Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stan Van ID’s The Big Blogging Challenge

The whole world has different challenges now with the 24-hour news cycle and just the volume of stuff that’s out there. And everybody has to get out there. So you’ve got all these people now, because it’s online 24 hours, if I want to get noticed, I got to have something different. And so the beat reporter writes his story and the team played well and blah blah blah. Well, I can’t write that same story now. Nobody’s going to read it.

–Stan Van Gundy, in his interview with Ethan Sherwood Strauss of TrueHoop, identifying the single biggest challenge facing NBA bloggers in 2013.

I highly recommend checking out the entire interview — Parts 1, 2 & 3.

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by | August 27, 2013 · 7:16 PM

SportsVu, Tactical Diversity, and Beating Dead Horses

Zach Lowe reported yesterday that the NBA will be contracting for all 30 arenas to install SportsVu cameras; the ones that track everything that moves during a basketball game. (Players, referees, the ball.) Up to this point, the technology was optional and only available at the team’s expense. (Apparently, cameras cost about $100K.) Half of the teams used them, the data was therefore incomplete, and the organization of that data was entirely the team’s responsibility.  With the news that the league will be manning the SportsVu wheel going forward, video analysis will undoubtedly progress. Team strategy will evolve, as will our ability to assess player performance. Talent will always be the top indicator of team success, but NBA franchises — right now — will have an opportunity to locate and exploit the game’s existing inefficiencies that are revealed by SportsVu.

A Concern

The NBA is very much a “copycat” league. People like Tom Thibodeau and Gregg Popovich come up with great ideas, win tons of games with them, and then everybody else takes notice and tries to do the same. With this massive weapon of video technology added to the scouting arsenal of all teams, I suspect the winning strategies of the day will be imitated more quickly and effectively than ever before. If every team plays offense like the Spurs and defense like the Bulls, won’t it all get boring in a hurry?

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Special Commentary on the National Basketball Association

Irving and Bennett are going to be beasts this year in Cleveland

Irving and Bennett are going to be beasts this year in Cleveland

Andy G: Our blog subheading reads:

“Commentary on the Minnesota Timberwolves and the National Basketball Association.” We’ve been better about the former than the latter. Most of our readers are Wolves fans, so it makes sense. But we’d like to branch out just a little bit. Patrick J is moving his self to Pittsburgh in a couple weeks. While The Steel City has no pro hoops, it is driving distance from QUICKEN LOANS ARENA. (Eds. Note: Pittsburgh was home to one of the best basketball movies of all time.) In Case You Missed It, that’s where Kyrie Lee Irving plays. With this in mind, we thought it’d be fun to expand our coverage — however informally — on a selective basis to include cool and/or interesting players around the league. We’ll call it…

What will we call it?

Patrick J: Something like Punch-Drunk Select Team (PDW ASSAULT? Too soon?). Gives that shady AAU exploitation feel to it while retaining NBA coverage of players we’re interested in watching anyway. (LEAGUE PASS ALERT!)

Andy G: I like it. PDW ASSAULT will be a short list of players around the league that we’ll focus extra league-pass attention to, and blog about at least semi-regularly. For good measure we’ll add a “PDW ASSAULT” link to the Categories sidebar, for organization.

Without further ado, here’s your 2013-14 PDW ASSAULT roster:

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Brewer the Winner


Corey Brewer went to The State Fair today. @TWolves_PR covered it in detail, hashtagging #BrewerOnAStick through Corey’s adventures around The Great Minnesota Get-Together. If there was an unofficial “welcome back” for Brew, this was probably it. Brew is not a star player and never will be, but it’s hard not to spew positive thoughts when talking about the guy. He always smiles, he works as hard as any player you or I have ever seen, he owns a goat, and he unquestionably demands that most intangible of characterizations:


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Offseason Jottings: Best Jerseys, DeJuan Blair, and the Timberwolves

The Original King

The Original King

It’s deep offseason. There isn’t much happening. So we jotted some notes on a few topics in typical INBOX fashion. Check it out below the fold.

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Everything You Need to Know about Jonny Flynn in One Quote

What Flynn lacked in game, he brought in smiles.

What Flynn lacked in game, he brought in smiles.

This quote from Jonathan Abrams’ fantastic new piece on Flynn is revealing:

Flynn spent last season with the Australian National Basketball League’s Melbourne Tigers. “I really wanted to play in a place that was English-speaking,” Flynn said. “That was really my main focus. I want to know what’s going on around me.”

Flynn’s curiosity about new languages and cultures is as voracious as his interest in learning a new offense or being a pass-first point guard.


It’s worth reading in full. Set aside some time–and maybe an alcoholic beverage or two–to digest it properly.


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A Pek-Sized Commitment


artwork by Holly Grimsrud:

Well, that took a while.

It would be wrong to say we were “anxiously” awaiting the news of Pekovic re-signing, because it seemed inevitable.  His potential suitors burned up their cap space elsewhere, the Wolves were reportedly offering market value, and… well, no respectable RFA takes the qualifying offer.  Pek was going to be re-signed.  The only questions were for how much money and for how many years.

Those questions were answered today when Flip Saunders broke the news that a deal had been reached.

Flip’s Twitter account makes me laugh.  When he’s trying to spell a foreign prospect’s name, it makes me cringe.  But it usually makes me laugh.

Jerry Z has all of the important deets over at On the Wolves.  Five years, $60 Million is a big commitment, but it’s a big commitment to a good player.  Importantly, the five year detail does not preclude the “super-max” offer to Ricky Rubio, the way it would have if the team used it on Kevin Love.  Apparently there are some incentives in the deal, but it sounds like roughly sixty mil.

This is good news, if not surprising news.  Nikola Pekovic is a good player.  Maybe even a very good — sometimes almost great — player.  Pek is smart.  He understands where he should be on the floor at all times.  On both ends.  He has a soft touch with his right hand hook, along with a drop step that must make Pete Newell smile in his grave.  Pek can make free throws, and — on defense — Pek can “wall up” to contest drives without fouling.

But most of all, Pek is a fucking badass in the paint.  Without a traditional “superstar” scorer in the mold of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade, and without the rangy team athleticism to hang their hat on elite defense, the Timberwolves need a different way to become great.  Ricky Rubio’s passing helps.  Kevin Love’s patented combination of rebounding and shooting certainly doesn’t hurt.  Pekovic adds an element of interior muscle that just exhausts opponents.  Maybe not Dwight Howard or Marc Gasol, but in 20 or more different NBA matchups the Wolves have an advantage where the opposing center is focusing mental and physical attention on keeping Pek out from under the rim.  It’s not an easy task, and it’s a way that teams will have to adjust their game plans around us, rather than vice versa.  Having sat through so many of these games since KG left, it’s refreshing to see the Wolves dictate personnel matchups.  Again, not every night, but a great deal of them.

In any case, I won’t spend more words than this news is worth.  You know who Pek is and what he brings.  He’s a fan fave.  “The Godfather.”

I’m glad he’ll be here for five more seasons.


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