J.R. Rider Against Everybody

Photo by Kristi Evans Lenz

Its been more than a week since ESPN opened voting on (and we gave some rather capricious consideration to) the greatest Wolves teams of all time.  The results, so far, are decisive enough that I think we can declare some winners:

Point Guard: Stephon Marbury (64.3%). This is not really surprising considering a) how much more fun to watch Stephon was than Terrell Brandon and b) my guy isn’t even on the ballot.

Shooting Guard: Isaiah “J.R.” Rider (82.2%). All the people that voted for both Stephon and J.R. should be punished by being forced to actually coach that terrifying team for a year. Call it the McHale treatment. Impossible to imagine without deep, healing meditation.

Small Forward: Tony Campbell (55.8%). This is the closest of all the races, and it isn’t even that close–Wally Szczerbiak trails Campbell by more than 20 percentage points. That reminds me, didn’t Tom Gugliotta play more three than four? All things being equal, I might consider taking Googs over Campbell, Wally and even my original choice, Sam Mitchell (although it hurts me a little and doing so would immediately make this team significantly less good defensively. One to think on.)

Power Forward: The Pharoah (98.8%). At least one of you hilarious people voted for Christian Laettner.

Center: Al Jefferson (95.2%). On this squad, KG would have to guard all five positions simultaneously.

Incidentally, ESPN is also curating a little popularity contest/tournament between those greatest teams of all time. The Wolves drew the Jazz (featuring John Stockton, Karl Malone, Pete Maravich, Mehmet Okur and Adrian Dantley) in the first round and lost by an overwhelming 85 percentage points.

Now, I would agree that the above roster (the one featuring Steph, J.R., no defense and tons of terrible shot selection) would get handled by those all-time Jazz.  But I just might give my bunch (KG, Billups, Mitchell, Big Al, West) a fighting chance. Ah, who am I kidding.

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0 thoughts on “J.R. Rider Against Everybody

  1. Even after he is gone people are still trying to convince themselves that Al Jefferson is a center

    As true centers go I would say big Stanly Roberts one in shape season makes him the best center we’ve ever had

  2. i’m not a wolves fan, so excuse my ignorance, but wasn’t the backcourt of cassell and sprewell better than all the iterations mentioned here?

  3. Stanley Roberts as best ever? No way. Still gotta go with Rasho – solid play for a number of seasons. Decent scoring, rebounding, shot blocking, and defense. I guess the bigger point in all of this is how this ‘best ever’ series really highlights just how poor the center play and prospects for the Twolves has been throughout their history. I mean seriously, Darko’s 24 games with us last year represents the sustained career historical highwater mark for Twolves centers (and no, I don’t consider Big Al a center – well, not a true center. He’s more of a hybrid 4 in the sense of loving to play close to the basket. If we consider Al a center then I think we need to consider KG one too, or even Christian Laettner who averaged 34.6 mpg, 17.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 3.2 apg, and 3.7 pf while with us).

    Back to looking at the ‘true’ centers – if we accept Rasho’s time here as the career highwater mark for a center on the Timberwolves, we see that essentially Darko met that level last year with us (all of which is to illustrate just how low the bar has been for Twolves centers):
    Darko last year – 25.6 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 1.8 apg, 3.1 pf
    Rasho’s career with us – 23.9 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 1 apg, 3.1 pf

    In terms of single season bests, well, again, it’s not much to write home about:
    Mark Blount, ’06-07 – 31 mpg, 12.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .7 bpg, .8 apg, 2.9 pf
    Rasho, ’02-03 – 30.4 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.5 apg, 3.3 pf
    Stacey King, ’93-94 (only 18 games) – 28.7 mpg, 11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpb, 1.7 bpg, 1.1 apg, 3.2 pf
    Sean Rooks, ’94-95 – 30.1 mpg, 10.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .9 bpg, 1.2 apg, 2.6 pf
    Randy Breuer, ’89-90 – 26 mpg, 10.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.6 apg, 2.6 pf

    You know, looking at all these single season highs makes me think two things – first, we’ve never had a truly great rebounding center (with perhaps the exception of a Starbury fueled Dean Garrett). Second, it should not be hard for Darko and Pekovic, over the next three years, to place their names at the top of both of these lists. In fact, if they don’t I think we all should be very disappointed.

  4. Clearly none of you ever mentioned some of the greatest players to ever dawn a Christmas tree on their shorts: Felton Spencer, Luc Longley, Cherokee Parks, Ndudi Ebi (no one knows or should care how to spell that), Will Avery, Brett Favre and Mark Madsen. What do all these guys have in commmon (well not Favre or Madsen), yea we drafted these guys. Actually spent a draft pick (most teams get two) on these guys. When does David Kahn take up a career as an undertaker because all he can do is kill something that is dead?

  5. It’s kinda sad but the best T-Wolves center is arguably Dean Garrett.

    I’d have to go with Doug West at the 2. Junior “JR” Easy “east Bay Funk” Rider was just too unreliable. Sprewell wasn’t here long enough and tanked his last season. Brewer hasn’t proven it yet. It has to be West or putting TC at the 2.

    Of course, moving TC to 2 also give room to add Sam Mitchell or Tom Gugliotta at 3…

  6. How bout Paul Grant? First round pick, 22 career games, he was a doozy. The timberwolves have had one good first round pick (u know who) and one good second round pick (Doug West). I like the timbertrees picks this year but last year’s draft was a show of how to make a struggling franchise stay in the dirt.

  7. The best wolves team was
    C Rasho Nesterovic (before he left us high and dry he was looking like he was going to become a star)
    PF Tom Gugliotta
    SF Kevin Garnett (use to play the small forward too)
    SG Wally Szczerbiak
    PG Terrell Brandon (way better then Stephon “i want to be the #1” Marbury)

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