6 games with 3 30-point efforts. He's shooting 55% from the field, 84% from the line, and a slightly inflated 51% from beyond the arc. Oh and he's averaging an Allen Iverson-esque 10.3 free throw attempts per game. That's amazing for a young player. Instead of settling for jumpers, he's being aggressive and going to the basket.
Patrick Mills is a freshman point guard for St. Mary's - the other team in the league that Gonzaga is in. He's an Aussie who was the youngest player to play for their national team. He's averaging a modest 15.8 points and 5 assists per game but has a very nice 2.5/1 assist-turnover ratio, is shooting 48% from the field, and averaging 3 steals per game. While he's been a little up and down thus far, he's shown that he can single handedly beat a team - see the 37 he dropped in the win against then #11 Oregon. This St. Mary's team could ride a few hot games by Patty and steal a couple of wins in the big Dance.
There are some teams that may not have a Derrick Rose or an O.J. Mayo to rely on but whose backcourts can still throw punches. Texas and Oregon have two and three deep backcourts that will indeed be trouble for most teams they face. D.J. Augustine and A.J. Abrams average a combined 40 points per game while shooting well over 50% from the field. Augustin is dropping 7.8 dimes a game while Abrams has made 25 of 45 threes through 5 games. The Oregon Ducks rely on the trio of Bryce Taylor, Tajuan Porter, and Malik Hairston to do most of the damage for their squad. They're scoring 50 point a game and doing it on both ends of the floor. They really make Maarty Leunen's job much easier on the inside.
UConn has a backcourt that has been a little Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde at times. Jerome Dyson and A.J. Price have both shown their ability to take it to the other team as well as taking their own team out of games. If they can get more consistant, look for them to be a terror come March.
Ahh the Huskies....Good segway.
Have you seen Hasheem Thabeet? He's a 19-year old,7-3, 255lb center. As a freshman he made everyone drool over the potential of this raw athletic specimen from Tanzania. He's had a slow start to the season which has led some to lable him as a let down. He's picked it up the last three games. He's averaging 15 points 11.7 rebounds and 3 blocks - with 12/12/9 in his last game. He alone will be the defensive line which will allow those UConn guards to cheat a little out on the wings. He also looks like Wallace from The Wire.
November 27, 2007
1. A stadium that sits at around 50-70% full for each game (being out-drawn by the Gophers is going to start to hurt)
2. A failure coach who has no idea how to find the right mix of players on the floor, and gives WAYYYYY too much time to Marko Jaric.
3. A team too young to rise above their failure coach (see: Boston).
4. Nobody on the team with a combination of being confident AND good enough to take a meaningful shot in the 4th quarter and have it go in.
And then there's this: the biggest game of the year is KG's return in February. They are building their entire ticket campaign around that one game. They started with 10 game packs, then they were offering it 6 game packs. Now it's a special Holiday Fun Deal: 3 games for 50 bucks and one of them is Boston. They're holding those Boston tickets for dear life, knowing that it is the only way they can sell the other tickets at all. The team and coach isn't good enough to even draw people in for Dallas and Phoenix????? We better offer Boston!
Why would you want to go to the Boston game? To see Kevin Garnett. That will be the only game of the year that is sold out.
YOU FUCKING TRADED HIM.
It's a crumbling facade, made no better by this idiot coach and idiot GM. They can't back their way into a win, they can't even beat teams who are relatively close to them in talent. They get lucky and catch teams on an off night, but it will never be enough to sustain any sort of growth or success. They'll continue to flail about until they each leave via free agency, the coach is fired, or the team folds.
I've run the gamut of emotions with this Wolves team, and I currently find myself at utter apathy and despair. I could give a shit what they do, and I want to see them fail more so that the coach is fired.
You know it's bad when I have the chance to see Phoenix, Dallas and Boston for 50 dollars and I don't even think once about doing it. The dark days have fallen, and there is no morning.
November 25, 2007
Against the Hawks.
63 points in the first half.
24 in the second half.
Randy Wittman needs to be fired. A collapse like that can't be put all on the players. That's the coach not being able to adjust to adjustments made by the other team. That's poor coaching. He should've never been a head coach and should've never been put in charge of a young team. He's not a teacher. He's never had any success at any level. He's going to be a bigger problem this season than Kevin McHale. That's how serious this team's problems on the bench are.
November 20, 2007
November 18, 2007
November 14, 2007
The mighty Golden Gophers of Minnesota are in the books - undefeated thus far!!! 1-0! That might be the first time since a year ago they've won more games than they've lost. But seriously, good start for the Tubby-era. No one jumped off the box stat-wise but they ran and played hard, which are not traits of the previous regime.
Someone I know had the Belmont Bears in the Sweet 16 a couple years back so I couldn't help but notice they picked up a decent non-conference win at Cinncinati. Sure the Bearcats are down, but now we know a Bear-bear beats a Bearcat.
Kids To Watch
Michael Beasley is going to show up early and often here because I think he's going to be KD 2.0. In two games this week he's averaging 31 points, 19 rebounds - setting a Big 12 record with 24 rebounds in one game. This kid does it all over the floor. I know he was sad when Huggins left, but I think staying at K-State will further ensure his status as a top-5 draft pick next year.
Kevin Love will also show up here often. His UCLA Bruins, ranked #2 in the country, went 2-0 this past week behind two solid performances by the freshman center. He averaged 21.5 points and 11 rebounds per game. I don't think he's going to throw up Beasley's gaudy numbers but I think he'll average a workmans double-double and be a factor in every game this year. (Love had 19 points and 9 rebounds last night too)
Teams On The Gleem
Watch out for Orangemen's backcourt of Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf. They combined for 47 points and 15 assists in their first game of the year. Flynn is a highly touted freshman from New York and should compliment the McNamara-like skills of Devendorf throughout the year. I don't expect huge things from 'Cuse, but I expect them to be a problem for mid-to-high seeds on the second weekend come March.
I know everyone hates them, even in a down year, but the Duke Bluedevils will be better than most expect - well, except those who drink the blue Kool-aid. Through two games freshman Kyle Singler has been steady(15 pts, 10 pts) and Jon Scheyer has been Coach K's offensive punch off the bench, averaging 17.5 points in 26 minutes per game. They won't wow anyone this year, but expect them to be improved from a season ago.
Something To Watch
Coming off a huge upset of Kentucky, Gardner-Webb will have two cracks at Uconn in the coming week (11/15, 11/20). Can they reproduce the magic? We'll see. Uconn is young and the Runnin' Bulldogs are 3-0 and looking like an early pick for a mid-major spot in the Dance. That's of course premature, but if they play the Huskies tough, or even win a game, that'll certainly help give all of us bracket-crazy fools a better idea of how good they really are.
November 9, 2007
That leaves eight of the eleven teams with five or more freshmen on their roster, eight teams with three seniors or less, and six teams with both. That's much younger than the conference has been in the past.
What that means is that predicting who's going to finish where in the standing may be more difficult than in the past - to some extent. I think there are two tiers in the Big Ten this year: The top 6 and the bottom 5. Realistically there are only four teams that have legitimate shots at making the big dance in March, assuming everything goes the way it's supposed to.
Michigan State is the cream of the crop this season, returning All-Conference first team point guard, and a pre-season candidate for conference player of the year, Drew Neitzel. Sophomore Raymar Morgan is primed to build on his solid freshman season. You can never count out a team coached by Tom Izzo either, they always seem to be there in the end.
Indiana is right there with the Spartans as well due to the return of their own conference player of the year candidate D.J. White. He'll have some more help this season in form of freshman sensation Eric Gordon who was a top prospect out of high school, mentioned in the same sentences as O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose. Expect good things from the Hoosiers this year.
The team that I think is flying under the radar right now is Ohio State. Yes they lost their trio of special freshmen to the NBA but they're bringing in four new youngsters that should be able to fill in atleast some of the void left by Oden, Conley, and Cook. Remember these names: Kosta Koufos and Jon Diebler. Koufos was the U-18 Euro tourney MVP and the runner up to Diebler for Mr. Basketball in Ohio. They should both play prominant roles immediately. Dallas Lauderdale and Evan Turner are the other two freshmen that should contribute, but maybe not right away.
Wisconsin is the last team in the Big Ten that I believe has a shot at playing in March. Losing Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor will hurt, but the development of Brian Butch and Michael Flowers should help ease that pain. A decent freshman class and coach Bo Ryan should be able to put together a good enough season to get them to the Big Dance and finish in the top 5 in the Big Ten.
Purdue and Illinois should round out the top 6 in a weaker Big Ten than in the past due to decent recruiting classes and well balanced rosters.
Michigan and Minnesota are two of the three teams that have new coaches this season (Iowa being the other) so it's hard to say what's going to happen with those two teams. Michigan lost it's four top scorers from a year ago and are learning a complex, new system under new head coach John Beilein. They had a "disappointing" 22 win season last year and probably won't get off to a great start this season, making it hard to match the totals from last year. I think this team will be dangerous come the Big Ten tournament because they'll have gotten a grasp on a system that is very hard to defend and could make a surprise, Iowa-like run from a couple years ago, to steal a spot in the big dance.
As for Minnesota, they have nowhere to go but up. Just like Michigan they had a disappointing 22 win season - 22 wins for their opponents. They're one of the older teams in the conference and probably one of the least talented. But that's just what new head coach Tubby Smith wants you to think. They may not play much better this year but they'll play much harder and I think we'll see more than we thought we were going to out of the senior trio of Spencer Tollackson, Dan Coleman, and Lawrence Mckenzie. They won't make the dance and are probably a long shot for the NIT as well, but with Tubby on the bench we should expect nothing but better-than-last-year.
Iowa's best players (Tyler Smith, Adam Huluska) transferred to Tennessee and went to the NBA. They have some decent young talent and a hungry coach but they're two years away from being much of anything. Northwestern will spoil someone's Big Ten season but do nothing otherwise, and Penn State will be Penn State - which is to say not that good.
1. Michigan State 13-3
2. Indiana 12-4
3. Ohio State 11-5
4. Wisconsin 11-5
5. Purdue 9-7
6. Illinois 9-7
7. Michigan 8-8
8. Minnesota 8-8
9. Iowa 6-10
10. Penn State 4-12
11. Northwestern 2-14
All Conference Team
Player of the Year: D.J. White
Freshman of the Year: Eric Gordon
Defensive Player of the Year: Kosta Koufos
Coach of the Year: Tubby Smith
November 8, 2007
November 7, 2007
Versus Denver the Wolves were 14/19 compared to the Nuggets 28/38. They were outscored at the free throw line by 14 and lost the game by 8.
Against Orlando they were 18/15 to the Magic's 31/44. They lost the game by 8 while being outscored at the line by 13.
And to top it off, the game against the Knicks was glaringly bad. The Wolves were 6/10 compared to 30/39. They lost by 4 and got crushed at the free throw line by 24. If that difference is even a third, the Wolves win that game.
I know that they're young - and the officials know it - so they're not going to get the calls, they're going to make mistakes, and they may not be aggressive at the right times, but that has to change if they want to win any games. They've been in all three games this year, so it's the little things that are going to make a difference. Randy Foye should help get their free throw attempts up because he likes to go to the basket so hopefully he'll rub off on the rest of the team.
November 6, 2007
Michael Beasley, F 6-9 235 Freshman, Kansas State
In an exhibition game against Not-really-a-college-state Beasley put up an impressive line of 35 points, 15 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, and 4 blocks. Not bad. The most impressive part of that line? He did that in only 28 minutes. K-State pulled a bit of a coup just to get this kid - rated #2 behind OJ Mayo - to Mahattan, let alone keep him after Huggy-bear dipped to West Virginia. He alone has them in the top-25 and he'll have every opportunity to keep them there - or atleast close anyways. I expect him to have a Kevin Durant/Carmelo Anthony type of season individually, but probably not quite the team success those two had. All I can say is, if you haven't seen this kid play yet, make sure to watch any K-State game you can because you'll be watching something special. Of course you could probably just wait til next year and watch him in the NBA.
Derrick Rose, G 6-4 195 Freshman, Memphis
This kid has been, and will continue to be, splashed all over everywhere. Partially because he was the #3 rated recruit behind OJ Mayo, they play a similar game, and his team is ranked #3 in the country with a solid shot at a title in March. As far as his game, he didn't disappoint against We're-not-good-university putting up 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. He did all that in 25 minutes and he only had 1 turnover. I think OJ Mayo may have a better season individually but I think Rose will help lead his team in meeting many of the expectations people hold for the Tigers. I expect him to have a college career similar to that of Stephon Marbury: He'll break your ankles, taunt you, then bury a big three in a big game, on his way to the NBA. That's where the comparisons to Starbury end though. This kid will be special.
November 2, 2007
The roller coaster just took off.
We embark on a season of uncertainty and potential, one judged not by overall record but whether the players live up to expectations and projections. Will Al get 20 a game? Can he rebound 12? Can the team give up less than a hundred points a game? If these goals are achieved, the record will speak for itself.
The truly fun thing about this season is that every pundit in the entire American basketball world has picked the Wolves to finish dead last in the league. I've seen predictions of as low as 15 wins. On the other side, there are only a handful of teams with guaranteed successful seasons looming (San Antonio, Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, etc) Nearly every other team has a bunch of question marks, and their projected record is based on what might happen and what their fans expect. Even the Celtics, who were drastically improved by our deceased GM, still have a wholly incompetent coach running the show, and are liable to duck out in the first round to Orlando. Cleveland fans just hope to holy hell that they can get into the playoffs and have LeBron take over. That uncertainty, that awful feeling of being just good enough to run with the pack, is missing from this Wolves team.
Look, we can sit here and try to pretty this thing up, but the fact is that the Wolves are a pretty garbage team and the odds of them simply making the playoffs are almost a thousand to one. It's really never happened before - that a team this young and inexperienced has even had a winning record. So I'm not saying this as some sort of defense mechanism in order to convey a pessimist view. It's the honest truth. They're not good. I'm fully expecting a shellacking at the hands of the Nugs tonight.
But if Al scores 25 and grabs 13? I'm not going to be disappointed at all.
October 30, 2007
October 29, 2007
Eventually, after it has all collapsed upon itself, you realize that you're still alive and that death is no closer than it was, or ever will be. You breathe. You breathe again. And you lift your head to see a black cloud descended upon everything around you.
But you're alive, and even though you may wish you were dead, you're still here.
I guess with any traumatic experience, simple time and routine will overcome all. It's how we can keep going right on down through the generations. It's how we can live to struggle another day, against impossible odds, and for what? For procreation? I'd rather chop off a toe than have a child. For success? That train left long ago, and I lacked a ticket. For some fading dream, some sun-dappled beach like a mirage? I've been there, and I came back to this hell hole for a reason.
No, we keep going because it's built in. We have no other choice.
So when I say things like I'm going to be giving up the game of basketball after 20-some years of fandom, well, that's just the hate talking.
Time and Routine, that's the way to conquer trauma. And getting rid of Mark Blunt.
Yes, dear readers, I am now - finally - ready to talk about the KG trade, the offseason, and the future of this franchise. The hate will bubble to the surface like white-hot magma occasionally, but that's simple laws of thermodynamics in action. Nothing I can control. I'll try to keep it in check.
I'll say once again that I don't think we can accurately compare KG being traded to any other trade that's ever happened in sports history. There is no model for KG, and there is certainly no model for what a fanbase felt about him throughout his time here. As such, I can't project what is going to happen specifically, but I think there are some theories worth revisiting.
First, the idea that trading KG was beneficial at this stage in his career. Well, I tend towards a fairly simple theory regarding basketball, and that is that one player is very important, and his production is almost never equaled by two players who make up half of his stats. For example, if you have a guy who scores 20 and grabs 14 boards - like, oh, say, the guy who represented the Wolves in the all-star game 11 seasons in a row - trading for two guys who each score 10 and grab 7 isn't going to equal out. The law being simple mathematics that 1/5 does not equal 2/5. People either see this or they don't. I'm of the belief that in trading a great player like KG, you need to leverage him into a player that either is capable of getting those numbers now, or a pick for a guy that eventually will get you to those numbers. Trading a superstar for pieces never works, unless that is the implied intent of the team trading the star. An example of that would be Shaq being traded from LA.... the Lakers knew they weren't going to get anything close to his production, and the fact is that they didn't WANT it. They wanted complimentary guys for Kobe. As such, they were ripped off in the deal.
As I see it, the only player capable of putting up KG's numbers in the trade is Al Jefferson, and the odds of that happening are about 1 in a hundred. Good he may be, but KG-level? No. Almost nobody is, or is going to be for some time.
OK, so then we revisit the trade theory. You can't get back anyone capable of putting up his numbers (I don't think Duncan was on the block) and there's no draft picks for guys who are going to put up his numbers (both of the top picks don't project to be as good, stats-wise, as KG). So tell me again why he was traded?
The payroll theory is convenient, but it lacks teeth. This isn't baseball, where signing a guy to a retarded contract actually can impede your ability to compete (see: Rangers, Texas). The NBA teams all operate under the same cap, and they almost all have max guys and complimentary players. If anything, it's easier to work within the NBA system because you don't have to decide on guys that are really good. If someone is up to KG's level - hell if someone's up to Paul Pierce's level - you sign them to a max deal every time their contract is up and it's done. You keep them forever. They have the Larry Bird clause FOR GUYS EXACTLY LIKE KG. They practically wrote it for him.
You don't trade your top dog and then start rebuilding, because eventually you end up taking as much salary on as you traded away. You give away KG, but over the course of the summer you get guys like Juwan Howard and Theo Ratliff... guys who nearly add up to KG's money by themselves.
No, we all know the truth, he was traded because our GM is totally incompetent. That is not a surprise.
But that's over now, we don't need to go further into that. We're here because like everything else, we have to just keep going, play the hand we're dealt, and for christ's sake, have fun with it. If we're not having fun with this, why would we even follow the team? There has to be fun with this situation, right? Even in the face of total despair, there has to be something to hold our interest, right?
Fortunately, yes, there is.
In the wake of the KG trade, we find ourselves free of the following scumbags:
1. Troy Hudson (BANG OUT!)
2. Mark Blunt (I saw him try a grand total of TWICE in his entire tenure with the Wolves)
3. Mike James (Not his fault he's the most boring athlete in the state)
The only anchor swinging from the neck is Marko, and almost every team out there has a Marko on their team. Hell, they even bought Old Man Howard out, trimming the active roster down to its youngest ever.
There is a sense of optimism watching these young guys, and seeing if they can actually come together. The beauty of this thing (yes, it's true, I said it) is that the expectations have been completely blown up. 15 wins? Sure! That'd be great! A couple of guys flat out quitting basketball during the season? We've seen that before! Have you seen footage of Spree in 05? If the young guys even put together 3 wins in a row it's going to feel like 1991 in the Metrodome.
I like Al Jeff. Lost in the shuffle of this whole thing is the fact that, yes, for the very first time in all of Timberwolves history, it's true, we have a big man who can work in the paint. We thought we had it in Blunt. Wrong choice. Al Jeff is the real deal down low. I can't wait to see him in a live game. Just an up and under, for the love of god, just one, and it makes the trade worth it.
Ryan Gomes is built like a tank, as is Randy Foye and Greg Buckner. Gerald Green is a freak. Let's not forget McCants, who could surprise. And of course there are draft picks. By shedding the horrible contracts listed above, and ridding themselves of Buckets, the team has at least committed to allowing the youth to battle for position, and good things could come from that. Nothing is guaranteed, we're flying sans wings, wild rockets without radar, hell bent on movement and nothing else.
And of course, there is the curious case of Antoine Walker.
To say that he doesn't fit on this team is foolish: nobody fits on this team, and so everyone does. Our coach is Randy Fuck Wittman, for lord's sake. He couldn't coach me and Dave one on one down at Fire Station. The GM could make any move at any time, however illogical it is. He has the complete confidence of the failure owner, who has watched his investment decay like the arena that they play in. The fan base would rather watch the state high school hockey tournament than sit courtside (that's not a joke). Nothing fits here, there is no canvas.
I don't see why he can't be a productive member of this team. He can score, rebound, he's good with the ball. It seems as though every problem that he has had revolves around him not wanting to ever let anyone else on his team score. Well, welcome to Minnesota! If you can shoot the ball into the basket, you can take as many as you want. After 2 years of Buckets, we're sufficiently beaten down when it comes to selfish shooters.
And from a contract perspective, he makes a lot more sense than Buckets. He has an extra year, yes, but it's for more money, making it even more attractive next year. Look, this year swims in the sewers, so there's no need to pretend we're going to turn Ricky into anything but a low-level talent at the trade deadline who will probably end up hoisting them up for the Atlanta Krunk next year. By getting a guy like Antoine, you have two options:
1. He sucks the life out of your team and sulks for two years.
A distinct possibility, seeing as how we're looking at a 20 win season this year and possibly next. This option carries less gravity now, though, because he can't possibly pull this team down with his negativity. You think Randy Foye is going to get down on himself because Antoine is sulking at the end of the bench? BOTH HIS PARENTS WERE DEAD BY THE TIME HE WAS 6. I think he'll pull through.
2. He actually produces something, anything, there-by skyrocketing his value (expiring contract + production = a good draft pick/package from Spurs or Pistons). A team looking to make a push would love a guy like that - someone who is going to produce as they go into the playoffs, and that they hold a TEAM OPTION for in the offseason, so they can adequately judge his talent and decide whether to keep him. They would give up the goods to get a guy like that.
Even if he goes out this year and breaks his crotch, his contract value would be greater than his trade value, so you just hold on to him and in the summer of 09, you've got 10 extra million to play with. It's a win no matter how you slice it.
There's something liberating in attaching yourself to a team bound for the floor, something stimulating about a team that couldn't fail its way out of a paper bag. If the time was 3 years ago and we were a Sam Cassell back injury away from the Finals, then... fine. So what? We had our shot, took it, and I don't regret it. All the pain doesn't erase what we felt then, so why not hook this horse back up and see where it takes us?
They gave away the only good thing to ever happen to this team, and they got back spare parts who one day might form into something that resembles a basketball team. The sun sets on everyone, we can't stop it. We can't change this team, but we can come along for the ride. We don't have to invest a damn thing, we just have to remind ourselves to have fun and look for the bright side. Never trust McFail, never defend him, never forget KG.
But never give up.
As far as skills go, he's got the speed, quickness, and physical abilities that most good point guards possess. He certainly has the confidence to play the position and he's shown flashes of that game so highly hyped coming out of highschool. But for every physical skill he has, there seems to be an equal part missing from the metal aspect of his game. But it's not his on-court game that concerns me the most. It's his off-court attitude.
As far as Bassy goes, strictly on the basketball court, he's a nice change of pace guard who, still very young, has some potential to become more of an impact player. His attitude is stunting his growth as a player and will negatively affect a young team. I can't say he negatively affected Portland because there were so many cancerous players there, but he certainly didn't pick up any good habits "growing up" on that team. I don't want that on my team. I don't need a guy who trys to take guns onto airplanes without letting security know, when it's made very clear that that specific action is a crime. And this coming after he's already been in trouble relating to having unregisted guns. I don't want a guy who's role model growing up was Stephon Marbury.
Can people change? Sure they can, I am a firm believer in that. Is it hard? Unlikely? Absolutely. I know people who've been to jail, for a large part of their lives, who come out shouting to the world that they've changed but continue to make the sames types of decisions that landed them in prison in the first place. So what's to say a highly paid, high profile athlete is going to be any different? Hopefully seeing what is an opportunity to have a solid NBA career, to do what you love, and make millions doing it - what everyone dreams of.
I don't wish anything bad on Telfair and, for all I know, he's a really nice guy who does a lot of great things that don't show up in the paper or on the internet. I hope that he does. All I see is the attitude that seems to follow him wherever he goes and that's something I don't want on my team. I hope he can turn himself around - I really do - because I do think he has the skills to be an NBA-caliber point guard, and that is something this franchise needs right now.
So, while Bassy is here, I will cheer for his success, but don't expect me to be quiet when - okay, if - he gets arrested for making bad decisions. Again.
October 17, 2007
I'm fairly certain he doesn't understand.
He started Marko Jaric at point guard the other night because Randy and Bassy were hurt. Okay, that's fine, I get it, both your lead guards are hurt so you have to go with the best option. Then he said Marko played OK. What? 3 assists and 5 turnovers is not OK for a starting point guard in the NBA. Then, to make matters worse, he actually called Marko a point guard. Don't feed his already fragile psychy with utter lies - just because you tell me I'm rich doesn't make it true.
Marko is infact NOT A POINT GUARD. He never has been, he never will be. It's time, Randy, to make sure he knows that. To take that further, the Guy Who Brings Guns Into Airports shouldn't be your backup point guard. He should be fired. So that leaves us with zero true point guards on this team. Not one. Foye is close, but he's in the mold of a poor mans D-Wade. Why wouldn't you make a move for a starting lead guard? They have three in Seattle, one of which I bet they'd be willing to let go of. Hey Delonte, you wanna play with your old mates? Even a guy like Mike Wilks makes sense. They need a veteran playmaker on the bench atleast, otherwise we're just a poor man's Atlanta Hawks.
October 10, 2007
So When I Drink A Brew For You I Pour Some On The Block Son, You Might Be Gone But You Damn Sure Ain't Forgotton
Basketball has been bludgeoned. What was once one of the most exciting times of the year to me is filled with hollow days as I avoid all information. I see news reports of KG in Boston gear, and it sickens me. I see a picture of Telfair in a Wolves jersey and I honestly give up. It burns inside of me, gassing what little enjoyment I got from this sport.
I can't find myself being a fan of the NBA anymore.
I tried, honest to god, I tried. I tried to look at the rosters of who is going to be making noise this year, getting behind the Warriors, checking out Durant, waiting for the inevitable Knicks collapse. These things used to be very very fun for me. Once upon a time I considered myself a student of the NBA and I liked to think that I came at it from a rare approach... I tried to evaluate moves that a franchise made based entirely outside of any media pressure or hack philosophy. I tried to trust my eyes to tell me what was happening in a game and in a season, instead of reading headlines and talking points. And I think for the most part I was successful. I cultivated a love for the game that kept me connected and constantly entertained.
But I had no idea how much I loved KG.
See, I always sang his praises. ALWAYS. You never saw me post anything about the Wolves as a team without mentioning that he is the greatest there ever was. So I don't feel like he slipped by without acknowledgment. On the contrary, we all probably hyped him too much, in the end.
Now he's gone, and there's this huge hole, a gigantic festering sore that keeps consuming my love of the NBA. I hate the Wolves, refuse to acknowledge their existence, want the owner, GM, coach and nearly every player besides Mad Dog and Foye to go away and never ever ever come back. I want the team to leave. I want Target Center to only do concerts and Lynx games. I want basketball to collapse upon itself in this state, memories of Ticket and George Mikan flushed down the toilet.
Look, the bottom line is this trade was unprecedented in sports history. Possibly, the only thing that can come close to it is Gretzky. Moves made for different reasons, sure, but similar in that they both involved a small market who thought that that guy was "their guy" getting traded to a huge city where he would be another in a long line of heroes.
Let me try to explain what KG was to me, and maybe this is true for a lot of Wolves fans:
KG was, for the honest to god first time, a true hero that didn't grow up here, yet was utterly committed to the team, the fans and the city. We haven't had that in this area since Kirby Puckett. Speaking of that comparison, I put KG a tad higher than Kirby in the hero category because Kirby, before the 1993 season, basically had completely committed to signing with Boston before the Twins reeled him back in at the last hour. Also, Kirby was never forced out. The reason he wanted to go to Boston was that they simply had more money and a slightly better-run franchise (remember this was pre-Terry Ryan). It was a choice of home being pretty cool, but the other team being even better. KG is much different.
Back on point, simply put, he was ours. KG was ours. There was only one of him in the entire NBA, the entire world, and he belonged here. He wore the Timberwolves jersey into every stadium in the land, and once said that he "bleeds blue and green". How can you possibly repay that kind of devotion? Well, we as fans gave our screams and yells for everything he ever did. We applauded him unconditionally in times of good and bad. We worshiped him as he deserved. It was so reciprocal it downright felt magical sometimes. In this state, we've been conditioned somewhat to be wary of superstars and successful teams. I think it's rooted somewhere in our upbringing of just being naturally skeptical people. Garrison Keillor could put it a lot better than I could, but I think there's something about the midwest that just says "Easy now, let's see what happens before we make any judgments". Also, the strong religious sense that people have around here contributes to the feeling that eventually, everything is going to go catastrophically wrong, and you better hope you have your sins in order when it does. So no, we don't usually have the opportunity to worship the career of such a great hero, and when we do, in some corner of our mind, we always wait for the other shoe to drop.
But again, I can't say it enough, KG was different.
There was never any question that he wanted to be here. NONE. He never said he wanted to leave, he never hinted that he might be happier playing somewhere else, and even as he was put through the absolute wringer by his incompetent coaches and GM, he still professed his desire to stay here and build back up the house that he had created.
Then, in one swift move of total incompetence, the GM panicked and traded him away for garbage.
It was like he died. In ways, that would've been easier. I would've had a model for what to feel. This feels so wrong, so completely backwards, that I don't know how to act or how to move forward. I'm so confused by it all, that Kevin Fucking McHale would have the power to make me feel like this.
The worst thing, the absolute kicker, is that KG didn't want to go. He didn't cry at the press conference like Gretzky, but he didn't want to go. I know this. I know it like I know that I didn't want him to go. If it was up to him, he would stay here and play until he was 50, building up a great franchise by himself. Oh, I'm sure he was consulted beforehand. He had to, in order to waive his no-trade clause. But that is completely understandable. Hey, I don't want to leave my girlfriend, but if she comes to me and tells me that she doesn't want me around anymore, I'm going to want to at least go somewhere nice. It's not like I'm going to retire, or stay with someone that doesn't want me.
The fire consumes whatever is around it, and soon, not only can I not watch the Wolves, but I can't watch the Celtics, because it hurts too much just to SEE him. And then I can't even see old pictures of him in Wolves garb. And then I can't even watch a basketball game because I am reminded of how he played. And then I can't even look at a fucking roster because I JUST DON'T CARE.
It's a stupid world that exists where this happens. It's a stupid world where I let it affect me so much, where one man who I don't even know can ruin 20-odd years of following a great sport.
I cheered like hell for Michael and Scottie in the 90s, and then we got our own Michael. And I cheered even louder for him.
Epictetus believed, rightly so, I suppose, that all you can ever control is what your reactions to events will be, as you cannot control the events themselves. All you can do is retreat to within yourself and govern your thoughts accordingly. We can't get KG back. He's gone and he's not coming back, besides maybe signing a one day contract in 10 years to retire as a Wolf. And maybe he goes into the hall of fame wearing the green and blue. Probably. And that's great, and I've got great memories, and nothing can take those away. But I have to control what I feel. I have to control how I react. And my reaction is withdrawal. It is not letting this team or this league exert any more influence over me for a long time.
But I can't get back into the game right now. It's dead to me, gone. It flew east and landed at Logan, bringing championship hopes to a town that needs no more media coverage. And I hope Boston wins, honestly I do. I hope KG hoists the trophy, he deserves it. He deserves everything he's ever received, and I hope he continues to dominate well into the late stages of his career. Believe that.
But I don't like the NBA anymore. It smells bad, the whole thing reeks. Maybe I'll come around, maybe seeing him in person with the Celtics jersey on will fix it, maybe I'll accept this as part of rooting for a loser franchise.
But not yet. For now, I'm out.
September 28, 2007
September 25, 2007
September 5, 2007
We have the Phoenix Suns
- Connie Hawkins
- CLEM HASKINS
- Paul Silas
- We're playing in the "Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum"
- There's apparently a live band somewhere in the stands, with an active drummer
We have the Atlanta Hawks
- Wearing those Blue and Green uniforms
- THE PISTOL
- Gopher star Lou Hudson
The NBA was entering an era of "shit." I'm not using that word as a negative assessment of play...it's a direct quote from many a professional basketball player in the coming decade. The ABA will continue to make inroads. The NBA gets swankier. Enforcers will rule the day. Fights-a-plenty.
But forget about that for a moment, and let's take in some Keith quotes from this game.
"You give Maravich room and he'll burn ya."
"Remember, following this ballgame, the North/South Shrine Football CLASSIC at the Orange Bowl."
"Well, this...is just careless." (Keith on a turnover)
"Here's Clem Haskins, who's been a dandy."
"The attendance, 10,136 and they're all yellin' right now."
"Hustlin' Clem Haskins gets the bucket."
Isn't this strange? Actually, it shouldn't be: the announcer doing his job, insight added but not overdone, and you're left to enjoy the game. Who on this earth would televise a pro game THAT way?
August 22, 2007
Standing on the precipice.
You'll be missed Eddie Griff
August 3, 2007
It's like any great relationship - when it goes wrong, it hurts. A lot. But, looking at it in that regard, in every relationship, when you know both parties, who do you follow? Can you be friends with both? It's a hard thing to consider, especially when you feel one party acted inappropriately. But what if the dumper has been your friend for 17 years? Sure, you've known the dumpee for 12, but 17 years is a long time. Is it fair for me to abandon an old friend? Just because he/she made a decision I don't agree with? No, I don't think it is. But that's the question we all have to answer, as Timberwolves fans, with regards to the trade of KG.
August 1, 2007
Or so I thought….
In the first two months of the season the team suffered through losing streak of 6 and 9 games. Ty Corbin was traded two weeks into the season and Myron Brown was waived after 21 games – only playing in four of those games. They won back-to-back games once, losing 20 games of 24 games to start the season. They finished a 6 game losing streak in January and lost a franchise worst 11 straight later that month, winning 5 and losing 19. They followed that up with a new franchise worst 16-game losing streak spanning the entire month of March. Somehow they managed to win 3 games in a row to begin April, but dumped the next seven, stumbling to a 15-67 record.
This was the second season I was a ball boy for the team and definitely one of the toughest. To watch a team full of guys who want to win but just don’t have the talent to do so was painful to watch. Six losing streaks of six games or more, with two double-digit streaks is hard to be around. The day that 16-game losing streak ended was the highlight of the season. When the end of something bad is the best thing that happens, you know you’re in a bad place. The hope of a franchise in its infancy, coming off an unlikely 29-win season, with a lottery pick and a couple young, developing players, brought crashing down by a winning percentage lower than the Mendoza line.
Take all the pain and suffering endured through that full season, cram it all into a 72-hour period, and that’s where we stand now.
It started with a large portion of T-Wolves nation relieved that the KG trade talks had gone quiet and Glen Taylor stated that he would prefer not to deal The Big Ticket. Randy Foye and Craig Smith, two young players who made a place for themselves in the league last season and rookie Corey Brewer bringing a winning attitude to the Land of 10,000 Lakes was catching on with fans. Hope that KG would embrace his role as teacher and leader and be able to possibly take them back to the playoffs, was growing. The chance that maybe Glen Taylor and Co. could pull off a couple of deals and make the Wolves a little more relevant, seeming more like a possibility – the Mike James deal being the precursor to other deals.
And then the rumors began. Again.
The first time around, I didn’t really believe that the Wolves would trade KG. The rumors about Phoenix, the Lakers, and the Warriors never really seemed like they were anything more than that. And after his agent came out and said he would not sign an extension if he were sent to Boston, the only scenario that seemed to have any steam behind it, I thought the possibility of starting the season without KG was dead. But when the talks resumed, even though they were saying the same kinds of things, the way they were said, they had a different feel to them. That was the first time I had any real fear that KG may no longer be a Timber wolf. At first it was only Mark Stein and I wasn’t too worried, because he likes to jump the gun. But then the other sports websites began reporting that a deal had been put on the table and it was being discussed. I knew then it was over. I held out hope that McHale and Ainge, two of the worst executives in the NBA, would some how screw this up, but I didn’t really believe the deal wouldn’t happen – they’re too good of pals.
So once again, we’re sitting on the brink of the 1992 season. We’ve got a great number of young, developing players, a promising big man, a fairly new coach, and a number of veteran role players. This time around, instead of Doug West, Pooh Richardson, and Christian Laettner, it’s Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, and Al Jefferson. And instead of Jimmy Rodgers, it’s Randy Wittman. We didn’t get Shaq or Zo but we didn’t have to give up our draft pick either.
I believe this season will play out much like the 1992 season. Randy Wittman will not coach the whole year, most everyone will be miserable because of all the losing which won’t help team chemistry at all. There will be infighting and another handful of multi-game losing streaks. The last game of the season will be our chance to reach the 20-win plateau. But we won’t get there. And we’ll be rewarded with another trip to the lottery, fortunate that we weren’t good enough to be required to send our pick to the Clippers.
It’s going to be another five years before the Wolves are relevant again and a lot of that depends on whether or not Kevin McHale is allowed to attempt this rebuild of the team. He had 12 years to build a team around a franchise player and it resulted in one good run into the playoffs followed by 3 disappointing seasons and finally, the exit of said franchise player. I don’t want to wait another 10 years for a shot at a title and I don’t have faith that McHale has learned from his mistakes or that he can make the changes and decisions necessary to build a contender. I know on this blog, we harp on the fact that McHale needs to be fired, but I just don’t see how it seems feasible to keep him on the job now that his team has come full circle. The fans are against him even more now that he’s traded away the only reason to pay any attention to this franchise – who also had lost faith in him.
I want to keep going on this but I can’t, I haven’t the strength to keep this up. Kevin Garnett will be missed here in ‘Sota and the Celts will be fun to watch, but it’s going to be hard to keep cheering for the franchise who won’t get rid of the only person left responsible for all of the shortcomings of the last decade. I’m going to try and get through it, but until McHale is gone, it’s going to be hard.
July 31, 2007
I'm done with it.
The Wolves will continue to play basketball, that much is obvious. They'll even be in Minnesota for at least a few more years. But I won't be with them. I won't support a team run by a cretin, someone who performed the most despicable act that you can do to a fanbase.
Don't anybody compare this to anything that's ever happened before. Never has there existed a man as loyal and endearing as KG was to us. Don't say Vince, don't say Shaq, don't say Kobe. If you think this is Barkley, or AI, then you just don't know Minnesota. You don't know basketball around here.
I was there in 04 when he stood on the scorer's table, soaking in a wave of frenzy that had been 8 years coming. I watched him after Webber clanged the three ball, after Anthony Peeler had punched him, after Peja had ripped our hearts out. I watched him take the All-Star MVP, I watched him accept the NBA MVP. I watched him on Killborn with Sam and Spree. I bought his rookie draft card just to put it above the TV when the Wolves played. His armband was used to cover our microphone during recording sessions for a rap album. I saw him turn away Shawn Marion, dagger Darius Miles, shove Duncan to the floor, and cheer like never before for Marc Jackson's free throws in L.A. I watched him win 15 of the 17 regular season games I went to during 03-04, and every single time you couldn't even hear his name being announced. It was like that last season too. It will be like that in Boston.
Kirby's gone. KG took his place in the realm of true sports hero. Now that he's gone, I have nothing left. I cannot trust this team ever again. I cannot support them. They have done the unthinkable, the despicable, the horrible. Honestly, I don't know how any of you can go on either.
They traded away my hero. They traded away the best athlete in Minnesota sports history.
What else is there to say?
Everything that transpired was according to Deadzo's design. He's degraded KG ever since the failed Sam and Spree experiment. Glen Taylor has done the same thing. They have been pissing in the fans' faces for over 10 years. They took a man who wanted nothing more with his life than to play basketball for one team for his entire career and build the strongest connection between fan and player of all time, they took this man and dumped him for ABSOLUTE FUCKING GARBAGE.
They are failures. They are complete and total failures. Deadzo fired a great coach, passed on innumerable deals during the last year of Spree's contract (one that would have brought Baron Davis) and sat on his fucking hands for 2 years while the rest of the NBA got WAY better.
This franchise used to be the laughingstock of the NBA. They flailed aimlessly during the draft (Hey everyone, Felton Spencer!), failed beyond recognition at the free agent market (Oh my god, we landed Thurl Bailey), and hired coaches better trained to fill coffee cups at IHOP.
And then along came KG.
Suddenly, within 3 years, we were in the playoffs. And then we were getting better. And then it was a 4 seed. And then it was a 1 seed. And then it was the conference finals. Against all odds, we took the Lakers to 6 with 2 and a half of the MV3. Since then, it's been a crash and burn like never before.
The trees can't grow without the sun in their eyes, and we can't live if we're too afraid to die.
I am not a hockey fan. I can't claim to follow the sport with any amount of gusto, although I enjoy it, to be sure. When the North Stars flew south, I can't claim to have wanted Norm Green to become deceased.
You hockey fans out there know what I'm talking about. I'm with you now. You can't embrace the Wild, and I'll never embrace the New Wolves.
Sure, yes, fine. Something will probably come along and restore faith. The natural cycle dictates that eventually the Wolves will be relevent again. I accept that another star will come along, and bring us forward into glory again.
But I can't do it anymore. I can't do anything but hate Deadzo more than any other sports figure of all my life. I have to sit here, miles above the earth, and burn with hatred, with such a nervous negative energy that I might smash this goddamned laptop. I have to suck it up, say goodnight, and get raging drunk. There's nothing else to do, no other direction. I have to unplug, and let the Wolves slip away from my life.
I write to you today with some momentous news. Earlier today, we decided to fundamentally change the direction of our team and trade Kevin Garnett. We acquired Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and two first-round draft picks from Boston. We're excited about the new players that we have acquired and the potential that the new draft picks represent.
As with any great change, I am filled with mixed emotions. Sadness in seeing our franchise player depart but also great excitement in what the future holds. Our team is definitely young, but also extremely talented. Our core group of Randy Foye, Craig Smith, Rashad McCants, 2007 NBA Draft picks Corey Brewer and Chris Richard and the newly acquired players plus two future first-round picks have me energized about our long-term future.
Yes, I'll miss Kevin Garnett. For 12 years Kevin has been the face of our franchise. We have all watched him grow and mature from "The Kid" into "The Big Ticket" right before our very eyes. I appreciate everything he has done for this franchise; the blood, the sweat and the tears that he has shed on our behalf. I wish only the best for Kevin and his family.
However, this move was made in the best interest of the Minnesota Timberwolves and regaining our place among the best teams in the NBA. During the past three years, we have struggled unsuccessfully to assemble a team around Kevin that could bring us back to the playoffs. These years have been hard on all of us. During this time it has become increasingly apparent to me that given the complicated formulas needed to move and acquire players, we needed greater flexibility. To move our team forward, we will need the flexibility this trade provides.
This past spring, I sat down with the team's top executives and drafted a plan on how we wanted to rebuild our team. We evaluated our successes and failures over the years and looked to other franchises on how they built winning teams. The result of this reflection was the "Blueprint for the Future" that I shared with many of you. This plan outlined how we planned to rebuild our team. It was our acknowledgment that we had strayed from building a team that didn't just speak of character, but rather lived it. A team more focused on working as a team than seeking individual recognition.
We took that first step today. We know it won't be easy - nothing that is worthwhile ever is. We know that we are embarking on a journey that will be measured in years, not months. We understand that every team in professional sports is in a never-ending cycle of death and rebirth. I wholly believe that it is our time to give birth to a new team that will return our Timberwolves franchise to the elite of the NBA.
I appreciate your continued support as we undergo this transformation and urge you to follow our progress. I am convinced that you will like what you see and believe that it will mean only better days ahead. Please feel free to contact any of my staff with additional questions.
What’s the deal with McHale trading for guys we could’ve drafted. We passed on Gerald Green two years ago, so what makes him worth it now? Is it because we’re not sure that the guy we did take is going to pan out? He's thinking about the Ebi/Howard choice and reacting to it. Because that’s always a good reason to reach for someone. We have Craig Smith and Corey Brewer, so what do we need Ryan Gomes for? That and it sounds like he has no interest in staying past next year. Great. Let’s get him! I understand that Ratliff has to be involved in the trade because of his contract, but what are we going to do with that extra $12 million, sign a free agent. Who’s going to want to play here now? And Sebastian Fucking Telfair!? I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that he is going to be a member of my basketball team. Why would you take his terrible attitude and legal troubles back in this deal? Why is this not Rajon Rando? You have the leverage here Kevin, you’re holding the Big Ticket. Tell your buddy Danny to take Bassy and shove him up your ass – err, I mean, his ass. It's like I always here, don't do business with friends. McHale seems like he's playing slow pitch softball when he should be playing hardball. I don't care if the guy is your friend atleast try not to get fleeced every time you deal with him.
I seriously can’t think of a worse deal. I didn’t think it was possible. Hey, atleast we got the draft pick back that we should’ve never traded in the first place. Oh, and a pick that will probably fall somewhere in the 20’s. Great. I guess they never said the saying ‘some things never cease to amaze me’ isn’t always used in a positive way.
More to come when this becomes official. Right now, Wolves nation is on suicide watch. And the mob is rallying around the burning stake reserved for Deadzo’s corpse.
July 30, 2007
Do I even need to type anything at this point? I'm in the enemy's camp, as they celebrate around me. Their dreams are about to be realized. They have no idea what they are in for. An energy bolt is about to shoot through the Fleet Center like they have never seen. Banners could hang. Glory returned to the city of wind.
And back home, it's like bullets in the breeze.
I don't know how else to say this, I don't know what direction to go in, I can only say that my love for this franchise will die, my fanaticism will wink out like a ship's light in a storm. I'm not rational enough to explain what's going to happen. I'm not clear-headed enough to see this through to the logical conclusion.
I drop to sleep tonight deep behind enemy lines. By morning, this could be my favorite basketball town. We could see the arrival of the Kid who became the Man. I'm excited for them, I truly am.
I'm not going to ever give money to the Wolves as long as Deadzo is in charge, if this happens. I'm done supporting them until he leaves.
Luckily, I'm much younger than him. I can wait.
July 18, 2007
Why is all that important to know? Because Glen Taylor has finally made a decision about the direction of his franchise for next year: They're going young.
I love it. I've been waiting for it since 2005. I spent all last season praying for it. Instead of slugs like Mike James, Troy Hudson, and Marko Jaric eating up minutes next to KG, the kids will get their shot at developing their skills. Sure, the record may stumble a bit, but it can't get much worse than last years 32 wins - we're not Atlanta for cripes sake. McCants, Foye, Smith, and Brewer will all be big parts of this team which is exciting.
And you know what? According to Glen Taylor, KG is okay with that, which is even more exciting.
So instead of Huddy and Marko crying about their rolls on the team, we'll have a bunch of fired up youngsters surrounding one of the top-10 talents in the NBA. If nothing else, we should see more fire and fight out of this squad this season and that is enough to get me excited about the Wolves.
July 15, 2007
8 seconds in, McCants defensive foul
Brewer almost with a rebound dunk put back
Brewer called spitting image of Chris Rock by announcers
Brewer can play
Foye with his second "3"
Chris Richard kind of still figuring it out
Foye with another "3"
Brewer with a block, Foye with a fast break lay-up
Wolves get ball back, Foye with a another "3"
I like Brewer, Foye, Smith
Transition game working very well
Ryan Bowen shooting free throws, I don't know him
Quarter ends with Wolves having 32 points
McCants just seems a step slow today
McCants hits a "3"
Cleeves in the game, he's all business, it is obvious he wants to get back to the NBA, badly
McCants with another "3", I would like to see better defense from him
Brewer leads fast break, nice pass to player streaking down the lane
GT Luke just might have a chance in this league to get a contract
Did I mention I like this Brewer kid? Foye will be fun to watch. God, Smith is just big and cut and . . . good. Wolves will have a decent team, too bad they are in the Group of Death.
July 10, 2007
Wolves 85, Hornets 83 (OT)
First off I like winning, even if it’s basically pick-up games made up of teams of guys, most of whom will not be in the NBA in three months. I also like winning close games. Especially when there are youngsters neck deep in the waning moments of the game.
Corey Brewer won the game with a driving lay-up with 12 seconds left. That’s a sentence I really like to read for three reasons. First off, Corey Brewer is continuing his winning ways at the next level, never mind the lack-luster talent. Secondly, a Timberwolves player did not settle for a jump shot in the final seconds of a game. Lastly, Corey Brewer did something that scouts had previously proclaimed as a weakness: he took his man off the dribble. Now, I realize, that this was only one play, but it still is nice to read about because of the reasons listed above. I’m sure Brew will have some downs this summer but there’s no start like a good start.
Craig Smith played like a beast. 25 points and 7 rebounds. He did his damage by punishing the Hornets in the paint. HE SCORED NEAR THE BASKET!!! That’s also something the Wolves dearly need. Everyone knows he’s a stud but I think he will continue to grow this season, possibly into the physical banger KG needs beside him.
Chris Richard and Luke Schenscher did some damage of their own. I think the boys – I mean Fred Hoiberg – may have scored another second round gem in the mold of Craig Smith. They combined for 18 points and 15 rebounds while only taking 12 shots (converting 7 of them). I really like that kind of production while leaving plenty of shots for everyone else, ala Elton Brand back in his Bulls days.
Rashad McCants quite make a jump-shot, but he’ll come around. I hope. I can only assume his timing is still off from a busy offseason of rehab and that he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to have a good summer because he feels like he has a lot to prove to the team. Once he settles down he’ll start making all those lovely jump-shots we all know he’s capable of making. He’s the only guy on the roster that can consistently put the ball in the hoop from 20 feet and out which would help unclog the paint for KG, Foye, and Brewer.
Don’t Make Such A Big Deal
I realize I just spent a page blathering about the summer league but the media really likes to take the results and spin them around. OH MY GOD GREG ODEN IS GOING UNDER THE KNIFE AND HE’S GOING TO DIE AND THE BLAZERS ARE GOING TO DIE AND DEATH AND DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!
Okay, so seriously? He’s having his tonsils out. It’s cool. He won’t die, I promise Charlie Walters, he’ll be fine. Not to mention how much they love to talk about how he and Durant haven’t “played up to par” yet. Really? They’re 19. They’ve spent the past 10 years beating up on guys that were half their size and 1/5 their talent. Now it’s just guys with ¼ their talent. Just because they aren’t putting up Wilt and Russell numbers after two games in the summer league doesn’t mean they’re developing slowly. It certainly took me more than two days to figure out I couldn’t come to work hung over like I did in college. It worked out for me.
They’ll be fine.
July 9, 2007
I have to plead ignorance here. I do not know the ins and outs of revenue sharing and how NBA owners make money. Are ratings during the playoffs more important than your team winning? I honestly don't know.
I do see when Shaq went East and Lebron graduated to the NBA by looking at the charts. Coincidence, I honestly don't know. Maybe the NBA has plateau-ed in the good ol' US and A.
There is my logic for a change. Not bad drafts (or NO drafts), not bad trades (wait, they get Sam C. AND a draft pick), just business. That's all.
I go by Dickfer, but I have been referred to in previous blogs as Potsy and Dr. HotWings.
July 5, 2007
On if he’s thought about what number he’ll wear in the NBA, since #2 (his college number) is retired in Minnesota (Malik Sealy) :
I was hurt when I saw that number two was retired, but I guess I’m going to wear number 22 -- two plus two!
Ok, now we don't run a math blog here, but I think it's safe to say that two plus two is not quite 22.
The first interview I ever saw with Corey Brewer, he appeared to be high on weed. Not crazy high, just enough to make words come out of his mouth very slow and deliberately. It was like everything was monotone, and his eyes were obviously half-shut. My first reaction was that I didn't want someone like that on the Wolves, but then I saw some game footage of this year's tournament, and it looked like he plays pretty up-tempo, and can really shut down opponents on the wing. That's a good sign.
What the hell is the point of all of this? Nothing. It just leads into a few other items of note happening during this last week.
1. The Knicks Should Just See If Glenn Robinson Will Return Their Calls
Ok, do they have a single player on their team who isn't a volitale malcontent? I know that everyone is harping on this, but seriously. They add Zach Goddamned Randolph to a frontcourt of Eddy Curry and Jerome James. They dumped Steve Francis, but they've still got Stephon and Jamal Crawford clogging up the guard positions. When I called Mr. Szinewski on draft night, before I told him about the trade, I told him that the Knicks just made a trade, and to guess who that could be. I told him that he is the "perfect" guy for the Knicks, and he guessed Randolph in about 4 seconds. It's strange, because besides Artest, I cannot see another player going to the Knicks. I think they have all the clubhouse cancers in the entire NBA. Can we bring Jalen Rose out of retirement? Maybe Laettner is looking for work? There are other assholes out there who bring teams down (Telfair, Blount, Fortson), but there's really no other griping, non-trying superstar left for the Knicks to grab. Like Pokemon, they got em all!
2. Grant Hill Said He Wanted To Retire Last Year, So Naturally He Signs With The Suns/Spurs/Mavs
Whatever. He's old and broken, but he wants to play on a successful team (imagine that!), so he takes the easy route and signs for the quick fix. I was surprised at how cheap he came, but remember that Malone signed with the Lakers for 1.1 million, and Michael Finley went to the Spurs for what amounted to a bag of Piggin' Pork Rinds. How will he hold up in that always-in-motion offense? Well, I could throw on the purple and orange and average 15 points if Nash was feeding ME the rock every time down, so...
3. Seattle - WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?
First of all, you just hired a bad coach. Don't be fooled. He's a bad coach. What, his days of taking Seton Hall to the sweet sixteen once every 4 years got you all lovey-dovey? Is it the rings with the Spurs, who also happen to employ THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME? Maybe it was that whole Spree thing, how you feel like Peej just got a raw deal because his superstar was suspended for an entire season. I would rather focus on the .452 winning percentage, and the 3-9 record in the playoffs. Anyone can be a good assistant, just look at Sidney Lowe.
Reaching beyond that though... the final decision came down to a choice between PJ and - wait for it - Dwane Casey. Ummmm..... never mind. Good call, Sonics!
It's obvious that Seattle is just rolling the dice on the whole thing right now, basically saying that their future lies in Kevin Durant's hands, and so they might as well start young and see if something clicks. I suppose that's just as good a method as anything else - hell it beats Cleveland's "WE'LL DO SO MANY DUMB MOVES SURROUNDING LEBRON THAT LEBRON WON'T EVEN WANT TO PLAY BASKETBALL ANYMORE" method. Or the Wolves "every single season we will start over and sign some goddamned piece of garbage for the mid-level exception and pretend that he's really good even though if he were really good he wouldn't have to sign the mid-level exception and everyone knows this including small children" method. I think it's funny whenever overweight sportswriters say that an NBA player is going to "mentor" a rookie, or he's going to "take him under his wing". Really? 95% of NBA players shower, dress, and go have dinner with their posse after a game and practice. The other 5% are Mark Madsen and Shane Battier. Honestly, and this isn't to start shit, but you think KG teaches Craig Smith post moves? You think he's out there like a dad feeding him the ball and tossing constant reinforcement? So with that said, I don't necessarily think they need to keep a veteran presence around to "bring the kid along", because - again - they tried that in Cleveland by having an old, dumb coach to bring LeBron along, and it didn't work because of his dumbness. Old isn't always better.
4. Bucks Seek Dialogue With Yi
That's an actual headline.
Ok, you just drafted a guy who obviously doesn't want to play for you. NORMALLY, I would be upset at the player at shout at him to suck it up and go play for the shitty team for 4 years and then sign a hog deal with the Bulls or something. But I guess I don't understand why Milwaukee drafted him in the first place. Let's put aside the fact that he should not be playing in the NBA, but rather in the CBA (Chair Basketball Association). In a draft this deep, does anyone think there is going to be a huge seperation between picks 4-8? Obviously the top two were locks, and the third was pretty set in stone too. Do you think you get something from Yi that you wouldn't get from Noah? Or Conley? All of the players drafted in that area are going to be quality players who can help struggling teams. With that in mind, why not just play darts, and let Yi fall to Chicago? Or Philadelphia? Or - wait, he said he wanted to play in a city with a lot of Chinese people? Well Yi, you picked the wrong year to enter the draft. Anyway, I think it's funny that they're stepping really lightly around this issue, and politely asking Yi for a nice little face to face chat... WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST DRAFT SOMEONE ELSE? DIDN'T YOU KNOW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?
5. They gave Fred Hoiberg's number away
Nothing to say there, just a comment. It makes me sad. Fred should still wear his jersey even when he works in his office.
6. I Think Kevin McHale Should Just Stop Talking Out Loud
What a debacle the KG almost-trade was. The entire blame rests on Deadzo's shoulders - as usual. In what could've been a normal run-up to the draft, with normal analysis and normal trade speculation, he had to go fuck up no less than three potential trades, watch them plastered all over the front pages of every single sports website, and paralyze an entire fan base with utter fear. And then nothing happens. Do you have any idea the thoughts that flew through my head during that 72 hour stint? I completely ran the spectrum: from "I'll never cheer for, follow, or talk about the Timberwolves ever again if they trade KG" to "It's over, I need to get ready for the Al Jefferson era" to "Amare? Interesting..." to "Wait a minute, McHale even fucked up his fuck-up?" to "Wow, why do I even bother listening to him?".
I don't know how to accurately describe my frustration with Deadzo in regards to almost every single decision he has made in the past few years (let's remember that this year's draft was a success because Mr. Hoiberg was calling the shots), so I'll just link you to this page:
Laker Jim's Anti-Kevin McHale Page
June 29, 2007
Cheers to the Portland Trailblazers for…
...drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. I know that Durant was sort of the flashy pick, but Oden will be a defensive stalwart for the next decade and a half, at worst. At best you’ve got the next dominant big man in the mold of Russell, Wilt, and Kareem. Durant will be great, but not as great as Oden.
...dumping Zach Randolph. I can’t say enough about how this will affect your team. I know you’re giving up a 20-10 guy but you’re also getting rid of the last of the Jailblazers – we don’t even count Miles anymore because he won’t play again. Sure you’ve taken on Steve Francis but rumor has it they’re going to buy him out so he can’t sink their newly rebuilt franchise. Jack, Roy, Aldrige, and Oden will be able to blossom without possible infection from a cancer who won’t play defense, or stay out of the gentlemen’s clubs.
Cheers to the New York Knicks for…
...swapping Francis for Randolph. You dump a guy who whines and cries because he doesn’t get to be the alpha dog, thus not playing with any balls and you get a guy who at least tries hard on one end of the floor. Sure he’s a headache, but it’s not like he’s more of a headache than their GM. And again, at least he tries on one end of the floor.
Jeers to the Boston Celtics for…
...trading away your Paul Pierce replacement for a worn down Ray Allen. I love Ray Allen, I truly do, but what is he going to do for the Celts? He’s a smaller version of Paul Pierce with a better jumper. Allen will also take away minutes from Gerald Green who, given a chance to play, should develop into a very solid player. It just seems like they’re trying to trick Pierce into thinking they’re trying to build a winner. I also never thought I’d hear anyone compare the Celtics to the Clippers of yore.
Cheers to the Boston Celtics for…
...getting rid of Wally Szczerbiak. Again, I like Wally World, but he was $11 million a year in foot and knee problems that was no good next to Pierce – think Glenn Robinson next to AI a few years back.
Jeers to the Milwaukee Bucks for…
...taking Yi Jianlian. His people said he wouldn’t play there. No one knows how old he really is. He didn’t work out against anyone – that chair played tight D though! And yet, they felt that he was worth the risk. I hope for their sake that he’s better than advertised, but I just can’t help but seeing another Wang Zhi Zhi in him. That’s of course if they can sign him. I’m just glad my team didn’t get a chance to draft him. No Kevin, don’t trade for him.
Cheers to the Minnesota Timberwolves for …
...not trading KG. See previous Chief post for explanation
...drafting Corey Brewer and Chris Richard. I love Corey Brewer, I can’t say it enough. He’s everything the Wolves need – big time player who should be ready to defend at the NBA level immediately, who plays with heart, he’s a winner, and it sounds as though he’s truly happy to be here. I don’t totally understand the Richard pick because he’s much like Craig Smith, but I like the pick from a talent standpoint. He’s a big, gritty defender who played four years off the bench for a great Florida team.
...not drafting Noah or Hawes. I hate Noah and his annoying attitude – mostly because at the regionals all I heard was the stupid Florida fight song and he was the face of the team. He’ll be a good player for a number of years in the league, but I can’t help but see a more skilled version of Mark Madsen. I do like the way he plays the game – tons of heart and he never stops – but I just don’t have faith that he’ll end up being worthy of the 7th pick. And Hawes, I see Felton Spencer, Luc Longley, Paul Grant, etc, etc. The Wolves have never had any luck drafting bigs, not to mention that he only played one season at Washington and he was up and down all year. I love Fred Hoiberg.
Not Sure What To Think…
...about Seattle’s draft. KD will be a stud and clearing Ray Allen’s contract was a good idea – presumably it will allow them to resign Rashard Lewis. Besides having to take on Wally World’s contract and health issues, they drafted Jeff Green whom I love as a player but he’s a small forward. Just like Durant. Just like Lewis. Of course that’s assuming that they keep Lewis. It should be an interesting situation to watch
...about the Charlotte – Golden State trade. I like Charlotte’s end of the deal a lot. Jason Richardson will sell tickets and give them a go-to scorer while replacing Gerald Wallace if they can’t resign him. J-Rich is not a very good defender but Emeka Okafor can bail him out better than anything he had in G-State. I realize that this was mostly a salary dump for the Warriors but after the way he played in the playoffs he finally showed how dominant he can be, especially in clutch situations. I like Brandan Wright, but he looks a lot like all the other lanky combo-forwards they have on that roster.
Next up is summer league. It’s like the NBA season is right around the corner. For now though, here’s praying KG remains on my team.