Just seems like one of those sports Misery Mondays in Minnesota, with the sudden realization that the Timberwolves are now the hot ticket in town, just out-edging Brett Favre's genitals and rejected AARP applications. The Vikings have waived Randy Moss 3 weeks after his acquisition. Might as well!
Hey, at least we get to see Borderline-psycho LeBron James take a liquid dump on Anthony Tolliver tomorrow night. Good Lord, why do we subject ourselves to this? Time to start following the traveling Cirque du Soleil
But hey, the Wolves are long and athletic! Unlike Favre's member. Zing!
More intelligent commentary coming soon when we remember to update the front page to something other than the latest win late last week. We did lose by about 60 to the mediocre Grizzlies this weekend.no comments
Win win!!!!! Overall the game was pretty crap and extremely sloppy. And waaaaaay too many fouls called (56!) But we won! Hot diggity damn! No fear Wolves fans, we can still go 81-1 en route to championship glory! (Editors note: cut CW off.)
The Bucks looked like garbage with Bogut out a lot of the game due to foul trouble. They didn't do much better when he was in, but Bogut is pretty studly. And Maggette did play well. Great win for us against a playoff team.
The shooting by both teams was, for lack of better terms, simply atrocious. The Bucks at 35% and the Wolves at 37%. The Bucks went 3 of 20 from downtown. Wow. That's just fail. Wolves weren't much better, but at least we hit 6 of 22. That's like almost twice as good a percentage. Or something. The Wolves blocked 11 shots (!) because we are goddamn awesome, especially Darko (huge stud.)
Blah blah blah advanced stats blah blah blah who cares blah blah blah Wolves win.
Well, Darko didn't do crap on offense because he doesn't have a post move to save his life, but I love what he did otherwise. He was blocking shots, rebounding, and taking up space. You gotta love that. I know I did.
Beasley was great dropping 21 and 10. It's almost like he listened to us and stopped pussy-footing it out there. If he plays like that the rest of the season he'll get as many minutes as he can handle and we'll win games. Thanks Miami. (You know you could have kept him instead of signing Skinny Miller for that ridonkulous deal, right? Can't stop laughing.)
Love dropped 17 and 16, but didn't do much else. He shot a terrible 3 of 13 and had a shots blocked (will be a reoccuring theme the rest of his career.) And he can't really play much defense. His rebounding was clutch though and he should be in at the end of games.
Is it just me or did it seem like Love and Tolliver kicked ass together? I was happy in the pants seeing them out there at the same time. Someone check PopcornMachine.net tomorrow and get back to me on this. Please?
Speaking of Tolliver... he's our best FA signing in years. YEARS. Damn, I love me some Tolliver! He's so versatile and awesome and sexy. I just want to (edited) with him.
Luke Ridnour is... like, good. Damn, he looked great again tonight. Last year he was an aberration statistically... or perhaps that was just the start of him being an awesome white dude that no one expects to pimp it? I dunno, but I love him so far. God I hope Flynn doesn't come in and dribble the crap out of the ball the minute he's healthy. Flynn definitely needs to be the backup from what I've seen of him last year, and Ridnour these two games.
Wayne Ellington was non-descript, but decent enough I suppose.
Telfair looked good when I was watching, but the boxscore says he sucked gigantic diseased donkey wang, shooting 1 of 5 in 15 minutes, with 0 assists and 1 turnover. That's not gonna cut it. I think Tar Var Jackson could run the offense better than that.
Brewer was 3 of 12, which sucked, but he had a sweet alley-oop dunk at the end. Ohandbytheway, the Wolves already have more alley-oops this year than they did all of last year. Combined.
Wesley Johnson turned me on again. He looked AWESOME and played 27 minutes, which means good things for his hammy injury and the 20 minute per game limit he was supposedly on. We need more of him. I say start him at SG with Super Cool Beas at SF, and then bring Martell Webster off the bench (when healthy, obviously), as the super sixth man and just let him bomb away with the other backups. I should be the Coach of the TWolves that strategy is so goddamn ingenious.
Big Pecker didn't do much because he had 4 fouls in only 7 minutes. I don't care though, he's a stud. And he'll eat your babies for breakfast. He, Beasley, and Wes are my new favorite TWolves.
Kosta Koufos the Doofus played well enough in 9 minutes. Nothing to complain about from him.
Great win. We can still go 81-1 this season.
And check out the TWB Forums game thread for the Wolves back to back tilt at Memphis tomorrow night.
Can you guys believe it? The 2010-11 NBA season is already here. Seems like just yesterday that the TWolves only won 15 games Lakers took out the Celtics in an epic Finals rematch. What will this season bring? Predictions anyone?
Speaking of predictions, I took part in a fun little collaboration picking awards and prognosticating the future. MVP, Rookie of the Year, Finals winner, etc etc etc... cool stuff like that. You can see Part 1 of the Bloguin NBA predictions over at the always superb Hoops Manifesto. Check out Pt. 1 of the results HERE!
As a teaser, here's my NBA Finals prediction:
Celtics over Thunder. The Celtics take another title before the end of their mini-dynasty. KG is back and revitalized, and the Celtics have the deepest team since the Big Three came together. The Heat just don't have the horses yet, and they have injury prone players at every position. I can't conceivably pick the Lakers for anything, ever, because of my blinding and irrational hatred for them. Plus the Thunder are awesome. And they actually have big men now (Cole Aldrich, Ibaka.)
***EDIT UPDATE*** And here's Part 2! It's much more interesting and in-depth than part 1. CLICK HERE for Part 2.
Make sure to check out the games tonight, including the epic Old Big Three vs. the New Big Three. The Heat take on the Celtics in Boston at 6:30 PM on TNT.
Also tomorrow night, the Rockets are at the Lakers (TNT late game), and the Suns are in Portland. A great slate of games to kick off the new season!
In Wolves news...
- From SI.com, an enemy scout sizes up the T-Wolves...
- Martell Webster had successful back surgery, according to Ray Richardson at the Pioneer Press.
- Webster should be back in 4 to 6 weeks, per Dana Wessel at ESPN Twin Cities.
- Per Jerry Zgoda's blog, the Wolves final roster has the limit of 15 players, which means Maurice Ager is a lucky man. For now.
- Timberwolves.com's Jonah Ballow does a 1 on 1 video interview with Anthony Tolliver. Tolliver rocks.
Discuss all this and more in the TWolves Blog Forums!no comments
How unfortunate to start the year. Major, major bright side to this is that the injury is not as serious as many thought. 4-6 weeks hopefully will go by in no time, and is a reasonable amount of time for back surgery. Wishing Martell a quick recovery after his very nice preseason.
My question, though, is if this had been bothering him continuously since April, then why:
1. Was this not flagged in his physical and addressed?
2. Did he or team physicians not address this until 2 days before the season opener? Seems like a surgical procedure over the summer would do us well at this point. As Webster and others have said: it had been bothering him for months.
In other news, Jerry Z recently tweeted Wayne Ellington has been working out with the starters non-stop. Show of hands who would have predicted Wayne be the opening night starter, no less part of the regular rotation? Defensive liabilities aside, he had a heck of a pre-season and has certainly earned it, if true.
UPDATE/NOTE: No timetable has been placed on his injury. 4-6 weeks is the typical recovery time for this surgery, not necessarily Martell's.
Well we waived the talented duo of John Thomas and Jason Hart today, ending our collective, irrational fantasies of a late career resurgence for the former Gopher and 'Cuse grads. I was a little surprised Ager didn't go first, but then was reminded of an interesting rule that makes training camp contracts fully guaranteed for the season if players are injured after a certain date. Not 100% sure of the rule and am far too lazy to look it up so if anyone would like to provide clarification please do post in a comment. Candy will be provided.
I would guess this is why Ager has not been waived yet. give him another week to recover from whatever is ailing him and he will be out the door as well. It seems Thomas may have recovered from his injury and was rightfully waived, and his dealio is now off the books. However, I am reminded of Sean May being waived by the Nets recently due to injury, which makes me think this rule may not be the same as I have outlined.
** for those curious, I Google imaged "John Thomas" and the photo above was amongst the top 4 pictures that came up. None of the remaining were of the player. This probably has absolutely nothing to do with him having what could be one of the most common names in our country. For kicks I googled my own name. Google then gave me the singular option of selecting "Mike Reynolds Earthship" which I didn't do. The following photos were available for viewing after I bypassed that option. Sadly, neither are of me:
Basketball Reference asked me to help contribute to the 2010-11 NBA Blogosphere Preview for the Minnesota Timberwolves, of which I was more than glad to oblige. I tried to keep my entry to the 200 word guideline, but as you can see below I slightly exceeded that. Still, check out the BR Team Preview for some TWolves Info, player projections, and interesting polls about the upcoming season!
And here are my condensed thoughts of a season summary:
The future looks bright compared to last year’s train wreck of a 15 win season. Longtime fans suffered through another disaster campaign, as the Wolves won only twice after the all-star break. You could probably contribute this to the fact that the Wolves ranked as the third worst offense and second worst defense. Worst of all, not only were the T-Wolves a terrible team, but they were a BORING team. That’s not a great combination for the casual fan.
The biggest strength for this team is the fact that the Wolves now have athletic and capable players, 1-12. Gone are the below-replacement level players of seasons’ past, in exchange for capable and exciting guys with potential; and who fit the system being implemented by Rambis and Kahn. It simply cannot be overstated how boring and unathletic this organization has been since KG left. With additions like Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, Martell Webster, Anthony Tolliver, Darko, and Nikola Pekovic, the Wolves can now run and bang with anyone. Even more importantly, there is now a capable bench for the first time in years.
The biggest weakness for this team is its lack of experience and a player(s) that is “The Man.” There’s no clear cut hierarchy, and the squad has literally 10-12 guys that could potentially deserve to play major minutes. Clearly, that’s just not possible or feasible. Therefore, Coach Rambis needs to figure out a rotation and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than trying to play 12 players every game, which is a recipe for disaster. There’s no hope to develop any cohesion or synergy under a scenario such as that. It’s never a bad thing to have “too much talent”, but it can be detrimental to a young team such as this.
This season could be half-way decent, or it could be (yet another) failure. At the very least, this team will be infinitely more athletic and exciting to watch, and for Wolves fans, that’s a gigantic improvement. You know that each and every night this squad will have a chance to at least compete with the opposition.
CW's Win Prediction:
I could see anywhere from 25-28 wins, which would still be a much welcomed improvement from last year. And I wouldn't be totally shocked if we were to win a little more than that. I'd put our playoff chances soundly at 0.00% however.
The new technical foul rules have been the hot point of discussion this past week. Ironically, it has become a far larger discussion point than player whining and poor behavior in the first place. Even as I type this with a DVR replay of the Bucks/Wizards pre-season game on, the commentators are discussing the new rules. The rules basically prevent a player from having any form of physical or verbal reaction to a foul call. But is there a certain level of hypocrisy occurring amongst fans, players and especially the media when it pertains to this issue? While on a bit of a different playing field, it certainly looks that way to a degree.
As we all know, NBA officials have developed a bit of a notorious reputation amongst NBA fandom in recent years. And for good reason. Starting with the Tim Donaghy betting scandal, the reputation of the officials has gone down the toilet and is almost mocked to a degree. Has anyone not been to an NBA game in which some witty fan yells "hey ref, what's the spread tonight?" It is an every-game occurrence. Fans of small market teams generally roll their eyes as "coincidental" finals matchups involving big-market teams, and of course the historic Lakers/Celtics series', happen frequently in recent times; but there is no sure fire "proof" per se, of officials tampering. Furthermore, there is simply a certain element of chance and skill to the game that cannot be controlled by the officials. But, their impact on the outcome of games, most notably in terms of game flow and foul shots, is both obvious and significant. I would encourage all to order Donaghy's book online (as I do not believe it is available in stores for legal reasons) for further insight.
The book discusses how the NBA is a money machine and a business, and like any business, must appease their customers in order to continue profitable growth. This involves making sure the marketable players are on the floor for the majority of the game. People did not buy expensive tickets to the Wolves/Cleveland game last season in order to see Anderson Varejao box out Nathan Jawai. They bought them in order to see a heated matchup of LeBron James versus Sasha Pavlovic. ... ... wow, good Lord were we terrible last year.
Herein opens the "superstar call" discussion. Other than to establish a sense of relatively insignificant credibility amongst fans, what service does it do to tightly call games and sit noteworthy players on the bench for quarters on end? From a fundamental business standpoint, as much as it pains me to say it, the superstar calls/non-calls make perfect sense. Surely benching, say, an opposing superstar for the final 13 minutes of a half would appear advantageous to winning a game from an opposition standpoint, but consistent enforcement of an "even officiating" rule would be detrimental to the entire player-marketing concept as a whole. Simply put, games would not be as fun to watch. Legendary matchups would be cut short. Rivalries would be tamed and not reveled in or enjoyed if it were only the benches who battled it out in the final moments. It would just hurt the entertainment value of NBA basketball and there is no other way to put it. Now, it's one thing if the call is blatantly obvious (pretty much anything involving Shaq in his prime, or some of the recent Wade/Kobe phantom calls available on YouTube), but I am fine with letting an extra step go in order to see a breakaway reverse jam that ends up impacting the final score. This adds energy to the arena and it is what creates the memories we passionately discuss years later. It is what makes this fun. And following sports is supposed to be fun. If you want to take the Wolves as seriously as your day job, or staying ahead of your mortgage payments, I can kindly guide you to a different Wolves site for relevant coverage. Imagine for a moment if the Wolves' best player (whomever that may be at this point) was consistently benched due to ticky-tack calls normally saved for the likes of Wayne Ellington. The result would not be pretty. The "we would have won if <player x> wasn't in foul trouble" defense mechanisms would be sky high, aforementioned matchups would be cut short, and simply put: it just wouldn't be as fun of a game to watch.
Moving on to the topic of the day, and on the contrary, everyone hates ref whiners (when they aren't on your own team of course). When I think of a whiner in today's NBA, I think primarily of two players: Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. I swear the opposing team's trainer could silently break wind and Kobe would still jump around like a hyena in heat, begging Dick Bevetta for a loose ball foul call. It is obnoxious the amount of whining Kobe, Duncan, and countless others do on a game-by-game basis. This should be controlled. However, there are certain things that testosterone and natural competitiveness cannot subdue. We are all human beings. If I get heated when someone steals my frozen entree from the freezer at work, I can only imagine what an NBA player feels in a high-pressure situation on national TV with poor/potentially fixed officiating involved. To a degree, an excessive reaction in those high pressure situations is almost understandable.
Now, hypothetically, say the Wolves are playing one of their top rivals. At this point let's just say the Knicks because pretty much everything about that franchise and its supporters (as it pertains to their view of their own team only, of course, not as their respective person) blows giant cow colon. It's midway through the third and the Wolves have come back from a 10-point halftime deficit at MSG to come within 2 points. Tension is high, competitive juices are flowing. Wolves are touting a small lineup featuring Love at center and he is bodying up Timofey "Jesus Christ, Why is Everybody Talking So Much About This Future 4 PPG Scorer" Mosgov as he posts up on offense. As Mosgov likely would, he takes a soft right hook over Love, the planets oddly align, and Love swats The Moz perfectly clean. Officials blow the whistle anyways. Love, furious and in the heat of the moment, yells an expletive starting with the letter 'f' that is of course picked up by the TV mic, prompting Wolves commentator Tom Hanneman to make an awkward comment about Love's "um, verbal frustration." The three Minnesotans watching from their couches chuckle at the comment. Love then tosses his hands in the air. Neither comment nor gesture is directed at the ref. Boom. Technical foul. He then goes to ask for clarification, and happens to have his arm at a 90 degree angle when doing so. 2nd tech whistled. Love is ejected. Wolves lose both momentum and the game. Knicks fans and media tout Mosgov as the next Wilt Chamberlain, both seriously and publicly. Everyone loses, with the exception of New York area mental hospital administrators (ok, ok, sorry. I'm done. You are all good people, just please shut up sometimes).
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the NBA is attempting to shift to. As touched on above, I understand a certain need to eliminate the Kobe nonsense and the Duncan dramatics from swaying the refs in a certain direction, but disallowing players from even being able to have a basic, human reaction in a very competitive situation is not the way to go. We all know this deep down. On that note, it's 80's movie reference time. Sitting at work today, this whole situation reminded me of a classic scene from the epic hit The Breakfast Club. Ironically, thanks to Google video search, I was able to uncover the scene for your viewing pleasure. Have a look. The reference I speak of is pretty much the last two thirds of it, but the whole clip should bring back some quality memories and prompt you to add the John Hughes library to your Netflix queue within minutes (don't forget a pre-holiday viewing of Home Alone):
Point being, at what point does this whole situation become a ridiculous affair for the players? Imagine being in the situation of either Bender from Breakfast Club, or Kevin Garnett Wednesday night against the Knicks. If you were in a heated situation and T'ed up for something minor, wouldn't part of you want to mock the system? Get even more irritated, or think it was almost humorous in a way? Say "screw this, just give me another?" The integrity of the officials and the league is so far down the toilet, that one cannot even have a natural, human reaction to the call? I mean, Luke Ridnour getting a tech in the Denver game? Ridnour? Frodo? It's just crazy, right?
But let's not forget the "superstar favoritism" discussion above (it had a point to this), because you can't have your cake and eat it too. This is a great opportunity for us all to assess how we would view the sport if all fouls/travels were called fairly and with 100% integrity across all classes of players. It is an unspoken gray area that no one dares touch publicly from a league standpoint. However, the technical-foul masturbation currently being displayed by the refs is a pretty good indicator of what things would be like if fans, players and media got their wish for even calls. Sadly, I think deep down we all know what's best for the on-court product, as much as we would never want to admit it to anyone. Unless of course we want a sudden influx of Perez Hilton-level front page articles and a new fan trend of having a guilty obsession with watching whiny, Phil Jackson-esque press conferences featuring Michael Beasley after he fouled out in the 3rd quarter after 20 minutes of play. It just wouldn't be as fun, and we all know it. It would become a distraction from what is most important: the entertainment value of the on-court product. Because that is what the NBA sells us on.
Thursday night the NBAPA announced they will be challenging the new technical foul rules . Good. I doubt they will win, but it likely won't be too long before Kobe Bryant has his hand around Dick Bavetta, other arm extended, and that pained, nauseating expression on his face we all love to hate. A technical will not be called. Also consider Wednesday the last time KG gets tossed. But, isn't this a league of integrity we want, or are we all a little bit afraid to admit the outcome this "all NBA players created equal" concept is having on the flow and excitement of a game? A legitimate discussion point for all, and for all who are going to pretend it should "all be fair," enjoy watching your heated matchup of Kosta Koufos versus Krylyo Fesenko the next time the Wolves are tied with Utah in the 4th. Sounds like a blast.
Perhaps we are all a bit off when it comes to referee integrity. People are clamoring that KG was ejected for nothing during the second quarter Wednesday night. But, what if the refs started calling an offensive foul each time KG used his elbows to create space in the low block? Is it really all that different, putting natural human emotions aside? Not really. And therein lies the double edged sword of this whole situation. For once, the refs are offering an opportunity to appease us fans, the players, and the media who have been clamoring for an even playing field for years. Well, we may have gotten it, and in typical NBA fashion, it only took us a couple of weeks to start yearning for the old days.no comments