Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: November 1, 2010 10:24 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Michael Beasley comes back to Earth

After six weeks playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, forward Michael Beasley is singing a different tune. Posted by Ben Gollivermichael-beasley Don't get it twisted: no one will mistake Michael Beasley for a bastion of reliability.  But, back in September, when the new Minnesota Timberwolves forward, brought over in a trade with the Miami Heat, was just starting to get acclimated in his new city and new team, Beasley's optimism was at an all-time high.  In an interview with Timberwolves.com writer Jonah Ballow, Beasley was asked if his former team, now loaded with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, was the team to beat in the NBA.
"Honestly, and I know a lot of people are not going to like that fact that I'm going to say this but I think we are the team to beat. You know, that's just me and my ego speaking. I think the Lakers are the defending champs two years in a row, I think the Lakers still hold that title. It's nice to see somebody try to fight back but as of now, the Lakers are still the team to beat." 
That's right, Beasley said the Timberwolves -- a team that was coming off a 15-win season last year, a team that hasn't broken .500 since 2004-2005 -- were the "team to beat." A team whose president, David Kahn, thinks useless center Darko Milicic is "manna from heaven" and who was fined for telling a radio station that Beasley had a problem with marijuana in Miami, but it was behind him now. The team whose coach, Kurt Rambis, runs the triangle offense without most of the necessary pieces to make it work. It goes without saying that Beasley's boldly optimistic prediction elicited plenty of laughter and wisecracks of the "Let's see what he says in December" variety.  Well, Beasley didn't even make it all the way through October.  Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press reports that Rambis is already questioning his team's professionalism, just three games into the season.  Richardson notes that "the word 'Professional' was written in large letters on a chalkboard inside the Timberwolves' locker room Saturday night" after a 20-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. As for Beasley, who enjoyed a fair bit of winning at Kansas State and in Miami, the transition to the basement sounds a bit rocky. 
"I feel like everything we've been working on since training camp went out the window tonight," Beasley said. "As of right now, we're the worst team in the NBA."
Beasley was so disturbed with the results that he sat in front of his locker stall staring at the floor with his uniform on. He was the last player still in uniform, but he had a reason. Beasley was preparing to go back onto the court to do some extra shooting.
In case you are keeping score at home, it took just six weeks for Beasley's assessment of the Timberwolves to plummet from "team to beat" to "worst team in the NBA."  That's got to be some kind of record.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: October 29, 2010 11:23 am
 

Kevin Love says he's good with Kurt Rambis

Posted by Royce Young

After the Kings game Wednesday night, Kevin Love didn't talk to reporters. Since he didn't say anything, we're left to speculate that he was miffed over not playing the last eight minutes in a tight game. Hence the not talking.

But Thursday, he talked and addressed the perceived hiccup with coach Kurt Rambis.

"Defensively, we had lapses the whole game," Love told the Pioneer Press. "In that situation, Anthony (Tolliver) was playing great down the stretch. You have to give credit to him and the rest of the guys on the floor."

"I talked to Kurt," Love added. "I'm fine with it. I don't want to use this as a telling tale for the whole season. I know I forced and rushed a lot of shots. We all were trying to play great because it was opening night, but it didn't work out for a lot of us."

Love said the right things here, but let's see how he feels in late January when he's averaging just 25 minutes a game. He might not be so fine with it then.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:09 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:17 pm
 

The curious case of Kevin Love

Posted by Royce Young

(When do you think people will stop using a form of that headline for questions about a topic? I mean, it's been almost four years since that movie came out. Anyway, on to the point.)

After a summer tearing up the world on the glass at the World Championships and a preseason where he put up 32 and 20 in 28 minutes of action, the common thinking was that Kevin Love would finally start getting the minutes he deserved.

Most agree he's the Minnesota Timberwolves best player. Everyone agrees he's at least a very good player. And yet in the Wolves opener against the Kings, Love played only 24 minutes and sat the last eight despite playing well with 11 points and 10 rebounds. So why did he sit?

Kurt Rambis offered an explanation, via the Star Tribune, when asked why he sat his best player:
That’s your opinion,” he said. “I thought Anthony (Tolliver) was doing the things defensively that we need. It was nothing against Kevin. I thought A.T. was doing a good job. I thought that he was moving his feet well. He challenged shots. He blocked shots.

“Rather than turning it into a derogatory thing with Kevin, it’s a complimentary thing toward A.T.”

Except I don't think Love took it that way. However, to Rambis' point, Tolliver did do well in weakside help, highlighted by this fairly excellent block. But at the same time, sitting Love the final 8:24 and playing him just 24 minutes compared to Tolliver's 28? How did Love feel about that?

... well?

Oh, Love didn't say anything. Because he skipped out of the locker room before reporters could ask. In other words, he's not happy about it. Last season, everyone thought Minnesota had one of the most promising frontcourts in the league with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Now, it looks like both could be run out of town and replaced with Darko Milicic and Anthony Tolliver. Yee-haw!

I thought this flowchart from Canis Hoopus put it well:

That sums it up pretty nicely. The other team got a rebound? Bench Kevin Love. The other team is scoring? Bench Kevin Love. The halftime show was subpar? Bench Kevin Love. It's really kind of how it works.

Is this a one game thing or will this become routine for Rambis? There's no doubt Love deserves at least 30 minutes a night and probably more. It's hard not to wonder if the Wolves would've won the game against the Kings if Love had played the last eight minutes (they lost 117-116). Love isn't a great defender, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't play. Carmelo Anthony is probably Denver's worst defender too, but he's not sitting down in crunch time.

They said it was all about transparency and honesty in Minnesota now. I think if they were being transparent here, they'd say, "For whatever reason, we just don't like Kevin Love. Or really, we just prefer to lose." Because as far as explaining why he plays just 24 minutes, there's no transparent or honest answer that makes sense. 

There are a lot of problems in Minnesota right now from the existing roster, to Ricky Rubio to injuries. But a lot of those things can be helped by one simple basketball principle: Play your best players. Unless Kurt Rambis figures that out, he may be watching another one walk out the door with only a couple draft picks in return.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 2:05 pm
 

Wolves asking league to look at Webster trade

Posted by Royce Young

Save your David Kahn jokes for the end of this. I know I'll try to. But according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, the Timberwolves have requested the league investigate whether the Blazers knowingly dealt them an injured player.

The player in question is Martell Webster who was acquired on draft night for the 16th overall pick from the Portland Trail Blazers. Webster on Monday underwent surgery to repair a disk in his back and is expected to miss about 4-6 weeks. Webster said the injury dates to last spring's playoffs, when he was undercut and fell hard in a game against Phoenix.

Busss-ted.

Now of course that doesn't mean the Blazers knew this would require surgery and that they knew he was hurt when they traded him. So maybe not busted. But isn't it just like the Wolves to get a player and one that happens to be like the sixth at that position on the roster, find out he's hurt and then say, "Wait, you guys knew he was hurt when you traded him to us. Not fair!" Isn't that just so Wolves?

Zgoda says the Wolves are likely looking for a draft pick as compensation.

I just find the whole thing pretty funny. If this were a big trade, one that involved a key player, it would make more sense. But Martell Webster? Just have Anthony Tolliver, or Michael Beasley or Wesley Johnson or Lazar Hayward or Corey Brewer or Maurice Ager fill in at small forward. Good thing you've got that depth, Minnesota!

Now as for proving the charge, it won't be easy. Webster played in six preseason games for Minnesota, averaged 26 minutes and 12 points per game. Sure the Blazers may have known he was potentially injured, but that doesn't mean they did anything wrong.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 7:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:11 pm
 

Owner Glen Taylor: Timberwolves not contracting

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says his organization will not be a victim of NBA contraction. Posted by Ben Golliverglen-taylor We've followed the issue of potential NBA contraction closely in this space, and roughly a week after the possibility of reducing the number of teams in the NBA was first floated, it's still not clear which teams would be in the crosshairs. The obvious candidates are those teams in most desperate shape financially or those in small markets that struggle to support a professional sports team. Already, we've noted that owners for both the Sacramento Kings (here) and the Memphis Grizzlies (here) have said their teams will not be contracted. Another franchise that is often linked to contraction is the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves have struggled to put out a winning product and season ticket sales aren't exactly robust in a market that is football, football, football.  Jerry Zgoda of StarTribune.com reports on Twitter that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, who is involved in the current labor negotiations, distanced his franchise from the contraction talk. "I can say Minnesota is not one of the teams that would be contracted," Taylor is quoted saying by Zgoda. So while contraction is being discussed, everyone, including NBA commissioner David Stern, acknowledges, it appears none of the likeliest suspects feel any concern about the possibility that they will go under. In other words, this is inching closer and closer to "idle threat" territory, if we're not there already.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 2:50 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:06 pm
 

How should the NBA punish the Knicks?

The New York Knicks reportedly made repeated illegal contact with college players. Assuming the allegations are true, whatdavid-stern  punishment from the NBA is appropriate? Posted by Ben Golliver Earlier, we noted a Yahoo! Sports report  that quotes multiple players saying that they illegally worked out with a New York Knicks scout prior to the draft period.  Surely, executives and scouts throughout the NBA work the corners of the permissible contact guidelines, looking to achieve the slightest of competitive advantages by improving their intel on draft-eligible players. Stories are told about this or that executive watching a workout that he wasn't supposed to, and the NBA has already levied large fines and suspensions in the past in the most innocuous of cases, including Denver Nuggets coach George Karl sitting in on a workout that included his own son Coby . But there are a number of aspects to the Yahoo! report that should lead NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league office to throw the book at the Knicks, assuming the allegations are true.
  • First, the repeated contact. By illegally contacting multiple players over multiple years, the Knicks can't plead ignorance or "this was a one time thing". The allegations reveal a pattern of illegal behavior, which violates not only the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement but also even the most minimal attempt at fair play. The result is a serious black eye for the league and 29 other ticked off teams.
  • Second, allegations of contact with a player the team eventually drafted. A bad situation for the Knicks gets infinitely worse here because it involves Wilson Chandler, a player the team drafted after he was illegally worked out and who continues to play for the Knicks today. By contacting Chandler before the 2007 draft as alleged, the Knicks not only received a competitive advantage during the draft process, they continued to benefit from that competitive advantage every time he plays a game. While Chandler might not be a star player, he's averaged double figures over the course of a three-year career with the Knicks. Are we really supposed to believe there was no connection between the workouts and the eventual draft pick? Chandler's selection implicates Knicks management (and potentially its ownership and coaching staff, basically anyone that was in the draft war room) in this mess, undercutting any "rogue scout" excuse.
  • Third, the fact that Brandon Rush was injured during one of the illegal workouts, and apparently lied to his college coaches about the circumstances surrounding the injury, doesn't help matters. While Rush says no one told him to lie, and that may very well be true, his conduct speaks to the willfulness of his participation in the illegal contact. Rush, on some level, knew that what he was doing was wrong, or at least wasn't 100% right. That's a huge slippery slope for the league office, who is tasked with protecting the best interests of players during the draft process and ensuring competitive balance for all 30 teams.  
Taken together -- the repeated nature of the illegal contact, capitalizing on the competitive advantage by drafting a player that was illegally worked out, and the fact that the workouts included players who understood to some degree that they were not legitimate -- the league office has a very, very serious situation on its hands.  If everything sticks, Stern has little choice here. Unless he puts his foot down, and hard, he sends a message to 30 competitive GMs and 30 competitive scouting departments that there are rules, but they don't really matter. With that message comes all sorts of other messages: we don't truly care about protecting our (future) players, we don't care if the draft process is fair, we don't care if you flaunt our rules over and over again.  That is all bad, a horrible look for the NBA, a league that has dealt with fair play accusations in the recent past thanks to the Tim Donaghy scandal. Surely, the league will conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations. If everything comes back as reported, I would expect the Knicks to be in Joe Smith territory. Roughly 10 years ago , the Minnesota Timberwolves were levied a seven-figure fine and stripped of multiple first-round draft picks for reaching an illegal contract agreement with Smith. What the Knicks did here, particularly with Chandler, is much closer to what the Timberwolves did with Smith than what George Karl did with his son: illegal action that was repeated, beneficial and willful.  A seven-figure fine and the loss of multiple first-round draft picks (although the Knicks have done a nice job of stripping themselves of picks by trading them away) seems appropriate. The NBA draft process simply can't turn into the wild, wild west.
Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:09 pm
 

Martell Webster done for 4-6 weeks.

Wolves wing out 4-6 weeks with herniated disk in back. Posted by Matt Moore

Well, then. What a fine way to start the season in Minny. Minnesota Timberwolves wing Martell Webster, acquired in a trade with Portland which netted them rookie Luke Babbitt, will miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. The 23-year-old guard averaged 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds (13.8 and 4.0 per 36 minutes) last season for the Blazers and shot 37% from the arc. He was expected to help tremendously with the Wolves' perimeter shooting and desperate wing situation. Without him, Corey Brewer and rookie Wesley Johnson will get most of the minutes, which should be entertaining, either way.

Brewer actually shot considerably well from the arc towards the end of last year, and with Michael Beasley on board, this doesn't hurt as much as it did. Well, for the Wolves, I mean. Must hurt pretty bad for Webster. Ouch.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 9:21 am
 

Shootaround 10.22.10: Engaged

Sasha Vujacic gets engaged to Maria Sharapova, the Bulls need to get engaged with one another off the floor, Mike Miller is disengaged for several weeks, and Dwight Howard is engaged on the microphone, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Remember that thumb injury for Mike Miller we shared with you yesterday? Yeah. So, Brian Windhorst is reporting that it's going to be "several weeks" on that . The new Era d' Heat is starting off swimmingly. All they need is an outbreak of cholera and a bus accident.

May the Fates bless you in your travels, Darius Miles. Miles was cut from the Bobcats yesterday , in what could be the nail in the coffin on his "career." Pay attention, Blake Griffin. This is what happens to Clippers.

Sam Amico of NBA.com and FSN Ohio says the Blazers, Rockets, and Spurs, but especially Blazers, are also interested in Anderson Varejao. We continue to be perplexed as to why .

Martell Webster will have an MRI on his back and miss the Wolves' preseason finale. The Wolves will just have to turn to the other 700 wings they picked up in the offseason.

Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel that a lot of NBA stars get the kinds of Tweets LeBron freaked out about . “All of us get those kinds of Tweets,” Howard said. “People just feel that they can say whatever they want to say to us, and I don’t respond. People are going to talk when they’re hiding behind a computer or a cell phone. What’s the purpose of letting that affect what we do?” Anyone else get the impression Howard's got a serious beef with everything LeBron does? He's one of the few guys to call out James on things. He's more vocal than Boston. Oh, and Heat play Orlando in a preseason game tonight.

The Bulls' chemistry isn't really so much where it needs to be , via the Chicago Tribune talking to Derrick Rose: ""I wouldn't say it's all the way there," Derrick Rose said. "But being on the court with the guys, I definitely know what their strengths are, where to give them the ball in certain situations, just the way they play."At practices, our second team beat (the starters) four or five days in a row. That competing will make us better and help the team gel quickly." It's interesting to hear that, but part of that is probably the disconnect with the departures of players who were closer last year. Something to watch as the Bulls go forward.

So here's the Flex offense . No, seriously, here's the Flex offense.

Sasha Vujacic is now engaged to Maria Sharapova, in case you needed further proof the universe is cruel and unfair.

Ron Artest has been given a "Year in Sanity" award by Salon.com. So if the apocalypse shows up soon, don't say we didn't warn you.

Hear Dwight Howard. Hear Dwight Howard sing. Hear Dwight Howard sing "All-Star" by Smashmouth .
 
 
 
 
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