Ty Lawson and the Denver Nuggets take on the Twolves tonight in Minneapolis
One day after Kevin Love’s disgruntled comments about the Timberwolves were published (see Andy G’s and my analysis here), the Wolves play the Nuggets at Target Center tonight at 7 PM CST. Love is expected to be in the starting lineup. Despite the much anticipated return of Ricky Rubio, it currently appears as if that won’t happen for at least a few more days.
So what do we have in store tonight?
Ethan Strauss is the best in the [NBA writing/tweeting] business at provoking strong reactions with what can seem like crazy, “contrarian” takes on pro basketball issues. (I say “seem like” because ESS almost always explains what he means with nuance that can elude the more passionate/less detail-oriented readers. When he’s trashing Kobe Bryant, I sometimes find myself in that camp of spazzes. When the victim is Rajon Rondo, I happily nod in agreement.) Today, he posited that the best “long shot” MVP candidate for basketball bettors is Andre Iguodala. He didn’t say that Iggy will win MVP, or even that he thinks he has a good chance at it or would ever deserve it. Just that, “[a]mong fool’s bets, Iguodala for MVP is wisest.” The thinking goes something like this: Denver has a chance to win a ton of regular season games (some predict upwards of 60), that MVP voters sometimes use a “This team won more games that they were supposed to, so [Player X] deserves the credit!” logic (Steve Nash cited as an example), and that Iggy should see a scoring/production bump as he transitions from Doug Collins to George Karl, a shift that would be akin to a McDonald’s All-American transferring from Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers to Kentucky or North Carolina.
Still, even if you’re talking long-shots, that’s crazy isn’t it? I mean, Iggy has played eight years in the NBA, made only one All-Star Team (2011), and made ZERO All-NBA Teams. The team he joins would’ve been expected to make the playoffs, Iggy or not, and they’ve been universally considered a “team’s team” with more credit going to the coach than any individual player. Furthermore, Iggy’s points per game (a stat overrated by many, but certainly a factor in a wing player’s MVP candidacy) has dropped in each of the past four seasons, (probably) bottoming out last year at a measly 12.4. Even assuming a numbers bump in George Karl’s uptempo system, an Iggy MVP seems as unlikely (or even more) than the 125:1 odds that Strauss found when preparing his piece.
But I appreciate the bold proposition, so I’ll see Strauss’s Andre Iggy and raise him one Ricard Rubio. Continue reading
As you probably already know, Kevin Love earned a spot on this summer’s Olympic team. If you’ve read a little bit about it, you noticed that he will likely play the center position for America’s Finest. From Ray Richardson:
“That’s going to be my primary position throughout the event … through the friendly games and leading up to the Olympics,” Love said Saturday in Las Vegas during an interview on NBA TV. “It’s going to be a lot of the ‘five spot’ for me, so I’ll be doing a lot of picking and popping, offensive rebounding, getting extra possessions … doing everything I can to help this team.”
Picking and popping, offensive rebounding, and getting extra possessions are all things that Love does at an elite level for his NBA team. Is there some reason that he cannot or should not play center for the TWolves? In the middle of last season, I wrote a piece that compared Willis Reed’s role on the champion Knicks to what I thought Kevin Love might be able to accomplish in today’s NBA. Although I’ve made my feelings known on the subject, I find it necessary to address it again now, because of the Olympic news and also because important roster decisions will be made in the coming days and weeks. Continue reading