January 31, 2006

Whatever And Amen

Last night marked the first Wolves game I've been to this season. It was also the first time this season I've been excited about going to a game and watching this team. The trade has definitely restored some of the excitement for me. After watching the games in Houston and San Antonio I began to feel it, that burn, that desire, that need to consume. I'm a basketball junkie, we all know that, and I've finally found some really great shit...

110 points is really nice to see, especially when it's your team doing it. Six guys in double figures, with all four of the new kids getting some(YEAH KIIIIID!!! GIT IT GIT IT!!). Wally and Kandi both got theirs too - Wally in the game, Kandi from the crowd.

One guy who really showed me why I like him was Marcus Banks. He was One Angry Dwarf last night. He certainly had something to prove against his old mates, most specifically, the coach who damned him to the bench. He was their nightmare little man, darting in and out of the porous Celtics defense. He scored a season high 20 points and dished out 6 assists, also a season high. He wore #3 and he reminded me a lot of another guy who wore the same number oh so many years ago. He attacked the basket, got to the free throw line and got the ball to guys in open spots.

Kandi and Mark Blount were talked about in a similar manner by their respective teams prior to the trade. Both were said to lack effort and focus which prevented them from reaching their potential. In the Battle Of Who Could Care Less, Kandi certainly showed he was the victor. He only played a handful of minutes, but only showed spark once, while he was trying to guard KG, who subsequently hit a 17-footer in his eye. While in the game he showed every bit as much effort as he did when he was a Timberwolf, walking lackadaisically back on defense and looking bored when the ball wasn't in his hands. The highlight though, was during timeouts, when there was some entertainment on the big board. Instead of paying attention to what Doc Rivers was telling his team, Kandi was watching the jumbotron or staring at his shoes. On the other side, Blount was making jumpers, skipping back up the court on defense, and chest bumping his teammates. I mean, I like Rockford files as much as the next guy, and I know it's not your thing to care but it isn't cool to be so bored. Not in the NBA, getting paid $6 million. If it makes you feel any better, go ahead and check out Song For The Dumped if it will make you feel better, but the boos were to be expected.

It was definitely weird to see Wally sporting green and white, but I'm glad I got to - meaning I'm happy for he and his wife that the delivery of their second child worked out. The near-standing ovation he got when he was announced was very cool, and how he greeted and interacted with his old teammates through out the game was also special. I'm a little sad he's not a Timberwolf anymore and I wish him success, but I'm glad McHale and Taylor made the move. Now we can rip out the binding and tear the glue, throw that chapter into the fire. Time will tell on how this team fair in the future, but at least now there's more than just Smoke in the air. There's excitement too.

I can only assume that Ben Folds was a basketball fan because, when it comes right down to it, that album certainly fit the game last night.

So Now You Gotta Pep Talk, But Sorry, This Is Our Only Room To Walk. Cause We Don't Want A Drug Push, But A Bird In The Hand Is Worth More Than A Bush

Kick off the cloak and let the ghetto FLOW! Ricky, BALL UP! Blunt and Banks, just GO HAVE YOURSELVES SOME, KID!!!!! Pop the top, it's time to get excited again.

I'm sure we won't see Mark Blount rocking shots in K-Perk's eyes and skipping down the floor every game this season, but man, it was nice. Here is a list of things that were nice about last night's game:

1. Kandi got booed, because he's not a good basketball player and doesn't try.
2. Wally got a standing ovation because he's a great player and never gave anything less than his best.
3. Kevin Garnett didn't play the 4th quarter because BANKS AND BLUNT AND REED WERE OUT THERE EATING MARS BARS, JAGGO!!!!

I am simply in awe at how ghetto this team has become. I spoke to Mr. Bliznowski about this last night. There are pieces on this team who, when the situation warrants it, can play sufficiently playground and fit into the offense. The #1 example was Trenton Hassell. Southern Boy went out and leaped and lurched to the rim like it was Rucker Park on more than a few occasions. If needed, he can attack the basket, or he can camp out and hit open shots, or he can create a steal and run the floor. Homes can do it all. And he seemed really comfortable in the street ball atmosphere of last night's game. Another guy who is just waiting for the game to go ghetto is Troy Hudson. Troy loves it when nobody cares who is shooting, when there's no passing, when defense is just another part of the game and not the focus. That's his style. When he saw Ricky streaking, I'm sure he lit up inside, thinking "Yeah, this is going to be fun".

And of course, the king of ghetto, K Got Damn G. This is how they played in Chicago. This is how they played in Mauldin. This is how Sam and Spree played. This feels right to KG. I imagine him with a huge smile on his face when Banks tipped that one to Ricky, as KG's thinking "Oh. So. That's.... that's how it is now? Ok then."

Kandi being gone is so refreshing, and not just because we can all breathe now that his spider head isn't funking up the room. Stinky, funky, smell-hella-bad, it's all the same. Seeing him shooting set shots without a hint of irony in warm-ups.... seeing his team get up and actually CHEER THIS WASTE OF SPACE when he hit his bucket... it's all just perfect. Go ahead Boston. Report back to me in a week, after you've seen Kandi for a sufficient amount of time. You tell me how he's working out.

The thing is, I don't wish ill on the Celtics. I have absolutely nothing against them. I feel bad, in a way, for them having to take Kandi. They think they know about what "No Effort" means? I'm sorry. Blunt cannot be as bad as Kandi. It will never happen. I think they are all in for a rude awakening. Wally, eh. That's not the story. The story is if Doc Rivers gives Kandi any substantial amount of playing time, and how long it takes for fans to threaten murder in Boston. I'm serious. They don't know what they're about to see.

The quotes from Doc Rivers last night show that he is a bad coach, and not in touch with his players. The fact that Marcus Banks and Mark Blunt were in his doghouse... I don't know why, but let's just say they look alright to me. I know I know, I'm jumping to conclusions. And I'm sure their effort will lapse at some point, and I'm sure we'll think less of this trade at least occasionally. But that ignores the point... Boston wanted to get rid of these 4 guys because, supposedly, they "weren't happy" with the situation. And "not being happy" is on the players, sure, but it's also on the coaches. And the fans. And the GM and the teammates. So maybe Boston is just a bad situation. Here is a quote from Banks last night that pretty much sums it all up:

It's a new surrounding for us. We don't really know what to expect. Back in Boston the crowd was pretty rowdy. But these guys are more pushing the team. If you make a couple of bad plays, they're still pushing behind you.

Yep, that's just it. Minnesota, for all the good and the bad, is a polite environment. We don't openly boo when players have bad stretches. Hell, we never even booed Kandi until he left the team. Part of it is that we really do want our players to do well, and we don't have any hidden agendas like other sports fans. And we also don't want to admit when a player sucks and needs to go. Kandi was a perfect example. We all REALLY wanted him to do well, and when it was obvious that he sucked and wasn't trying, we were too goddamned polite to boo. This mentality (again, it's good and bad, and there's not enough space to get into that right now) is literally PERFECT for guys from other teams who are "not happy". Don't worry Marcus. We've got your back. Hey Blunt, I know you gave up a few turnovers last night. Shake it off man. It's all good. Hey Ricky, I know it wasn't falling for you, no prob. You're still money.

It extends to the team and coaches too. Casey doesn't get "down" on players. Yeah, AC didn't play last night, neither did Dupree or Frahm. But it's all good. He's not saying he doesn't like those guys. He's just using a tight rotation. And KG doesn't yell at guys all the time either. He never sulks and keeps his emotions to himself. He lets you know if you fucked up (like Marko) and he also lets you know if you get some bunnies (like Team Ghetto). He's a great leader, and when guys like Wally have problems with that, it really makes you think that it's something with Wally.... that he just can't accept that kind of alpha-dog mentality. I don't know much, but I know these new guys are going to get along GREAT with KG.

So in summary: Junior Reed, Marcus Banks, Mark Blunt, and Ricky Davis - Team Ghetto - went out and had themselves some ice cream last night against a very confused Celtics team. It was a great win to watch, and a lot of fun, but it wasn't a championship. The Wolves are now a VERY interesting team to watch for the rest of the season, and the playoffs are back in the picture.

To close, KG:

But with the confidence that we're a new team, breathing new air with a different attitude -- it's kind of good, man.

Your goddamn right it's good, man.

January 30, 2006

What I'd Like To See

The trade is only two games old, but I've watched more basketball in the past weekend than I had the entire season up to that point. This season has been hard to watch, usually leading to me yelling at the TV and getting upset at the lack of talent, passion, and effort of my team. It got to the point that I was better off not watching them play, which isn't reflective of my love of this team, but rather a reflection of my expectations when watching them play. Like my cohort stated, the outcome of this season was predictable: Disappointing losses, maybe make the playoffs, no draft pick, repeat next year. Then Danny Ainge showed up with some Skittles and Kevin McHale gave up some M&M's and now he has a different bowl of candy - yes, pun heavily intended.

We've spent some time talking about our opinions of this trade and what it has brought and taken from our beloved team, so I won't go on repeating myself incesantly like I'm apt to do. Instead, I'm going to list out the things that I'd like to see from the team, most specifically, the guys we just got from Boston.

Ricky Davis - I'd like to see him spend the next 5-7 years in a Wolves uniform, if not the rest of his career. He's young, he's athletic, and he's still developing. Ricky plays with emotional abandon just like KG, which is exactly what Kevin needs. He's not the only piece they'll need, but he's a great fit for the stud on the squad. And if I hear one more thing about Cleveland, I'll punch you - it was 3 years ago, get over it. Although, I'd really love to see that afro come back.

Mark Blount - Hopefully everyone will get that his name is pronounced like it should be - BLUNT. I could make a few comparisons to what that might mean, but we'll leave that for the Gorilla Lounge. I'd like to see a return to form for him. When he signed the big contract he's got now he was coming off a season in which he scored 10.3ppg and grabbed 7.3rpg. Anything close to those would help this team greatly. He's turnover and foul prone and his rep is that he can't rebound, but hopefully he can buy into Casey's system and flourish in it. This being said, I was excited when Kandi was brought on board, so I'm not going to hold my breath. For very long anyways.

Marcus Banks - I want to see this kid get a chance. I want to see him play. He was the 13th overall pick in the 2003 draft and has show promise on both ends of the floor. Banks ended up in the Doc Rivers Dog House, but hopefully in new scenery and a different system, he can become our point guard of the future.

Justin Reed - Sure he was a post player in college, but so was Ron Artest. Now, before you bite my head off, I'm not saying he's Ron Artest. What I'm saying is that he's a big, physical player, who's not quite big enough to play the 4 in the NBA. He could, however, develop into a bruising wing player given the right situation. What I want is to see this kid on the floor as much as possible. Reed is very raw, but has shown potential. He's young but you can tell he loves the game and is dedicated to making himself into a seviceable pro. His draft capsule from last year projected him as a Jumaine Jones, but I believe he has the potential to have more impact.

The Second Round Picks - This is where I think the Wolves could really benefit by spending some more money and time. Scouting. Scouting, scouting, scouting. They're going to end up with 4-5 second round picks in the next two seasons and no first rounders, so why not try to make the most of those picks. Send more people to Europe, for more time, and to look at more players. Send a couple more guys out to look at the mid-major college players who may not be on the big radar. Great players come out of the second round once in a blue moon, but since that's all we've got, I'd like to see as many resources as possible focused in that direction.

McHale and Taylor are making their way out of The Dave Sliznewski Dog House and I pray that they make it because I love this team and want nothing more than to watch the players and staff succeed.

January 29, 2006

One More Time For The Streets Of Killa Cali, Grew Up On The Dank And Shootin Dice Up In The Alley

The Wolves went into San Antonio last night and lost. In related news, the sun rose and Isaiah Rider was arrested.

All in a day's work.

But holy shit, this team looks different now. I decided to take a few notes during last night's game, which had to be the most fun 14 point loss to watch in Wolves history. I can't state it simply enough: I LOVE this team now. I love the attitude, the ghetto, the swagger. It's like they are a totally different team, with a different identity. Anyway, here are my notes:

Ricky Davis is more ghetto than you

Ricky stone-cold ghettos the game up, and it's a Good Thing.

He steals the ball, he runs the floor, he drives, he pulls up and shoots, he does it all, and he never tires. He is an absolute physical specimen, and a threat at any time on offense. In short, he's everything that Wally is not.... and that's awesome. Also, when he gets a steal, Jim Peterson, he's allowed to do whatever he wants. If he wants to drive into double coverage and force a layup try, he's allowed to do that. So shut up. That's not what cost the Wolves this game. They lost because San Antonio is San Motherfucking Antonio, not because Ricky missed a layup.

Eddie Griffin doesn't like this whole "Drive to the basket and softly lay one off the glass" thing

Hey Ginobili and Parker. I have some advice for you. You know how you like to crash and bang into the lane and throw up runners over the defender's hands? Yeah, don't try that with Eddie. He'll just reject it. He hates you little fucks, and he's not afraid to stuff that ball down your neck, Eurotrash.

Seriously, just stop it.

Bowl of Candy doesn't live here anymore

My god, Mark Fucking Blunt. He's everything Kandi is not (have you heard that phrase before?) He goes to the basket. He is strong, he is quick, he has offensive skills. Seriously, Jim Peterson couldn't shut up about how he is the best center the Wolves have ever had last night. I think it's a bit premature for that, especially considering we'll probably see a dropoff in effort here pretty soon. But you CANNOT argue with what you saw last night. Blunt was having himself some DONUTS on offense. He'll fake to get a guy in the air, keep his pivot foot, and lean in for an easy layup. Plus he dunked once and yelled. He showed EMOTION! He got the ball 13 feet from the basket and DIDN'T GO INTO A STUPID SPIN MOVE HOOK SHOT. Yeah, he turned the ball over (watch that travel, partner!) and picked up dumb fouls. But man, it's all good. He's LEAGUES better than Kandi. I've watched two games with him on the team, and already he's done more than I've ever seen Kandi do. That shows you first and foremost how much Kandi sucks and how he screwed up this team while he was here. I'd much rather see Blunt take stupid fouls and occasionally travel if it means him actually giving a fuck out there than I would see Kandi bumble his way through offensive sets and forget where he is on defense.

Blunt, go have yourself some, kid.

Junior Reed is built like a tank, yet hard to hit

(I'll be referring to him as Junior Reed from now on, sometimes as "Wu Tang and Junior Reed") This guy is cut from steel. He's got the body to be another physical banger who can run the floor and get to the basket. Again, EVERYTHING WE DIDN'T HAVE BEFORE THIS TRADE. He looks a bit overmatched sometimes because he isn't quite as honed as the rest of them, but his raw talent is there. I like this kid, and I like how much Casey played him. Shit, with him and McCants, these young guys are looking alright.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have.... the Facts of Life

These new guys aren't perfect. They change the way things are done, and they make mistakes. A guy like Ricky Davis - who shoots pretty much whenever he wants - is going to make bad decisions sometimes. Hey, so did Sam and Spree. The difference between them and what we gave up though is that they put their sack on the line and say "Here. Here's what I got. Let's see if you can stop it." In the case of San Antonio, the answer was yes. Yes, they can stop it. But other teams... I don't know. I'm really looking forward to what they can do against some not-world-championship teams.

I'll take the mistakes, the bad decisions and the little errors, if in exchange I get Ricky throwing down dunks and Blunt doing up-and-unders like he played for the Celtics.... in 86.

The flight of the passing fancy

DID YOU SEE THAT PASSING LAST NIGHT???? What, KG is Magic now? Throwing behind-the-back passes, touch passes and all the rest? And what about Ricky? I love watching a team not afraid to take chances. If Ricky sees something opening up, he'll go for it, and sometimes, it's not there. But you should always take the chance, because the percentages are in your favor. And that's exactly what I've seen these last two games. They've been zipping the ball around to one another, and it's been great to watch. I especially love KG's role in this new offense. He just stands there like "Hmmm, who should I pass to now?" None of the players look lost at all, in fact the main problem for the team last night was OVERconfidence (something you would NEVER have said about the Wolves previous to the trade). Guys got the ball and thought they could do more with it than they could. And that's a part of the game, especially against SA, you've got to take what they give you and try to out-execute them. Hey, it didn't happen, but that's no surprise.

What I saw last night was a good team still learning to play together who hung around with the big dogs long enough to make it interesting. I saw a center who actually showed that he cares, who dunked and made low post moves. I saw a wing who consistently took people off the dribble, who got to the rim more than a few token times, and who was always looking to push the envelope, to create. I saw a young guy from Mississippi off the bench who is just aching to get monster dunks and show everyone that he can block the French and Argentinian. I saw the ball flying around, everyone running the floor, and the defense not giving away anything.

I saw an exciting Wolves team, and I'm interested as to where this is all going to go. I like this trade right now, but I won't say it is a huge upgrade. A loss is still a loss, but I had more fun last night watching the game than I did on Friday during the win, so let that tell you something.

And I'm out.

January 28, 2006

Mark Blount just attacked the basket

He took the ball at the left elbow, pump-faked, and drove to the basket. He missed a reverse layup, but got the ball back and was fouled. Then, he pumped his fist and reached to his teammates for a high five.


Oh my god. Offense in the post. This is unreal.

January 27, 2006

I Got So Much Trouble On My Mind, Refuse To Lose. Here's Your Ticket, Hear The Drummer Get Wicked

Wally's out, Buckets is in, and there is potential for an afro.

Life got very interesting.

Does Deadzo read this blog?!?!! Hardly. I don't think Deadzo (or anyone else in the world for that matter) reads this or any other Wolves weblog, but that doesn't mean he doesn't feel the pressure. It was teeming in this town, the entire fan base groaning for some kind of move, some kind of change. He felt the same thing when the Wolves dumped to LA in 2003, despite Gary Trent and Marc Jackson STONE COLD HAVING THEMSELVES SOME IN OT, BALLER! After 7 straight exits, the writing was on the wall. It was time to cut loose the Peelers and the Joe Smiths. It was time to take a chance, and he did it. With a roster full of moveable parts and contracts that begged to be cast away, he landed Spree and Sam in big trades, then went and got Madsen, Kandi, and Hassell on the market. Oh, and a guy named Fred. Put it all together, and we were one broken hip away from a showdown in Motown. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Less than two years later, we have a rebuilt team, one that is getting more mature and that plays hard, but is offensively inept and unable to make critical shots. We have no offensive swagger, nobody to hit a bucket and show you (and everyone else) just how big they really are. We have a team full of guys willing to get down on the floor for a loose ball, but nobody who is willing to take the ball at the end of the game and say "Let's go, right now, me against you. Check." The entire thing breeds a sense of helplessness. Watching the team beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones, it is depressing, because there's no excitement. There's no thinking "Hey, you know what, if they keep playing like this, they'd have a chance against Detroit!" No. We get none of that. Instead, we get losses before the game starts, and a dismal playoff outlook ("Well, even if we DO make the playoffs, we'll be lucky to win one game against San Antonio").

That's changed now. Certainly, it is not a significant upgrade going from Molly to Buckets. But Buckets brings some of that nut-cup-test-time scoring and swagger that was painfully missing this season. Again, he's unproven, and he's not going to step in and take this team over the hump. But there will at least be scoring options, the game will open up more, guys will be moving around more, reacting and playing basketball instead of standing and waiting for shots. KG will continue to quarterback, but he'll have a slasher to dump it to, a guy who will be able to finish with the quickness. And that is a Good Thing.

As far as having an opinion about this thing? Shit. Back off. Everybody and their mother is coming out of the woodwork to complain that this is a terrible trade, one of the worst in Wolves history (I'm looking in the direction of a certain old, no-longer-relevant columnist for the Star Tribuen here), and I hate to tell you this, but they're wrong. It's not a bad trade. It's a good trade. It's good from the perspective of movement. Let me state it again, in case you hadn't heard it before: THE WOLVES WEREN'T GOING ANYWHERE WITH THIS CURRENT LINEUP. Oh, and they weren't getting a draft pick next year anyway, so forget that. So, knowing that we were going to be stuck playing like this for the rest of the year, you have to examine your options.

#1 Live with what you have, win 40 games, have everyone be frustrated.
#2 Make a move.

That's it. Once you decide to make a move, then we as fans lose our right to much of an opinion. The reason is that WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WAS AVAILABLE. Everyone says they want Paul Pierce. Everyone says they want Steve Francis (well, not everyone, but some). But are those guys available? How do we know? All we know is this is what we got. Now let's take a look at it and think if it makes the team better.

I believe that the move helps the Wolves, ever so slightly. I think they will be a better basketball team, which at the end of the day, is what this whole thing is about. There are as many negatives about this trade as positives. But a change was necessary, and I admire (OH MY GOD, DON'T SAY IT!!!) McHale for at least doing something. (THE WORLD IS ENDING, CALL THE CLERGY!!!)

This season is probably wasted anyway. Honestly, nobody's stopping San Antonio or Detroit. And in the West, the Wolves cannot compete with Dallas, Phoenix and Memphis. So, the shakeup could be good, because they could build something for next year. Put it this way: if the season is truly over, would you rather want to be looking down at the exact same team next year, or would you rather have a different look, something to look forward to, something that might turn out pretty good if they all get along and play good team ball? I know I'll take the unknown potential over the known mediocrity any day.

Kandi is gone and Deadzo made a move. Thanks, God. I now know you were listening all those nights.

So welcome, Ricky. Welcome to the Terrordome.

Minnesota No Longer Wally's World

I don’t even know where to begin. Trade speculation involving Wally Szczerbiak is nothing new, but I guess I just didn’t actually think the Wolves would pull the trigger. I’m excited that the Wolves finally made a move to shake up the team, because honestly, the squad we had out there was not going anywhere but home early. Will that change now? It’s hard to say. The trade doesn’t really make the Wolves better. They lose Wally’s shooting and Kandi’s lack of effort, but they get Ricky’s defense and explosiveness, and Blount’s rebound ineptness.

I see this trade in three parts. It’s the only way, for me, that I can break it down and judge it. So let’s go!

Michael Olowokandi for Mark Blount

One bad egg for another. Kandi doesn’t try, he’s a failure, and he’s stupid. He’s one of the worst 1st overall picks the NBA has seen in the last 10 years. He’s too inconsistent to be a contributor on any team. In Mark Blount we get a better scorer, but a guy who loves to give the ball to the other team and is a worse rebounder than Spudd Webb – well okay, he’s not that bad. This is really just a swap of two guys who aren’t working on their respective teams. I personally think anything to get rid of Kandi is a good thing, although in Blount we take on 4 years and $28 million, which isn’t great, but it could’ve been worse.

Wally Szczerbiak for Ricky Davis

Good players having great seasons, changing places just to shake things up. Wally is arguably the best pure shooting in the NBA right now. He’s again in an exclusive club, being one of the only players in the league who shoots 50% from the field, 40% from 3’s, and 80% from the charity stripe. He’s improved his defense and his ability to create his own shot, but both are still weaknesses. In Ricky Davis we get both of those things. He’s a very good wing defender, averaging over 1spg, and he loves to penetrate. He’s a good shooter, but not nearly as reliable as Wally, but then again who is? The one thing Davis does that Wally doesn’t is make plays. Ricky is a good passer who likes making plays (5.3apg). His playmaking should allow Marko to get open shots when he’s not handling the ball.

Dwayne Jones and a 1st Round pick for Marcus Banks, Justin Reed, and two second rounders

This is where this deal gets a little dicey. I like Banks and Reed looks to be a young athlete with some upside, but losing the first round draft pick is tough to handle. We gave up a pick to get Kandi and we sent another pick to the Clippers for Marko. Now we’ve given another one away. For a team that hasn’t had any draft picks over the past 5 years, it’s hard to swallow giving another one up. What upsets me more is that we took two second rounders. We haven’t made a good second round pick since Doug West, and that was in 1989. We’ve never been a great drafting team and we’ve been especially bad in the second round. I think Marcus Banks will prove to be a good point guard, assuming he doesn’t go JR Rider on us. Justin Reed is a toss up, he’s not a good outside shooter having spent most of his college career in the post. He’s tough, he works hard, and he’s got a lot of energy. That’s assuming he ever sees the court.

Overall, I like the trade. I hate to see Wally go, but I’m more excited to see Ricky Davis in blue and white. He’ll ghetto it up a little bit, ala Spree from two years ago, and he’ll give KG another energy guy who likes to make exciting plays. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re done dealing, because it seems like they have a lot of moveable pieces, but who knows, we’ll see. Oh, and I almost forgot the Skita trade. We got lucky and got a 2nd round pick for his bench-warming ass.

I'll Get To That Later...

But first, I think we all need to take a look in the paper today. Trust me, it's worth it. Scan for the name Isaiah Rider. Find it? Yeah, he was arrested for kidnapping. KIDNAPPING! He's being held on $2 million bail, so it's definately serious. Once he goes to jail, he's really gonna miss smoking weed out of a pop can in the back of his car - er, I mean it's not his weed, but y'know, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Of course this whole thing is probably a trumped up charge. The girl he "kidnapped" was probably just mad that JR didn't have another pop can for her to hit while they were hanging out....

It's sad to see a player that I liked so much before his "troubles" let his life - scratch that, make his like fall apart so horribly. He was a gifted scorer and could've been a hell of a defender, but he just decided that he wasn't sane enough to follow normal people's rules. I mean, I guess everyone should've seen it coming, he did play at UNLV....

January 26, 2006

I have two things to say

1. Drew, shut up. Deadzo made a move.


The World's Changing Every Day, Time's Moving Fast, My Girl Said I Need A Raise, How Long Will She Last?

Being caught between your woman, your pistol and your chips is probably a tough spot to be in.

There's been a lot happening in ye olde Association these past few days. Instead of doing the hard work and coming up with an actual arc to it all, I'll just fire a few points off and we'll go from there.

Artest Traded To Sacramento

I think that both teams get better because of this trade, and I think we have NO idea what could happen with Ron in Sacktown. I mean it. There is absolutely nothing that would surprise me right now. "Hey, did you hear? Ron came out wearing a dress after halftime, and then he punched Adelman in the face!" Yeah, I'd believe that. "Yeah, Ron set up DJ tables at midcourt and tried to cut a rhyme during the game!" Yep, that's expected. I for one am happy to have him back. And that mix of players, with that coach... it could be very dicey. Keep your eyes peeled.

As for Peja, he will undoubtedly make the Pacers better, and they could pick it up in the second half. The only thing is that they have to play in the same division as Detroit, oh and JO is out for 8 weeks with a crotch pull, and well.... let's just move on.

Rob Babcock Fired By Toronto

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Couldn't quite hack it, eh Rob? Nah, the truth is that the Toronto Raptors basketball organization would probably fuck up a cup of Starbucks by adding too much cream or putting nutmeg in it or something. They're screwed up from the top to the bottom, and Rob was simply one part of the entire culture of failing. Still, he did nothing worthwhile when he was there, and he set them back a few years with the signing of Alston and the trade of Vince. The bottom line though is that they weren't going anywhere anyway, so don't put it all on Rob. He deserved to get fired though.... he's not NBA GM material yet.

(Wait just a minute... isn't McHale technically a GM? Let me revise that...)

Rob Babcock will probably land somewhere else by the beginning of next season.

Kobe Drops 81 On The Raptors

There's not much I can say about this that hasn't already been said. It was absolutely sick. I don't think I need to use this space to wax poetic on how it was or was not the greatest scoring performance of all time, I simply think I'll say "GodDAMN!!!! 81?!?!!?" and leave it at that.

The Nuggets Have Won 7 Straight

There is no useful comment to explain this. They beat San Antonio, Chicago, Cleveland, and Utah. Now they get to play the Clips in a home and home, and will probably win both of those. I've gone back and forth on the Nugs for awhile, and yes, they are definitely capable of playing good basketball in stretches (unlike the team I will discuss next), but I don't believe they can sustain a successful pace. By that, I mean they can stumble and skip to a Northwest Division championship, but until they show consistency for 2-3 months, I'm not convinced. They are talented, no question about that, but they are still prone to the 4 game losing streaks.

The Timberwolves... *sigh*

What to say? Early in the season, I made the comment that at least they hadn't been blown out yet. Well, the big losses came, and they keep coming. Terrible showings against Detroit, Memphis and Miami coupled with heartbreakers against Boston and Philly, and it's just been a miserable stretch. They're 5-8 in January, with no hope of getting to .500. And from there, the schedule gets tougher. They've lost almost all confidence to play a good basketball game for 48 minutes. Watching guys like Jaric, Kandi, Troy, and McCants, I basically just sit there and wait for something bad to happen. They play well in spurts, but the check always comes due. They are horribly inconsistent, and it seems like they fail when it matters most. We've talked an awful lot about how much a move needs to be made, so I won't go into that again, but the point is that they have fallen into a pretty significant rut, and try as they may, I don't see them getting out of it without some kind of outside help. If they stay with this current team, in this current configuration, we're looking at 40-42 wins, which will probably not be enough to get to the playoffs, which will REALLY suck because we won't even get a lottery pick as compensation for a bad season.

So, we sit, and we sigh, and we watch our mediocre team play mediocre basketball.

January 25, 2006

I Feel Good Today

I feel good because the Minnesota Timberwolves got handled by the Detroit Pistons. "Wait, what did you say Dave? You're happy the Wolves lost? But I thought you were a superfan?"

Oh, I am. Always will be, but there's somthing satisfying about watching Flip kick McHale in the teeth. He was greeted warmly by fans and by the players and then his team proceeded to dominate them. The Pistons played like a team possessed, especially in the second half. Flip was tossed out uncerimoniously and paid his employer back by putting a 24 point hurting on them. I feel bad for KG and Dwayne Casey, but other than that I'm happy the game went down as it did. The Wolves went into the locker room with a lead and some confidence, and then the Pistons went world champion on them and rode them like a crippled bull into the sunset. The Pistons first goal of the second half was to crush the souls of the players on the other team, and they did just that. They made almost 50% of their shots and made 12 threes - on 60% shooting. Sure, the Wolves shot more free throws, but when it was all said and done, the Pistons had turned the game into a team dunk contest.

I always hate watching my team lose because it hurts, but in this case, I was hoping it would be worse. Flip Saunders is the second best thing to happen to the Timberwolves in their history - the first is obvious. When he was kicked to the curb, I was upset because he's a great coach and none of the problems the Wolves had were his fault. He told McHale that when he was fired. But he never made any beef about how he was unfairly let go. Look where it got him. His team is sporting the best record in the league, on pace for 72 wins and they don't look like they're going to slow down. Flip was a nice guy and a consumate professional who will probably be wearing a new ring at season's end. Who says nice guys finish last? This one's head of the pack.

January 24, 2006

Grow Like A Fetus, With No Hands And Feet To Complete Us, And We Return Like Jesus, When The Whole World Need Us...

I don't even have the time to begin talking about The Clan, but take my advice.... if you ever want to get down to the dirty world, check out "Do You Really (Thang Thang)" off The W - Masta Killa's verse in particular. You won't be the same.


Where have you gone when we need you most, Phil from St. Paul?

The Ruler returns to the KGC tonight, with his new team in tow. His team will roundly defeat and embarass our team, but that's to be expected. I personally hope Deadzo has a front-row seat. I hope he watches his failure encompass the game, the team, this city. In what was one of the stupidest moves I've ever seen in modern sports (at least, from a local team, Isaiah YOU'RE EXCLUDED!), Deadzo fired a coach who had taken his team to the playoffs for 8 straight seasons and had gone to the WESTERN CONFERENCE ASS FINALS AND COACHED THE ALL STAR TEAM the year before. He fired him because it was the easy way out, because it was the quickest way to "fix" the problem. I don't believe he thought he would be a better coach, and I don't think he was like Riley in that he always wanted to coach the team, finally saw his opportunity, and iced the previously successful coach. I don't think any of that, because I simply think Deadzo took the simple way, the way that too many stupid GMs take. He fired the coach instead of firing the players. And, to be fair, in that same situation, 80% of NBA GMs would have done the exact same thing.

Look, I'm not saying that if Flip was coaching this team that they would be tops in the West right now. And I'm not saying that Dwane Casey isn't a great coach either. I'm simply saying that Deadzo has been making terrible personnel and team decisions for about 9 years running now.

You have to wonder how much Glen has to do with this. You have to wonder if the money isn't a major factor. Take last year. We could have EASILY traded Spree anywhere, because he was still a good player, and had a huge salary that was coming off the books in the spring. Baron Davis was out there dangling for everyone to see. But then Glen said something important. He said "We will only trade expiring contracts for expiring contracts." And Glen shouldn't be above criticism. Yes, he saved the team from the previous two jackals who meant to drown it like a rat in a tub. And you have to appreciate that he was even willing to take Sam and Spree on in the first place (and sign Kandi, Troy, and Hassell to extensions), because that meant he lost money that year.

But owners always make money. If they didn't, they would sell the team. These are businessmen, and Carl Pohlad and Glen Taylor didn't make their billions by investing and holding companies that lose money. So don't tell me he's going broke, and don't even tell me he didn't make a profit. He's a businessman. He ALWAYS makes a profit.

Let's get back to the point, because I'm wandering. Deadzo has been making bad decisions for a long time. As much as we like Wally, I think we can all agree that he isn't worth the contract (another 4 years and 46 million) he is currently signed to. As much as Troy can rap about Gary Trent being worth every cent, it's probably not a good thing to have him signed for 5 more years to play on this team. And Jaric is signed for 6 years. The point is that he is filling the team with role players, which would be fine, if he WENT AND GOT ANOTHER SCORER. Wally can't make his own shot. It's been the same since the beginning of time. KG is not a scorer. He gets his, but his game is running the goddamned offense. He sets a pick, gets the ball on the elbow, and makes the decisions that only he can make. He's the quarterback, Wally's the wideout. NOW WE NEED A RUNNINGBACK. (I'm sorry. I don't like football either, but it's rolling) But no, what are we stuck with? A bunch of go-hard-all-the-time-with-the-exception-of-Kandi-who sometimes-looks-like-he-is-going-to-the-bathroom-in-his-shorts guys who can, at best, keep games close while waiting for someone to take over. And KG can't do it nearly enough. Someone else has to come in and... well, basically be Sam Cassell.

Players complain about contracts all the time, it's a reality of professional sports. Some are handled quickly and out of the spotlight, some blow up and become gigantic disctractions. The Sam and Spree situation didn't exactly blow out of control, but it was certainly the worst it's been for Wolves basketball. And how did McHale handle it? Well, here we are a year later, and we have Marko Jaric in place of those two players. Spree was allowed to walk away for nothing, oh, and we're down a great coach.

The solution? Take a chance, McHale. You did it with Spree and Sam, and it worked out beautifully. Yeah yeah, we can complain about last year and how it's crippled the franchise, but I watched my boys in the Western Conference Finals in Vegas, and I think I entered heaven for a brief moment. If he can trade for someone to get us to the Finals, I'll gladly put up with a year of sucking again. Glen called it a "failed experiment", and I guess, long-term, it didn't exactly work out. But they got the shot in the arm they needed, stormed out of the first round, and again, I cannot repeat enough - IF SAM WOULD'VE BEEN HEALTHY, WE PROBABLY COULD'VE DEFEATED THE LAKERS. Back to the point, Deadzo needs to take a risk. He needs to look at all the pieces he has, and package a few of them together for an impact player. I don't know what's out there, because I'm not an insider. But if he looks at Troy (still can bring a team a shot off the bench), Kandi (expiring contract and worthless otherwise), Hassell (hate to trade him, but he's building a reputation), Wally (hey, I don't like it, but there are teams who are interested in him), Eddie (it would be awful, but who knows who we could get in return? He gets paid peanuts, and he drinks antifreeze for breakfast), I'm sure he would see that these players - or some combination thereof - would be very attractive to the right team.

Hey, I'm not saying I know anything about what's out there, or who's interested in what. Trade rumors are almost always bullshit, and following them will eventually lead you to the dark side. I'm just saying that Deadzo, for all of his problems, has built a team with a lot of useful parts that he could trade to the right team looking for a change. The opportunity is there. KG is untouchable, and Marko and Mad Dog are untradeable. Beyond that, pretty much anyone on the team has to be in the mix, there has to be conversation.

So quit fucking up and do something, McHale.

(such profanity, for shame!)

January 23, 2006

Let Me Get Out The Copy Machine

Because it's the same God damned thing here too! Wolves go up 19. 19!? And Griff hit a three! It's like lightening striking. They're in control, they're on their way to an easy victory. Then Allen Iverson turns on the "I don't give a fuck show" and here come the Sixers. They score 7 straight, no adjustments are made, no substitutions are made, no time outs are called. Okay, so Casey's just gonna let the quarter ride out. I'm getting nervous, but he's the professional.

9-2 run to end the quarter, Wolves lead is cut to 12 - but they outscored the Sixers in the quarter. Now, if I'm the one on the bench, KG comes in at the start of the fourth to quell this little run by Philly. Dwayne sees it a different way and doesn't react to the surge until it's a 3 point game! WTF!? Make some adjustments, you're letting your team on the floor beat itself! You don't wait until the other team has come all the way back to make adjustments! You do it well before then to prevent the effort from snowballing! Casey did a shitty job coaching in the second half, KG did a shitty job of leading his team in the fourth quarter - DEMAND THE BALL FOR CHRIST SAKE!! Hassell was the only player doing anything productive. Marko had a great first half, then turned into a bullfighting blindman. Wally was transparent and Eddie Griff did his "I've got to leave at halftime so I can shoot at my new girlfriend" and disappeared after the first half.

This game was very similar to the Boston game a week ago. They were up, they looked like they were in control, and then the fourth quarter came and they were left with brown stains in their jocks and piss running down their legs. They were such a strong fourth quarter team for a couple years, it's hard to see them turning back into the team that I watched for the ten years prior to their success.

This team sucks. I can't stand it! McHale is a moron. It blows my mind, like a buddy of mine said, that he's mad about that game lastnight. How can you be mad Deadzo? It's your fault. You're the reason this team sucks. You're the man who put this squad together. Just face it; You can't build a team. You're a great basketball mind, but you're an awful GM. You and Isaiah Thomas are the two stupidest people in the NBA. I mean, Even Rob Babcock is outshining you at this point. Yeah, Rob Babcock. Toronto. Yeah, McFail is that bad. He's never been able to pick when he should shit or get off the pot. We've covered why I think he's a failure so I won't get into it now, but if he doesn't make a move before the deadline, Glen Taylor will have to decide whether to keep Deadzo around or try to lure fans back into the arena. If they don't make a change, more people will stop coming to the games.

I've bled blue and green since 1989 and I won't stop, ever, but watching what McHale is doing to this team is killing me. Watching KG get frustrated each and every night is hard, and the reason he's frustrated is because our GM isn't smart enough to make the deals that need to be made. I mean, this is the guy that wouldn't trade Googs for Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell because he claimed Elden's work ethic wasn't up to par. What!? Okay, so had the opportunity to get rid of an unhappy player, at his peak, for a top tear wing defender and a very good offensive option? Not to mention an average big man to fill the center spot? Elden Campbell would've been the best center to don a Wolves jersey ever! Yeah, he probably would've just edged out Randy Fucking Brewer. So they let Tom go. For nothing. Oh yeah, they he screwed up Terry Porter's deal and we lost him. Thank McHale, you're the best. Sure, he traded for Spree and Sam, but they weren't the great trades everyone gave McHale credit for - those deals fell into his lap. Milwaukee wanted badly to get rid of Cassell and New York really wanted Terrell's $11 million to come of the cap. He's awful, I hate him, and Glen needs to face the music and fire Kevin McHale - friend of his or not. While he's here, we will not succeed. As a matter of fact, any team that Kevin McHale is the GM for will never ever win any kind of championship. Yeah, and quote me on that. I'll eat those words if I have to.

January 22, 2006

Allow me to be the first to say....


The Straw

I can't type much right now because rage slows down my fingers.

I simply cannot believe how this team played when it mattered. The entire game, I thought they were in control, but I was a bit worried, because they've done this before (lead early, then give the game away). But when they went up by 19, that was it. They had it won.

Listening to Bill Walton talk about KG - saying "he'd rather (the world) belong to someone else" - how can I possibly argue with that? KG and the rest (Hassell excluded) played like absolute dog shit in the4th quarter. It was unbelievable. Once again, the team did nothing when they had to, they made no crucial stops, they made no tough baskets. They couldn't shoot a free throw, and their only baskets were because Philly let them into the lane.

It's retarded. I'm so angry right now, because this was the worst collapse of the season. And then, during the last few minutes, they started showing Deadzo. That did it for me. Deadzo, this is all your doing. They don't have a go-to scorer late in the game because you won't trade for one. They have a bunch of strong play-hard guys, but they don't have anyone clutch. KG can't do it. If they would have scored once, just once in those last moments, they would have easily won this game.

Christ, it's just unbelievable. The Nuggets get hot and beat the Spurs, and the Wolves blow a mammoth lead to the Seventy Goddamn Sixers. I have to go cool off.

January 20, 2006

Just So You Understand

I’m assuming that, because you’re reading this blog, you know a thing or two about basketball so you may already understand how amazing a quadruple-double is. I decided to look a little deeper into the box scores to demonstrate how difficult it really is. The triple-double, although amazing, really only requires a player to play hard and get a little lucky. For KG, all he needs is to have teammates make shots because the points and rebounds will take care of themselves. Obviously it’s a very difficult thing to do, but it doesn’t necessarily require any magic. The quad does. Not only does KG have to hope his teammates are making their shots, he also has to have a busy night defensively. But after he gets 5 blocks or steals, whoever’s challenging him is going to think twice about how he’s attacking KG and will probably change his approach, thus making it more difficult to get those next 5. See what I mean? It’s like an experiment in statistics; the more variables you add, the more difficult the outcome is to predict.

Okay, so that’s that, let’s move on.

I decided to take a look at how close anyone has come to achieving the quadruple-double this season. I went through every box score from every game this season. Nobody’s had double digit blocks or steals this season and no one has come close to the quad. I decided to split the numbers in half and see how many guys did that this season. Just to make sure we’re clear, I looked for players who had five in at least four statistical categories – we’ll call it a half-quad. This is what I found:

Of the 565 games played in the NBA this season, there have been 20 games in which a player has had a half-quad. Fifteen different players accomplished the feat, with only three players doing it more than once. Andrei Kirilenko did if four times and Chris Paul and Brevin Knight both did it twice.

10 of the 20 times it happened, the players had double-doubles. Brevin Knight accomplished the half-quad almost to the T; 7pts, 5rebs, 5asts, 5stls. There was one triple-double (LeBron) and one game which featured a half-quint (AK-47). In 11 of the games players filled their stat sheets full – meaning they had at least one in every category.

Three of the players who did it were rookies (Paul, Raymond Felton, Sean May). Of the 15 players, 11 were forwards and the rest were guards. One was an MVP (Tim Duncan) and four others have been named to an All-Star team (Dwayne Wade, Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce). The rest: Darius Miles, Andre Miller, Lamar Odom.

It seems that as players play more complete games (meaning filling up the stats sheet), their overall numbers drop. When you’re handing out more assists, you’re not taking as many shots. When you’re playing to steal the ball, you may not get as many rebounds. As you do more, you do less? Maybe, in a certain frame of thought. The point is that it’s difficult to get a half-quad, let alone a quadruple-double. When it happens, it really is magic.

January 19, 2006

Get Me On The Court And I'm Trouble, Last Week Fucked Around And Got A Triple Double

The double-double has become a standard in today’s NBA game. If you’re to be an All-NBA Teamer, you almost have to average one. Four of the five first teamers averaged double-doubles, with the only exception being Dirk Nowitzki. KG, a 2nd team member, also averaged a double-double. If the Wolves don’t flop as badly as they did, Garnett may have replaced Dirk on the 1st team, but we’re not here to take anything away from anyone. The point is that the great players do and almost always have averaged a double-double. Wilt, Kareem, Russell, Malone. They all did it. Clearly there are exceptions, most notably, His Airness, but for the most part they all score and pass or rebound.

The triple-double is yet another feat of basketball greatness and no one did it better than Oscar Robertson. He’s the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a whole season, and will probably be the last. There are more teams now and the game has changed over the past 20 years. Just like Wilt droppin’ a hundo, Big O’s record will probably stand for a very, very long time, if not for eternity. Guys like Jason Kidd and the pre-injury Grant Hill have been the guys over the past 10 years who have messed around and got a triple double most frequently. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were the big dogs after O and Wilt left the game. KG, LeBron, Kobe, and C-Webb are guys who are triple-double threats every night because of the skills they each possess. The triple-double has sort of becomes a personal achievement for many players. Guys like Bob Sura and Ricky Davis were so desperate to attain that stat that they embarrassed themselves and the game by trying to get theirs outside of the rules of the game. They’re idiots, so it’s sad for the game, but not so much for them.

There is another level to this, which is where this whole rant is headed; the rare and amazing quadruple-double. This freak of statistical nature has only been accomplished four times since the NBA started tracking steals and blocks (1974). Nate Thurmond did it in that year, Alvin Robertson did it in 1986, Hakeem Olajuwon did it in 1990, and David Robinson did it in 1994. Thurmond, The Dream, and The Admiral did it with points, rebound, assists, and blocks. Alvin Robertson replaced blocks with steals. I watched Hakeem get his and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever watched. I only hope that the next time it happens I’ll be watching.

So who's got a shot? Who should I be watching?

I decided to break players down into three categories. Players in their prime, players past their prime, and players on the rise.

Players in their prime – These are the guys most likely to do it now.

Kevin Garnett (22.6ppg 13.1rpg 5.4apg last five seasons)
KG has been the man over the past 5 years. He became the first player since Bill Russell to lead the league in total points and total rebounds in 2002. He led the league in double-doubles last year with 69 – that’s 84% of the games he played in. He’s recorded 16 triple-doubles in his career and has fallen one assist or rebound short countless times. He’s a threat to do it on any given night. KG recorded 7 steals in a game and has blocked 8 shots twices. He’s probably not going to do it with steals, but on a special night he could accomplish a quad with blocks.

Games to watch – Jan 25 vs. Memphis, Feb 10 vs. Utah They get their shots rejected more frequently than any other teams

Tim Duncan (22.7ppg 12.3rpg 3.4apg 2.63bpg .75spg)
TD has been Mr. Consistancy throughout this career. He’s averaged a double-double every year, but has only collected two triple-doubles. Although he may not be a nightly threat to mess around, he’s the kind of player that is capable of exploding and having a special night. Duncan probably won’t do it with steals, but he’s a shot blocking machine. He clearly can score and rebound, so all Timmy would need would be for Manu or Parker to get hot when the Spurs are playing a lot of inside-out basketball. He grew up in the mold of D-Rob, so he’s got the magic, and he knows how to play the game better than anyone in the game right now. Plus, five times he’s recorded 8 blocks!

Games to watch – Jan 24 vs. Charlotte, Feb 8 vs. Toronto Both these teams are among the worst in the league in opponent apg, opponent fg%, and getting their shots blocked.

Allen Iverson (29.6ppg 4rpg 6.6apg .16bpg 2.53spg)
Since moving over to the point guard position, AI’s career has taken yet another step. Not only is he a threat to drop 60 on a team, but he’ll do it handing out 12 assists too. As he’s matured, he’s gotten better and better. He wears out his defenders on the offensive end, then takes advantage of their fatigue on the defensive end. The Answer hasn’t ever blocked more than 13 shots in any given season, but he’s averaged over 2spg game his entire career and has had two games in which he’s had 9 steals.

Games to watch – Mar 8 vs. Boston, Mar 22 vs. Atlanta They are the worst and third worst teams in tpg and opponent spg

Dwayne Wade (21.9ppg 5rpg 6.1apg .8bpg 1.61spg)
It probably wasn’t a surprise that he is as good as he is, but certainly the Heat thought they might have to wait a year or two. They were wrong. D-Wade would’ve been ROY if he’d been in a draft class that didn’t include LeBron. He’s only been in the league three years but he’s already a triple-double threat every night. He’s got one this season and has a handful of near misses. With Shaq protecting the basket, Wade can take more chances on the wings and stay in passing lanes to pick up steals. He’s not going to block 10 shots in a game, but don’t count him out before you’ve checked your wallet. What I mean, is the boy is a thief! He’s had two games in which he’s picked six pockets.

Games to watch – Feb 6 vs. Boston, Feb 27 vs. Toronto Both teams are towards the bottom in tpg and opponent ppg.

Players past their prime – The guys whose best days are probably behind them

Jason Kidd (15.8ppg 6.9rpg 9apg .24bpg 2.03spg)
For the past 10 years, Kidd’s been the king of the triple-double, collecting 67 of them in his career – 29 in a Nets uniform. He’s probably the best rebounding guard in the NBA and is one of the premier passers the game has ever seen. Although his best days are probably behind him, he’s still capable of the quad, especially against a poor passing team. He’s had 6 steals in 18 games over his career. I for one believe there’s still some gas in the tank.

Chris Webber (21.5ppg 9.8rpg 4.7apg 1.08bpg 1.49spg)
Regardless of his ability to call timeouts at the correct times, C-Webb is a solid, all around basketball player. He does a fair amount of everything and has recorded 22 triple-doubles during his tenure in the NBA. Webber’s entire career has been marred by injuries and he certainly isn’t getting any younger, but with the scoring load lightened, he just may be able to focus more on the rest of his game. He had 9 blocks in a game and has had 8 steals in two games.

Grant Hill (17.8ppg 5.8rpg 3.6apg .39bpg 1.21spg)
Clearly his best years are behind him, but he showed last season that he’s still got some game. Before his 3 year ankle injury shattered his career – no pun intended – he was putting up LeBron James type numbers (26ppg 6rpg 6apg). In those six seasons Hill had 29 triple-doubles and was considered by many to be the most complete player in the game. He would need a magical night like, say, the 1991 All-Star game – pun definitely intended – but there is still a slim chance Grant Hill could do it. He’s had 6 steals in multiple games and has blocked four shots in a handful as well.

Antoine Walker (18.1ppg 7.4rpg 4.2apg .58bpg 1.15spg)
Some of you may think I’m crazy for talking about Toine seriously here, but hear me out. On Miami, it’s not possible, unless he becomes the #1 or #2 option on the team. He would also have to have the offense run through him. I’d say he’d have to end up with Paul Pierce again, to have a shot, but he’s a pretty good all-around player, minus shooting percentage and shot selection. Walker has recorded four triple-doubles in his career and would get more in a place like Toronto or Atlanta. He’s had 4 blocks in 6 games over his career and he picked six pockets in a game a few years ago. I know, it’s a long shot, but he’s got the skill set.

Players on the rise – These are future candidates

Chris Paul (16.1ppg 5.8rpg 7.2apg.03bpg 2.22spg)
Imagine if Jason Kidd was a rookie again. Okay? That’s Chris Paul. He certainly surprised a lot of people with how quickly he developed into a game changing player. Everyone knew he was NBA ready, but not this NBA ready. He’s so quick it’s hard for other players to keep up, especially when he’s playing defense. As he gets older, expect his game-high 5 steals to get closer to 10. If the Hornets keep building around him, I expect he’ll be recording triple-doubles by the bunches.

Andre Iguodala (10ppg 5.7rpg 2.9apg .5pbg 1.66spg)
Hey! I can see you glaring at me. This kid is solid. He’s a great role-type player that’s beginning to turn into a game changer. He’s a great defender, he gets out on the break, and he’s becoming a better offensive player. He recorded a triple-double last season – as a rookie. He is the only player in Pac-10 history to record more than one triple double in a season with 3. Jason Kidd had 4 in one year at Cal as well. He’s probably the farthest away from it, but keep an eye on him because he’s capable of filling up a box score quickly.

Dwight Howard (12.8ppg 10.8rpg 1apg 1.6bpg .92spg)
He’s 20. He’s in his second season and he’s going to average another double-double. Howard may be slight of frame but the kid can play in the post, on both sides of the ball. If he can develop into a better passer and when the offense starts to go through him, he’ll have a shot at it. He had 7 blocks in a game last season. People will always challenge him at the rim because he’s not a behemoth, but he’s a very good defender who will only get better with age.

LeBron James (25.3ppg 6.5rpg 6.5apg .7bpg 1.87spg)
Many of you are probably asking why I put Dwayne Wade on the ‘Now’ list instead of LeBron. Two reasons. The first is Shaquille O’neal. Ilgauskas is not nearly as intimidating as Shaq is, thus giving Wade the ability to take more chances in the passing lanes out on the wings. The second reason is that Wade is a better defender. The four years he spent in college helped prepare him to play the defense that he does. LeBron is probably capable now, but in a year or two he’ll probably be the most likely to accomplish the quad. He’s certainly good enough, but as his defense and team improve, so will his chances. 7 steals one game, 5 blocks the next, Bron-Bron will eventually be the best player in the league, if he’s not already.

What’s next!? Quintuple-double!? Naw, You Serious!?

Andrei Kirilenko (13.6ppg 6.3rpg 2.4apg 2.5bpg 1.62spg)
The Russian assassin. AK-47. Dr. Dre. Call him what you want but, in the words of Stuart Scott, call him money! When he’s healthy, he’s as dangerous as anyone. He’s not going to drop 60 on you, but he’ll put the ball back in your face 10 times and dish out 10 dimes. Other than block shots, he doesn’t do a lot of anything, but he does do a fair amount of everything. He just became the first Russian to record a triple-double in the NBA and trust me, it will not be his last. As the Jazz continue to build this team, AK will become a constant threat to go Ice Cube on anyone. The keys for him will be staying healthy and staying on management to keep him surrounded with good players. He’s had 3 games in which he’s blocked 8 shots, and recorded 8 steals in a game in 2003. Don’t count LeBron out here either, assuming this ever happens.

Finishing up…

Realistically, someone will complete the quadruple-double again and, as realistically, no one will probably complete the quintuple-double, but it doesn’t mean it’s not fun to think about. It’s too bad that assists and blocks weren’t recorded before 1974 because I’d bet that Wilt and Russell probably did have a couple of quads each. What would be really amazing would be to see a double-triple. 100 points and 100 rebounds in a game. Maybe could’ve happened back in Wilt’s day, but probably not in the days of Shaq. Oh well, we can always dream.

I'd say it was a good day...

January 18, 2006

I Breaks Em Off, I Breaks Em Off - Cheap, Deadly As Jason On Friday The Thirteenth...

So when Chief Snacks goes out of town for a few days, apparently the Wolves decide to EAT SUGAR AND HAVE THEMSELVES SOME TREATS, SON!!!

Again, we take every game as just a game, no more and no less. And if you used one game to judge their opponents, it would look like this:

New York Knicks - Failures
Denver Nuggets - Failures

So, yeah. Tonight is a dip against the Celtics, and then life gets incredibly difficult. Check this out: Indiana, Philly, Detroit, Memphis, Houston, San Antonio. All bookended by the pathetic Green Machine. How sad they have become. Hey, you think they want to give up Double P? He can't be worth much, right? Kandi is going to fit in great.

When rumors like "Mark Blount (from now on to be spelled 'Blunt') for Michael Olowokandi" get tossed out there, the headlines should really read "Which GM is dumber?" Because honestly, trades like these are just admissions to stupidity. Deadzo would be admitting to failing with Kandi (the failing of Kandi combined with the failing of Deadzo would make even the 97 Bulls fail), and Ainge would be admitting to failing with Blunt. So there are no winners. If Deadzo makes any moves, he admits to failing... by trading Sam away he put himself without a great 2nd/3rd scoring option. If he makes a move to get another one, he will be admitting he was wrong to trade him. That's the rub on NBA GMs. They don't think 3 or 4 moves ahead. "HEY! We need a point guard RIGHT NOW!!! What about that young girl who plays for the Lakers? Tyronn Lue!!! Yeah, that's it! Sign her NOW!!!" Deadzo is different though, because he underreacts until it's too late. Remember how long Anthony Motherfucking Peeler was on this team? How about Joe Smith? And he STARTED. Remember Will Avery, or Felipe Lopez? Those guys hung around WAYYYYYYY longer than they have with any other team. That's Deadzo's Wolves for you. Whereas most teams identify their core and bring in bit players every year to fill in gaps, Deadzo sticks with his entire team to the bitter end. I'm not saying that's bad. But I am saying that we know he's not going to make any moves, so we're stuck with this team. Last season the Hornets practically killed someone to get rid of Baron Davis and his contract. Deadzo could have had him for Spree or some other insignificant piece. Instead, he fired the coach. That was the stupidest thing I've seen out of Wolves basketball, and I watched them draft Christian "This is my special friend" Laettner. If the team is going to improve, Deadzo either needs to become a better GM, or trade with someone who is not as smart as him.

Luckily, this is the NBA, and a guy like Deadzo, who by all accounts would be fired from his job if he worked ANYWHERE ELSE, can still be middle of the pack when it comes to GMs. For every Deadzo who would trade Wally for a pickup player at the Y, there's an Elgin Baylor - who sits on his hands so much you'd think he had discovered a new method of self-manipulation.... wait. I'm treading into sex-talk here. Let's just end on this: for the Wolves to make any sort of upgrade this season, they are going to have to make a major trade, which probably means Wally, and definitely Kandi or Eddie. I have no idea what's out there right now, so I can't comment on that. But knowing that - that it's going to take a GM who has a sack and is willing to make a move even if it means taking a huge chance - we shouldn't hold our breath. Deadzo will probably just do what he always does around this time of year:


(Awwwwwwwww, that's not nice!)

January 13, 2006

I'm Tired...

I'm tired of watching opposing point guards skipping and prancing into the lane.

I'm tired of watching opposing centers grab all the rebounds they want - atleast when KG isn't in the game.

I'm tired of watching Marko playing without consistant confidence

I'm tired of watching the defense consistantly play well while the offense sputters

It's so hard to watch a team that I so undyingly love, fall short night after night. It's amazing how quickly you forget past failure once you've achieved success and how hard it is when you slip back and all you can do is think about "what-if" scenarios. I want to watch this team succeed. I want to see them play to their potential - I guess I already might be. I want to see KG happy. I want to see a ring on his finger. True, as they are, he's not going to get one here, but I want that to change. I want Glen to either slap Deadzo and make him change his ways, or show him something in the alley out the back door - is Gary Trent lurking with a boxcutter? I want the organization to recommit to success. I want them to make another move that has the impact of the Sam and Spree deal. Sure that didn't work out in the long run, but I still feel it was a good move at the time. It brought KG some much needed help. I'm glad they're gone now, after last season, but they were exactly what this team needed. Marko was a good trade, but not the type that will bring KG back to the playoffs. Atleast not without another piece. I presume Glen is a little nervous after the Sam/Spree experiment didn't work out, but I hope the memory of that deal doesn't haunt this franchise for the next 5 years.

I just want the best for Kevin Garnett. I want him to succeed. I want him to be happy. I want him in a Wolves uniform. Like he said, we should rename Target Center, The Kevin Garnett Center, because when it comes right down to it, that's what it is.

Man, I'm tired....

January 11, 2006

A pick-up game, 1 hour in

That is what the start of last night's Wisconsin/Minnesota game looked like. And those are the facts: A Top 20 team was cold to start the game and we were consistently behind. Almost every shot was short, with minimal aim. Monson coached as if he was on laughing gas with Art Howe. And what upset me the MOST was the fact that fans didn't give a shit.

It has been reported that the fans were less than concerned during a loss to Northwestern at home. Despite thoughts otherwise, the scrappy students from outside Chicago have defeated our Gophers FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. Now, despite reports about rampant illness, my biggest concern was the fans who watched this and apparently didn't care. The same fucking fans that CHEER the Gophers as the go to the locker room when the 'U' had 17 points in the half, cutting the lead to 8. Musburger was attempting to blow himself (again) but it hit me.

Why are they cheering? These guys played like shit!

Were they cheering the final 3 minutes? Wisconsin missing shots? Well, it was the 11-0 run. But the biggest problem in all of this, if we're staying with the fan's viewpoint, is their age. It is considered the golden age of Gopher basketball, the early 70s. There was spotlights, ice chunk fights, and Bill Musselman eating popcorn and wearing a biker jacket as he watched the opposing team warm up. The Barn was packed with youth, students and 20 year olds. The place rocked. (So I'm told. But you do research. It's my job, after all)

That was 35 years ago. At best, the average age is in their mid-50s, if not older. Not figuring in the older bros and sisters that still follow the team, and we're talking an area filled with 60 year olds in the majority. And when a team needs a kick in the ass to get it going, well, it would be impolite to do so.

Naturally the Gophers played better in the second half - it would be hard not to. But in-between the insisted breakaway fouls (Monson must insist on this, creating possibilities for a 3 point play every time Wisconsin was 1 on 1 in a breakaway) and the lazy attempts at offensive rebounds (maybe it will come to me!) there's plenty of time in the future to analyze this team. Fans, those under the age of 40, I demand you stand up. And yell. Call the officials by their first name so they turn around. Cheer so the cheerleaders look you in the eye. Let the old fucks yell that they can't see the game. Tell them to move, or better yet, go home.

Ah fuck, I'm just pissed off because we lost.

January 10, 2006

Something's Gotta Happen

What I thought at the beginning of the season was that the Wolves would hover around .500 all season and maybe make the playoffs. Well, the .500 prediction was a good one, although becoming hard to swallow. I'm still having a hard time adjusting from the expectations that were set two years ago when the Wolves made their run into the Western Conference Finals (It still hurts to wonder what would've happened had Sam been healthy). Last season was murder. Watching Sam and Spree loaf around all season was really hard to watch. Watching Deadzo coach a team that should've been manned by Flip Saunders (hey, he owns the best record in the league) was like watching a corpse having sex with a blow up doll. They were equally as talented last year as the season before, but KG was the only one that cared. This season, in that regard, is a breath of fresh air and yet still hard to watch. It's tough to watch a team that, for the most part, tries and has fun playing basketball, struggle.

Like I said at the beginning, I expected to watch this team struggle. New coach, new system, new focus. Not to mention a new point guard, injuries healed, and adjusting to life without Spree and Sam who created such problems in the locker room that it may take the whole season to fix them. It's clear that Casey's system is working, but it's also clear that the players are still adjusting to it - especially on offense. Marko has not adjusted as quickly to his starting role with the club as we would've hoped. He still looks lost sometimes, or like he's going to cry because it's so hard. He's played very inconsistantly which has choked the offense as of late. Wally had a rough start to the year but has regained his deft shooting touch from everywhere. Casey has been playing Hassell sporadically which has affected his game. When he's playing good minutes, his production is good, but it takes him a little time to get himself a rhythm. The rotation has been paired down, which is good, but a lot of the guys look like they don't know how much they're going to play each night and it's certainly taken a toll on the team offensively. The team doesn't have an identity, or much of one other than their stingy defense. Are the a tough team? A finesse team? We all know they can play defense, but it doesn't seem like they're playing with an edge. They care about the games, that's obvious, but it's like they are still trying to get used to the new attitude and until they do, the edge they need will not be there.

So what can they do? They need to get another scorer. Another playmaker. Someone to help define this squad as a team. Ron Artest would certainly bring a positive edge to the team on the court. His offcourt antics and general insanity may be too much for Wolves locker room right now. Another guy who would help define our Wolves would be Paul Pierce. He's clearly a great scorer, he rebounds, passes, and even defends - a little. He wants to win and he wants to do it now. Boston looks like they're trending more and more towards a total youth movement, which may mean Pierce is becoming more available. He would give us an incredible #2 scoring option next to KG, but if we have to give up Wally to do so, it may not fix our need for a third scorer. We might be able to dump Kandi and Troy in the deal too. Kandi, Troy and a 1st round pick for Pierce would be an amazing deal. Of course the corpse on our end wouldn't do it, even if Boston would. I'd take Ricky Davis at this point. Or what about Flip Murray in Seattle? Damien Wilkins even. Something has to happen, otherwise the Wolves are looking at hovering around .500 for the next 5 years and KG won't take it.

January 6, 2006

I Never Ever Ever Made A Hoe Stay, But I'm Down With Dre Like AC Is Down With OJ

That might be the best rap song ever recorded.

So Dwane Casey. He's a good coach, and my feeling is that he is exactly what this team needs right now. His stressing of defense is peculiar. I don't mean that in a bad way, but Flip used to talk a lot about defense, and he used to say that he stressed it quite a bit during post-game interviews and what-not. But Casey actually DOES stress defense, which is very different than Flip just saying it. This is absolutely not a knock on Flip. He was a fantastic coach and I wish he was still here. Casey really does live defense though, and it's worked so far this year.

Any time there is a change in coaches, there is usually a change in philosophy as well. Casey and Flip are both good coaches, but they stress different things. Flip's motion offense is long gone, replaced with Casey's pick-and-roll, swing-the-ball offense. Flip's zones are still here somewhat, but Casey is much quicker with his defensive shifts, and as a result, there has been much less penetration by point guards this season. It's always interesting to think what this team would look like with Flip coaching it... or anyone else for that matter. Last year point guards blew by Sam and Troy just about whenever they wanted. While it's very easy and certainly proper to blame Sam for not trying and Troy for being so dumb, eventually we must evaluate how Flip dealt with that (I don't remember anyone else coaching the Wolves last season, so don't even try it). Well, it seemed as though Flip put more emphasis on help defense than Casey, constantly reminding his point guards that they had help behind them. And they did, certainly. The problem was that Sam would ole a point guard past him down the lane, KG would step up for a block, and the point guard would either dish to the perimeter or to the center inside for an easy dunk. If he went to the perimeter, the shooting guard would likely be open, because Spree had stopped trying after the 3rd game of the year. With Casey's system, Troy and Marko know they've got help behind them, but it seems like they are also accountable within the greater system. They know they need to rotate to cover open shooters, they know what to do when the defense breaks down (which it does MUCH less than last year). Casey will shift to a zone on a whim, and back to man-defense when the situation warrants it. Eddie G looks a thousand times more confident and stable on defense, even Kandi shows discipline in the defensive post. KG is always KG, and we don't need to worry about him. The Wolves are playing excellent team defense, and that's really the product of Casey's philosophy. The entire team relies on one another, and as long as everyone works hard, there are usually good results. They have defensive problems, hell, who doesn't? But they are much more disciplined, and play a better rotational defense than most teams in the NBA.

On offense, Casey uses his bench differently, but effectively. He has players who legitimately go into his "doghouse". Troy takes a few games off, and Casey will put him on the end of the bench. AC has gone in and out of favor a few times already this year. Right now, Kandi is languishing on the pine, which makes me smile and beam. Casey has tightened up the lineup too; gone are the days of putting Gary Trent in and letting him do whatever he wants. If Casey was coaching Gary Trent, he would never get in the game, ever. Look at Skita. He's played in what, one game this year? He isn't playing because he sucks and doesn't play defense. Casey is saying "Hey Deadzo, just because you get enamored with a guy because of a good summer league game and sign him to a stupid contract doesn't mean I have to play him, dumbo." And it's great. Guys who play hard get playing time, simple. Guys who don't fit (sadly, Madsen is one of them) aren't getting the time.

I can't say I've thought that Casey has pulled any brilliant moves yet this season, but that's not to say he's not a good coach. I trust him to make defensive adjustments between quarters and halves, and I trust him to not let games get out of hand (only two blowout losses so far). You cannot make an argument that this team is more talented than last year, however through 19 games, they are only 1 game behind last year's pace. Throw out all arguments about Sam, Spree and Deadzo and look at what Casey is getting out of this team. He certainly hasn't been a miracle worker, but he's very solid. He's actually more similar to Flip than different: his demeanor and his handling of the team basically mimic Flip. It's simple - Flip and Casey are not "teachers" in the classic sense of the word. They don't waste their time working with players to hone skills. This is the NBA, and these athletes should know how to do things at this stage in their careers. Larry Brown is on the other side of this spectrum, he teaches his players techniques and different ways of playing that they never learned before. Nobody is arguing with his success. But KG and Wally and most of the rest don't need anymore basketball lessons (Kandi needs to go to one of Fred Hoiberg's kids camps during the offseason and learn how to play the sport, but he's the only one), what the team needs is a coach who uses what players do best in the best way. A coach who recognizes Wally's unique talents and caters plays and sets to him. And above all, they needed defensive confidence. They needed to make it a priority, to make that their identity.

And they have. They are a defensive stopping team, and it's wonderful to watch. Here's to the rest of the season, may it continue to be fun to watch.

January 5, 2006

This has to be preserved...

Vin Baker owes his agent money

Yeah, whatever. Here is the quote:

Goodwin did not want to comment on Baker’s career or personal issues, but two sources say that in the latter stages of his career, Baker had taken to get part of his alcohol fix by drinking mouthwash.
“He thought he was fooling people because they couldn’t smell the alcohol on his breath, just the mouthwash,” said one.
Celtics personnel also reported Baker coming to practice smelling of mouthwash and unable to perform properly.

Words will do no good here.

This Ain't A Blast From The Past, It's A Boomer From The Future

1. Some day, you will die.
2. You have to pay your taxes
3. Eventually, you knew you were getting EPMD lyrics. Don't act surprised.

Closed circuit to the Dallas Mavericks:


KG drops crazy bombs and Terry looked like he was tying his shoes all night, because Marko TOOK HIS SMARTIES, YO! Eddie G pulled down 8 and only had one foul, unlike a certain idiot who also plays center for the Wolves (hint: not Mark Madsen). KG's defense was intense all the way through, in fact most everyone was cutting it up on D. I, like my cohort, love it when the Wolves hold a team to less than 80 points, especially when it's a big dog like Dallas.

The win is that and only that, a win. There is no reason to think this will catapult them into the upper echelon of western conference teams. But, as has been repeated many different times on this site, last season broke my ability to cheer for this team any longer than ONE GAME AT A TIME. And so that is the life we have chosen, so let's rejoice in it, eh? It was a great win last night, on a night when Vegas probably lost A LOT of money due to the long legged.... quarterback for the Horns, and we should examine it for what it was: a very quality win. And that's all. Now then, on Friday and Saturday, the Wolves are going to play basketball games that they are likely to lose. Badly. If they can come out of Texas (where it's possible that every single citizen is drunk right now, Vince UP!) with one win, just one, against either of these teams, it will be a great accomplishment.

But, not greater than any other win.

Ahhh, this feels good. I like doing this. I don't enjoy fretting over a whining, old, hurt, non-trying malcontent and a gangster who used to be good but is now no longer good at basketball but has spinning rims. I like enjoying each win, savoring it, and most importantly, perhaps the best thing about sports: I enjoy watching them play basketball.

Except when Kandi's on the court. Then I change the channel.


Wolves 91 Mavs s 78

Good job boys. Nice win. I love when our opponent can't score more than 80 points. I'm just glad they've taken a break from the whole "getting beat by 30" thing. Marko finally stopped feeling sorry for himself and lit up Dallas like a new years ball. KG and Wally did their things, and T-Hass got his (yeah kid! keep gittin' some!).

Do you know who needs kicking in the groin? Yeah, you guessed it; Michael Olowokandi.

20 minutes, no points, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls. Awful. There is no excuse for him being so bad. He's horrible. I hate him. 5 fouls? Against Erick Dampier? He's barely better than Kandi and yet, he made him look like a stool. What I mean by stool is the brown treats you find in your shorts.

Eddie Griff? 19 minutes, 5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 foul. So, if we could double Eddie's playing time and sell Kandi for a pack of Kools, we could have a double-double threat every night.

I know I spend a lot of time ripping Kandi, but he deserves it because he's so awful.

Man, I could use a smoke

January 3, 2006

Flaming Dazzlers And Dudes Named Dwayne

Dwayne Jones. He just got called up and he's gonna be flashing his T-Wolves colors soon. He's been in the DL - no, he's not hurt, he's been in the Ghetto League. Curious to see what he's been up to, I looked at his stats. Damn kid! I know it's the "I'm not good enough to play in the good league" but still.

In 10 games:

11.6rpg (2nd)
2.2bpg (1st)

So those are some pretty solid numbers. In those 10 games he's recorded 5 double-doubles, collected 11 rebounds in 12 minutes, two games with 4 blocks, and even had himself 18 and 21 rebound games. I know he's 22 and he's young and he's playing in the slow league, but still, I'm pretty sure those are better numbers than Kandi could put up against Jr Highschoolers.

Did I mention Kandi sucks?