Monday Night Football is playing its opening-weekend double header. My hay fever is in full swing. If I had kids, they’d be just starting their school year.
It’s late summer, the NBA’s dead zone, and we’re a full three weeks away from the start of training camp. There isn’t a whole lot to kick around at Punch-Drunk Wolves.
But we’ll try our best.
Wolves Welcome Coach Bobby Jackson
The Timberwolves announced that former point guard, Bobby Jackson, was hired as a player development coach. Phil Ervin has the story at FSN. Local fans remember Jackson better as star Golden Gopher than reserve Timberwolf. He was the dynamic point guard on the erased-but-not-forgotten 1997 Gophers squad that won the Big Ten. Led by Jackson and Coach Clem Haskins, they also reached the Final Four; the first and only in school history. Had Eric Harris not gotten hurt, they may have cut down the nets.
Jackson gave a short, but interesting, interview to Mark Remme of timberwolves.com.
It’s a learning experience for me. How to draw up practices, how to draw up plays, how to run practices, how to manage players, watching [Rick Adelman] interact with players during game situations, everything’s a learning process. Working out with the guys, helping develop them. And also learning when not to work too hard, and when to shut it down a little bit. So everything’s a learning experience for me because, again, I’m young. I don’t know all the things yet. I kinda got an idea how to be a coach, but I still got a lot of things I gotta work on to become a great young coach.
That’s pretty candid, isn’t it?
Jackson played a dozen seasons in the NBA. Some of those were for the early-aughts Kings; one of the league’s best in the entire decade. He’s 40 years old. He’s already been an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings. On one hand, I think he’s short changing himself. Clearly, he’s qualified to be an assistant coach at any level. On the other, it’s refreshingly humble when compared to recent retirees, like Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd, who immediately landed head-coaching gigs without a lick of coaching experience. Bobby Jackson, in that short interview anyway, seems geared up for a long career in coaching.
76ers Sign Rodney Williams
Speaking of former Gophers, Nate Sandell of ESPN1500 reports that Rodney Williams is set to sign a multi-year Kahntract (I’m sorry, but it qualifies) with the Philadelphia 76ers. First off, good for Rodney. I hope he makes as much money as he can. Second, I’m more than a little surprised by this news. Even if the Sixers are Riggin’ for Wiggins, and would rather lose games than win them. Rodney has good size for an NBA small forward, but nowhere near the skill level to play that position, at that level. Specifically, he can’t shoot or dribble. To make it, he’ll need to capitalize on his potential as a defender and become a serviceable corner shooter. In Philly, Williams will be paired with his former preseason Gopher teammate, Royce White.
Chad Ford Releases 2014 Mock
If NBA training camp is around the corner and the season is across town, the next draft is somewhere far across state lines. But in these dog days, that didn’t stop Chad Ford from releasing a 2014 Mock Draft.
A few interesting notes:
* Seven of the 30 projected first rounders will play for Coach Cal, at Kentucky. (!!!) This includes Julius Randle (#2) and Andrew Harrison (#7). Three on Ford’s list will play for Bill Self, at Kansas, including top dog, Andrew Wiggins (#1) and seven footer, Joel Embiid (#10). If you’re one who watches college ball mostly to see future pros, you’d do well to focus on UK and KU in 2014.
* Ford projects three foreign players to be taken in the lottery. Dante Exum (#4) from Australia is a 6’6″ scoring guard that can play either backcourt spot. Dario Saric (#9) is from Croatia and interestingly described as a “point power forward.” I think that’s LeBron’s position. In any event, Saric is apparently quite a passer for a 6’10″ dude. His fellow Croatian, Mario Hejonza (#14) is expected to round out the lottery as a 6’6″ wing.
* The Wolves, in case you didn’t know, owe their next draft pick to the Suns. (The cost of ditching the 4th Overall Pick from two seasons prior.) The pick is Top-13 protected, so if things go worse than expected next season, they’ll have their pick. In Ford’s mock, he has the Wolves making the playoffs and the Suns using their pick at Number 18. With Minnesota’s pick, Ford has the Suns drafting Jerami Grant, a long and athletic forward from…
You guessed it: Syracuse.