Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:22 pm
Wolves injuries leaving point guard ranks depleted. Posted by Matt Moore
The Wolves were criticized a year ago for going hog-wild on point guards. They drafted Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, and Wayne Ellington (a two-guard but we'll count it), and signed Ramon Sessions. Now they're out of point guards. These are the Timberwolves.
Flynn's on the shelf with a hip injury for two more weeks , Ricky Rubio is muching on tapas on a Spanish beach somewhere, Sessions has been traded to Cleveland and newly acquired Luke Ridnour is now out with an injury as well . Which means your point guard fleet for the Minnesota Timberwolves? Ellington, Sebastian Telfair, and Maurice Ager.
How could this possibly go wrong? And to think a year ago they were flooded with point guards.
The good news is that the triangle doesn't really require a prolific point guard. They basically set the offense and hang out to hit threes (hence why Derek Fisher has had such a long and prolific career). Now, getting past the question of why they set up a triangle offense and then drafted Ricky Rubio, it means that this may not be that big of a hit for the Wolves.
Except for that whole, being terrible at basketball thing.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 3:47 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:05 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn is expected out until mid-November, at the earliest. Posted by Ben Golliver. Yesterday, we noted that Minnesota Timberwolves wing Martell Webster, acquired in a draft day trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, underwent back surgery and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. In another piece of Timberwolves injury news, Jerryd Zgoda of StarTribune.com reports on Twitter this afternoon that Minnesota's presumed point guard of the future (at least until he's inevitably traded) Jonny Flynn, a second-year player out of Syracuse, "predicts he'll be back playing games in mid to late November." Flynn continues to recover from hip surgery this offseason. A sensation at the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League, Flynn has booster Rockets going to the basket off the dribble, but struggled to run the team's offense during his rookie season. His personality and work-ethic are tops in the league, and he would be a media darling if anyone actually cared about the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves could have replaced Flynn with either Ty Lawson or Ramon Sessions, but both were traded. 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio would have been another good option, but it will be 100 degrees on Christmas in Minneapolis before the Spanish sensation ever suits up for general manager David Kahn and company. So, in Flynn's absence, veterans Luke Ridnour and Sebastian Telfair (weird to call Telfair a veteran, but it's true) will pick up the point guard slack for coach Kurt Rambis.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 3:43 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Minnesota continues to be an odd place of transition. No one really knows what's going on in the front office and it doesn't really seem like anyone inside the fanbase really cares at this point. While the outside world criticizes David Kahn, Wolves fans remain faithful. They're already said they aren't contenders, but can they at least be decent? Not likely.
Training camp site: Mankato, MN
Training camp starts: Sept. 25
Key additions: Wesley Johnson (draft), Michael Beasley (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agent), Martell Webster (trade)
Key subtractions: Ramon Sessions (trade), Al Jefferson (trade), Ryan Gomes (free agent)
Likely starting lineup: Jonny Flynn, PG; Wesley Johnson, SG; Corey Brewer, SF; Kevin Love, PF; Darko Milicic, C
Player to watch: Michael Beasley. Supposedly, Beasley has had a basketball rebirth. David Kahn said Beasley is off smoking pot and has regained focus in Minnesota. Everyone knows Beasley has serious basketball ability. He was one of the most dominant college freshmen ever. But it hasn't translated yet. With a new situation and a new view on basketball, maybe he starts to find his way.
Camp battles: Kevin Love has quietly been a little miffed with his role in Minnesota saying he felt more valuable to Team USA than to the Wolves. Right now, it's looking like he'll start. But Michael Beasley could push him for the spot.
Biggest strength: Transparency and honesty! Just kidding. But seriously, they've already pretty much admitted they're going to stink, so why should anyone else think different. The one thing the Wolves might do well is run the floor. They brought in Luke Ridnour to lead that charge and there's a good amount of athleticism on the wings in Corey Brewer, Wes Johnson and Beasley to get out in transition.
Glaring weakness: Scoring. Who puts the ball in the basket for the Wolves? Corey Brewer has shown flashes of being able to score, but on a mediocre team he would be the third or fourth option. And in Minny you're telling me he's the primary? Oh boy.
Jonny Flynn can create and score a little, same goes for Ridnour, Wayne Ellington can shoot, Martell Webster can put it in the basket some and we don't really know about Wesley Johnson. For the most part, it's a cast of average to below average scorers at best, so finding points could be difficult for the Wolves.
Posted on: August 26, 2010 10:31 am
Edited on: August 26, 2010 11:13 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...
Who will be the worst team in the NBA this season?
It's a depressing question, isn't it? Who's going to fail more than any other? Someone has to win the fewest number of games this year. So who's on the list?
The Returning Champ: The New Jersey NetsYou can't just let the reigning "champs" off the list without giving them a chance to repeat! The Nets were the worst team in the league last year, only able to avoid the worst mark of all time due to a late surge. It was a startling development, one that baffled a lot of NBA heads, because the team really did have talent. But for whatever reason (injury, chemistry, coaching, pure terrible luck), it never came together and the team plummeted into the depths. So are they doomed to repeat history?
The Nets struck out in free agency for the top names but still brought in good players. Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, and Troy Murphy will all be suiting up for the Nets alongside Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, and Brook Lopez. With the development of the younger players, the addition of a few talented veterans, and a more demanding coach in Avery Johnson, the Nets may not be in position to push for the playoffs, but they are unlikely to repeat as the worst team in the NBA.
The New Kids: The Toronto Raptors
Our first victim of the free-agency summer of doom. After losing Chris Bosh to the triad, GM Brian Colangelo went on a firesale. He ditched Hedo Turkoglu for Leandro Barbosa and sent Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright. He did spend some money, though, giving Amir Johnson a hefty new deal and bringing Linas Kleiza back from overseas. The Raptors lost a huge chunk of salary, and weren't that great to begin with. They are teetering on the abyss. Will they fall off?
Bear in mind that we're talking the worst here. Not bad, but the worst. And the Raptors could assuredly reach that mark if everything were to go wrong. But there are bright spots. Andrea Bargnani, for all his rebound-void, yogurty, forceless weaknesses, can still hit from anywhere on the floor, and might actually get to play where he's best (high-post and mid-range) with Bosh gone instead of trying to impersonate a traditional center. DeMar DeRozan has the athleticism and range to be able to become a leader. Sonny Weems continues to impress, Amir Johnson will forever be lauded as the next great (whistle) defensive player (whistle) if only he could (whistle) stop fouling (whistle). If the Raptors drop off a cliff, it'll be because the chemistry wasn't fit to hold, or because the real problem in Toronto hasn't been Colangelo's roster, but Triano's coaching.
The Dark Horse: The Washington Wizards
How could any team with John Wall be the worst team in the league? When you have as fragile a chemistry set as this team does. That's how. The Wizards are a long shot to burrow into the trash heap the furthest, but with Gilbert Arenas anything but a sure thing, there's just no telling how this is going to work out. We thought the biggest concern with Arenas last year was if he could stay healthy a full season. We didn't even get to answer that. Andray Blatche is the third best player on the team, and that could go any number of ways. He could be a consistent scorer, working in tandem with Wall, and showcasing the scoring ability he showed last season. Or he could become a space cadet again. JaVale McGee showed great things in Summer League, but he's yet to prove he can be someone to be relied on as the primary big.
Wall is likely to be good enough to drag this team out of the very basement, and if everything were to go right (and I mean everything), the Wizards could find themselves in contention for the playoffs. But if another chemistry blow-up happens and Flip Saunders is unable to contain the damage and get through, the Wizards could be a two-year disaster.
The Favorite: The Minnesota Timberwolves
Okay, let's try the opposite. Let's try and figure out how the Wolves could avoid being the worst team in the league. Option No. 1, another team has a rash of injuries that makes Houston seem like Phoenix. Okay, barring that, Option No.2, we need the following to occur:
A. Luke Ridnour picks up where he left off in Milwaukee, being a solid game manager and reliable shooter.
B. Martell Webster slides in and immediately begins to contribute as he did in Portland, providing the perimeter scoring missing in Minny last year.
C. Wesley Johnson was in fact, the best player available at 3, better or at least within range of DeMarcus Cousins only without the chemistry problems, and is able to pick up the pro game's speed and awareness necessary to contribute.
D. Jonny Flynn recovers on schedule from hip surgery.
E. Kurt Rambis and David Kahn get over whatever problems they had with Kevin Love last season, and Love is allowed to be on the floor and become the player everyone else believes he is.
F. Darko Milicic actually was worth five years and $20 million, and alongside Love makes for a stout front court.
G. The triangle, one of the more complex and difficult systems to run, which has only been successful for two teams under one coach with the best or second best player in the league at all times, magically works for a lottery team lacking in both veteran smarts and talent.
H. Mike Beasley really was just misunderstood.
That's a lot that needs to go right. Wolves fans tend to think the media picks on them because of their market. As a proponent of small markets, I'm here to say that's not the case. It's because this team is bad. It was built badly, with bad contracts for bad players, with a bad system for its personnel, and it needs significant upgrades at nearly every position and at multiple depth levels in order to make itself right. The Wolves could come together and shove it in the faces of all the doubters. But until we see the actual manifestation of all the supposed potential the roster holds, your Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to be the worst team in the NBA this season.
Tags: Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Morrow, Brook Lopez, Chris Bosh, Darko Milicic, David Kahn, DeMar DeRozan, Devin Harris, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, JaVale McGee, John Wall, Jonny Flynn, Jordan Farmar, Julian Wright, Kurt Rambis, Leandro Barbosa, Linas Kleiza, Luke Ridnour, Martell Webster, Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves, Nets, New Jersey Nets, Pop Quiz, Raptors, Terrence Williams, Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors, Troy Murphy, Washington Wizards, Wesley Johnson, Wizards, Wolves
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 1:57 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The Northwest Division has become one of the best and most competitive divisions in the league. There's rising teams, star power, a traditional great and then there's the Timberwolves. Regardless, it's a fairly fascinating groups of teams that all had quite different summers.
Utah JazzAdded : Al Jefferson (trade), Raja Bell (free agency), Gordon Hayward (draft)
Lost : Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Carlos Boozer (free agency), Wesley Matthews
Philosophy : "Keep on keepin' on."
Lose one star player, replace him with another. It's just how this Jazz train keeps on a'rollin'. Utah scored Al Jefferson for relatively nothing and he replaces the exported Carlos Boozer quite well. The Jazz love that pick and roll and Jefferson should be able to team with Deron Williams to keep it at a high level. They also signed Raja Bell who is a pesky defensive player. However, losing Wesley Matthews stings a bit just because he was a rookie last year and appears to have a promising future ahead. But Utah just didn't want to pay the price tag to keep him.
Drafting Gordon Hayward certainly helps as he'll look to fill some of the void left by Matthews and Kyle Korver who signed with Chicago. This offseason was more of just scrambling to maintain in Utah and with the Jefferson deal, it looks like it should do that. A lot depends on the progression of Hayward because he'll see meaningful minutes, but the Jazz didn't let a mass exodus to Chicago burn down their walls.
Grade : B
Denver NuggetsAdded : Al Harrington (free agency), Shelden Williams (free agency), Brian Butch (free agency), George Karl's returned good health (hopefully)
Lost : Johan Petro (free agency), Malik Allen (free agency), Joey Graham (free agency)
Philosophy : "Staying good, but not great."
Denver is a team that feels like it's a piece away. Just one player to push them over the edge from good, competitive playoff team to great, actual contender team. So they signed Al Harrington. Is he that piece? Eh...
The reality is the Nuggets will be good. Their starting five has Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Harrington and Nene. That's pretty darn solid. Then instant offense with J.R. Smith off the bench, defense in Chris Andersen and quality players in Kenyon Martin and Ty Lawson. That's a pretty stout roster. But is that really good enough? This is clearly a 50-win team and it's destined for a top five seed in the West. But can it get to the Western Finals, which of course is the goal for a squad of this caliber? Again, eh...
Grade : C+
Portland Trail BlazersAdded : Luke Babbitt (draft), Eliot Williams (draft), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Marcus Camby (re-signed)
Lost : Martell Webster (trade), Juwan Howard (free agency), Travis Diener (free agency),
Philosophy : "Get right."
If there was a goal for the Blazers this offseason, it was simple. It wasn't to sign a big name or move up in the draft. It wasn't to restructure or make a big trade. It was just to get healthy.
Nobody dealt with the adversity Portland did last year. Greg Oden. Joel Pryzbilla. Brandon Roy. Nic Batum. Rudy Fernandez. All of those players missed at least some significant time because of an injury. And yet, the Blazers won 50 games and made the playoffs. That's... impressive.
But Portland didn't sit on its hands this summer. The Blazers re-signed Marcus Camby, who was huge for them down the stretch. The traded Martell Webster to grab Luke Babbitt, an extremely promising and gifted forward from Nevada. They inked Wesley Matthews to a big deal, who is someone that will give them a little scoring insurance and wing defender help. The turned over the front office and hopefully remedied any tense situations between ownership and management. Now there are talks they'll lose Fernandez who sees the logjam in the backcourt in Portland, but Matthews and Williams are worth replacements.
All in all, not a bad offseason for the Blazers. Is it enough to push ahead in the West? That depends on the factors that snuck up and bit them last year: health.
Grade : B+
Oklahoma City ThunderAdded : Cole Aldrich (trade/draft), Morris Peterson (trade), Royal Ivey (free agency), Daequan Cook (trade), Kevin Durant (contract extension)
Lost : Kevin Ollie (retirement), Etan Thomas (free agency), Kyle Weaver (waived)
Philosophy : "If you think it's good now, just wait until we grow up."
Most saw the Thunder's cap space and expected something. Something big. Something grand to take them from up-and-comer to favorite in the West. Maybe go grab Chris Bosh. Maybe make a run at Amar'e Stoudemire. Maybe flag down Carlos Boozer. Instead, Oklahoma City did what it does best: stuck to the plan.
Rather than blowing its extra cap room, OKC deferred to utilizing its assets to move up in the draft and fill a need from the ground up. This is a franchise that is absolutely committed to the long term and to player development. Most agreed the Thunder needed an tough, physical inside prescence to defend the paint and rebound. So what did they do? They went and got the best player at those two things in the draft in Cole Aldrich.
Another underrated move from OKC was acquiring Daequan Cook from Miami. The Heat were looking to dump any contract player to anyone to make room for basketball free agency apocolypse, so the Thunder got a former 3-point champ and shooting specialist at a discount price of a single second-round pick.
Oh, and one other thing: They signed Kevin Durant to a five-year extension. I'd say in terms of what the Thunder's goals were before the summer started and how it finished, they'd say mission accomplished.
Grade : B+
Minnesota TimberwolvesAdded : Darko Milicic (re-signed), Michael Beasley (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Lazar Hayward (draft), Kosta Koufos (trade), Martell Webster (trade), Wesley Johnson (draft),
Lost : Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Al Jefferson (trade), Delonte West (waived), Ryan Gomes (free agency), Damien Wilkins (free agency), Sasha Pavlovic (free agency), Brian Cardinal (free agency), Alando Tucket (waived), what remaining respect David Kahn had from media and fans of the NBA
Philosophy : "..."
Honestly, you know what David Kahn reminds me of a bit? Someone that likes playing fantasy football just so he can call other players, offer up deals, trade players and sign others off waivers. Sometimes it seems like Kahn makes moves just for the sake of not getting bored.
No one can determine a real plan from here. My best guess at what he's doing is trying to put together a roster Ricky Rubio likes and then build a team around that. That's all I can figure. They have a bunch of draft picks and some cap space, but those things aren't great when the man in charge doesn't know what to do with it.
What exactly is going on there though? What's the point of signing Sessions and then signing Ridnour just to trade Sessions? I don't get it. Basically Kahn traded a player he signed for $16 million for Sebastian Telfair. Huh? Then of course the Darko deal. What? Then drafting Wesley Johnson only to bring in a player via trade in Webster that plays the same position. Come again? Then trading Al Jefferson, the face of your franchise, for a couple draft picks. Excuse me?
There's just no rhyme or reason to all this right now. I have no idea what to grade it because I have no idea what the questions even are. Did they get better? I don't know. Did they get worse? I don't really know. Did they set themselves up for the future? I have no idea.
If Sam Presti and Daryl Morey are playing chess and everyone else is playing checkers, right now it looks like everyone else is playing checkers and David Kahn is playing duck-duck-goose.
Grade : D-
Posted on: July 27, 2010 10:37 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 10:38 am
Posted by Royce Young
See, it all makes sense with David Kahn now. He knew exactly what he was doing.
Jonny Flynn didn't participate during the summer league due to a hip injury and it's bad enough that he'll undergo surgery next week to fix the problem, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports . According to Spears, Flynn will be out 3-4 months.
What a wild summer for Minnesota. Wesley Johnson turns out to be a bit of a controversial draft pick because of DeMarcus Cousins' talent. Martell Webster is acquired on draft day. Darko Milicic gets a hefty extension. Then the Wolves start dealing, grabbing Michael Beasley, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair, while trading former franchise player Al Jefferson to Utah. Luke Ridnour is signed. Kahn is fined for saying Beasley smoked too much pot. And now their starting point guard is hurt. It's unlucky and weird, but just seems about right for the Wolves right now.
Luke Ridnour, who was signed recently, will start until Flynn returns. Delonte West who the Wolves acquired yesterday will reportedly be released, but Sebastian Telfair who came along in the deal can serve as a third point guard for the Wolves while Flynn recovers.
Posted on: July 14, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: July 14, 2010 11:45 am
Posted by Royce Young
Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Luke Ridnour has accepted Minnesota's four-year, $16 million deal. Wojnarowski also said the Wolves are looking to move Ramon Sessions to Charlotte.
That makes sense because of course the Wolves don't want a 17th point guard on the roster and also, the Bobcats are in need of a point man after losing Raymond Felton to New York last week.
Ridnour had a solid season in Milwaukee last year, averaging 10.4 points per game and four assists in just about 21 minutes a night. Of course, Ridnour was behind rookie Brandon Jennings in the rotation, but was a pretty key part to Milwaukee's surprising playoff run.
Posted on: July 13, 2010 4:38 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2010 4:56 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
I've been accused of hating on the Minnesota Timberwolves, but nothing could be further from the case. I think small market teams like Minnesota need strong and smart leadership more than their colleagues in the big ol' cities. They need general managers that know how to get the most value out of their assets and can acquire talented players with a cohesive plan in place to contend within a set number of years.
By all indications, the Minnesota Timberwolves do not have that.
Ken Berger reports that the deal is done for Al Jefferson to be sent to Minnesota for a future 1st round pick from Utah, the Grizzlies' 1st rounder that the Jazz acquired for Ronnie Brewer last season, and a Traded Player Exception (Marc Spears of Yahoo! was first to report the terms of the deal, which we discussed last night).
Hey, they cleared cap space and got draft picks out of it! Good rebuilding move, right? Except the Wolves are not rebuilding. They've been in rebuild mode for three years. During that time, they've managed to bungle multiple drafts with the exception of Kevin Love... who, naturally is in management and coaching's doghouse for some bizarre reason. They dropped the bottom out of Jefferson's value and then traded him for picks. And that part's not a bad plan. If they were any good, in any way, at drafting.
The Wolves have drafted Corey Brewer, Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, a player who currently is sitting on a beach in Spain sipping some sort of drink with an umbrella in it, and Wesley Johnson, probably the biggest reach of the 2010 draft. So pardon me if I'm not super thrilled at what David Kahn can do with more choices with which to stock up at positions he already has solidified.
Jefferson's market was non-existent, his defenders will say. Mostly because every team in the league knew that if they waited, his value would continue to drop. Utah came through with a stronger offer, because they were willing to spend it based on what Jefferson's worth. The Wolves, on the other hand, elected to go with Darko Milicic, Martell Webster, Michael Beasley, and Luke Ridnour (seriously ) as their big offseason additions. It's a cavalcade of marginal players who are overpaid, with one of the bigger headcases in recent mystery thrown in for good measure.
Meanwhile, Jefferson, with a 20+ PER and a range of post moves to go along with those question-mark knees (and youth to recover with) is headed to Utah to play with Deron Williams.
Maybe this master plan will work and the pieces that Kahn has assembled will play brilliantly while Al Jefferson flounders. Maybe Wesley Johnson is an elite player in the making.
Or maybe Wolves fans deserve better than to have a 3-D trainwreck played out before their very eyes.