Questions for the Wolves Moving Forward

UPDATE (3/12, 12:24 PM): Dan McCarney is reporting that Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard didn’t make the trip to Minneapolis

Spurs @ Wolves. 7 PM. FSN, 830-AM. Boo-yeah.

The Wolves take on the Spurs tonight at Target Center. On paper, it looks to be a lopsided affair. The Wolves are 21-39. They have lost consecutive games by over 20 points. The Spurs are 49-15. They just beat OKC by 12. Two games before that, they beat Chicago by 18.

The ray of hope for this one is that SAS is not invincible. Dame Lillard & co beat them 136-106 in San Antonio on March 8th in the worst loss of the extremely long Tim Duncan era. Can the Wolves shock the world tonight? If I knew the answer, I’d be on a flight to Vegas, not writing this.

That said, things look grim. The Blazers are fighting for the 8th seed in the West. The Wolves are, well – depending on how you judge incentives – fighting for a respectable finish or a higher lottery pick. One thing they’re decidedly not fighting for is a playoff spot.

Which isn’t to say that they aren’t playing hard.

Anyone who’s been watching knows Ricky Rubio is setting an example that good players on bad teams ought to be required to follow. The energy and leadership Rubio displays nightly is a model for other NBAers to follow (even if his jump shot isn’t).

But it isn’t enough. The other problems are myriad.

As Derrick Williams’ per-game numbers improve, he becomes more frustrating to watch; his inefficient 18 points on 17 shots against Dallas on Sunday was representative of the general level of play to which we’ve become accustomed from Williams. He’s no longer the subject of intrigue or possibly untapped potential. His limitations are crystal clear, and, as Andy G mentioned in an earlier post, I fear his true value is being revealed to the rest of the League during this period of extended run.

Alexey Shved should be shelved for the rest of the season. Get him into workouts with Bayno, put him on the weights, have him go back to drills that focus on the fundamentals. For a long time, his body looked to frail to withstand the rigors of a long season. Now his psyche also appears bruised, frustrated, and ready to be checked out. The dude needs a rest, and it does him and the team a disservice to keep running him out there no matter how shorthanded we are.

The team still has lots of injuries. We keep hearing that K-Love expected to play the final “15-20″ games of the season. Well, after tonight’s game there will be 21 games remaining? The Twitterz don’t suggest an imminent return, so if he manages to play the last 15, that would mean a return on March 24 against Chicago. Is Love less than two weeks from being ready to go? Does it matter for the Wolves? Do we gain by seeing an out-of-shape star hinder our chances of getting to draft Ben McLemore? Or is that a net loss? I don’t know at this point.

One thing that should be interesting elsewhere in the NBA tonight during #tankwatch is that unlike in North Korea, there are no ties in the NBA: someone is going to have to win this one.

Anyway, Wolves basketball is still better than no basketball, so we watch. We should all be mindful to appreciate The Big Fundamental Rick Adelman while we can.

Til later.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Questions for the Wolves Moving Forward

  1. We can appreciate The Big Fundamental, but we can’t watch him tonight. He didn’t make the trip. Neither did Parker. Neither did Leonard. Neither will Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Josh Howard, or Malcolm Lee. Rick Adelman will (I think).

  2. Nathan Anderson

    I remember reading that Love was seeing the doctor this week and might get the all clear for basketball activity. He said he would not rush back after getting all clear, but probably wait week. So, the 24th is not unreasonable if he gets the all clear.

    If he can play, he should play. At least it gives fans something interesting to watch, some hope. Right now it’s too depressing. It’s like watching two brazen fourth graders (Rubio and Barea) take on the entire fifth grade class in a snowball fight.

    • I couldn’t agree more – if Love can play, he should. I think it would answer more questions than would be created if he didn’t come back – “Were they tanking?”, “Did he refuse to come back?”, “Did his hand never heal properly?” – and so I’d like to see him out there if only for that. But it’s more than that – as you point out, fans have had a very long dry stretch and need something to get excited about. Bloggers too.