Waiting for Wiggins: Day 23 of 30

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Patience is a big part of this Waiting for Wiggins, thirty-day period of time. It is required of the teams involved, as well as their fans and media.

Patience, or, more accurately, IMpatience, is also a big reason why I think that trading Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins is a good thing for Timberwolves fans. (Even if we somehow knew that Love would stay here long term.)

Allow me to explain.

I read recently that on a typical day, people today “take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986.”

That sounds entirely crazy, until you think about the ways we consume information today. Television and cable news, internet stories, emails, and for a lot of us, especially Twitter. There is a good conversation to be had about whether the quantity of information we consume comes at the expense of the quality or depth of it, but regardless, it is difficult to dispute the fact that people digest a larger amount of raw information today than we did in the past.

I think it logically follows that these new sources of media, especially Twitter, have caused people to have a harder time with information-consuming or even entertainment-observing tasks that take a long time. I’m not going to do the research to back this up, but I’m pretty sure people read fewer novels than they used to and probably even watch fewer movies. Instead, TV series’s have become all the rage. 45 to 60 minutes is a more manageable time segment than the 120 required for a full-length feature film, or the dozens of hours required to finish a book.

In sports, baseball was “America’s Game” for almost a full century.

No more. The season is long and the pace is slow. Joe Sports Fan prefers football, which has plays that last only a few seconds before providing a 30-second break. Or basketball, where the games are about 1 hour shorter than a baseball game, and much more packed with action.

What does this have to do with Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins?

Nothing, and yet everything.

I got bored last year. Maybe you did, too. NBA seasons are long. Too long. And last year’s team quickly established its identity as a first-quarter dominant, fourth-quarter dominated, front-running team that could be counted on for lopsided wins and devastating collapses. We kinda knew what we had after 30 or 40 games, and it was a team that would not be a serious playoff contender, even though it had spent all that it could reasonably be expected to, on veteran players.

With the impatience that I, and I suspect a lot of sports fans these days have, I did not look forward to watching a slightly-tinkered-with version of last year’s team for another 82 games. That team’s identity would be a Kevin Love-centric offense, where he makes jumpers, draws fouls, and delivers a few cool passes. Its identity would also involve foul-averse defense that seems to struggle disproportionately against the league’s better teams, in a game’s most critical junctures.

The Wolves could’ve added Mo Williams as backup point guard, and talked themselves into the idea that they were now ready to roll for that high-40s win total that eluded them last year.

I just would’ve been bracing myself for disappointment, especially knowing that there would be nothing very new or interesting to observe over the course of another marathon regular season. (Note: Zach LaVine’s dunks would not be seen on the game floor during a gunning-for-the-playoffs season. I’m not even sure they will this year, during rebuilding.)

With Andrew Wiggins, the Impatient among us get to see something new and cool. Sure, he’ll struggle as a rookie. He’ll have some 4 for 16 shooting nights, and cough up the ball when dribbling into a pack of defenders in the paint. He’ll get beat backdoor when his head is turned away from his man, and he’ll probably get exhausted physically over the course of a season that is more than double the NCAA’s length.

But Wiggins will also do some things that we have never seen before. He’s a 6’8″ wing player with once-per-decade physical attributes. Over time, with the right attitude and coaching, we’ll begin to see new wrinkles in his game. Maybe it’ll be isolation stuff like Kobe, or maybe it’ll be post-up stuff like Carmelo. Maybe his sheer height versus guards will allow for some “shoot right over him” plays, like Durant and Dirk.

The possibilities are endless, which makes this whole thing so much fun.

Of course the ironic thing about this post is that, while impatience is a good reason to trade Kevin Love to the Cavs for Andrew Wiggins, I and many others will be preaching that fans need to exercise just the opposite as the kid develops into a veteran star player.

Oh well, that’s another post for another day.

One week to go.

 

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 20 of 30

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I suppose one of these posts should be about Kevin Love.

He is the centerpiece of the Wiggins trade after all; at least in one direction. Love is also the second greatest player in Timberwolves franchise history and one of the ten — maybe 4 or 5, depending on who you ask — best in the league, right now.

But I don’t feel like writing about how great, or not, that I think Kevin Love is at basketball. Too many people (including me) have spent thousands upon thousands of words doing that for the past six years. He is, as Bill Simmons pointed out in his lengthy Friday column, an unusually polarizing player. At this point in his career, Love is probably most closely identified with disagreement.

Along with that polarizing nature and in some cases in cause of it, here are a few things that I will remember about Kevin Love the Timberwolf: Continue reading

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 16 of 30

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You’ve probably heard the news: the Wolves  reportedly have a deal in place that will  send All-Star  forward  Kevin Love  to the  Cleveland  Cavaliers for  this year’s number  one overall pick Andrew  Wiggins, LAST YEAR’S number  one overall pick Anthony Bennett, and a future first-round pick.

As usual, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski  broke the story ahead of time. Woj has become  a mythical figure  for his ability to  break *every* NBA  story before anyone else. I mean, literally, every story. The “Woj Bomb” is now a trope on NBA Twitter, inspiring clever plays on words and witty tweets that are often structured along the lines of “If a Woj Bomb confirms X rumor, I will perform Y outrageous act!”

The difference this time is that Woj, in the way only Woj could, confirmed the biggest trade since the Thunder traded James Harden to the Rockets more than TWO WEEKS before it can legally happen. In a league in which trades involving superstars in their prime and trades involving number one overall picks are both rare, the rarity of such deals gave pause both to hordes of Cavaliers and Wolves fans.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 15 of 30

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I’m laughing out loud, reading this story out of Toronto.

Link here.

Hat tip to William Bohl for tweeting that link, last night.

Before the dust has been able to settle on Woj’s bomb yesterday — the one reporting the details of the Love-for-Wiggins/Bennett trade, agreed to in principle — this writer out of Toronto has already jumped ahead to the day that Andrew Wiggins will apparently force his way out of Minnesota so that he can return home… to Toronto!

It’s the tone of it that is so great though. Just completely smug, taking shot after shot at Minneapolis as a city and the Timberwolves as an organization.

Again, from a Toronto Raptors fan. While the Wolves lost young Starbury and are about to trade away Kevin Love, the Raptors… well, the Raptors lost Vince Carter in his prime in the most overt, get-me-the-fuck-outta-here display by an NBA star in recent history. They lost young Tracy McGrady. They lost Chris Bosh. Perhaps it is precisely the psychological damage from that history that frames the writer’s reference for that nonsensical piece of trash.

In any event, give it a read if you’re in need of a good laugh.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 14 of 30

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by | August 7, 2014 · 8:36 AM

Waiting for Wiggins: Day 13 of 30

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Cleveland, then Miami, always LeBron James reporter Brian Windhorst was on the BS Report podcast yesterday, with Bill Simmons.

Link: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/b-s-report-brian-windhorst-plus-a-transcript-of-brian-and-bill-on-a-possible-midseason-nba-tournament/

At about the 25-minute mark, Windhorst digs into (well, strongly hints at) the Kevin Love-to-Cleveland process and timeline.

Give the full pod a listen when you get a chance.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 12 of 30

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As the reports of a Love-for-Wiggins trade framework continue to flood in, we are beginning to learn more about the rumored details on the fringe of the deal.

Specifically, it was being floated by local beat reporters yesterday that the Timberwolves would prefer to end up with Thaddeous Young of the 76ers, rather than Anthony Bennett of the Cavaliers.

I’d rather have Bennett, for a few different reasons.

First, Bennett has the potential to become a star offensive player; the type of combo forward that draws double teams and makes life easier for his teammates. Getting him early on his rookie scale contract is more valuable to a rebuilding team than adding a solid, established veteran like Young.

Second, Andrew Wiggins might become a bust — or at least something below a star-level player. If you agree with me that Bennett has some potential to hit that star level — and I realize many do not — then perhaps you agree that you’d rather take more than one “home run” swing in this trade. There is some chance that Bennett becomes a star and Wiggins does not. There is also some chance that BOTH become stars. (And in ways that complement each other! And Canada!) I’d rather see the Wolves thinking that way, with this trade.

Third, if the Wolves acquire Young, then he is presumably the starting power forward, and Gorgui Dieng remains a bench player. That is not the worst thing in the world — especially since Dieng’s best long-term position is center. But considering that Young shares Gorgui’s biggest offensive flaw — perimeter shooting — I don’t really see much benefit in limiting the young player’s reps in the interest of competing harder to win with a veteran like Young.

Fourth, and finally, I don’t think adding Young to the rest of this roster moves the needle in a meaningful way. I don’t think the Wolves are going to be good next year, after a Wiggins trade. I also don’t think the Wolves are going to be terrible next year, after a Wiggins trade. I think they’ll be staring at something like 28 to 32 wins. After adding Thad Young, I guess I’d bet on the high end of that range, but not much more. I think Rubio, Pekovic, Brewer, Budinger, and the rest of the remaining roster are good enough to prevent an all-out tank-fest. And I don’t think Young is the guy to carry a 40+-win team in the West on his back. He does not space the floor in a way that might mesh well with Rubio. I dunno, getting back to points 1 and 2, I just think it makes more sense to take another big swing than to convince yourself that one or two seasons of Thad Young will have a lasting positive effect.

Then again, if Flip pulls off the Wiggins thing, perhaps we will have to cut him some slack on the details:

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