Since I decided to get up and watch our favorite new TWolves at 3:00 this morning, I might as well do a brief game wrap. Russia handled the Chinese from start to finish in what was perhaps a more-impressive victory than the opener versus overmatched Great Britain. While the stat lines of Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko were a bit more modest than the first game, the players looked just as good and played as important of roles in another one-sided affair. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: July 2012
Alexey Shved’s 2012 Olympics debut in Russia’s win over Great Britain yesterday opened eyes worldwide, and nowhere more than in Minnesota. The 6’6” guard had 16 points on 6-of-11 from the field and dropped 13 dimes en route to a big win. Better yet for us Wolves fans, the chemistry he has with Kirilenko was palpable. Kirilenko managed to dominate even more than Shved, scoring 35 on 14-of-17 from the floor and doing a lot to reverse the concerns Andy and I voiced in our breakdown of the AK47 signing.
But the big story for me was Shved. The question isn’t if he can play, but at which position and for how many minutes.
Alexey Shved just made one helluva first impression. First impression if you’re like me and don’t watch European basketball. He and fellow Wolves newcomer Andrei Kirilenko were DOMINANT in the Russians’ drumming of Great Britain on Sunday afternoon. Although GB is not considered a good Olympic team, they do have NBA players, including a good one in Luol Deng. Lest we all spend too much time analyzing a single Olympic game, I’ll do this in BULLETS: Continue reading
On Friday, March 9, 2012, the Minnesota Timberwolves played its most-anticipated game in over seven years when Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol came to town. The team was 21-19, its best mid-season record since the Saunders Administration, the glamorous and championship-tested Lakers were a hot ticket, and just to fan the flames of the fiery matchup ahead, there was even buzz on Twitter that Pau Gasol might be traded to the Timberwolves over the weekend. I attended this game, and remember a palpable buzz around First Avenue during the Friday happy hour, with fans all eager to watch what promised to be a great game. Oh, and there was one more gimmick to celebrate what seemed like a momentous occasion in the franchise’s Post-Garnett Era. There would be a “whiteout” of the crowd, with white tees waiting on seats for fans to throw on in support of the home team. While a significant fraction of fans were donning purple and gold, the whiteout was there and was kind of cool to see after watching so many games in recent seasons with dead Target Center crowds.
Of course, this whiteout could not have ended worse for the Wolves. With Love sitting out with a suspension (for chest-stomping Luis Scola) the Wolves inexplicably led the Lakers the whole way, carrying a lead well into winning time and raising the hopes of the whited-out crowd that the team was on the verge of its biggest victory in years. The game’s prospects–and the season’s–were dashed when Ricky Rubio tore up his knee, ending the game and effectively ending the season. Was the whiteout a hex? Continue reading
Andy G: According to Jerry Zgoda and other sources, the Wolves are hotly pursuing former Jazz (what are you supposed to call a Utah Jazz member?), Andrei Kirilenko, willing to give away Wes Johnson and a future first rounder to clear space for a large Kahntract; something in the neighborhood of two years, $18 Million.
How do we feel about this one? Continue reading
A few interesting morsels from an excellent piece on Shved.
“Shved is a handful in pick-n-roll, where he can hit pull-ups going both ways, get all the way to rim or drop sweet dishes to his teammates. Simply a great pick-n-roll player.”
“A terrific passer with impeccable timing and accuracy. Not quite as masterful as his new teammate, Ricky Rubio, but he’s close.”
“Adept at hitting floaters or runners.”
Wow. Sounds like the real deal.
“Has an element of carelessness to his game. His sometimes casual approach reminds you of Vince Carter–it seems like he’s playing pickup basketball. It appears sometimes he’s not too concerned with his mistakes.”
Whoa. Whoa. WHOA! Did he really say Vince Carter?! I’m confused.
It’s worth reading in full.
Go check it out at The Painted Area.
The B.S. Report podcast, when NBA-focused, is probably my favorite going right now. Joe House, a Wizards fan and funny dude, makes a good sidekick for Simmons when talking all the latest in pro hoops. But in their recent discussion about Ray Allen, Simmons said something that I took issue with:
Simmons: I think the thing people miss with Ray and the reason him and Rondo struggle to play together and struggle to get along.. Ray’s a… you know… everybody.. has to chip in to help Ray succeed. He’s runnin’ off double and triple screens. The point guard’s gotta pound the ball, twenty-five feet from the basket, for five, six seconds waiting for Ray to come around all these different things. And I think Rondo is starting to get frustrated. That, you know, they’re devoting so much time to helping Ray succeed, almost at the expense of his game. And when [Avery] Bradley was in there and Rondo could just do whatever he wanted, Bradley’s doing backcuts, all that stuff. That was such a better fit for Rondo’s game. I think that was part of the problem.
House: But that was just something that came to light last season. It’s not like that’s been going on for a long time. And it happened to coincide with, you know, Ray’s physical aging curve. He’s right at, kind of, the end of his career.
Even though Joe House did a solid job of quickly explaining Simmons’ comment away, it still bugged me when I listened to it. For two reasons: Continue reading
[Last night, I finished Jack McCallum's new bestseller (I'm assuming it is or will be a bestseller. I didn't actually bother to check if this is true.) "Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever." With Wolves news limited to the ticking timer on Portland matching Batum, and the Vegas League that only serves to build false hope in young TWolves, I thought I would share some takeaways from a 345-page book that I consumed much the way a Knicks fan imagines Raymond Felton might devour a Big Mac. That is a lame-joke way of saying that I'm a notoriously slow reader, but plowed through this one in less than a week's time. I owe that in part to work travels that allowed much airport and airplane downtime, an uneventful weekend (even by blogger standards) and that I enjoyed the book. Anyway, here goes.] Continue reading
As you probably already know, Kevin Love earned a spot on this summer’s Olympic team. If you’ve read a little bit about it, you noticed that he will likely play the center position for America’s Finest. From Ray Richardson:
“That’s going to be my primary position throughout the event … through the friendly games and leading up to the Olympics,” Love said Saturday in Las Vegas during an interview on NBA TV. “It’s going to be a lot of the ‘five spot’ for me, so I’ll be doing a lot of picking and popping, offensive rebounding, getting extra possessions … doing everything I can to help this team.”
Picking and popping, offensive rebounding, and getting extra possessions are all things that Love does at an elite level for his NBA team. Is there some reason that he cannot or should not play center for the TWolves? In the middle of last season, I wrote a piece that compared Willis Reed’s role on the champion Knicks to what I thought Kevin Love might be able to accomplish in today’s NBA. Although I’ve made my feelings known on the subject, I find it necessary to address it again now, because of the Olympic news and also because important roster decisions will be made in the coming days and weeks. Continue reading