October 30, 2009

How Did I Miss This!!??

Mark Madsen was recently hired as an assistant coach for the Utah Flash of the NBDL. He talked about it here.

I have to say that reading this news makes me very happy. Mad Dog seems like such a great person so it's nice that he's getting an opportunity to coach - which he apparently likes very much.

So cheers Mad Dog! Good luck with the Utah Flash. The only advice I can give you is to stick to teaching them basketball and not dance moves.

October 29, 2009

Game Notes - Wolves 95 Nets 93

Halfway through the third quarter we almost left. If Condor hadn't returned to our seats carrying beers, we probably would have. And we would've been sorry we had.

For most of the first 30 minutes of the game, the new edition Wolves mostly resembled their 15-win predecessors. They seemed out-matched at every position and looked pathetically bad on the defensive end of the floor - too many lay-up, dunks, and and-ones. But then New Jersey, being the poor-quality team that they are, went to sleep and Kurt Rambis loosened the reigns on the team and - POW! What once was a 19-point deficeit turned into a 2-point victory. It really was a fun game to watch. Well, a fun fourth quarter to watch anyways. A W is a W, as they say, and since we may not see too many of those this season I'll take it. Plus it's always nice to start off the season on the right foot.

"Running" the Triangle Offense

It's pretty clear that most of the players are still pretty clueless on how the Triangle works and, with all the nuances it has, that's completely understandable. That being said, they looked uncomfortable and disjointed when trying to run plays - many of which ended up with someone taking a Kobe-esque shot with the shot clock winding down. It seemed that the two guys taking on the MJ/Kobe role in the Wolves version were Corey Brewer (Kobe) and Damien Wilkins (MJ). So, from this point on, that's how we'll be referring to those two.

"United We Run"

That's the team's slogan this year. It's not a bad slogan. It tells me, the fan, that you're going to get up and down the floor, score a lot, and probably be a pretty fun team to watch, even when it doesn't add up to wins. Of course, if you're not what you've advertised, then of course, maybe you should consider changing it. It took the Wolves almost 3 quarters to get their running game going. Usually running teams run for a MAJORITY of the game, not 30% of the game. Once they started running, they owned the game, turning a blow-out loss into a last-second win. But what sparked the change you ask?

Pressure, pressure pressure

While they were getting owned in the paint early and often, once the Wolves started successfully pressing the Nets, they started forcing turnovers - which make running much easier. They forced 22 turnovers (while only comitting 10 of their own by the way). Sure, the Nets aren't a very good team, but 22 is still a lot of turnovers. Forcing those turnovers did two things. First, it didn't allow the Nets to get into their offense - aka give the ball to Brook Lopez and let him do whatever he wants. Secondly, it led to a lot more fast-breaks and open floor plays - and LESS of the unknown Triangle offense. The youngsters benefited from that by getting a lot of easy shots, while not giving as many of them up.

Jonny Flynn can fly!

If you watched him play at Syracuse last year, you already know how quick Flynn can be. Normally that level of quickness isn't as prevalent at the NBA level, unless your name is TJ Ford. Well, add Flynn's name to that list. Once he got the nervous butterflies out he pretty much got by anyone at will, to the point where he was a little too quick for his own good. He's also a pesky defender and definitely plays the game with a TON of energy.

What you may have also noted by his performances in college - specifically the 6 OT game against Uconn - is how clutch the kid can be. Well, in his first NBA game, he scored 13 of his 18 points in the fouth quarter - 11 of which came in the final run that won the game. He was also charged with taking the game-winning shot and, even though he missed it, there was no fear in that shot. I really like what I see so far out of him.

Corey Brewer, meet Felton Spencer

I'm trying SO hard to like Corey Brewer, I really am. He's a nice kid who plays with a lot of energy, and he knows how to win. But he can't make a layup to save his life. On more than one occasion when we went in for a layup the ball came out of his hands like he had wooden blocks strapped to them - like when you go up for a layup, the ball slips out of your hand, so you try to bat it up towards the rim. It was awful. Of course, he did hit the jumper that gave the Wolves a 92-91 lead towards the end of the game, so I guess he can make them when he needs to? But enough about what he can't do.

The Wolves Kobe can get up and down the floor. He was all over the place - for better and worse. On one play he stripped the ball loose in the corner and was the first guy down the floor. He recieved a pass just inside the three line, did a nice spin dribble - right into a double-team and got his shot blocked. If he can fix the layup problems, he'll be fine - but I'm afraid that still a pretty big if.

Al Jefferson is injured

Don't let the fantasy basketball notes fool you. He is NOT healthy. No way. He was limping around the court all night, grimacing any time there was a stop in play. He was WAY behind on defense, even for Al Jefferson. He doesn't look like he can jump and spent most of the night settling for shots out of his range.

He needs to get deeper in the post, where he can be effective, and he needs to learn how to pass out of double-teams. Most of all though, he needs to be sitting on the bench, resting until that achillies is healed.

The last thing the franchise needs is it's franchise player suffering another season-ending injury.

October 28, 2009

And Here We...Go

Ahh, who DOESN'T love the start of the NBA season? A time of fresh beginnings, new starts, the evil, burnt, dead, awful, embarassing, taste of previous failure is but a faint memory. Especially when the last of the Walking Dead have been removed from your teams front office.

With a new GM, new coach, and new philosophy, our beloved Wolves move into somewhat exciting territory tonight with the opening of the 2009-10 season. There's our exciting new rookie Jonny Flynn, the return of Big Al, not to mention our new head coach Kurt Rambis - apparently the Wolves will be running the Triangle offense this year...

Of course with no players with any notable experience in the triangle offense, the depth issues everywhere but the poing guard position, not knowing how Big Al will bounce back from major knee surgery - not to mention the currently-sore achillies, it's looking like wins will be a little rare this season. The injury to Kevin Love doesn't help either.

But that's okay. We, as fans, don't expect much success from them this season - success meaning wins, playoffs, etc. We only expect to see solid effort every night, an exciting brand of basketball that is fun to watch, even when you're losing. We expect to see some growth in the games of Jefferson and Love, we hope to see Corey Brewer find something resembling a jump shot - even remotely. We expect to see Flynn get major minutes. Above all else we expect to see a team - from front office to ball boy - give 100% effort every night. We expect you to earn the money we fans pay to watch this team play. If you lose, that's fine - as long as it was hard fought.

We on this blog are excited for this season to get underway. There are going to highs and lows - and uber lows - but the offseason action has told us one, very important thing: We're heading in the right direction. And right now, that's all that matters.

So bring on the Nyets, and let's get this thing underway!