1. Is Gorgui Dieng an exaggerated plus on defense, and exaggerated minus on offense?
After learning the nature and extent of the Pekovic injury, I wrote a little bit about Gorgui Dieng. Specifically, I wrote about the question marks surrounding the Timberwolves offense when Gorgui takes the floor, and also the fact that he blocks a lot of shots and crashes the boards.
Well, in 6.4 meaningful minutes against the New Orleans Pelicans, he continued his reputation. With Gorgui on the floor, the defense was really good and the offense was really bad. In a game like tomorrow’s versus Memphis, maybe he will fit right in?
I wonder how Adelman feels about muddying the game up in the paint and trying to win in the low 90s. Gorgui seems like a one-way player in the extreme sense.
2. Now that he’s finally playing well, why is Alexey Shved removed from the rotation?
In the month of January, which ends tomorrow night, Alexey Shved posted the following per-36 minutes stats:
* 18.1 points
* 40.9 FG%
* 45.5 3Pt%
* 3.5 assists
* 1.6 turnovers
* 4.5 rebounds
* 2.6 steals
* 1.0 blocks (!)
For the very first time in his NBA career, Shved looked like a pretty good combo guard, instead of a rattled point guard who was moved off the ball.
Which made it seem a little bit strange that he was — all of a sudden — removed from the regular rotation last night against the Pelicans. Instead, Chase Budinger, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Dante Cunningham filled the reserve minutes. The team performance was pretty bad, despite the winning result. (The Jrueless, Andersonless, Browless Pellies are an atrocious group.) They might need Shved’s talent tomorrow night against a hot Grizzlies team that played in last year’s conference finals.
3. Who is better: Ricky Rubio or Mike Conley Jr?
I think most Timberwolves fans would be inclined to say the former and I think most other people would say the latter. Both play feisty defense. Ricky has more size and is a more creative passer. Conley is a more willing and able scorer.
This will be — as always — a fun matchup to watch in Friday’s game.
4. How will you remember David Stern?
Friday is David Stern’s final day as NBA commissioner. Some — many — consider him the greatest commissioner in American sports history.
What will you remember him most by?
(Mine will be his response to the Ron Artest/Palace of Auburn Hills brawl, and the dress code. Stern was very heavy handed in his control of the NBA’s corporate friendly image.)
5. How many Western Conference playoff spots are currently up for grabs?
The Suns won at Indiana tonight. If the Timberwolves did that, I’d write 10,000 words, most of which would just be me repeating how awesome the Timberwolves are.
I have the following teams sharpied into the West playoffs:
Okay, fine. I’ll hold off on Phoenix.
But they are now 10 games over .500 and really have the look of a legitimate playoff team on the rise.
With less than 40 games to go, the Wolves are in a battle with the Suns, Mavs, and Grizzlies (probably not the Nuggets, given their injuries) for 2 playoff spots. Games like Friday’s at home versus Memphis are huge.
What do you think?