Monthly Archives: September 2012

4 Teams, 2 Spots

The Jazz and Mavs will compete with the Wolves for a playoff spot.

Marc Stein has released his first Power Rankings of the 2012-13 season.  A quick scan down to the middle teams shows support for something that I have been thinking to be true about this Western Conference playoff landscape: There will be four teams fighting for two playoff spots.  They are the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors and, yes, our very own Minnesota Timberwolves.  If you follow Stein’s writing, you know that he loves Dallas and, like many others in the NBA media, quickly took to the Rubio-led Timberwolves of 2012.  It comes as no surprise then, that he has them ranked slightly ahead of Utah and Golden State.  Stein ranks the Wolves 14th–8th best in the West.  He has Utah and Golden State ranked 16th/9th and 17th/10th respectively.  He has Dallas ranked 10th overall, 6th in the West, ahead of Memphis, which he ranks 11th/7th.  His Dallas bias got the best of him there.  While the Mavs could surprise and do well in a Post-Jet & Chandler World, there’s no reason to expect them to finish ahead of the Grizzlies.

Why only two spots? Continue reading

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Looking at the Wolves Offense, Part II: Interior Scoring

Pekovic plays the post like a Boss

Last season the Wolves offense was often out of whack, and it was usually blamed on poor wing play. But their interior play was also spotty. Nikola Pekovic’s emergence was a revelation, but Darko Milicic’s stinky jump hook almost canceled out Pek’s brilliance. Mike Beasley tried at times to play around the hoop, and he never managed to establish and maintain that part of his game.

What will the Wolves interior offense look like this season? In Part I of our series on the Wolves offense, I looked at three-point shooting. Now, in Part II , I look at the Wolves’ interior scorers to see how things might unfold in 2012-13.

The player-by-player rundown is below the fold.

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“Whatever I need to do, I’m gonna do it.” – [0:50]

(Unless it requires a modicum of effort.) #smh

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Looking at the Wolves Offense, Part I: Three-Point Shooting

Last year’s Timberwolves had a problematic pairing of statistics describing its three-point shooting prowess.  The first statistic is 21.6.  That’s the average number of three-point shots attempted by the Wolves in a game.  That’s kind of a lot; good for 6th most in the entire league.  It’s nearly double the number of treys attempted by playoff teams like the Jazz and Grizzlies.  Only one team (Orlando) shot considerably more treys per game than this.  The second statistic is 33.2.  That’s the Wolves’ three-point shooting percentage.  It isn’t very impressive; tied for 23rd in the league.  There are many reasons why three-point shooting is a necessary weapon for the Timberwolves.  One, Ricky Rubio excels at delivering awesome passes to open perimeter shooters.  Two, Pekovic is a load in the paint and should attract defenders down low, welcoming jump shots for his teammates.  And three, the Wolves are not a team with jaw-dropping athleticism that will consistently win games by slashing to the bucket.  In order to be an efficient offense, they’ll need to be somewhat prolific from downtown.  In Part I of a series on the Wolves Offense, I investigate the three-pointing shooting issue to see if things might look better in 2012-13.

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Be Cool

Clyde Frazier: What a cool basketball player looks like.

[co-authored by Andy G & Patrick J]

The great Chuck Klosterman once wrote about Billy Joel that there was absolutely no relationship between his greatness as a musician and his [lack of] coolness as a person.  Klosterman distinguished Joel from, well, every single other rock artist in this regard.  He explained:

What [rock stars] are is more important than what they do.  And this is not a criticism of coolness; by and large, the musical component of rock isn’t nearly as important as the iconography and the posturing and the idea of what we’re supposed to be experiencing.  If given the choice between hearing a great band and seeing a cool band, I’ll take the latter every single time; this is why the Eagles suck.

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Chain of Command

Rick Adelman can thank David Kahn for the opportunity to coach Ricky Rubio. But what about the rest of this roster?

Let’s do a quick back of the envelope scorecard of David Kahn’s performance.

Selecting Jonny Flynn over Steph Curry.  Check.

Trading Ty Lawson. Check.

Selecting Wes Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins or Greg Monroe. Double check.

Hiring Kurt Rambis. Check.

Long-term contract for Darko Milicic. Check.

Each move was, as the saying goes, an “epic fail.”  And each is solely attributed to David Kahn, Timberwolves POBO.

Kahn has become something of a sports management sensation, not only for surviving these blunders, but for coupling them with public-speaking gaffes that have provided endless amounts of material for sportswriters and bloggers the world around. Continue reading

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The Roy Reality

Expect more step-back jumpers and less poster dunks from B-Roy this year.

Brandon Roy gave an interview on NBATV where he discussed his new team and return from retirement.  You could write most of the transcript without watching the video (“I feel great, the situation seemed right, yada yada…) but Roy said one thing that stuck out as a candid bit of truth.  When discussing his current level of athleticism, Roy stated:

You know honestly, right now and all summer long, I’ve been preparing to not have to take a step back with my game.  I’ll be honest; some of the lift isn’t quite what it used to be, but I think my explosiveness to get to the basket has been just as good.  You know, more than anything I think I’m a lot smarter of a basketball player.  I understand that the NBA season is long and my body isn’t what it used to be.  But right now I feel great.  Me and Coach Adelman are gonna sit down before the season and communicate throughout the year about how I’m feeling and what’s the best way to get the most out of me. Continue reading

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