TWolves 98 - Pistons 103
Final Record: 15-67
What a shame and an embarrassment. However, a fitting ending to this monster piece of shit season. I'm glad its finally over. We fans deserved much better.
The clock is ticking on Kahn, Rambis, and all our players. If improvement to this team doesn't start happening NOW, then for all intents and purposes, this team is done.
The TWolves absolutely must nail the draft, free agency, and multiple off-season moves/trades. If not, there's literally no hope for the future of this team. If we don't land a top 2 draft pick on May 18th, holy crap, I can't even ponder that scenario.
This was one of the biggest embarrassments of the season, along with those massive blowout losses to Golden State and Phoenix. We couldn't even win against a team tanking. A win also would have avoided tying the worst season record in franchise history. Nope. Congrats everyone, you "earned" it. We are terrible.
(I hail from Donetsk. It's in the USSR.)
My buddy Don over at With Malice... started the NBA "Unsung Player Day" April 5th two years ago, and it has been an ongoing celebration of the NBA's most unhearalded players. In case you are not familiar, here are the parameters in which Don has outlined for potential candidates:
"Yup, I'm declaring April 5th ‘Unsung Player Day'... we should recognize the guys who toil and work hard every day, for no recognition. Well, today's your day. In reality, these guys are just as responsible for making the NBA what it is today - every team needs role-players, guys to come on and give that valuable 2-5 minutes. Without them, there is no NBA. I would encourage NBA bloggers to put up an ‘unsung player' on their blog on April 5th. (Original linking piece)"
Except... this year "Unsung Player Day" is actually going to be April 14th, which coincides with the last day of the NBA season. You know, that stupid crap called "Life" sometimes gets in the way of this blogging stuff. Annoying when that happens, I understand. It's ok though, it's the thought that counts Don. No love lost here. Go check out his awesome site for a huuuuge list of all the submissions from around the NBA, it will be well worth your time.
Last year TWB nominated Sheldon Williams, because he is clearly amazing. Amazing in the way that his wife is a better basketball player than he is. And probably his small baby girl too. Let's just move on.
So this year we are nominating the immortal Oleksiy Pecherov. Also known as "O-Pech", "Big Oily", "I Get Buckets, Son", "Stewie", and "The White Hole". I don't know about you guys, but I don't think his passing abilities are very appreciated by anyone outside the state of Minnesota. For example, his career rate is 1 assist per every 52 minutes and 12 seconds of game action. However, this year he's averaging 1 assist per every 40 minutes or so of game action! Whoa Nelly! That shows me he's really putting in the effort to be a team player, and stepping up his game exponentially. By the year 2023, he could very well be averaging 5 or 6 assists PER GAME.
(Trust us, his skills are improving)
I mean, look at it this way. Big Oily was a throw in for the amazing "Mike Miller + Randy Foye for the Wizards 5th overall pick" trade (HAHAHAAHA BWAHAHAHAHAHA pause... breathe... HAHAHAHA LOLOLOLOL OH MY GOD AHAHAHAHAH!!!!) This past off-season, the Wolves signed Ryan Hollins (ummm yeah, pause) for something like $7 million over three years. I can't be bothered to look up the specifics of his contract right now, because he's worthless. Seriously, he's like not-having-opposable-thumbs worthless. This year Ryan Hollins has snagged a mind-blowing 206 rebounds in 1,221 minutes played. He also has 199 personal fouls over those same amount of minutes. If you didn't know, he's also 7 feet tall. What I just told you must set some sort of record. Ryan Hollins couldn't grab 8 boards in a lumberyard. I mean, seriously. He is 7 feet tall and he's averaging 1 rebound per every 6 minutes played. And on top of that, this season he almost has MORE FOULS THAN REBOUNDS!
Back to my man Oleksiy Pecherov. Like Ryan Hollins, he is also 7 feet tall, but he rips down a rebound once every 3.6 minutes. And we got him FOR FREE! He's only played 447 minutes this year, which is 8 billion minutes less than he should have played compared to Ryan Hollins. Please note that he has only committed 55 personal fouls this year, which is less than half the number of rebounds he has.
Let's see... what else. Oleksiy can also shoot three pointers, if pressed, as he's a 29% 3-PT shooter for his career. Not great, but it's not like he's the absolutely worst of all time. He's close to the all-time worst, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. (For everyone at home, Ryan Hollins has never made a three point shot in his NBA career.)
Oleksiy is a career 79% free throw shooter, but this year he's shooting a blistering 90.6%. Don't mind the sample size, and for what its worth, I say we resign him PRONTO.
He has one third the amount of turnovers compared to Hollins this season (32 vs 95), and in about 40% the amount of minutes played (447 vs 1221.) Wait, we signed Ryan Hollins by choice?
Ok, this is getting depressing. I didn't make this post to rip Ryan Hollins, but good god he sucks balls. Just go look at all these awesome pictures of The White Hole:
(Oleksiy need more lift weights)
(Oleksiy happy face)
(Oleksiy sad face)
(Oleksiy towers over opposition)
(Oleksiy constipated face)
(Oleksiy drafted face.)
All of the above just goes to show that Oleksiy Pecherov is clearly underrated, and the 2009-10 Minnesota Timberwolves most viable candidate for this year's "Unsung Player" Award.
- Keep Rubio.
- Draft Evan Turner with our pick this year (fingers crossed.)
- Trade Al to the Pistons for #4 pick, Jerebko, and Tayshaun Prince. Draft Cousins or Favors, whomever is available. We'd have Prince for only one season since he's an expiring contract and getting somewhat old. Maybe we have to give up a little more than Al, tough to say. We could give them Flynn or Sessions or Ellington? and Cap Relief? and our second round pick this year? I think this could be worked out somehow...
- Resign Darko if not too expensive.
- Draft Xavier Henry, Udoh, or Whiteside with the Charlotte pick. For argument sake, let's say we resign Darko and draft Henry.
- Probably going to need to trade the Utah pick for some of this stuff to happen.
- We need to get Rudy Fernandez somehow for when Rubio comes. I am not opposed to trading any of Flynn, Brewer, Gomes, and/or Pekovic. Gomes needs to be freed anyways. I would like Batum, but I doubt Portland gives us them both. I don't really know how to do this or what they would expect, but let's say we can give Gomes or Brewer and our Utah pick this year? Hard to tell. But we need Rudy. We could give them a little cap relief too...
- It would be nice to trade Flynn for something of value, but who knows if that will be possible, or what we could ever get for him.
Next season's roster:
SG: Evan Turner/Xavier Henry/Ellington
SF: Tay Prince/Rudy Fernandez/(Brewer OR Gomes or maybe neither if both traded.)
C: Darko/(Cousins OR Favors)
In two years this gives us a core roster of:
PG: Rubio/Sessions/Flynn (trade?)
SG: Evan Turner/Xavier Henry/Ellington
SF: Stud Free Agent SF?/Rudy Fernandez/Xavier Henry?/Lesser Free Agent?
C: Darko/(Cousins OR Favors)/Pekovic
- The one point where I would then focus on a nice free agent is at SF. We could sign a STUD and have Rudy play backup, or sign a reasonably priced backup behind Rudy.
- Hopefully by this point we trade Flynn for something, or he develops into a Ben Gordon type off the bench. Who knows...
- Look how many white guys I'd have on our team in 2 years. There's no way we can't win multiple championships!
Please click "Read More" below to see what other forum members came up with...
So, the Wolves play the Lakers tonight. Unless you have NBA League Pass or are attending, you unfortunately will not be able to watch. Seriously. Is this the only Laker's game that is untelevised nationally all year, and the Wolves aren't even carrying it on Fox Sports? Seems a little off to me.
Anyhow, Don from With Malice and I exhanged some questions late last night. Check out his fellow Bloguin blog where he will likely have a Q&A with tours truly posted later today. Here goes:
MR: I'll let you defend yourself: why do you think so many NBA fans hate the Lakers and Kobe?
D: I'd put it down to jealousy. Success breeds it, and there's no denying the success of the franchise. That they'll at the very least compete at the upper levels is almost a given season-to-season... and Kobe? Well, there's no denying that in the past he's appeared pretty smug. That's gone now, but he still is - largely - paying the price.
MR: Why is Adam Morrison still on your roster?
D: Simple. A little bit of monetary relief.
MR: Why do you think the Wolves had such a terrible 2nd half of the season? Aren't young teams supposed to grow over the course of a season?
D: One would hope... but I think it's more that young teams "grow". Sometimes that growth is to experience a godawful season - such as Minnesota have this season.
MR: You are the new GM of the Wolves. You have our roster, Rubio, Pekovic's rights, the 3rd, 16 and 24 pick in the draft. Let's see what you'd do this summer.
D: Ok... the caveat in this is I'm operating with no real knowledge of the T-Wolves. I think I've watched 2 games this season, and this is on about 20 minutes research...
The reality is that regardless of space, you're not attracting a top-notch free agent. I doubt even David Lee (you don't need Lee anyway). Accept that, move on.
Let go of one of your two decent bigs (no, not Nathan Jawai)... if I were GM, I basically let go the one who would garner me the most value - I think that would be Jefferson, and I'd be happy with that. I think Love has greater long-term value. The only hiccup might be Jefferson's contract - but I think he's still pretty good value at 12 mil per (tho' who knows with the looming CBA!).
The only problem would be what do you get in return? I think that Minnesota need a quality swingman, and Andre Iguodala would be a perfect fit. Would Philadelphia be interested? Maybe not, but there should be enough interest in Jefferson that a third team mightn't be too hard to find. Anyway... something along the lines of Iggy (you might be able to send him BACK to Boston in a sign-and-trade for Ray Allen plus something...) would work well.
Fight like blazes to get Darko to stay - I think he still has value at the 5. Between he and Hollins you might be able to get most of a game done. Perhaps give Love some time there and go small.
Make up your mind who is going to be the PG of this team and run with that. Hold onto Rubio's rights if you've got to, but cut one of Sessions or Flynn. Either would give a bit of value in return, but let one go. At the moment you're just stifling both of them.
The caveat here is if Turner falls to you. He'd be a PERFECT fit, and if that happens, then I use Jefferson plus whatever PG interests whoever to get a good center.
2nd pick - take a punt on a guy - someone who's a risk with high upside... or get a spot up sharp-shooter.
MR: Give us your two cents on the NBA playoffs, matchups and who you've got this year.
D: Briefly: I think LA'll be fine. I actually think that Cleveland (from Rd 2 on) will have more difficulty up to the ECF than LA will. LA will get to the WCF, and match up against either Denver or Dallas. And it will go 7... but I think the homecourt will be telling. Despite the recent play (which hasn't bothered me overly), LA will get to the Finals. And most likely meet either Cleveland or Orlando. What happens from that point on is anyone's guess... but I still like LA to win the ring.
No Darko, No Chance
(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Wolves Record 15-61
With Jermaine O'Neal sitting out because of a knee injury, this looked to be one of those rare matchups where the Wolves could take advantage of their size against a smaller opponent. For the first 18 or so minutes of the game, we did just that. The Heat tried guarding Darko with Michael Beasley and didn't work out so well for them. In the 13 minutes Darko played, he had 10 points on 5-8 shooting and could have more if the Wolves weren't busy displaying some of the best ball movement I've seen all season from them. Our guys were zipping the ball around the court, making the extra pass, and getting open looks. Even Jonny Flynn was getting in on the action. Darko and Pavlobrick were playing an effective two-man game, passing back and forth to each other until one of them had a good look. No joke, Pavlobrick looked like a competent NBA player for the 2nd game in a row. With that said, Darko's biggest impact on the game, by far, was his defense. He was guarding the basket like his life depended on it, turning away anybody that dared come into the paint. Any time DWade tried one of his kamikaze drives, Darko was there to turn him away. At least 2 of Darko's 3 blocks came against Wade (I can't remember who the 3rd one was against). With the Wolves leading 27-25 after the 1st quarter, I honestly felt like we could could (and should) win this one. The Heat were giving their all, and the Wolves were outplaying them.
Alas it was not meant to be. Early in the 2nd quarter, Jamaal Magloire was going up for a shot and elbowed Darko in the jaw. He left the game and would never return. After that, it took approximately 2 milliseconds for everything to unravel. At this point, we were still up by 2 points, but I think you can guess what happened next. DWade got wherever he wanted, when he wanted, and scored 13 points in the 2nd quarter during a 20-6 Heat run and gave the Heat a 9 point lead at halftime. The Heat then started off the 3rd quarter with a 16-4 run to run up their lead to 21 points. Shortly after this, the Wolves went on a 21-6 run of their with Ramon Sessions playing point and cut the lead to 6. We were never really back in the game though, as DWade came back in in the 4th quarter and scored 12 straight points to crush any hopes of a comeback we may have had.
As I previously mentioned, Sessions had a good game. He played 25 minutes to Flynn's 23, and was clearly much more effective as evidenced by his +5 plus-minus rating to Flynn's -18. The one thing I have to harp on is Sessions' free throw shooting. 2-5 on free throws just isn't going to cut it. Him and Hollins combined to go 4-12 from the free throw stripe. If I remember correctly, they somehow managed to miss 7 in a row between the two of them in the 3rd quarter. That'll just kill any momentum you have when trying to erase a lead. With that mentioned, I guess I'll talk about Hollins. HE IS TERRIBLE. I know you guys already know that, but it can't be said enough. He is one of the rare 7-footers that has absolutely no single skill that would ever allow him to play in the NBA. He can't score, he can't play defense, he can't rebound (how hard can it be when you're 7 feet tall and can jump through the roof?), and his basketball IQ is on par with a kid playing on a junior high school team. He had a thunderous dunk in the 3rd quarter, but I can't even enjoy those anymore because I'm so pissed off that he's playing. This is another reason Darko is so valuable to us, it means that Hollins never has to play.
Al and Love both had pretty forgettable performances. Udonis Haslem had 13 points and 17 rebounds, but it didn't really feel like he was impacting the game in the way those stats suggest. Sure, Haslem and Beasley outplayed Al and Love, but that's not the reason we lost this game. The real matchup of this game was Wade and his sidekick Quentin Richardson versus Brewer, Gomes, Wilkins, & Pavlovic. Wade had 39 points on 15-27 shooting, 6 assists, and 8 rebounds alone. Those 4 players for the Wolves I mentioned combined for 25 points, 6 assists, and 10 rebounds. Corey Brewer was the worst offender. He had an absolutely brutal performance: 0-9 shooting and 1 point. You've got to be kidding me. Not only that, him and Wilkins took turns being raped by Wade (Gomes was never matched up on him & I can't remember about Pavlovic). I wouldn't fault Pavlovic anyways, he played about as well as you could reasonably expect for a guy who won't even be in the NBA next year. When Wade wasn't making our wings look silly, Q was filling in to the tune of 14 points on 4-5 3-point shooting. This is the point I would probably diss the refs because they suck at life, but it's a given that when you play against Wade he's going to get all the calls and you will get none. So I'll just leave that alone.
In short, we lost the game because:
1. Once Darko left the game, Wade could score at will.
2. Brewer & Co. out on the wings sucked worse than usual.
3. As a team, we shot 4-18 from 3-point land. 3 of the makes were by Gomes, so the rest of the team combined shot 1-12.
4. 12-23 free throw shooting. That's just inexcusable.
That's all I got.no comments
The war is over! After a two week feud, the higher ups at TWB and Canis Hoopus have finally decided to bury the hatchet. In order to form a united front and bring the ultimate in Wolves coverage, Stop-n-Pop, Wyn, Sonia, DeROK, College Wolf, WallyWorld, and Roundhouse will now all be writing on a single blog. This landmark blog will also bridge the gap between SBNation and the Bloguin, becoming the first shared property between the two networks. Details, such as the title of the blog, have yet to be formalized. The plan is to launch the new blog sometime before the NBA Draft lottery in June, so that Canis Hoopus and TWB fans can celebrate landing John Wall or Evan Turner together.
For more details, Click on "Read More" below...
The Wolves played the Suns last night. It was a pretty typical game for us. We were down by only 1 point, 26-25, after a 1st quarter in which the Suns played some really sloppy basketball. During the break before the 2nd quarter, I imagine Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said something along the lines of, "we're a playoff team, and they're the Timberwolves. Now go handle your business so we can get the hell out of here." The Suns then proceeded to go on a 20-2 run early in the 2nd quarter. We had 8 turnovers in this quarter alone and trailed by 22 points at halftime.
If for some crazy reason you watch a lot of Wolves games like I do, halftime is the point in Wolves games when good teams are mentally already on the flight back to the city from which they came. The alternative is that these teams will go through the motions for 3 quarters and then show up just in time in the 4th quarter to put the game away. Often times we still get blown out by these teams. The Suns went with the 1st choice on this night. The Suns let us back in the game in the 3rd quarter, in which we outscored them 31-17. Big Alcoholic had 8 of his 19 points in the 3rd. Kevin Love had 8 rebounds in this quarter alone. Most importantly, Amare looked completely uninterested in playing the game of basketball at this time. You see, when Amare felt like trying, we had no answer for him to the tune of 30 points and 17 rebounds. He was able to abuse anyone in his path. He dunked on Darko, he dunked on Love, he dunked on Al, Hollins, you name it. Hell I think he even dunked on some guy sitting in the 3rd row. But like the rest of the Suns, he mentally checked out at halftime thinking he could coast the rest of the game. Uncharacteristically, we still had some fight left in us on this given night. So early in the 4th quarter, with all of the Suns starters sitting on the bench, the Wolves pulled within 1 point of the Suns led by Al and Gomes. This seemed like a pretty monumental achievement at the time, but Alvin Gentry checked his starters back into the game, Amare bent us over, and the rest is history.
With all of this out of the way, let me get to the real point of this article.
Please click "Read More" to see the rest of this article
Via USA Today:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have brought back veteran forward Brian Cardinal.
Cardinal signed with the Wolves on Tuesday. He was traded to New York last month for center Darko Milicic (MILL'-uh-chich), but the Knicks waived Cardinal after the deal to make him a free agent. The 6-foot-8 Cardinal played in 27 games for Minnesota before the trade. He averaged only 1.7 points and 9.0 minutes per game, but he has been a popular teammate for the rebuilding Timberwolves. They first acquired Cardinal in a draft-day deal with Memphis in 2008 that sent O.J. Mayo to the Grizzlies and brought Kevin Love to Minnesota.
Cardinal is a 10-year veteran.