Tag Archives: Sebastian Telfair

Close Encounters of the Weird Kind: Michael Beasley, Bassy Telfair, and Punch-Drunk Wolves

Beas and Bassy: Back again in the PHO

Beas and Bassy: Back again in the PHO

A few days ago, Andy G recalled a late-night encounter with Michael Beasley on the streets of Minneapolis that he and Friend of Punch-Drunk Wolves Brian J had a few years back. Andy G recounted how the incident illustrated Beasley’s  fierce loyalty to struggling teammate Jonny Flynn – a quality forgotten amid Beasley’s off-court problems and on-court lapses. Sebastian Telfair was also involved.

Andy’s story went like this:

“Why can’t you just say you like Bassy? Why you gotta say you like him way more than Jonny?”

Those words were directed at my friend Brian, who had spent too much time in Kieren’s Irish Pub after a weeknight Wolves game in early 2011.  We were headed home — me directly, Brian to his bus stop — when we came upon a slew of Timberwolves and Pacers hanging outside of Seven Steakhouse, presumably having finished dinner and waiting for their rides.

Brian decided that was a good time to accost Sebastian Telfair.  Rather than just offer a high five and passing word of praise, Brian took the extra step of “bringing it in for the real thing,” and told Bassy that he liked him WAY MORE than Jonny Flynn.  The implication was clearer than Brian’s speech delivery: Flynn was awful, and a great deal of Wolves fans preferred to see Telfair at point guard.  (By the way, Sign Number 298,278,397,293 that your favorite team is Lottobound is when you like Bassy Telfair WAY MORE than the guy playing ahead of him and feel obliged to loudly proclaim as much publicly.)

As Brian delivered those Guiness-laced words, a tall young man in the group took issue. It was Michael Beasley. Mike was upset.

It would be an exaggeration to call this a confrontation. After all, Beasley didn’t mush Brian. But Beas made it known that ripping his teammate – even Flynn – was not cool.*  So we walked on.

I’ve always been intrigued by Michael Beasley as a basketball player.

The incident on the street made me respect him as a teammate, and, to a lesser degree (and if only for a fleeting moment) as a person.

There were a half-dozen other NBA players there.  All were within earshot. Only one stood up to the dipshit comment made by the drunk fan.

Players — especially teammates — are a fraternity. They should protect each other.

This was a harmless situation, but Beas was acting on principle – almost on instinct.  He’s loyal.

Brian J–an integral actor in this Dramedyeventually responded in the comments section. His recollection was a bit, ummm, *different* from Andy G’s.

Brian J’s account provides new information, additional nuance, and some intriguing analysis. We’re publishing it in full, below the fold:

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Intel Report: Timberwolves vs Suns

Mike Beasley, suited up like a closer.

Mike Beasley, suited up like a closer.

The Wolves have lost four of their last five games. They are 3-2 since Ricky Rubio returned from injury. (Ricky sat out against Miami, because it was the second game of a back-to-back.) Rubio’s role is going to get bigger, and soon. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: give the kid more minutes.

He’s the key to our winning. Not JJ, not Ridnour, not Mal Lee, not Brandon Roy. Certainly not Josh Howard, Will Conroy, Troy Hudson, Sam Cassell, or Pooh Richardson. Not Derrick Williams, and not Dante Cunningham.

Ricky. Just Ricky. Throw K-Love in there too.

That’s what the Wolves basically have: two stars. One is still having his minutes limited (he’s now cleared to play 24 minutes, up from 18), basically nullifying his ability to make an impact by doing what he does – help the team win in lots of non-box score ways while on the floor. The other is out of shape and acting pouty and playing poorly.

Neither star is playing well. The Wolves are losing. End of story.

No need to overthink it. It’s great when guys like AK47 and Pek can carry the team to wins, and we love seeing Shved outperform expectations, but that’s not going to be a blueprint for winning in the playoffs. Which is what we want to do.

So what can be done?

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League Pass Alert, Vol. 6: The “So Bad They’re Good” First Team

Byron Mullens (Photo from Diebolt Designs)

Andy G and I are doing a series on players you’ll be watching for one reason or another this season on League Pass. Check out the first four entries below.

1. All-League Pass Rookie 1st Team, or “Rookies You Want to Watch”: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/23/all-league-pass-team-vol-1-rookies-you-want-to-watch/

2. All-League Pass Rookie 2nd Team, or “Rookies You (Might) Want to Watch”: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/24/league-pass-alert-vol-2-rookies-you-might-want-to-watch/

3. All-League Pass 1st Team, Eastern Conference:http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/25/league-pass-alert-vol-3-eastern-conference-league-pass-team/

4. League Pass Alert, Vol. 4: When Bad Teams Happen to Good Players, and the East’s New Stopper: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/26/league-pass-alert-vol-4-when-bad-teams-happen-to-good-players-and-the-easts-new-defensive-stopper/ 

5. League Pass Alert, Vol. 5: Western Conference League Pass Team: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/26/league-pass-alert-vol-5-western-conference-league-pass-team/

This one is about players who aren’t great but have unique or otherwise interesting qualities Andy G and I like to watch for one reason or another. Usually these qualities involve style and not substance, not all of which is ON THE COURT (see Blatche, Andray).

Let’s get on with the show.

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The Alumni Team

As the Wolves season inches closer to its end, (we’ve been screaming ‘uncle’ for weeks now, it seems) I’ve taken a bit more interest in some of the team’s former players, many of whom are playing meaningful roles on competitive teams.  After watching Randy Foye posterize the mighty Serge Ibaka last night on national tv (more on this, below) I thought it’d be fun to scan the league for former Timberpups making various levels of noise in their respective situations.  Without further ado, here is your 2011-12 Minnesota Timberwolves Alumni Team:

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Back to Work (Wolves 127, SUNS 124)

Was it a coincidence that the first seven quarters of Wolves ball that I missed in weeks were the first seven quarters of Ricky-less ball?  Yes, actually.  Saturday’s TV coverage was FUBAR’d by the NBA, with reciprocal blackouts for paying customers of NBA TV and paying customers of NBA League Pass.  I actually thanked the NBA (to myself, at least) for this blunder.  It sounds like I missed a wretched display by the home team.  Tonight’s contest mostly conflicted with my men’s league game (we won, thanks for caring) so I was only able to listen to the 3rd Quarter on the drive home and watch the 4th on FSN.

Based on the box score, radio commentary, and my text inbox, it sounds like Mike Beasley, Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic collectively carried the Wolves through the first half as K-Love struggled with his shot.  Beasley in particular (15 points on 6-7 shooting in 16 minutes, (tied for) team-high +8) must have been crucial to the 7-point halftime lead.

The radio broadcast of the third quarter sounded like Suns matchups of recent past.  Al Horton repeatedly described Suns action begun by Steve Nash and finished by an open jump shooter.  The Wolves 7-point lead quickly became a deficit.  But then, as is happening more and more often, K-Love came to the rescue by bombing from outside.  Love hit 5 threes in the second half (5-9 total for the game) en route to another 30-point game for the superstar.

Now, the part I was actually able to watch: the fourth quarter.  Or as Magic Johnson and Roger Dodger call it, Winning Time.

The Key Players of #winningtime, in reverse order:

5. Derrick Williams – The rookie was on the court for the first 7:42 of the fourth and seemed to be involved in every play.  He aggressively and stupidly goaltended a floating shot that had no chance of going in (sound familiar?) BUT–he got away with it, somehow.  On offense, he hit a pair of square-up J’s, one from downtown, and converted his own backcourt steal into a dunk.  Defense was another story.  His “defense” on Channing Frye reminded of recent Kevin Love efforts against Magic stretch four, Ryan Anderson.  Put simply, Williams does not want to guard out to 24 feet.  You know why?  He’s a power forward.  (This dilemma of the stretch four is exactly why I want K-Love to embrace his own shooting talent, as he is doing of late.)

4. Channing Frye – As I just mentioned, Frye’s shooting was a problem.  He entered the game with 8:26 to go with his team down by 2.  He quickly hit a pair of 3′s, each giving his team the lead.  While the Wolves were ultimately able to hold off the Suns, Frye’s sniping was nearly a deciding factor in the other direction.

3. Sebastian Telfair – Bassy played well in the last Wolves-Suns tilt, too.  He must have it out for his old team or something.  In the early part of this 4th Quarter he was pretty dominant, even if in ways that are UNSUSTAINABLE.  When JJ went under a ball screen, Bassy buried the jumper.  A moment later on another ball-screen sequence, he hit a three and D-Thrill fouled him for good measure and a fourth point.  RIGHT AFTER THAT, he ripped Luke on a careless dribble and converted a layup.  8 quick points in the 4th Quarter.

2. Kevin Love – The MVP candidate had 13 points in the 4th Quarter, despite resting from 8:26 to 4:18.  Not much else to say.

1. Luke Ridnour – Notwithstanding the turnover to Bassy, Luke was huge down the stretch.  He made a layup with 4:35 to go, and a long 2 with 3:55 to go.  With 1:50 to go he made a sick little hesitation move on Frye (I think) and an even-crazier layup in traffic with the shot clock winding down.  He collected an offensive board with 1:15 to go and a key defensive board with 0:54 to go.  With 17 seconds left and a 1-point lead, he calmly went to the line to extend it to 3 and help seal the win.  Great Winning Time performance for Luke.

Nice to get a win.  It’ll be interesting to see if any moves are made before the trade deadline on Thursday.  Also on that day is the next game, a nationally televised (EXCEPT MAYBE IN MINNEAPOLIS!) contest against the Utah Jazz, a key rival for the 8-seed.  Big Al scored 33 tonight on 14-18 shooting in an easy Jazz win, so we’ll have to have our interior defense ready to roll.  Until then.

Season Record: 22-21

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