[Last night's game is the rare Wolves tilt that shows up in my League Pass Broadband archives. I wanted to look back at Derrick Williams' three turnovers, because I remember each one was of the head-scratching and maddening variety, and they represent recurring issues with the inconsistent young forward. Below are my notes on how he screwed up 3 times in last night's 1st Half, causing his minutes to be limited to just 29 on a night that every other viable option was out with an injury or illness.]
Category Archives: Features
We all love Ricky Rubio and what he has brought to the Timberwolves franchise. His injury last season marked an immediate downward spiral from hopefully playoff team to lottery-bound loser. Part of his recovery process from ACL surgery is regaining his shooting touch. But before we completely excuse his early woes (before tonight’s game Ricky is shooting 18 percent from the floor, through 9 games) it’s worth pointing out that his field goal percentage last year–when healthy–was also very poor; just 35.7 percent despite being a relatively selective shooter. From a shot-mechanics perspective, what is Ricky doing wrong?
Let’s start with a couple of great shooters, Ray Allen and Steph Curry.
That’s what a textbook, pure, jump shot looks like. The right foot slightly ahead of the left. The slight crouch straightened up into perfect posture as the ball is raised and set, before the proverbial “hand in the cookie jar” release, right at–or slightly before–the peak of his jump. Ray Allen, the greatest shooter of the modern era, is a good one to copy.
Kevin Love: 2012-13 Return Uncertain
Wolves fans learned today that All-Star forward Kevin Love may miss the rest of the 2012-13 season.
How big is the loss? It’s hard to say. Love missed the Wolves’ first nine games with a broken hand and the Wolves went 5-4 record. They were 9-9 in games he played after he returned November 21st, and they’re now 1-1 since he exited the lineup January 5th. So in terms of the W-L column, the team has been basically the same with or without him.
But the W-L column aside, one thing is for certain: Kevin Love did not play well in his limited time in the lineup after returning from breaking a bone in his hand while doing knuckle pushups under the supervision of his personal trainer in his downtown Minneapolis condo.
You don’t need stats to describe what was before every observer’s eyes: in his brief foray back, K-Love couldn’t shoot. He couldn’t run the floor. He stopped the ball too often.
Love just wasn’t the same guy we came to like last season. He was out of shape. He was disgusted with the team. He may have been – and may still be – jealous of Ricky Rubio.
Love just never came ready to play after the Olympics. That was definitely his best 2012 moment, unless you count his co-starring role as “Wes” in a great commercial with Kyrie Irving.
On and off the floor, it was pretty much a perfect storm of crappy-ness. This was a wasted season for Love, and one that should have been his time to cement his claim as the game’s best power forward.
Now, there’s another question looming: should the Wolves trade Kevin Love? Possibilities below the fold..
This coming June marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the biggest tragedies in NBA history. On June 7, 1993 a Volkswagon was speeding along Germany’s Autobahn when it encountered a truck that had crashed through the guard rails and was blocking traffic. Unable to stop or avoid a crash, the car hit the truck, causing serious injuries to the driver and backseat passenger. The front-seat passenger got the worst of it, flying through the front window. Drazen Petrovic, the six-time European Player of the Year, recently named All-NBA Third Team performer, and undoubtedly greatest basketball player in Croatian history, was dead at age 28.
[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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
…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 (!!)
A difficult but essential responsibility of any basketball coach is to get his or her players to “buy in.”
By whatever psychological tactics necessary (with some famous coaches showing little-to-no bounds in their exploration), a coach needs to teach and convince players to make floor decisions that prioritize team ahead of individual.
Basketball fans have a better opportunity to psychoanalyze players than their counterparts in football do. The players are exposed without helmets or masks to cover their reactions to plays of the game. Modern HD television rarely fails to capture a Kobe Bryant sneer or Ricky Rubio smile. Also, the game has fewer players, and most offensive plays are trimmed down to 1 or 2 man action. Most basketball plays boil down to a player’s distinct choice to either shoot, dribble or pass; as fans, we watch for trends and form opinions about what they were thinking on a given play.
Patrick J: How hard do you think AdelKahn is shopping Derrick Williams and change right now for a shooting guard? And, would they do a Beal trade? Would the Wiz? This probably means nothing, but I saw that WaPo picked up a story from somewhere (maybe even the Strib) on D-Thrill, suggesting they think there’s some demand from their readers to know more about this guy whom they’re potentially interested in. He’d probably be a breath of fresh air out there, as they could move Jordan Crawford to starting SG (gag, I know, but he’s better than Beal right now), and start Williams next to Okafor instead of Chris Singleton (!) or Martell Webster (!!).
Who are the other targets?
“Why do I care?” is the single most hazardous question that a diehard NBA fan can ask himself.
“Junkies” like me, and those I surmise to be a large percentage of this blog’s readership, devote considerable time and energy to a game played by rich men we’ve never met.
Lending more than surface-level thought to the reasons for such devotion is to risk spoiling the fun for ourselves. After all, there is more “important” news in any edition of the New York Times and there are [hopefully] more pressing personal matters in any of our lives, whether they be professional, romantic, familial, or otherwise. (One of the all-time great pieces from The Onion mocks the professional sports fan accordingly.)
Zach Lowe had an interesting take related to this on a recent Bill Simmons B.S. Report podcast. Lowe, an expert NBA analyst who writes for Grantland, grew up a fan of the Boston Celtics, just like Simmons. The Sports Guy asked Lowe how he felt about Ray Allen in a Heat uniform; a potentially sensitive subject for any diehard Celtics fan. Lowe’s reply was fascinating. He said:
I admire your quality to maintain very strong fandom, but the longer I do this, honestly, the more my fandom sort of fades. I still sort of have that in me, and my dad roots for the Celtics and that’s cool. But even last year when they lost Game 7 I remember being like, ‘I actually don’t care all that much,’ and watching Ray [Allen] in Miami is a more analytical experience…
And, honestly, part of the reason for that…[is] just how crazy Boston fans are…Now every fan base is like that…
The “this” in Lowe’s first sentence presumably means analyzing and writing about professional basketball for a living. The statement is fascinating not because he draws a line between “fandom” and “analysis,” but because he paints a huge gulf between the two concepts; one that he outwardly admires the ability of Simmons to cross in his coverage of the NBA.