With a playoff run out of the picture, will Nikola Pekovic play out the rest of the season?
The Timberwolves aren’t making the playoffs. Let’s put that idea behind us.
The Wolves underachieved this year.
It doesn’t matter how many more games they win or lose. Making the playoffs this season was a benchmark – the benchmark - for that nebulous but real concept known as “success.” And this season, the Wolves were unsuccessful.
I’m not going to get into why the Wolves failed. We’ve talked all about the draft picks, free agent signings, the failings of the second unit, Adelman’s rotations, Barea over Rubio, close losses, and everything else, ad nauseum.
Lots of Wolves fans will check out. It’s no secret that interest in the team waxes and wanes with the team’s highs and lows. When the team is winning, fans take interest. When it isn’t, they don’t. This isn’t an indictment of fair-weather fandom. It’s just human.
The real question is whether the Wolves will also check out as a team.
I’m traveling on business, and have to make this short.
The Timberwolves (18-19) host the Sacramento Kings (13-23) tonight at 7:00 pm CT. You can see and hear the game at the usual places, FSN and WCCO 830-AM, respectively.
A few notes of interest:
- Pekovic-Cousins Grudge Match: Two of the best (and biggest) centers in the NBA go head-to-head tonight in what looks to be the game’s marquee matchup. Cousins is having a monster year, ranking among the NBA’s top 10 in both points (23.5) and rebounds (11.6) per game, which puts him in a strong position to make this season’s All-Star game. Pek has arguably been the Wolves’ best player in recent games, beasting his way to 23 and 10 on 55% shooting and over 5 offensive rebounds over his last dozen games. All I can say about their head-to-head matchup is by way of a public service announcement: Any time Nikola Pekovic and DeMarcus Cousins are set to go to war, hide your women and children.
Bill Simmons’ ever-intriguing “Trade Value” series of columns has begun over at Grantland. He has lots of provocative, interesting opinions, whether or not you agree with any/many of them. Simmons, tongue-in-cheek as can ever, also talks a lot of sense from angles that matter: player potential and history, team cap situation, and team need. It makes for a good read.
There are a bunch of guys I’d flag as worth checking out to see if Simmons’ idiosyncratic ratings comport with your own. But none more than DeMarcus Cousins, the almost-Wolf who was passed over in favor of Wesley Johnson.
I found what Simmons had to say – both the goods and the bads – remain revealing about what a team might be getting in Cousins. This isn’t directly Wolves’ related except insofar as he easily could’ve been a Wolf and probably still would be had we drafted him at #4 instead of Wes Johnson, but Simmons makes a fairly credible case both about what’s wrong (and right) with Cousins, what’s wrong in SAC, and how we might come to see this behemoth talent realize at least a good part of its massive potential.
‘Reke rocks the party
A struggling Wolves squad limps into Sacramento tonight trying to break their five-game losing streak against the Kings. Can they do it?
A few weeks ago, this would’ve looked like a gimme. But not anymore.
The Wolves are in disarray. At 5-7, they’re already in the cellar of a solid Northwest Division, just behind the 6-8 Portland Trailblazers. But if the Wolves lose tonight and fall to 5-8, that gap is likely to wide further tomorrow, with Portland scheduled to take on the Winless Washington Wi’zards.They badly need a win.
30″ x 22″
mixed media on paper
painting by Holly Grimsrud
Andy G: SCENARIO: You just pressed rewind all the way back to June of 2010. You are David Kahn and you possess the rights to the fourth pick in the NBA draft. You have two choices. Draft Wesley Johnson out of Syracuse or DeMarcus Cousins from Kentucky. You cannot draft any other player and you cannot trade the pick. Oh, and most importantly, you have all the benefit of hindsight from mid-November 2012 going backwards. What do you do?
Last year, one had to wonder if Gordon wished he were still wearing this uniform. This coming season, we’re all excited to see him back on the court.
The Punch-Drunk Wolves League Pass Series has taken on a life of its own. We’re on Volume 5 after two rookie teams, an Eastern Conference Team, and a REACTION POST to the Eastern Conference Team. Since Pat is enjoying some vacation time back in ‘Sota, I won’t be surprised if he follows this one up with some of his own thoughts again. Here is your Western Conference League Pass Team. (Eds. Note: No Timberwolves since we watch those games with Jimmy Pete on the local stations. League Pass EXEMPT.)
PG – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors: Remember how fun it is to watch Steph Curry play? Me neither. Because he only played 26 games last year on a tanking Warriors team. Not this year. The Dubs now have Andrew Bogut and a supporting cast of wings that actually complement Curry’s playmaking and shooting. As a Timberwolves fan hoping to see them make the playoffs, the Warriors scare me as 8-Seed Competition. Curry will be fun to watch this year. I should add: Steve Nash in a Laker Uniform is more MUST-SEE TV, at least at first, than Curry. But you’ll see the Lakers on national TV so much that they don’t belong on a League Pass team. Continue reading
With Ricky on the mend (surgery this Wednesday), the season hitting the homestretch, and the Wolves’ playoff hopes looking dimmer by the day (now 2.5 games behind Houston for the 8 seed), there is less and less to add to the discussion with these game wraps. With that in mind, I’ll share a few brief observations about each Wolves player from this disappointing loss that may not come through in the newspaper: Continue reading