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Tag:Timberwolves
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 .
Posted on: October 21, 2010 1:26 am
Edited on: October 21, 2010 1:29 am
 

NBA Northwest Division preview

The CBSSports.com NBA Facts and Rumors team previews each of the NBA's six divisions. First up: the Southeast.  Posted by Matt Moore.

The Burning Question: Just how big is the Melo question in this division?

Will he be here? Will he be gone? Will Denver retool? Rebuild? Firesale everything but the walls and sell those for scrap? If he is there, will he be a distraction? Will it be business as usual? Are we confident the Nuggets can contend even if he's still in Denver? Are we sure? Are we confused? Angry? Hungry? Who's hungry? 

Last year Denver went 12-4 in this division. The other three cannibalistic playoff teams in this division went 25-23 combined. So Denver's got a lot to say about who wins this division. The problem is, of course, we have no idea what we're going to get when mid-November rolls around and teams have shaken off the early rust or shine and are revealed to be what they actually are.  If Carmelo Anthony is still in Denver at that time, as it appears he very well may be, this team could lead the division, further scuttling Melo's trade prospects. Conversely, if Anthony's gone and Denver's decided to go all Jericho and rebuild their society, then things could get pretty crazy in the rest of the division.

Melo was the biggest star in this division over the past several years, but now that Kevin Durant has eclipsed him as the next great scoring forward, there's more talk than ever about what exactly it is that Melo provides this team. And that question is going to be examined even closer this year as Kenyon Martin is out till January and Chris Anderson till December. The complimentary pieces that were brought in to surround Melo are injured and Chauncey Billups isn't getting any younger. Meanwhile J.R. Smith is still J.R. Smith for better or worse, and this team is always a half second away from going into full-on mental chemistry meltdown. 

The Thunder should be improved, but can they topple a veteran group that knows how to win night in and night out like Denver? Utah's got Al Jefferson, but can they overcome their injury issues to maintain a consistency like Denver has? And if we want to talk about injuries, take Portland's training staff. Please. Ba-dum, ching. No?

If Denver goes down the tubes, there will be a team to fill the void. The only question is if that team will simply be vacating an open spot or legitimately taking the spot Denver had been tagged for a year ago, that of de facto Western challenger to LA. 

What Berger Says: 


CBS Sports Senior Writer Ken Berger previews the Southeast Division.
Everything is in flux with the Melo situation still unresolved. So the spectrum of what could go right for the Nuggets looks like this: A) Clinging to the scant hope that Anthony can be persuaded to stay; or B) Getting the best possible deal for him. There's little reason to have any faith that A can happen. So the Nuggets will continue to explore trade possibilities, which will force them to decide whether it's possible to trade Melo in a deal that saves money and keeps them in contention (no), or saves money and sets them up for the best possible future. Either way, it looks to me like the Nuggets' ascent has ended before they reached their full potential.



And Now, A Non-Sequiter:

Anyone else feel like Kyrylo Fesenko would be the worst roommate in the world? Young, inexperienced, probably always asking questions. He's a jokester, which is fine when you're hanging out but gets old real quick.  Dude probably steals your toothpaste, too. No? Just me? Okay. Just checking. 

VIDEO OF SUPREME PREVIEW SUPREMACY: 
Posted on: October 1, 2010 1:46 pm
 

Ricky Rubio's folks aren't big Wolves fans

Spanish star's parents rumored to not be thrilled about vacation getaway with Wolves owner. Posted by Matt Moore

Okay, so this story is going to get blown out of proportion. I'm going to go ahead and put that out there right now. It's not a big deal. Not by itself. It's only within context that this story has any weight whatsover. Courtesy of ProBasketballTalk , Alan Hahn of Newsday reports that Glen Taylor has been trying to arrange a meeting while the team is on a European exhibition trip with Ricky Rubio's parents. Rubio's parents apparently aren't interested in meeting with Taylor.

Burn.

Okay, so it's a New York media member saying it, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. Especially when Hahn asks if they'd meet with the Knicks. And again, alone? It's no big deal. Maybe they have work going on, or family in town or hey, Spain's just really nice this year and who needs Paris anyway? Forget Paris !

But it's more concerning in the context of how Rubio has resisted the Wolves since draft night . There's been a litany of events in which Rubio or his family have resisted contact with the Wolves. Sometimes it's less what's been said, but what hasn't been. Then again, Wolves officials and fans insist that everything is cool and it's all just the media blowing things out of proportion. The fact is, we won't be able to settle this issue until Rubio finally comes to the US... or, you know, doesn't.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:06 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:07 am
 

Shootaround 9.1.10: Evans putting the J back in

Evans' J, Love's weird way, and the James kiddos' first day, today in the Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


The Hawks aren't planning on taking their time with Al Horford's extension. They're planning on offering him a near-max extension before the October 31st deadline, meaning they'll have given up $190 million in salary for two players the year before the CBA dramatically shifts. Horford is an All-Star center, young, versatile, and extremely aware on both sides of the ball. Kelly Dwyer pointed out that the Hawks have some options with Horford. Unfortunately, they seem ready to rush into the breach with wallets wide open. You have to wonder how they're going to find salary room for any of the other players, let alone Jamal Crawford, who also wants an extension... or a trade.

Tyreke Evans has reinvested himself in his jump shot. What's interesting is that he was a terrible shooter (32%) from midrange, 16-23 feet last season, but a very decent one from 10-15 feet (43.2%). As Sam Amick's profile reveals, Evans used to be a tremendous shooter, he just needs to reacquaint himself with his shot. It could be a significant leap forward in his offensive development. Which is terrifying, considering how good he was last year.

A Wolf Among Wolves discusses Kevin Love's Team USA summer, and the fact that he's best suited for a third option role. Which makes sense, since the Wolves have buried him in the past for Darko Milicic and just traded for Michael Beasley who most scouts agree is best suited for the power forward role. You know. Third best option.

It's kind of a shame that Shaq's teams didn't end up meeting the Spurs over the years. Because the Duncan-Shaq rivalry is prett good.

George Karl was surprised at the firing of Mark Warkentien. He speaks highly of Warkentien, as well as Masai Ujiri. You have to wonder just how spread to the four corners the entire Nuggets organization is at this point.

LeBron James is a human . No one really seems to think so at this point, but it's true.

Ersan Ilyasova is tearing up FIBA play . Which could be a good thing for the Bucks as he develops and takes on more of a leadership role. Or it could cause him to wonder why he's been shoved to the back of the line in the Bucks' forward feeding trough with the additions of Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, and others.

A fascinating look at roster balance on the wings for the Knicks, not in terms of skillset, but shot performance on the right versus the left side of the floor. Interesting note: Ramond Felton took exactly as many shots from the right side as the left, and hit the same percentage.

The numerous discussions of Marquis Daniels have overlooked one aspect: Doc Rivers completely took him out of the rotation in the playoffs, despite him having recovered from injury. The trust is simply not there on a team that depends on it so much.

The Bucks hope and expect Andrew Bogut to be back for the season opener. It's close, but don't hold your breath.


Posted on: August 26, 2010 10:31 am
Edited on: August 26, 2010 11:13 am
 

Pop Quiz: Who's the worst?

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 Nets

You 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.


Posted on: August 16, 2010 3:55 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 3:56 pm
 

Wolves unveil new uniforms

Minnesota debuts new colors and uniforms that don't completley insult the age and intelligence of everyone that sees them, ever.
Posted by Matt Moore


Man, if they'd just done this three years ago, they might have kept Kevin Garnett.

(That is not a true statement; it is false.)

The Timberwolves today unveiled their newest uniforms , which are actually just adjustments to the ones they unveiled two years ago . But whereas the last revamps were a step backwards (which is saying something for a team whose design brings up descriptions of "mismatched lego designs of third graders"), the newest ones seem to be a pretty good move in the right direction.



Notice the green being gone? You see, because the green is gone. Other than that, I'd like to point out that the green is gone.

(Sorry, that color used to make me physically angry when i'd see it on their uniforms and logos. It was like they were trying to jam the color green in. As if using that color spoke to their longterm connection with coniferous trees through basketball.)

The sharper lines reflect a more moder approach, and the shadowed repitition on the tails of the shorts speaks to both their small forward and point guard situations. Both repetitive and hollow. But the color scheme is much sharper and by going to a simpler approach, they've really improved from a visual standpoint. If only they could do the same thing with their offensive system.

(HT: TWolves Blog )

Posted on: August 6, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: August 6, 2010 11:46 am
 

Of leadership, LeBron, and KG

Posted by Matt Moore

Kevin Garnett is one of the most respected players in the NBA, with good reason. No one has shown  more focus at both ends of the floor over the past decade than Kevin Garnett. Much of his trademarked intensity is show; the screaming, spitting, growling is revealed as little more than theatrics when you employ them as often as he has. But that doesn't change how he's constantly barking out defensive assignments, dressing down teammates, and blocking the ever-loving crap out of anyone that dares to challenge his authority (or dying trying). He's a 13-time All-Star, and has an MVP trophy, a Defensive Player of the Year trophy, and an NBA champion.

And with all that respect that he has earned comes a level of expectation, often unfair, mostly ridiculous, that he live up to what we believe is the model of a true NBA legend. Or at least, that's been the pattern for everyone except KG. And if you want proof of that, compare KG and LeBron James.

In 2010, LeBron James abandoned his team, the Cavaliers, and did it in a publicly humiliating and disgracefully opulent way on national television. Maybe you heard about it, here and there. Before we continue, let's be very clear on this point:

The primary reason for the backlash against James is the way in which he announced his decision ("The Decision"), the way he seemingly laughed and skipped out of town while the dreams he had given Cleveland fans burned to the ground. There is simply no way to defend or even deflect that criticism. You're not going to find anyone outside of South Beach who thinks this was in any way acceptable. KG has never behaved in such a way, nor did he embarrass Minnesota on the way out of town. The way the two left is simply not comparable. See, I put it in bold, just so we're all clear on this.

However, the secondary argument against James is that he has in some way compromised his legacy, lessened his greatness, by not being the sole elite player on his team. He is no longer considered able to reach the sport's summit because he has joined Dwyane Wade's team instead of building championship gold from the rubble he was drafted into. That by joining other elite players, he can no longer be considered elite.

Let's head on back to 2007.

Kevin Garnett has failed to reach the summit with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted him. Though there were a handful of very good teams, none of them even approached what you would call a "great" team. The Sam Cassell-Latrell Sprewell team rose and fell apart as fast as it came together, and Garnett has been losing consistently. It becomes known that he wants out, wants to be traded to a contender, does not want to waste his career any longer. He doesn't outright say he wants to be traded, after all, you're fined for such activity. But it's made pretty clear that his time with Minnesota is over. It's done. He winds up heading to Boston, joining Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the captain, to form the first modern Big 3 and first relative superteam since the Lakers' 2004 crime against nature.

(It should be noted that the Spurs' combination of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili definitely constituted enough talent as to be considered a superteam, but more perhaps more impressively, they did it organically. They came to have three superstars by developing the talent they drafted. Not by acquiring the gold when the market was high on it.)

But KG was and is the leader, right? Well, I don't know. Paul Pierce is the captain, right? And the guy taking the game winning shots, most often? The face of the team? It's heart and soul? Isn't Pierce the one most often relied upon to rally the team? While Garnett is undeniably a leader on the Celtics, is he really considered the leader?

Oddly, what led me down this line of thought was a quote from, of all people, Rasho Nesterovic.

In an interview with rtvslo.com , and translated and brought forth by Project Spurs , Nesterovic talks about the difference between Garnett and Duncan. He discusses how Duncan won with the team that drafted him, and how Garnett made the smart move, but it was one to turn to the Celtics, who already had a leader in Pierce. This all leads to Nesterovic saying Duncan was the greater power forward of his time.

Huh.

Now, this is Rasho Nesterovic. We're not talking Bill Russell here. But the idea is one that deserves consideration. Did KG join the Celtics as a leader, or did he simply do the exact same thing that LeBron James did, only under better PR cover? The argument can certainly be made that James joined in free agency (which is apparently worse than bailing on your team while under contract with them), while Garnett was traded, so it wasn't really his decision. But if Garnett had told Minnesota management, "I don't want to be traded. I either win here, or I don't win at all," do you really think the Wolves would have said "No, no, Mr. Hall-of-Fame-Most-Beloved-Player-In
-Franchise-History, we want no part of you here"? Is that what you think would have occurred? Because I'm pretty sure Kevin McHale would have just gone back to figuring out ways to build the Wolves around KG (and failing miserably).

The argument could also be made that KG was on a "loser" while James was on a contending team. But there are two responses to that. 1. While this Cavs team was certainly better than any KG had, James has also been superior in terms of production (and playoff success if we're being honest) than anything KG had been. I'm simply pointing out that if you're going to say the Cavs were better, you also have to point out that James was better, and was a reason for the Cavs being better. And 2, is there really a difference between contender-but-not-champion and loser in our society? I don't subscribe to this. I think there are tons of brilliant players that simply were never fortunate enough to run into the blessed set of circumstances you need to win a championship (or play for LA). But if you're a results oriented person, KG and James had accomplished the same thing, and so to say that one needed to do what he needed in order to win a ring and the other needed to continue to struggle is a bit ridiculous.

We come to the crux of this, which is actually not that KG deserves more criticism or scorn for leaving Minnesota to fall into the void. Far from it. Garnett recognized that he needed to win a ring before his time was up, that it wasn't going to happen in Minny, and that Boston represented the best chance for him. He took it. He doesn't deserve to be slagged for that. Garnett has told other players not to let what happened to him in Minnesota happen to them. Now, that particular action is a little less likable. After all, there have been players that stayed "home" and eventually reached the promised land, and those championships are much more special to their small markets than the umpteenth championship for a storied franchise. This is nothing to do with the quality of the fans and just the simple fact that a lone championship means more than one of many.

But Garnett is simply passionate about being the best he can be. And for him, that meant joining a team with an established star, a veteran leader, along with another veteran leader, and winning a championship. That was his path. And it is not all that dissimilar from LeBron James' path (in terms of the end result; remember, the bold clause! The bold clause!). So if we're going to criticize James for not being "the man," we need to similarly disparage Garnett, Pau Gasol, and other players that did what they needed to in order to win a ring.

Garnett is no villain. He loved Minnesota. But in the end, he felt his best chance for achieving that ring was in Boston, alongside other stars. Those facts coincide with LeBron James' actions of the past three months. Even if you feel that Garnett was able to be a leader alongside Paul Pierce (the most rational and likely conclusion), you should at least recognize the same dynamic's likelihood in Miami. You don't have to like how James pulled off this career correction. No one does. But to question his legacy opens up a Pandora's Box that is linked throughout some of the greatest players in the history of the league.

Don't throw stones. The halls of NBA greatness are built of glass.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com