Musings of a Wolves Fan (10/29/08)
I recently conducted a light-hearted Q&A with Ricky from the First Italian Sixers Blog, Sixers4Guidos. Ricky emailed me out of the blue, as he was incredulous intrigued by the fact that the Wolves had apparently signed Kevin Ollie. What else could I do other than set the story straight with him? I mean, I owed it to him as a fellow blogger. Below are Ricky's questions and my answers for him regarding a few outcasts and retreads new additions to the T-Wolves roster for this season:
Ricky from S4G: I was honestly and seriously shocked to see Kevin Ollie is on T'Wolves roster and couldn't believe it until you confirmed it. Can you please enlighten us on how a NBA franchise in rebuilding mode, with a core of young players etc etc, could eventually pick up this old bum, who stole money for his whole career from dozens of franchise, for mysterious (at least to me) reasons? Do you expect him to make the roster and play for Minn?
College Wolf: That run-on sentence was almost as brutal as Ollie’s jumpshot. Unfortunately, it does appear that Mr. Ollie will indeed make the team. The thing is, the Wolves are 3 players over the max roster size (we have 18 players and the limit is 15), yet we are short on Point Guards. The conundrum is that Ollie is a PG. It does not appear that our only other possible PG besides Randy Foye and Sebastian Telfair is ready for the NBA. That player would be the D-League whirling dervish Blake Ahern. I just don’t think he’s got what it takes to play consistent PG minutes in the NBA (when it matters during the regular season.) By process of elimination, that leaves Kevin Ollie as our third string PG, since it would be cataclysmic to go into the season with just Foye and Telfair. So yes, I do expect him to exceed even the lowest of expectations and make the roster. Even worse, he will probably play some spot minutes this for us this season. Don’t forget, Big O. was also signed for his “defense” and “veteran presence.” Yay!
P.S. If you couldn’t tell, I was not too excited about us signing Kevin Ollie this off-season. It’s not like Shaun Livingston wouldn’t have had an opportunity to grow here with our squad. Very sad.
Ricky from S4G: Do you know how much money Ollie will make? If it makes you (and Mc Hale) feel better, Sixers gave him more than 12 millions over the last 4 yrs, which is already pretty unbelievable. Ollie should build a statue to his agent, who is a genius, clearly.
CW: As far as I can tell, Mr. Ollie is making approximately $797,581 dollars this season to sit on our bench. In my opinion, that’s $797,580 dollars too many. His agent is quite clearly one of the most brilliant men on the face of this earth; and there is a good chance he was an executive at AIG in one of his previous lifetimes. I need to look into having his agent “represent” me…
Ricky from S4G: Speaking of stiffs/former Sixers, you guys took also Calvin Booth. If I'm not mistaken, Sixers are still paying his salary (thank Billy King, who gave him a PLAYER option for his second year, guess if he exercised it...), a fact that should at least make you forget how ugly he is. Is the Ollie-Booth duo the worst PG-C combination Minnesota ever had? In Philly, it was.
CW: Worst PG-C combo ever? Are you forgetting about the Troy Hudson to Michael Olowokandi combination? What out they’ll lull you to sleep by dribbling out the shot clock and then heaving up a brick with less than 2 seconds remaining! How about T-Hud to Mark Blount? T-Hud to Mark Madsen? T-Hud to Oliver Miller? Actually, T-Hud to Oliver Miller doesn’t count because Miller would just take the ball, walk off the court, and eat it. T-Hud to pretty much any center that was on the team during Hudson’s tenure here were all pretty bad. With that said, Ollie to Booth probably still takes the cake. Under no circumstances can I even seriously attempt to top that one.
I would like to point out, I am somewhat excited about having Calvin Booth on our team. For what it is worth, the Wolves are now unequivocally the ugliest team in the NBA. (Number 1 at something!) Between Mike Miller, Booth, Brian Cardinal, Big Al Jefferson, Jason Collins, David Harrison, and Kevin Ollie, no one can touch us. Heck, watching those four guys play would probably be some pretty effective contraception, for as quickly as they’ll drive the women away.
Ricky from S4G: The other Sixer you guys have is Rodney Carney. He drove us nuts for a couple of years (see this post), but he's definitely a talented player that could blossom there, in the right system. What do you expect from the kid, realistically?
CW: To tell you the truth, I actually kind of like Rodney Carney. I was intrigued with him a few years ago when he came out of Memphis into the NBA. I wouldn’t have been sad if we drafted him (although it wouldn’t have been considered a very good pick now.) Anyways, I think he has a solid chance to prove what he can do. From what I hear, he’s a solid defender with good character and tremendous athleticism. You can’t ask for much more than that from a player that is essentially on our team for free. I realistically expect that he makes the team, gives 110%, and probably plays a few minutes per game off the bench. If someone gets injured or traded, he could possibly step in and do ok. Who knows, maybe this will be the year that he “puts it all together” and breaks out. (Please, let me have my delusional optimism, it’s all us Wolves fans have got left.) He could even be the beneficiary of a few patented Love to Carney outlet passes for easy transition buckets this season, who knows. Bottom line, we have nothing to lose with him since you guys are paying pretty much his entire salary (hahaha!) If he turns out to not be worth anything, we simply cut our losses and let him go at the end of the season.
Last Year's Record: 22-60
Key Losses: Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, Kirk Snyder
Key Additions: Mike Miller, Kevin Love, Rodney Carney
1. What significant moves were made during the off-season? Obviously the big move by the Timberwolves this off-season was trading the rights to OJ Mayo for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, and future cap relief. I'll expound more on that deal later. Right now I'd like to take the opportunity to mention some of the less heralded moves that the Wolves' front office made.
Bringing back free-agents Ryan Gomes and Sebastian Telfair for bargain basement deals was a huge plus for a team desperately needing some stability. After a tumultuous beginning to the post-KG era, it was imperative for the Timberwolves to improve team chemistry by bringing back some familiar faces. While it's true that neither of those gentlemen is going to stuff the stat sheet, they're both quality role players with good attitudes who are only going to get better with age. The signings also clearly show a shift in the front office's methodology. Instead of desperately throwing bloated contracts at mediocre free-agents in a last-ditch effort to improve quickly, the Wolves have decided to be patient, guard their future cap space, and use reasonably priced players to fill in the gaps.
Kevin McHale and Co. have also learned from their past mistakes regarding draft picks. Instead of tossing them around in trade negotiations like candy on Halloween, the Wolves management has shrewdly acquired its own stockpile of picks and could have up to four 1st round selections in 2009 depending on how various teams end up in the standings. One of the less-mentioned, yet still meaningful off-season moves was the Wolves' trade with the Sixers for Rodney Carney, Calvin Booth, and a 1st rounder courtesy of Utah. This move was a pure salary dump on the part of Philadelphia to clear the cap space needed to secure Elton Brand. The only thing that the Timberwolves needed to surrender was a protected 2nd rounder that Philadelphia will likely never even get. After years of watching McHale spending team assets frivolously, it's very refreshing to see deals like this, which have absolutely no downside and only strengthen the Timberwolves' position to make a big move down the road.
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As I am wont to do, I was browsing the daily Wolves links on the front page of TWB from October 1st. Interestingly, I came across this article by Don Seeholzer of the Pioneer Press: Minnesota Timberwolves want point guard Randy Foye to turn up the volume. Ok, I thought to myself, they want Foye to be more of a leader, more vocal, improve his game, etc etc etc. I was sure that I was probably going to end up reading something that I've seen before, which tends to happen in the doldrums of the NBA off-season. (The media is not above recycling the same played out stories ALL summer long.) Anyways, I digress. The article itself is pretty run of the mill... your typical fluff piece. The interesting thing in this article was the following quote by Randy Foye, [in reference to always being mentioned alongside Brandon Roy in various articles, conversations, etc]:
"If it wasn't for the injury, I might have been in the All-Star Game, too."
This quote was compelling enough to me to go out of my way to make an entire blog post about it. I have to assume that Foye was completely serious about the comment. You see, without the help of the author, there is no way to know whether or not Foye was joking. But, there is no mention of Foye "laughing" or saying that he was joking immediately before (or after) this quote. The entire article is of a serious nature, and there is nothing to indicate that Foye was making a quip or joke. We can only deduce that the above quote was said in earnest.
So what's the problem?
I mean, isn't it good for players to believe they can succeed?
Shouldn't we be glad that Foye is confident in his abilities coming off surgery?
The problem is that surely Foye can't be serious about his comment? Can he?!?!
I'm not going to bore you all to death by running the same stat comparisons between Foye and Roy. We've all seen them before. Needless to say, Foye does not compare to Roy. In case Randy didn't notice, he also had another thing going against his potential All-Star selection... the fact being that the Wolves were an atrocious (and I'm talking putrid) team when it came time to vote on All-Stars. If I remember correctly (research smesearch), Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade were the only players in the entire NBA last year to make the All-Star game from losing teams. Now, the Hawks still made the playoffs, and Wade was voted in as a starter, (meaning he was one of the top vote getters amongst fans.) The Wolves won 22 games. Portland finished nearly 20 games better than the Wolves, at .500 You do the math on who deserved to be in the All-Star game.
Being that Al Jefferson didn't make the All-Star game, how could Randy Foye have possibly thought he would have been deserving if "healthy?" In case Randy didn't notice (from the bench,) Big Al was one of only five players in the entire NBA to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. In fact, Al was the only player in the entire NBA to average at least 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. That's obviously some pretty elite company for Big Al. Earth to Randy, Big Al didn't make the All-Star game. Heck, Baron Davis didn't make the All-Star game either. Nor did Deron Williams. Or Manu Ginobili. Some guy named Tony Parker was missing too. In case any readers out there are not aware, the above four guards would eat Foye's lunch without even breaking a sweat. They probably wouldn't even glisten.
I get it. I know that professional athletes typically can be egotistical maniacs are confident of their abilities. And don't get me wrong, they should be! However, from what I have seen of Randy Foye in his short time here in 'Sota, he appears to have an ego problem. It tends to get overlooked by the majority of our fans, being that our Front Office has basically dubbed him "The Golden Child." Foye made a comment last year after only a few games back from his injury. I can't remember exactly what it was, but it rubbed me the wrong way, because he was implying that they won the first two or so games he played because of him. That's hardly something that our future point guard and potential leader of this team should be saying. And the way he plays and talks in interviews just irks me. I guess what I am getting at is I am not completely sure that Foye is totally deserving of all the praise he gets, especially when media members say how selfless he is. Either they don't care about what they are writing with their name(s) on it, or they are just idiots that don't pay close enough attention to their subject matter. Foye hasn't proven a single thing in the NBA, other than he can put up (some) statistics on a bad team. That's it. I don't see where/how/why this ego of his is there.
On the other hand.
Maybe I'm just looking too deep into all this. I'd love for nothing more than to see Foye fully realize his potential and make a few All-Star games. A large part of the future success of our team depends on Randy's ability to improve all facets of his game, as well as help lead the rest of our players. And we don't need another player with a massive ego to get out of control and bring this team down... we've already got Rashad McCants.
Feel free to continue this discussion HERE in the TWolvesBlog Forum!
We're a couple of days into training camp, and with the likely roster at least somewhat finalized, I thought that it was time to take a look at the new edition of the Timberwolves.
That said, two days into training camp, we hardly know everything about the team. So, in the interest of brevity, we're taking a page out of the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure , and taking a look at the Wolves roster - with six words per player.
Rashad McCants: Put up or shut up. Now.
Sebastian Telfair: Time to produce... or ride pine.
Randy Foye: Can he be successful at PG?
Craig Smith: Dude, grow a couple of inches.
Ryan Gomes: Important off-season re-signing... yet kinda forgotten.
Rodney Carney: Everyone says: why isn't he better?
Brian Cardinal: I hated this guy at Purdue.
Corey Brewer: The sound of Brewer's off-season: clank!
Al Jefferson: Oh, no! PLEASE, NOT THE KNEES!
Chris Richard: Well, there's room in Sioux Falls.
Mike Miller: Biggest acquisition. So, Mike: No pressure!
Jason Collins: (This statement ruined by golf cart.)
Mark Madsen: HUSTLE RUN HUSTLE EFFORT FAIL BENCH
Kevin Love: Miller - no pressure, compared to Love.
Calvin Booth: Still tall. Still old. Still unproductive.
Kevin Ollie: Backup to the backup's backup PG.
And of course, we also have the overall theme for the season: Better... But They'd Have To Be.
For America's three major spectator sports (yes, hockey, three), everyday NBA fans have to look more and more to the blogs and bloggers for their NBA news than they do to the mainsteam sources, mostly because the NBA offseason futily struggles as the Jan to the MLB pennat race and NFL season Marsha. This can be a good and bad thing. On one hand, NBA fans can sate their fixes, on the other, unchecked blogging opinion often lacks veracity (or at least research). It's for this reason that I feel the need to defend one Sebastian Telfair, someone who, because ESPN decided to follow him around for a year, probably had/has inflated expectations due to now-unwarranted media attention.
Twice in the past month, I checked SG's daily Timberwolves news posts for the latest on our squad. Twice in the last month, I have glanced at an excerpt of an article accusing Bassy of being 1) "One of the worst players in the league..." and 2) Another post summarizing Bassy Telfair as the worst starting PG in the league last season.
My gut reaction to these statements, without research, is that (a) they were wrong, and (b) they were made by someone that probably didn't watch a single Timberwolves game last year. As I researched it further, it turns out they were both by Tom Ziller at AOL Fanhouse, and the second post was a defense/correction of his first post in which he admits was done without research. I don't know much about Tom Ziller, but I'm sure he's a fine blogger if he was picked up by AOL. As I looked at his archive, I noticed he covers the entire league...certainly a tall task for anyone, even a mainstream writer with a research staff. And, therein lies the problem, categorically making opinions about players you don't see and don't research until it's time to make a retraction and restatement.
Bassy is not Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or anyone of that caliber, and he probably (as in 99%) never will be. Conversely, he'll never get a 5 year, $70 million contract (especially with Isaiah out of control) to mail it in. Speculation after the KG trade is that the guy was simply a filler in the trade, someone Boston wanted to unload. After Foye's injury, Bassy got a shot, and I thought he looked awful...at first. But then he did something he's supposed to do: Bassy got better. Bassy's 5.9 assists per game would normally be good enough to rank him 14th last year...right above Anthony Carter, who the majority of Wolves fans will agree with me in saying that I would much rather have Bassy as a starting PG than Carter. However, Bassy didn't play in enough games to make that list (played in 60, started 51), so when Mr. Ziller looked at his NBA assists leaders when it was time to bash Bassy, I'm sure that's something he didn't consider. Bassy also boasted a 3 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio, a ratio that makes you a serviceable point guard in this league.
On another note, what Mr. Ziller definitely didn't see that many watching Wolves fans know: No one on this team last year could reliably hit an open jump shot. Bassy was able to get the ball to our shooters in open spots, but they missed the shots. Two huge knocks on Bassy's game: he can't shoot, and he doesn't use his speed and penetration to get to the line. However, I expect him to get better. He's in his fifth season as a non-collegiate pro, meaning he would be a rookie assuming a complete college career. Bassy only cost the Wolves about $2 million last season, and he's getting a modest raise (by NBA standards) for the next two.
I happen to be one of those guys that doesn't mind being criticized or knocked...as long as the knocks are legit. So, from what I've seen with my own eyes:
Bassy, work on that jumper.
EDIT - As the Old Logo (now really old logo/original Wolves logo) it is my wont to bring you old news. Canis Hoopis had Bassy's back two days ago, too. Check it out if you haven't already.no comments
There's a buzz of excitement you can hear every time you walk towards Target Center...unfortunately, it's coming from either (a) the Twins stadium construction site or (b) the neon lights in the hallway to Target Center. As a commuting downtown Minneapolis worker that has parked in Ramp C for the past year-plus, I have walked through Target Center at least twice a day, five times a week. I took the picture above this morning and it pretty much sums up the excitement level involved with this team. Unfortunately, this shot is right at ground zero for the Wolves idea makers, and it's the management's failure to keep this team in the minds of fans in the offseason (and in the regular season, based on this year's attendance). Perhaps the front office can blame it on the Large Hadron Collider.
When the RNC was in town, the national media mentioned St. Paul's love for the Wild, and the state's affection for the Twins and Vikings...no mention of the Timberwolves. Now, this is hardly anything to get livid about, but the image above reflects laziness on the front office's part. Immediately to the left of those empty display cases is a vacant retail location that used to house the Wolves' gym. With NBA City and its merchandise store downstairs, the Gym became expendable. However, as you walk down this hallway, you can see the clear failure on the part of the Wolves' management to capitalize on the team's other recent marketing opportunities. Immediately after Kevin Love was drafted, the team quickly put up his picture on the walls next to all of the large pictures of the other Wolves "stars." I was very impressed, and I thought that the Wolves were really going to start plugging these young players and generating excitement for this team. Since then, nothing has been done to the facade of these hallways. It's my understanding that subsequent to the draft, the Wolves unveiled a new secondary logo, a revamped primary logo and, oh yeah, did you hear we have new uniforms? Well, nothing in the hallways of Target Center reflects any of those changes. Can the team at least put a new jersey in the display case? The only occupied display case still contains the pathetic remains of Sweetwater Jones, the least effective ad campaign since Reebok pimped Dan and Dave.
That being said, much like the tree falling in the woods, if the Wolves lose 60 games again this season and no one is there to watch it, do the clangs off the rim make a noise?no comments
Since October 2007, the TwolvesBlog front page has hosted the hotly debated question of whether or not Randy Wittman is the right coach for the revamped Wolves. Well, maybe it's not hotly debated, but the question has occupied the poll on the right-hand side for the past year. I know when I first joined the site, I easily answered, "No." I think "no" is the majority answer for a lot of the readers, forum participants, and columnists here.
<< What do you mean I have to make rotations BEFORE the regular season starts?!
However, as I made it to all the games last year, I have to admit that Randy Wittman has changed my answer to, "Maybe, I'm willing to give him a chance, but I'm not sure how successful he'll be."
How was TheOldLogo sold? Please click "Read More" to continue.no comments
College Wolf's Open Mailbag...
Yeehaw. Another day, another Mailbag. Thanks in advance to everyone that submitted questions for this edition of the Mailbag. Keep em coming and I will gladly answer. Anyhow… as usual there is a very diverse variety of topics ranging from: The Celtics run through the NBA playoffs, Olympic basketball, The origins of TWolvesBlog, Which five NBA players I’d like to punch in the face, Something from Maddog_04, and two special submissions from actual, real-live NBA players! Until next time…
It's the semi-finals of the Hoops Addict Floor Burn Tournament and Minnesota's own Mark Madsen is barely trailing Ronny Turiaf in their head to head match-up. I'm making this post to encourage those of you Wolves fans who haven't voted yet to do so and show the Dog some support. Remember, this is the guy who's always there to sign an autograph, help out in the community, wave a towel on the sidelines, high five a teammate, and even launch embarassing 3-pointers to secure much needed draft positioning. Mark Madsen's been giving us 110% for four years now and the least we can do is click on a link and click a vote button for the guy. So what are you waiting for? Vote for the Mad Dog!