Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year From Punch-Drunk Wolves

[Co-Authored by Andy & Patrick]

What a difference a year makes.  Last December 31 the Timberwolves were 0-3 and, despite some hugely entertaining early losses to Oklahoma and Miami, not yet familiar with winning basketball since Kevin Garnett’s departure. Now, after Ricky Mania brought a winning attitude to an organization sorely in need of competitive fire, and Rick Adelman and David Kahn brought some proven veterans to a young roster, we find ourselves 1 game over .500 and in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Here at Punch-Drunk Wolves, we’ve also come a long way in the last year. We basically started the blog on Opening Day (Christmas) last year.  Thanks in large part to shout-outs from Those Who Came Before Us – Canis Hoopus, Britt Robson, and Jim Petersen, among others –  we’ve built a modest but faithful readership, and for that, we’re thankful.

Wolves fans are blessed to have a bunch of really great writers covering the squad, and from a bunch of different, interesting angles. Along with Britt and the Canis crew (Stop-N-Pop, Oceanary, and now Eric in Madison in particular), you’ve got A Wolf Among Wolves, Howlin’ TWolf, TWolves Blog, Timberpups.com, the list goes on. (Pretty much just check our blog roll – it’s all there, but apologies if we missed anybody.)

With all the great Wolves coverage out there, that folks stop by here at all is much appreciated.

We’re always looking for ways to make the site better. If you have any suggestions, hit us up at punchdrunkwolves@gmail.com.  Or on Twitter (@PDWolves).  Input is [almost] always appreciated. All that jazz.

Here’s to a great – and equally important, HEALTHY – 2013.

So, with all that said, Happy New Year, and Go Wolves.

Now get off the Internetz, go on with your bad selves, and party like it’s 2004-05.

-Andy G & Patrick J

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Wolves Beat Suns, Beas is Schwag

Wes Johnson Jerseys: Worthless? Or just worth less than they used to be?

Wes Johnson Jerseys: Worthless? Or just worth less than they used to be?

Okay, folks, the Wolves are winners again. Hallelujah, rejoice. They beat the Phoenix Suns 111-107 last night at home.

They did it without Golden Boy Ricky Rubio, about whom I’d written a slurptastic game preview, in which I suggested Rubio and Love were/are/will be the keys to the Wolves winning anything significant. Kirilenko, Shved, and Pek are nice bit pieces – nicer than we’ve had since 2004-05 – but they’re dispensible in different ways. Rubio and Love aren’t, unless we’d flip one of them for someone even better. Pau Gasol probably doesn’t qualify, for those of you still fantasizing about a Love-Gasol trade. If you’re reading, that includes you, Kevin Love.)

A few thoughts from last night’s game:

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Intel Report: Timberwolves vs Suns

Mike Beasley, suited up like a closer.

Mike Beasley, suited up like a closer.

The Wolves have lost four of their last five games. They are 3-2 since Ricky Rubio returned from injury. (Ricky sat out against Miami, because it was the second game of a back-to-back.) Rubio’s role is going to get bigger, and soon. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: give the kid more minutes.

He’s the key to our winning. Not JJ, not Ridnour, not Mal Lee, not Brandon Roy. Certainly not Josh Howard, Will Conroy, Troy Hudson, Sam Cassell, or Pooh Richardson. Not Derrick Williams, and not Dante Cunningham.

Ricky. Just Ricky. Throw K-Love in there too.

That’s what the Wolves basically have: two stars. One is still having his minutes limited (he’s now cleared to play 24 minutes, up from 18), basically nullifying his ability to make an impact by doing what he does – help the team win in lots of non-box score ways while on the floor. The other is out of shape and acting pouty and playing poorly.

Neither star is playing well. The Wolves are losing. End of story.

No need to overthink it. It’s great when guys like AK47 and Pek can carry the team to wins, and we love seeing Shved outperform expectations, but that’s not going to be a blueprint for winning in the playoffs. Which is what we want to do.

So what can be done?

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Like a Love Song

Love Music

“Like a Love Song” by Holly Grimsrud
Mixed Media on Paper, 24″ x 32″
(www.hollygrimsrudart.com)

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INBOX: The Russian Revolution Edition

David Blatt (Photo brought to you by Alexander Chernykh via Twitter (@chernykh).

David Blatt (Photo brought to you by Alexander Chernykh via Twitter (@chernykh).

…in which Andy G and I break down candidates for the Brooklyn Nets’ coaching vacancy. (We don’t see PJ Carlesimo keeping the job either.)

Patrick J: Moving the Nets to Brooklyn and aggressively changing the team’s branding and player personnel wasn’t enough: Nets owner and Russian oligarch Mikhail Dmitrievitch Prokhorov made another big move today, firing lame-duck coach Avery Johnson. Since I’ve got the floor, I’ll start off the discussion with two words, and then throw the ball over to your court:

DAVID BLATT (!!)

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Harden takes over where Melo left off

The Timberwolves are not a bad team.  They might even be a pretty good team.  ESPN’s Marc Stein’s most-recent rankings slotted them 14th in the league; barely ahead of the middle.  John Hollinger’s calculator has them a little bit higher at 10th best.  But we’re past the question of whether the Wolves can be a decent, competitive team.  Clearly they can after they survived the absences of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love with a better-than-.500 record.  The question that sits out there is whether this can be a special team.  Tonight’s loss doubled down on Sunday’s at New York in exposing the one main ingredient lacking from the Timberwolf Recipe: A go-to guy.  Put simply, New York and Houston have one and Minnesota doesn’t.

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Fear the Beard

Beard me.

Beard me.

James Harden and the Houston Rockets are in town for a 7 PM tilt against the Wolves at Target Center.

The Wolves have lost 3 out of 4 and could use a win.

Harden is the main attraction. At 25.7 points per game, Harden is 4th in the League in scoring behind Kobe, Melo, and Durant.

But wait – there’s more.

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