Yesterday morning I went off on the Wolves front office for their trade of OJ Mayo for Kevin Love. Normally I try to keep what I write on the front page from being overly harsh and save my "off the cuff" remarks for the forum. However, somewhere in the seismic shift between my Thursday night elation and my Friday morning stomach punch, I lost my cool and made a post out of anger without looking at all the angles. After taking a day to put the whole picture in perspective, I definitely owe Kevin McHale and Fred Hoiberg an apology for publicly ripping them a new one and heralding this trade as potentially the "dumbest move in Timberwolves history". Don't get me wrong, this very well may end up being the dumbest trade in Timberwolves history if OJ Mayo becomes a superstar, and I'm not convinced that I'd have made the trade myself, but to automatically label it that was was extremely premature. The final verdict on this deal won't be made for at least another two years, and anyone passing judgement a moment before then is claiming to be a psychic.no comments
I've had a couple of days to digest the Kevin Love trade, and the one thing I can't escape is this: take a look at the Wolves' roster in 2006-07.
2006-2007 Roster (Player - Salary)
- Kevin Garnett - $21,000,000
- Mark Blount - 7,288,165
- Ricky Davis - 6,364,400
- Troy Hudson - 5,603,000
- Marko Jaric - 5,525,000
- Mike James - 5,215,000
- Trenton Hassell - 4,350,000
- Eddie Griffin - 2,700,000
- Randy Foye - 2,448,240
- Mark Madsen - 2,210,000
- Rashad McCants - 1,653,720
- Justin Reed - 1,300,000
- Bracey Wright - 664,209
- Craig Smith - 412,718
(Click Read More... to find out where I'm going with this...)no comments
I'm also going to have to say that Hoiberg is out of the loop, too. Granted, his comments about keeping Mayo came on a crowded elevator. Asked if they were keeping him, he nodded and said: "We're keeping him."
Couple that with what Glen Taylor told Sid after the Wolves had selected Mayo:
"Our people thought that Mayo had far more upside than Love. And very important was the fact that Fred [Hoiberg] played for Tim Floyd at Iowa State, and we knew [USC coach] Floyd was going to give an honest scouting report on Mayo."
The PR cluelessness that takes place at the Target Center never ceases to amaze me.no comments
Normally, after something like this, I'd just fume in the forum. But no, what just took place deserves front page status. You see, I went to bed giddy last night. I was so pumped up - more than I'd been for this team in over four years. I had visions of our "next" KG dancing through my head. To me, everything had finally been made right. Sure, we'd suffered th rough an abominable season, but in the end, Garnett had a ring and we had a fresh start. I kept thinking to myself how awesome things would be and how I'd gladly shell out the $179 for NBA League Pass this year even though I barely had the time to watch or the cash flow to pay for it. It would totally be worth it to watch the dawning of our new era. Seriously, everything was perfect - even the new logo seemed to be a simple of our team's rebirth. You couldn't have worked it out any better...
Then I visited Timberwolves.com and saw a gigantic photo of Kevin Love. Let's just say my throat is still burning from the vomit.
I hope I'm wrong - I seriously, seriously hope I'm wrong. But I'm pretty sure we just witnessed the single stupidest move in Timberwolves history. I'm devastated. If I wasn't the most adamant of non-quitters, I'd pack up my bags, leave this team right now, and never look back. I just don't understand it. And frankly, I don't want to understand it - because I can't think of a single excuse other than "we secretly found out OJ has cancer" that would justify the trade that just took place.
I'm sick to my stomach right now...no comments
Two league sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves have reached an agreement in principle with the Memphis Grizzlies that will send the draft rights to Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner to the Grizzlies in return for the draft rights to Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.
It's funny -- I'd been working on a recap of the Mayo pick throughout the evening, and actually wrote the following: "Prior to the draft, there had been no shortage of rumors about the Ostrich orchestrating a possible draft day trade, in which the Wolves would move further down into the top-10 while adding a (hopefully) solid rotation piece. This talk was just that -- talk. The 600 First Avenue Country Club has made a habit of being predictably unpredictable, but the decision making process for their first round pick was surprisingly drama-free. And logical." Whoops!
I also wrote this: "A lot has been made of what Mayo brings to the table offensively, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table defensively. Couple him with Brewer, and you've got a pair of damn good perimeter defenders on the floor. Looking at his game as a whole, though, he has superstar potential and was the absolute correct pick for this team." Double whoops!
So, what do we make of this deal? The overwhelming reaction has been...welll, outrage -- and honestly, I cannot blame the people who have reacted in that manner. Here's the deal: McHale better be praying his ass off that Mayo doesn't become a superstar, because if O.J. blows up, this deal will have been an resounding failure for the Wolves. The Foye-Roy deal will look like nothing compared to this.
In fairness, let's take a quick look at the positive aspects of the deal. We got rid of a monumentally bad contract (Jaric) and two largely irrelevant pieces of the roster (Walker and Buckner). Miller will give you 17 PPG and knocked down 43% of his threes last season. People are pissed right now, but there are reasons to like this deal. In fact, I've long been a fan of the main pieces Memphis is shipping to Minnesota -- that is, Love and Miller.
Still, those positives will go completely out the window if Mayo becomes the perennial all-star that most league pundits believe he'll become. In other words, if Mayo merely lives up to expectations -- nothing more, nothing less -- Memphis will have the edge. Bottom line: You don't trade away players with superstar talent. I could give a sh*t if you already have several young players at the position of the guy you're drafting. You don't trade away potential superstars.
Love will be a good player. Not a great player. A quote from tomorrow's Sid column (the column that appeared on the Strib's website before the Mayo-Love deal went down): "Our people thought that Mayo had far more upside than Love," Wolves owner Glen Taylor said. Wait, what?
I'd like to repeat that: "Our people thought that Mayo had far more upside than Love," Wolves owner Glen Taylor said. And once again, for emphasis: "Our people thought that Mayo had far more upside than Love," Wolves owner Glen Taylor said.
Nothing against Love or Miller. But when you're trading away a player with legit superstar talent, you need MORE than a solid big and a quality perimeter shooter. As the owner himself said, Mayo has far more upside than Love -- so, at the end of the day, I can't help but expect that this deal will ultimately become yet another McHale goof.no comments
Since all the Minnesotian members of our TWolvesBlog staff get to do fun things tonight like go to NBA City and the team's draft party, it's up to our only East-coast resident, yours truly, to hold down the fort and provide our draft coverage for this evening. Initially, I was thinking of going with a live blog, but decided against it when I realized I would need a good 15-20 minutes to pick up the pieces of my exploded head should McHale & Co. select Brook Lopez with tonight's third pick. Instead, I'm armed with a TiVo and a bottle of Xanax and will go with a more manageable running diary. For the sake of making this interesting, I'm only going to cover the first few picks up until the point to where I'm comfortable the Wolves have solidified their top pick and no trades are looming on the horizon. I mean, do any of us really care who Philadelphia or Houston selects? Here we go...
7:01 - Apparently OJ Mayo has the words "Sacrifice" and "Dedication" tatooed on his biceps. I'm not a big fan of body ink in general, but I like what he chose. Those don't seem like the tatoos of a self-centered jerk who is going to mail it in once he gets his first big contract.
7:02 - After ESPN finishes with their opening musical montage, I find myself slightly disappointed that there were no shots of the Lopez brothers walking around the Stanford campus with their Mickey ears, having a tickle fight, or giggling while reading the latest Archie comic together.
7:05 - Andy Katz reveals that the Bulls told him they're going with Rose. Way to ruin the suspense.
7:07 - Ric Bucher reveals that Pat Riley wanted Gay, Conley, and the #5 from Memphis in return for the #2. If that deal went down in the wake of the Gasol trade, I don't think any jury in America would convict the man who assassinated the Grizzles' GM.
By the time most Minnesota Timberwolves fans go to sleep tonight, the Wolves will have finally ended the great mystery surrounding the third pick in the NBA draft. Most of us have had well over a month to envision a Wolves team with Al Jefferson and [insert rookie to be drafted here] because the Wolves were in lottery land from day 1 of the season. While the majority of Timberwolves fans had a clear rooting interest in the playoffs thanks to the decade-plus years of service from Kevin Garnett, the second thought on everyone's mind (other than a generally entertaining playoffs) was who the Wolves would get in this year's NBA draft. On draft lottery day, we were treated to the gut punch of the third pick in a so-called "two player draft". The only two "Sure Things" in this draft, much like Nicollet Sheridan in the 1985 movie of the same name (man, she's old), Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose made this draft a supposed two-horse race. However, several candidates have intrigued our front office and there's been a growing movement out of Miami that OJ Mayo is sneaking up on Michael Beasley like Birdstone on Smarty Jones in the final furlough of the Belmount.
I'm not telling any of you anything new and I'm not going to pretend I am about to. I'm not going to preview the players and possible scenarios because we all have the internet and most of us can read. You've all studied the various mock drafts and trade scenarios out there and we should all know the varying strenghts and weaknesses of each player. Barring any outrageaous trades, we know the probably name of our next first-round draft pick (including all realistic trade scenarios) will be Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez or Danillo Gallinari. Throughout a month of forum posting and "Blogprints of the Future", just about everyone here has taken a place in their respective corners. So why so much debate and buzz over this pick? First, because it could be anyone. Second, because our front office is, well, full of surprises.
The Wolves have made some bad draft picks in the past. I'm not talking about the drafts where we can have 20-20 hindsight after a decade of play in the league. I'm talking about the drafts where the front office has taken a flyer on someone nobody projected, passing up proven players or other talents. We all have our opinions on who we should have drafted in years past and who we should draft this year. The problem? None of us, as fans, get to make this pick. On top of that, there is a lot of speculation on what to do with the two early second round picks. Do we take a foreigner and let him develop overseas? If we don't take a big early, do we try to address it in the second round? Do we try to trade both picks to move up?
In an attempt to be objective (as a quick aside - my personal preference has switched from the Lopez camp at the very beginning to the "if you don't get Beasley, take Mayo or Love" camp), the Wolves have to approach this draft tonight from an angle that every player is expendable but Al Jefferson. That's not to say there aren't other important pieces on this team, but any of the players we draft tonight should be able to replace any starter on this team right now except for Jefferson (sorry, CW, even Gomes). Whether they go big or small with the lottery pick, the goal should be to get Al back to his "natural position", which most people agree is power forward. Every player in this draft coming out is flawed, those flaws are well documeted, so in a short while, we will soon see which direction this team will go.
With the third pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select...no comments
CW & Bonk Talk NBA Draft with Mike Trudell of Timberwolves.com
Tonight Bonk and I sat down for a quick 1 on 2 (I guess that's what you'd call it) interview with the "Wolves Reporter," Mike Trudell of Timberwolves.com. You all probably already know whom I'm advocating we take (at least you should know), but find out what Trudell and Bonk have to say as well.
Just recently, Don at With Malice... asked me to do a feature regarding what the future holds for our beloved Timberpuppies. He is doing a feature on the various NBA teams, and has asked other team specific blogs for submissions as well. How could I not oblige him? The following is my entry on behalf of WolvesNation:
Will the Timberwolves Ever Get Some Bite To Go With Their Bark?
This off-season is shaping up to be of the most vital in the past decade for our Minnesota Timberwolves; if not the most vital. Whatever happens with the draft and the following free agency period, could literally determine the future success (or lack thereof) for our hometown heroes. When it boils down to the nitty-gritty, this is a team with too many questions and not even answers. Do I have faith in our Front Office and Coaching Staff to make the correct off-season decisions, as well as lead us to contention in the future? To put it bluntly, no, I do not. Who are the Wolves going to draft with the #3 overall pick? I don’t think our brain trust can even answer that right now. We have too many holes to fill, and are not in a position to do anything other than selecting the “Best Available Player.” However, with our 7-headed selection committee, will they be able to agree upon who the BPA even is? Heaven forbid we trade down so that we can fill a “need”, with a lower lotto pick and by acquiring additional “assets.” The post-draft time period only brings more uncertainties: which players on our extensive free agent list (Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith, Sebastian Telfair, Chris Richard, Kirk Snyder, and Michael Doleac) do we retain? Which do we let go? Is Randy Wittman even the right man to lead this team? I don’t think so… but he’s got two years remaining on his contract, so I think he’ll be sticking around for the time being.
CLICK HERE to Read the Rest of the Article at With Malice...
This past year after working extremely hard to recover from microfracture surgury, I found myself coming of the bench being the sixth man and the second leading scorer. The only bad part about it was that I could have been twice as productive with more minutes. I would have been able to meet my individual goals, we could have won more games, and I'd be on my way to being a respected player in the NBA.
Naturally, I immediately went over to basketball-reference.com to check out this assertion. The results: I think McCants is misremembering his season. Here's what I found:
1) McCants's minutes barely dipped at all after being moved to sixth man.
The change was made right around February 1 of last season. McCants had started 24 of 40 games up to that point, including 11 in a row; he wouldn't start again after that date. Hence, this is the obvious dividing line between the two halves of the season. And what the numbers show is this: Before the move, McCants was averaging 28.1 minutes per game. After coming off the bench, he averaged 25.7 minutes per game. Somehow, I don't think that extra two minutes, twenty seconds per game was really enough time for McCants to change much.
2) McCants wasn't any less - or more - effective coming off the bench.
In the first half of the season, when he was starting regularly, McCants averaged 15 points per game, or 0.53 points per minute. As the sixth man, he averaged 14.7 points per game - or 0.57 points per minute. This extremely small fluctuation in points per minute can be explained by two things: as the sixth man, McCants shot slightly more (0.482 FGA/min, versus 0.455 FGA/min in the first half) and made a slightly higher percentage of his shots (46.4% from the field, vs. 44.4%). In other words, he was almost exactly the same player in either role.
3) There's no evidence that more minutes would have helped anything.
Let's put it this way: McCants had a PER of 14.65 last season, and John Hollinger normalizes that statistic so that 15.00 is the league average. He wasn't a future superstar stuck on the bench - he was a league-average shooting guard. Playing McCants 10% more minutes would, for the most part, have meant 10% more points - not twice the productivity.
Basically, the move to sixth man meant for McCants that he missed out on the first two minutes of the game. After that, he was a regular part of the rotation; even after the move, he only played less than 20 minutes in a game seven times in 35 games, and nine times in those 35 he played more than 30 minutes.
I appreciate that McCants has confidence in his own abilities; I think most NBA players believe that they could help the team, if only they could play more. However, I'm not sure there's any evidence that McCants has much right to complain - not only did he see the floor almost as often after the move as before, he didn't do anything either before or after the move to convince the team that it had made a mistake.no comments