Monthly Archives: May 2013

Shabazz Muhammad’s Father, Ron Holmes, Facing Federal Charges (The G’z and Hustlas Edition)

(NSFW, depending on where you W.)

OG Ron Holmes, the forging father of potential Timberwolves first-round pick Shabazz Muhammad, is in trouble again. So what’s the story here?

From CBS Sports:

Ron Holmes, father of former UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad, has been indicted on federal bank fraud and conspiracy charges. He is being detained in Las Vegas pending a detention hearing, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Here’s more on Ron Holmes – aka “Ron Shabazz” – including the complete court proceedings (h/t LA Times).

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft

The Polarizing Shabazz

yeaboi

Will Shabazz Muhammad be the next Harrison Barnes, or Austin Rivers?

 

“[Shabazz] Muhammad might be the most controversial prospect in the draft. Blessed with both terrific scoring skills and a tremendous amount of hype, he was widely regarded as a potential No. 1 pick coming into his freshman season.

But expectations can be a tricky thing. Seven months later, Muhammad finds himself fighting to stay inside the lottery. Were the glowing scouting reports on him in high school just wrong? Or is Muhammad’s evaluation more complicated?”

That was Chad Ford’s take in his enlightening post yesterday about Shabazz Muhammad, and the lottery-prospect’s experience at Peak Performance Project.  It’s an athletic training facility focused on biomechanical and neuromuscular assessments to help athletes improve on any physical weaknesses that they may have.  Apparently the computers are impressed with the Bruin prospect’s leaping ability (he’s a “quick jumper”) but suggest he has work to do in the lateral quickness department. More than anything the article indicates Shabazz is doing all he can to identify and improve his weaknesses.

This matters because the Timberwolves might draft Shabazz Muhammad with the ninth pick in the upcoming draft.  It’s interesting because a large contingent of Timberwolves fan base (basically, the entire Canis Hoopus commentary community) hates the idea of the team drafting this particular player.

Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft

How do we feel about Cody Zeller?

So I was just finishing up Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire, naturally checking Twitter every so often, when this one came across the wire from Jerry Zgoda:

A brief texting exchange ensued.  Since we’re low on Kahntent and it seems apropos to late-May Wolves discussion, I figger’d I’d type it out.

Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft

LeBron’s Pivotal Playoff Games: It Gets No Better

Well, the playoffs might have just gotten interesting.  If we’re being honest, these playoffs haven’t been too good.  There have been some great games, yes.  Chicago stunning the Heat in Game 1 without Derrick Rose, Chris Paul going mano a mano with Tony Allen to beat the buzzer in overtime.  And of course, Steph Curry.  Basically any time he stepped on the court with half-healthy ankles was must-see TV.  The Warriors were a blown Game 1 lead away from seriously threatening the now-Western Conference Champion Spurs.

But as a whole these playoffs have been a dud.  Much is due to unfortunate injuries to key players.  Derrick Rose was out all year.  Russell Westbrook went down in the first round on a fluke play.  Chicago and Oklahoma City — if healthy — are two of the three best teams in the league.  Remove them from the equation and things obviously get worse.  The Knicks had kind of a special season, but it ended ugly against a stifling Pacers’ defense.  Fans calling for Mike Woodson’s job was a bad look.  And last night, the “feel good story” of the playoffs — the Memphis Grizzlies — were swept away by the old reliable but never too interesting San Antonio Spurs.

But tonight things might’ve changed for the better on the Intrigue Scale.  Miami lost Game 4 tonight at Indiana.  I didn’t see it coming; not after the beat-down they put on the Pacers in the same arena just a couple nights ago.  But a return to their staple — team defense — and some cold shooting by key Heat players paired with some crappy officiating tilted things Indy’s way, and now we have a 0-0, Best of 3 coming up.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What to do about hard fouls: Nothing [more]

Henry Abbott: If I’m David Stern, I want dunks. I want people watching that on TV, on smartphones all over China. Someone wrapping him up, or throwing him to the floor … it’s not good TV. It helps your team, but …

Shane Battier: Then what’s our goal? What’s our goal? Television, or basketball?

These sentences capture the essence of an exchange between TrueHoop writer, Henry Abbott, and Miami Heat forward, Shane Battier.  The topic for discussion was hard fouls in the NBA, and whether and how the league should address them.  Abbott clearly views hard fouls as a problem yet to be resolved:

“They make the game more dangerous and ugly than it has any reason to be, and the league should do something about it.”

Battier mostly defers on the policy question:

“We’ll let the commissioner and his good people worry about selling broadcast rights and whatnot.  Our job is to exploit the rules, within the rules, and get a competitive advantage which is the same in any sport across the board. Win the game. That’s the only thing.” (Emphasis added.)

There are a lot of relevant questions to be asked, including but not limited to:

  • Are hard fouls actually a problem?

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

After The Lottery: Where The Wolves Stand Now

RubiOladipo

Is RubiOladipo in the Timberwolves future?

Trading Up: Should we? Can we? What would it take?

Patrick J: Rumor has it that the Timberwolves are looking to move up in the 2013 NBA Draft from their current position at #9.

What would this mean in practical terms? Key questions remain, about both the value that could be gotten from moving up, who the right choice would be given the Wolves’ needs, and what Minnesota would have to give up to do it.

The consensus is that Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore are the top two players in the draft. The Wizards would have a difficult time passing on Local Hero Otto Porter at #3. DX currently has Anthony Bennett going #4 to the Bobcats and Victor Oladipo going #5 to the Suns.

On moving up in the draft, Darren Wolfson reports the following:

“According to league sources, Saunders is a big fan of Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, and the only way to get him is to move up from the ninth-spot.”

Wolfson reports that the Charlotte Bobcats — currently slated to pick 4th — would be the Wolves target in a potential trade up.

That leads to a series of questions, namely, would the Bobcats give up the #4 to the Wolves, and what would it take? Also, would trading assets for Oladipo be a net positive for the Wolves, given the short-term time horizons of coach Rick Adelman?

(Eds. Note: An interesting sidebar to the Wolfson story is the following quote: “If the Wolves stay at No. 9, one league source predicts Saunders will take UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad. Word has it that the Wolves like him. But so does Detroit, and they pick one spot ahead of the Wolves.”)

Would the Bobcats take Derrick Williams and the #9 pick for the #4, which could buy the Wolves Oladipo?

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft, Timberwolves

The Timberwolves: Are they really the worst?

In the spirit of bad luck at the NBA Draft Lottery, comedian Joe Mande took to examining the agony that is being a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. In his Grantland piece, Mande does some soul-searching that seems to suggest if not outright proclaim that the Wolves are the worst possible team that a fan can cheer for. In his Stage 4 of lottery-related grief (Depression) Mande writes:

The Timberwolves are not bad. They’re so much worse than bad. If the Wolves were simply “bad,” that would imply that they could possibly get better, that the basketball gods hadn’t cursed them, that there was hope. Being a Minnesota Timberwolves fan is an affliction. It’s a deep, personal shame that eats away at your soul like a cancer. That might seem hyperbolic, but it’s true. When people find out you are a Timberwolves fan, they treat you like a cancer patient. Every time I meet someone who’s into basketball, we’ll start talking hoops, and eventually they ask, “Who’s your team?”

“The Wolves.”

“The Wolves?”

“Yeah. The Timberwolves.”

“Oh, right … sorry.”

“No, it’s OK. You didn’t know.”

It’s pointless. The Wolves are doomed. Just in the last four years, they’ve decided to take Jonny Flynn, Lazar Hayward, and Wayne Ellington over the likes of Stephen Curry, Paul George, Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, Klay Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and Larry Sanders. It’s almost too much to bear.

It got me thinking:

Is this true?  At least in present-tense terms, are the Woofies really the worst team?  What would be the criteria to make such a claim?

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Timberwolves

NBA Draft Lottery: Rapid Reaction Force Edition

Shabazz Muhammed - Future Timberwolf?

Shabazz Muhammad – Future Timberwolf?

Andy G: That was my immediate reaction. Now that I’ve *poured that bourbon* and *stepped outside for that air* we should probably take a couple steps back and digest what it means that the Timberwolves will be picking 9th in the upcoming draft and not 1st, 2nd or 3rd like we had hoped — however irrationally, given the 94 percent chance that they would — you know — NOT pick 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I guess I’ll start: Nerlens Noel isn’t walkin’ through that door, Ben McLemore isn’t walkin’ through that door, and Victor Oladipo isn’t walkin’ through that door, fans.

Your thoughts?

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft

Will Kevin Love Draw the Golden Ticket?

kevin-wonka

If the choppy Charlie Bucket photoshopping doesn’t make clear, I’m not devoting much time to this. The draft lottery. It’s tonight. 7:00 on ESPN. Kevin Love will be there, representing the Wolves. I’d guess that Adam Silver or some Ernst & Young executive will announce the results around 7:30.

The reason I’m skimping on the LOTTERY PREVIEW is that it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Wolves will pick 9th (81.3 percent chance) or 10th (12.2 percent chance). Who knows, maybe that will be a blessing in disguise?  The high end of the lottery has not been very kind to Minnesota. The highest pick in team history, Derrick Williams, was chosen 2nd and will probably not be an NBA starter next season, his third in the league. Third overall, the team has selected Christian Laettner and O.J. Mayo. One never played for the Wolves. The other, well, we wish hadn’t. Fourth overall the Wolves have taken Donyell Marshall and Wesley Johnson. Bust, and… major bust.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Will Kevin Love Draw the Golden Ticket?

Filed under NBA Draft

Draft Combine, Part III: The Measurement Edition

NERLENS

Over the weekend we took a look at some of the more interesting youtube interviews of potential draftees at the combine. Part I here. Part II here.

Now we’re wrapping up the DRAFT COMBINE SERIES with a few observations — mostly Timberwolves-related — about the measurements portion of the event. Without further ado…

Continue reading

Comments Off on Draft Combine, Part III: The Measurement Edition

Filed under NBA Draft

Enjoying Knicks-Pacers for what it is

New York Knicks vs. New Jersey Nets, Game 4

The 1994 Knicks were the first NBA basketball team that I can remember caring about. Born in ’82 I was 11 years old during those Playoffs. Minnesota’s team was in its fifth season and won 20 games; this after winning 19 the year before that and 15 the year before that. Kevin Garnett was still in high school, the Wolves were still irrelevant and my increasing interest in basketball — developing mostly at Williams Arena and local high school games that my dad took me to — needed a professional team to latch onto. For reasons I cannot recall, that team became the Knicks.

Derek Harper, the hand-checking, old-school, floor-general point guard, was my favorite player on the team. Again, I’m not sure why that was. His game was effective but — looking back on it, now — boring. His mustache might be considered hipster today but basically just made him look old then. He was old. Having Harper as a favorite player in ’94 would be like singling out Kirk Hinrich or Andre Miller in 2013. But for whatever reason, 11-year old me was a Derek Harper fan.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Enjoying Knicks-Pacers for what it is

Filed under Uncategorized

Draft Combine Part 2: The Skype Chat Edition

bateman

CO-AUTHORED POST — for Part I, click here.

Alright folks, we did a PART 2 of the new and exciting draft-combine interview reactions. This was the SKYPE CHAT edition wherein we live-chatted quick takes on whatever the soon-to-be rooks had to say.

Why is there a picture of Patrick Bateman and Victor Oladipo, you ask? You’ll have to click below the fold, read the post, and find out for yourself!

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under NBA Draft

NBA DRAFT: What the Prospects Say

Trey Burke: Sewer Hero

Trey Burke: Sewer Hero

Co-authored by Andy G and Patrick J

DraftExpress just posted a bunch of interviews with top prospects who’re possible future Wolves at the NBA combine. Below, Andy and I react to each that was published today. Assuming more are to come–possibly to include Anthony Bennett–we’ll probably hit the wheel on this a second time for comparison’s sake. Full analysis below.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft

ONE YEAR LATER: Looking Back at the Almost-Mutiny in Miami

Almost exactly one year ago tonight, Dwyane Wade chewed out his coach, Erik Spoelstra. Not behind the scenes away from his team or even the media, but in the middle of a blowout, Game 3 loss at Indiana in the second round of the playoffs. Chris Bosh was hurt, Wade was playing poorly, the Heat were about to fall behind in the series, and frustrations grew to a boiling point. After the buzzer sounded and tempers cooled, water was not yet under the bridge. Wade reportedly made the short drive up to Bloomington to consult Tom Crean, his college coach from Marquette (now coaching the Hoosiers). One could hardly do more to undermine or discredit the head coach than chew him out on Primetime TV and then seek guidance — COACHING — elsewhere.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sunday Jottings

Goodbye, Brandon Roy

We pretty much knew this was coming.  Brandon Roy was waived by the Timberwolves.  As had been widely reported, the second year of his contract was non-guaranteed.  Therefore, the team chose to waive him and his $5.3 Million remaining on his deal.  I’m not the right person to wax poetic on what a great player B-Roy was in Portland.  I’m sure plenty of Blazers writers have already done that.  His brief, somewhat-awkward T-Wolves tenure was recapped nicely by Mark Remme.

I do think it’s worth pointing out what the decision to waive Roy could mean, in a bigger picture sense.  The Wolves could’ve held on to him as a trade chip.  A non-guaranteed contract would have value to teams as a salary-cutting tool.  But in any deal where the Wolves sent out Roy to bring in somebody else, they’d essentially be adding salary of their own.  This is rife with assumptions and speculation but I take this move as a signal — however slight — that the new management is operating under a fixed budget; probably one set below the luxury tax line.  I also take the move to signal a desire to retain the big free agents, Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger.  Again, cutting Roy lowers the payroll and increases cap space and room below the tax line.  Don’t be surprised if it’s not the only move in this direction.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Sunday Jottings

Filed under Timberwolves

Wolves Needn’t Draft a Wing

The next Kawhi Leonard is probably not walkin’ through that door. So plan accordingly.

Many Timberwolves fans will expect the team to draft a wing player in the upcoming lottery. It’s the position of need, after all.  Flip and Rick should ignore the radio callers and message boards and draft without regard for position.

Why, you ask?

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Timberwolves

Anthony Bennett’s Injury And Its Implications For The Timberwolves

Here at Punch-Drunk Wolves, we’ve lauded UNLV draft prospect Anthony Bennett’s game and NBA prospects over and over. For the uninitiated, Bennett is a bulldozing 6’8’’ forward who’s got a nice handle and a silky smooth stroke (ALLITERATION!), with range out to the three.

There are other good players in the draft, sure. See Exhibits A and  B.

But suffice it to say that PDW hopes Bennett ends up in a Timberwolves uniform next season. As the months have passed and I’ve watched and read more about potential draft prospects, I’ve become more-and-more intrigued by Bennett as a possible transcendent player, one whose best-case scenario is something like a Star Child combo that’s one part Charles Barkley and one part Carmelo Anthony.

In short, I’ve come to think I might draft him 1st overall. And although that’s a minority opinion, I’m not alone in that assessment.

Here’s the thing: most draftniks currently project Bennett as the likely 3rd or 4th overall pick. That bodes poorly for the Wolves: they’re currently slotted to have the 9th pick, and would have to move up to get Bennett unless they defy the odds in this year’s Draft Lottery, not to mention the franchise’s entire history of bad Lotto luck. And why should we expect any different? After all the NBA has a habit–and I’m just going to say a “habit”–of producing some pretty incredible storylines (2:25). Storylines that tend not to center around the Wolves unexpectedly being in prime position to draft a sure-thing, no-shit, lock to become an NBA star.

Yet the prospect of the Timberwolves drafting Bennett–who, apart from Noel, is possibly the closest thing this draft has to a sure-thing, no-shit, lock to become a star–increased on Tuesday, when Bennett’s agent told ESPN that Bennett would be having surgery on his left rotator cuff on Wednesday. According to the report, Bennett will miss four months.

That’s a crucial period.

Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under NBA Draft, Timberwolves

NBA’s Golden Age?

Clyde Frazier and Earl the Pearl

An outgrowth of the sports-fan aging process is the urge to no longer observe in the present, but in historical context where players compete not only against one another but against ghosts that once occupied that field or floor, or others like it.  I fell victim to this — if “victim” is the right word — first with Kobe Bryant; basically, freshman dorm arguments about whether Kobe — a champion at 21 — was better than Michael Jordan at the same age.  These debates drive a great deal of sports interest.  Without narrative, a bunch of strangers running around to throw a sphere through a ring can lose meaning and (gulp) maybe even seem like a waste of time and money.

Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Flip Lives!

Flip Lives!

ADDENDUM:

Continue reading

4 Comments

by | May 4, 2013 · 8:26 PM

Minnezzzzzzzzota Nice

flip-saunders-608

Well, how about that.  David Kahn is out and Flip Saunders is in, and the appropriate response from sports fans from Minnesota and beyond should be a collective shoulder shrug.  Plenty of others have done a better job of eulogizing/pulverizing Kahn than I ever could, and besides I have always been much more of a Kahn supporter than is welcome ‘round the internet.  I think he made a bunch of 50-50 gambles on young players and lost every time, took the safe pick in the draft every time (and lost), and talked too much.  On the other hand, I have stringently defended his handling of the Kevin Love situation and think he did the impossible by bringing not only Rick Adelman (the most competent coach in the entirety of Minnesota sports during my time on this earth), but also bringing in Kurt Rambis, who if you all don’t remember was *the* heir apparent to Phil Jackson, and a top coaching candidate at the time the Wolves were at rock bottom.   This is to say nothing of his post-Jewish-summer-camp-like long-distance courting of a certain Spanish point guard that miraculously brought Youtubio over from Spain.

Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Timberwolves