Monthly Archives: June 2012

Waiting for 58

Wolves fans have grown accustomed to FUN-FILLED draft nights, where the home-town squad picks at least once in the lottery, again in the late 1st Round, a time or two in the second, and then makes a half-dozen trades (or “sales” as the case may be) just to keep us on our proverbial toes (which, these days, just means Twitter.)

So tonight was kind of boring.  Minnesota traded away the 18th Pick the other day for Chase “Air Bud” Budinger leaving only the 58th and third-to-last pick in the whole draft.  I and perhaps many others was hoping that Kahn would buy back in when guys like Perry Jones III, Will Barton and Quincy Miller fell past #25.  But alas, we held strong and waited for our rightful spot.  Continue reading

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Forecasting the Draft

Adam Silver will be in the house

The NBA Draft is tonight. What’s going to happen?

Andy G and I look into Punch-Drunk Wolves’ crystal ball (an old fishbowl with a goldfish floating belly up) and weigh in on the prospects. Let us know which ones we’re wrong on in the comments.

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Timberwolves Reportedly Close to Signing Brandon Roy

The Timberwolves are reportedly close to signing free agent guard Brandon Roy to a two-year contract. Roy has a special place in the hearts of Wolves fans. Bill Bayno reportedly drove the Wolves’ initial interest in Roy, with David Kahn finally co-signing.

A few reactions:

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INBOX: Would You Draft Perry Jones III?

Perry Jones III

Andy G: Chad Ford posted his Mock 8.0 today. Wolves take Fab Melo of Syracuse (!!!) at Number 18, immediately followed by the enigma from Baylor, Perry Jones III.

If you know anything about David Kahn, and if you know anything about Perry Jones III, you know that it would absolutely crush our POBO–perhaps to the point of tearful pouting–to have this type of LENGTH AND ATHLETICISM suffer the Adelman Family Veto.

What do you think? (more below the fold)

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Musings on the Draft

Jay Bilas had a nice piece (Insider) yesterday on NBA Draft prospects who have star potential. Bilas isn’t perfect, but (1) he has a good feel for the draft by virtue of actually having seen most players play multiple times, and (2) he sees the forest for the trees on this issue–the draft is all about identifying potential impact players – stars – which is correlated, but not synonymous, with college advanced stats.

It’s a deep draft, but beyond Anthony Davis it isn’t clear who will break out as the kind of player teams  later regret passing on.

Bilas sees five potential stars in the draft–maybe more.

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Game 1 Bullets

* The first half was the sort of Heat action that I kind of expected and feared, as somebody cheering for the Thunder.  LeBron initiated the offense, finding open shooters behind the 3-point line.  Miami led by 7 at the half, with Battier shooting 5-6 from the floor, including 3-4 from behind the arc.  Shane only took 3 shots in the 2nd Half, making 1 three-pointer.  Mario Chalmers, who had 10 points in the first half, took a single shot–a made layup–in the 2nd Half.  Whether Miami was forcing plays that ended in shots for LeBron and Wade, or Oklahoma’s defense dictated that result, the 2nd Half was an example of how Miami could get swept in this series.  If LeBron’s team isn’t taking 3-pointers, he had better score 50 to make up for it.  In this game, we saw the worst of the LeBron & Wade, oil-and-water mix of talents.  Wade had no idea when to shoot or defer and there was an awkwardness to their sets which left the role players one part baffled and another part scared.  One solution: play each of LeBron and Wade fewer minutes, with longer stretches of being The Man, out there.  LeBron played an unrealistically-high 46 minutes.  Wade played 42.  Rather than use Bosh as a 6th Man, put Wade there.  Or take Wade out after 6 minutes the way that Doc Rivers does with KG.  Miami needs to use James Jones as a floor-spreader.  He didn’t play in Game 1.  Continue reading

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The 3 Ways Miami Could Lose

There are so many previews out there by so many good writers and analysts, that I’ll keep this exceptionally brief lest you click out of the page at the first sign of *another* person’s thoughts and predictions about a series we’d just like to begin already.

Although I don’t know (or really have any gut feeling even) who will win the 2012 Finals, I think there are three discernible scenarios that could explain a Miami failure: Continue reading

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LeBron Reminds of Puck

Following its alarming home loss in Game 5, the Heat faced elimination and LeBron James’s legacy was once again put on a fiery trial.  On Wednesday’s Inside the NBA, the final of the season, Barkley spoke to James and the camera:

LeBron James, I love watching you play. It’s time you do your thing. I’ve been telling people – they don’t believe me; they’re living in the past – it’s your team. You are the best basketball player in the world. It’s time for you to say, ‘Hey guys. Get on my back. We’re going to win Game 6. We’re going to win Game 7.’ Don’t defer to anybody. You are the best. Quit listening to all this [garbage] you hear from all these reporters. You are the man.

I don’t know if LeBron watched Inside, or heard about Barkley’s plea, but he certainly carried his team on his back.  Bill Simmons was in attendance and had this to say about it:

I don’t know what happened. I just know the shots wouldn’t stop going in. After about the fifth dagger in a row (he made 10 straight), the crowd started groaning on every make — shades of Philly’s Andrew Toney ripping our hearts out 30 years ago. If you’ve ever been in the building for one of those games, you know there isn’t a deadlier sound. He single-handedly murdered one of the giddiest Celtics crowds I can remember. Thirty points in the first half. Thirty! All with that blank look on his face. It was like watching surveillance video of a serial killer coldly dismembering a body and sticking the parts in the fridge. Only we were right there.

The 45 point, 15 rebound, 5 assist performance was probably the best I’ve ever seen in a Playoff game.  At least if we’re talking about basketball.  Minnesotans might remember similar heroics from its own GREATEST in the 1991 World Series.

Following Kirby’s untimely passing, Tim Kurkjian devoted an entire piece to that Game 6 masterpiece:

He had many games like it, but very few players have ever had a game like that in the World Series or the postseason, especially in an elimination game. It was right there with the best of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, George Brett, Roberto Clemente, Brooks Robinson, Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. It was the kind of unforgettable performance that elevates a player to legendary status. Puckett’s career numbers were Hall of Fame material, but Game 6 of the ’91 World Series went a long way in getting him into Cooperstown on the first ballot in 2001.

And the best part is, Puckett basically predicted it.

“I went to the clubhouse, and I gathered [everyone] up. I said, ‘Everybody together, we’re going to have a short meeting,’” Puckett said, retelling the story years later. “Everybody comes in, and I said, ‘Guys, I just have one announcement to make: You guys should jump on my back tonight. I’m going to carry us.’”

Then he did.

Every opportunity to remember GAME SIX should be taken.  It, along with the somehow-not-anticlimactic-Game 7, is the best moment in Minnesota sports history.  So there you go.

Big game tonight in Miami.

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5 Points on Game 5

* The Popovich decision to start Manu Ginobili was an interesting one.  Barkley seemed to question it, wondering if subbing out Danny Green was necessary on the Spurs home floor.  The early returns were in Pop’s favor as the Spurs jumped out to a 15-10 lead.  But when James Harden (the “other” 6th Man in this series) came in with 4:33 to go in the 1st (score now 15-12 Spurs) OKC went on a 14-6 run to end the quarter.  A similar roller coaster happened in the 3rd Quarter with Ginobili coming out WHITE HOT, leading the Spurs to a 6-point lead after beginning the half down by 8.  Again, Harden came in pretty much as Ginobili went out and the Thunder roasted the Spurs to finish that quarter, taking a 9-point lead with them into the 4th.  In my opinion, Pop should have stayed with his starting five.  Doubling down on Parker-Ginobili was too risky with Harden coming off the bench for the other side.  James Harden was, not surprisingly, a game-best +24. Continue reading

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Unrig the Lottery: The Most Obvious (And Important) Hoop Idea

Tom Benson and David Stern (Photo by The Sporting News)

The New Orleans Hornets have claimed victory in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, winning the NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday night despite having only a 13.7% chance of getting the first pick. Is anyone really surprised?

The NBA–run by larger than life commissioner David Stern, who presides over the lottery and announces the selection order after its determined in private–still owns the Hornets. Stern trotted out Tom Benson, who has agreed to buy the team and keep it in NOLA, to be the franchise’s face for the nationally televised lottery show, but Benson doesn’t own the team yet and probably shouldn’t have been there. The whole thing would’ve felt more genuine if Adam Silver had been there representing the Hornets. Continue reading

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Spurs-Thunder Bullets

* The Thunder are playing better defense with better schemes and better personnel.  But Danny Green missed multiple, wide-open threes last night.  If the Spurs wings don’t cash in when the offense leads them to the open corner trey, everything falls apart.  Before a meaningless three went in at the buzzer, Green was 0 for 5 from downtown in last night’s game.  If he goes 2 for 5, just under his season percentage, maybe things play out differently.  Combined with Serge Ibaka’s historical outlier performance (11 for 11 FG’s, many of them jump shots) this suggests that San Antonio might fare better in Games 5 through 6 or 7. Continue reading

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