Blog Entry

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

Posted on: November 27, 2009 11:04 pm

Basketball, when played well, is poetry.

Basketball is an artful combination of speed, power and finesse, that when executed skillfully is both exciting and rhythmic.

Basketball played by two determined and united teams is constant energy, with moments of amazement and inspiration possible at any second.

To me, these statements are fact. These statements are why I love basketball. These statements are why the Timberwolves are practically unwatchable at the moment.

I'm a diehard Wolves fan, evidence by the fact that I blog regularly about a team whose second greatest player of all time might be Wally Szczerbiak. I can't help it, I'm all-Wolves til the end. That being said, I find it more difficult to watch the current assemblage of "talent" than I ever have before. There have been bad Wolves' teams in the past, as recently as last season, but not like this. The 08-09 team, though not to be mistaken with the Lakers, weren't nearly as bad as they were playing early on and were instead largely the victims of coach Randy Wittman and his "bore the shit out of the crowd" offense. Once he was dispatched the team was allowed to play up to their true slightly below average potential.

But the 09-10 Wolves? Oh boy. There is no Randy Wittman to fire, nor a Kevin McHale to throw under the bus. Glen Taylor is still around but he looks just so darned smiley sitting on the sidelines that I doubt anyone has the heart to ruin his day by telling him what exactly is going on. Nope, it's ugly out there. Sam Cassell ugly.

One can justifiably attribute their wretched play to injury and inexperience. Both are relevant factors that any realistic fan knew would be an everpresent problem this year. But knowing that doesn't make the games more enjoyable. It doesn't make playing COD: Modern Warfare 2 less of a better use of your time. It most definitely does not put fans in the seats of the cavernous tomb also known as Target Center.

How many times can you watch Corey Brewer dribble the ball of his knees and grin that unremitting grin of his in disappointment as a fan in the front row picks it up for him?

How many times can you watch Sasha Pavlovic airball a wide open three point attempt and think "Oh, so this is why the Cavs let you go, you miserable sack of Euro shit."

How many times can you watch the Ryan Gomes Special (bricking a wide open mid-range jump shot and then touch fouling a vastly superior player as they are dunking on him in two consecutive possessions) and not wonder if the Lakers would be willing to deal Adam Morrison for him.  

How many times can Ryan Hollins completely disregard his 7 foot height and be manhandled on the boards in such a way that would make Earl Boykins blush, all of which leaves you longing for Bill Laimbeer to suit up and start throwing some elbows because hell, it can't get any worse, right?

Al Jefferson has been particularly brutal in this baker's dozen stretch of losses, very few of which were even competitive. First and foremost, he's clearly not back from his ACL injury. Everything that made him one of the top 3 lost post scorers in the league is missing right now. Secondly, his 30 lb. weight loss was well advertised in the offseason. Perhaps dropping all that extra weight will allow him to stay healthy over the long haul but for now I can't help but notice how he's getting pushed around in the paint on both ends of the court and think that those 30 lbs. could come in handy right about now. Thirdly, which on a sidenote, is most likely due to the first two factors but still worth highlighting, he's just not playing well. In the past I've always found the wrap that he's a defensively flawed ball hog to be blown way out of proportion and more of a generalization that lazy fans were using to pigeonhole the guy. But I call it like it is and right now he is exactly that. He's not passing unless it's to kick it out to the three point line in order to evade a double team. In other words, his passing isn't creating any kind of offense. Quicker big men are exploding past him, which is leading to the types of touch fouls you'd expect out of Ryan Gomes. Most puzzling, the ball just isn't falling through the hoop. He's doing the same types of moves he always used to embarrass opponents in the past. The shots he's taking and missing are the shots that when he used to take them you knew with 99% certainty it was going in. For the sanity of Wolves fans everywhere, he had better get it together soon or this team will be making a run at the all-time record for fewest wins in a season.

Of course, the Nets might beat them to it.

Category: NBA

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2009 11:09 am

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

Kevin Love - checked this game out a bit - a little shaky but I think he looked realy good for a first game back.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: November 29, 2009 10:40 pm

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

Well aparently they aren't as bad as the Nuggets.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2009 6:33 pm

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

Teams have possibly already adjusted to a Jennings-centric Bucks team - his last four games have been weak, at least. Jennings is turning the ball over a lot, too, though that should go down (not as much as Flynn's eye-popping numbers, though).
Can't give tons of blame to the Wolves for not picking Jennings, maybe not much at all, but considering the Wolves drafted three PGs and most people would say they should have picked Jennings instead of any of them it doesn't look good from a PR standpoint. Also the fact that Ty Lawson has outplayed Flynn so far is not good for the Wolves (though of course him being on a good team with quality players makes an argument that he may have less responsibility, etc.).

Looking at the Super Early Returns again of the draft, here's where I'd say the top ten would go (not based on team need):

1. Griffin
2. Jennings
3. Evans
4. Harden
5. Curry
6. Lawson
7. Flynn
8. Thabeet
9. Hill
10. Hansbrough

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2009 2:30 pm

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

I've had a hard time watching the NBA this year. Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety, but the call arguing by players and coaches just seems out of control. They should implement some sort of calls argued per game stat, and then allot players a number of times they can talk to the refs based off that. If you go over your allotted talks to ref auto technical foul. Play the game and stop thinking you can do no wrong.

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2009 9:49 am

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

Based on wins and losses the only option at this point is to give Rambis an F. Of course, a team as terrible as the Wolves can't really be judged by wins and losses simply because no one expected them to be anything close to good. I think Rambis generally has a laid back demeanor on the bench. At this point, I wouldn't read into that too much. In fact, I've seen him applauding and high fiving players when the team has been down by 15-20 points. He did an interview a week or so ago in which he basically said he almost never yells at players because in a season like this where they're going to lose nearly every time they step onto the court he'd basically be yelling non-stop, and what's the point of that?

Rambis is being very cautious with Jonny Flynn, which wouldn't be as big deal if Brandon Jennings weren't going off in Milwaukee. Over the years Wolves fans have become conditioned to automatically find the best player taken after the player the Wolves drafted and then remind everyone of how they should have taken that guy in the first place every that that guy does something well. So as you can imagine, Wolves' forums are saturated with Brandon Jennings related posts. My prediction: Jennings will come back to Earth very soon.

My one criticism of Rambis is that he rarely plays Flynn and Sessions together, claiming that it's a bad defensive combo and that he doesn't want to stunt Flynn's growth as a PG. That's comendable and all but they're two of the team's best players and they should probably be on the court as much as possible, as oppose to subbing in and out for eachother. Rambis has been very stubborn about this. News flash: whatever the Wolves are currently doing isn't exactly working. Let's give Flynn/Sessions a try.

Since: Jan 29, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2009 1:46 am

The Wolves Are So Bad... (How bad are they?)

I just saw the T-wolves get beat by the Suns. The Suns weren't even trying and they won by 25.  I saw a lot of the things you mentioned in your post.  It was sad. 
You didn't critique the coaching staff and I am interested to know what you think.   
I listen to a lot of the games on the radio so I don't see Rambis and the assistance working with the players. The idea of the new coaching staff creating "the best player development team in the league" made me feel the wolves at least had a plan. However at the game today I did not see the kinds of things you would expect from a coaching staff trying to develop talent. For one I expected to see Rambis out of his chair shouting to the players, but I didn't even see him do a Flip like pace along the sideline.  I expected to see him having point guard to coach conversations while guys were shooting free throws, but nothing of the kind.  Maybe that is his style, but maybe he is sick of losing.  From the assistant coaches  I expected to see them explaining things to players. When listening on the radio, I thought the reason they were subbing so much was because the assistant coaches were giving the players feedback on how to handle situations they were seeing on the court and then getting them back in there to try it. Unfortunately I just saw frustrated players sitting down waiting a few minutes (until the sub screwed up worse) and then going back in to try to reprove themselves.  Maybe this was just a one night thing, or it could be a coaching philosophy I don't understand, or maybe this group of winners don't know how to respond when they are coaching a team without the talent to win. 

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