The Wolves play the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at Target Center at 7 P.M. CST. The game will be shown on FSN (Minnesota) and League Pass (everywhere else). It can be heard on WCCO 830.
This is the second game of a back-to-back for the Timberwolves (10-11), who bounced back from a 103-82 by Miami on Saturday to annihilate Detroit on the road last night, beating the Pistons 121-94. Having a rested Kevin Love helps (obvi): Love had 26, 16, and 7 after missing the Heat game because of his grandmother’s funeral and having additional rest because of the Mexico City “Up In Smoke” non-game.
The 76ers (7-15) are not a good team right now. And they’re especially bad on the road, having lost eight in a row on the road heading into Wednesday.
Making matters worse for the Sixers, it looks like they will again have to play without injured super rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who was recently released from the hospital after being hospitalized for three nights whilst waiting for an arthritic skin infection in his right knee to clear up. Carter-Williams is listed as day-to-day, but appears unlikely to play in tonight’s tilt.
It’s hard to overstate how much MCW’s absence hurts the Sixers. The dynamic rookie is averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and (an NBA-leading) 3.1 steals. More important, Philly is 1-6 when Carter-Williams hasn’t played, and 6-9 when he has played. In his absence, they’ll rely on large doses of Evan Turner, with Thad Young and Spencer Hawes their other main options.
The Wolves should win this game. The 76ers are miserably bad and are perhaps the worst team in the NBA.
“But wait,” you might be thinking. “Your headline says ‘How the 76ers are the *Best* Team in the NBA.’ Wtf are you talking about”?
Below the fold, I explain how the 76ers can be considered the best team in the NBA .
How can the Sixers be the best team in the NBA when they might win fewer than 15 games this year and end the season with the League’s worst record?
It’s all about the intangibles. The 76ers are the best team in the NBA. But only if you rate teams on style over substance. And in the style department, the Sixers have a lot of something special going on. (Eds. Note: In the substance department? Not so much.)
Let’s take a quick look at the aesthetics of the Philadelphia 76ers and walk through what makes them uniquely interesting.
Hawes is the most politically informed player in the NBA (obvi). Even The Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest will tell you that if you watch the YouTube video below. Spencer is a hardcore Republican. He’s not shy about sharing his views.
Whatever your partisan leanings, after you watch so many player interviews in which nothing is said because of fear of offending some potential constituency or losing your endorsement marketability, you’ve gotta admit it’s fun to have a player who’s willing to stand up and tell us what he thinks.
If that’s not enough for you, just look at this tee-shirt. Right?
Best NBA Mullet of the Last Five Years…Spencer Hawes!
Politics isn’t Hawes’ only interest. Having rad hairdos is apparently another. You see, Spencer Hawes once owned the NBA’s premier mullet. (Eds Note: I think it was the NBA’s only mullet at the time.)
Punch-Drunk Wolves is going on record RIGHT NOW and saying that we hope he grows it back to its full glory. By “full glory,” I mean “full potential.” And I see that as somewhere in Dwayne Schintzius territory.
Schintzius had the NBA’s mullet market CORNERED when he was in the League. His mullet was named The Lobster. Godspeed, Dwayne.
Still, you can see the potential for Hawes’ when you look at a side-by-side.
You can get your whole fix over at mullethunter. (Eds Note: I don’t think Hawes’ mullet ever made it to that site. Not sure about Schintzius’.)
NBA Coach with the Best Accent
Brad Stevens is the darling of new NBA coaches this season. He’s the bee’s knees. Everyone loves Brad.
But Stevens, like every other NBA coach today, loses to 76ers coach Brett Brown in at least one category: his accent.
Brown, you see, has a Australian accent, for the win. Need I say more?
Brown’s Aussie accent isn’t of epic Crocadile Dundee proportions. He’s from Maine, but managed to pick up the accent He picked it up while coaching in Australia from 1993-2002.
Even if he doesn’t talk like Paul Hogan, it’s still an accent you don’t hear in just any NBA presser. Very cool. (Eds. Note: He’s also a really good coach.)
Worst Accent in the NBA
This award goes to Evan Turner, hands down. Turner’s accent isn’t so much an accent, it’s just a really odd voice.
Turner kind of sounds like he got punched in the throat when he was a teenager. (Eds Note: If you believe Mark Titus’ account of “The Villain’s” demeanor, this wouldn’t be unlikely to have happened.)
Best flattop in the NBA
We’re back to hair! It’s one of the most important aspects of NBA aesthetics. The flattop sends a message almost as vigorous as as the mullet.
And no NBA player wears it as well as injured Sixers rookie Nerlens Noel. (Eds Note: Iman Shumper of the Knicks is runner-up.)
There’s ample visual evidence of Noel’s flattop’s greatness. Here’s Exhibit A.
Exhibit B shows Noel getting some work done to sculpt and maintain his flattop.
Exhibit C: Ladies love flat tops. (Eds. Note: At least SEC ladies, according to this expert commentary.)
Best Rookie in the NBA
It’s always fun to have young talent you’ve never seen before in the NBA. This year, the top dog in that department is rookie Michael Carter Williams, whom I discussed above. Williams also has a unique look going on, which makes MCW Mania that much more fun.
MCW is tearing up the League, all while looking like he’s 13. He did all this…in his first NBA game.
Here’s a broader look at MCW’s body of work. He does cool stuff.
One final thing about Carter Williams: He’s by far the best hyphenate in the NBA, far outstripping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as well as Chris Douglas-Roberts of the D-League.
He isn’t a current player, but that doesn’t matter. AI is one of my favorite players of all-time. I really wish the Wolves could’ve engineered a trade for him and kept KG. That would’ve been amazing.
In case you only saw Iverson play post-76ers, you need to watch videos like these to appreciate him. He was never the same after Philly traded him. But AI did work like this on the regular when he was in his prime.
You’re talking about practice!
Iverson gave my favorite NBA-related interview of all time, with
Screamin’ Steven A. Smith. It’s worth watching in full.
He’s also the subject of my favorite ESPN 30-for-30 documentary (among many great ones).
Speaking of high scorers, Wilt Chamberlain played in Philly for a long while. During that time, he did this.
Wilt claims he did this.
We at Punch-Drunk Wolves run a family blog, so no comment on this one…
Anyway, that’s a bunch of fun stuff about a bad 76ers team. Embrace the suck and enjoy the tilt.