Save Me a Seat

Myles Brown —  September 25, 2010 — 7 Comments

Photo by spyromike

Ah, media day.  Just a casual get together with no scoreboard, no sneaking out before the locker room is opened and no looks of solemn contemplation. Everyone is relaxed, refreshed and ready to show off their new duds. But as the new look Wolves gathered for their first public appearance it seemed that the same old subjects kept resurfacing.

  • Kevin Love is still swelling with pride after Team USA brought a gold medal home from this summer’s World Championships and while he didn’t learn any new languages, he apparently has learned to say the right things. As the told the Star Tribune

“Be the vocal guy, lead by example,” Love said. “Last year, I kind of stepped away from that. I’m learning throughout this whole year, don’t have any lapses. If I miss a shot or get mad at a play, get mad at a referee, get mad at a coach, just run back down the court and do the right thing. Make the right play, make the extra pass, just be fundamentally a team guy.”

Even if Rambis once again should ask him to come off the bench this season?

“It might be tough to accept after seeing how things transpired with USA Basketball,” Love said. “I’d probably grit my teeth, but I need to know what’s best for the team. If I’m going to preach being a leader, I need to do what’s best for us to win.

“I think I’ll play a bigger part than I did last year. I feel regardless of what happens, I need to be here for these guys. I can already tell with the guys we have and the personalities, we’re going to grow with this team and we’re going to be a lot better. It might not show in wins and losses, but I feel like we’re going to be together a lot more than we have my first two seasons.”

Love’s forthrightness has taken a few left turns in the past, but he’s bridging the gap between speaking his mind and driving us mad. Even though he occasionally oversteps his boundaries, he should be not only believed, but appreciated in this league of cliches and doublespeak. However, this is just media day. It’ll be interesting to see how much patience he’ll show throughout the season as Rambis continues to tinker with the rotation. A seat on the bench is easier to swallow for national pride than it is for a 15 win franchise and a commitment to doing the right thing doesn’t matter much if no one can agree what the ‘right thing’ is. Kevin clearly considers himself the de facto leader of this unit, but he hasn’t even secured a place in the starting lineup, which according to the Timberwolves taskmaster is “completely open to competition”. It’s in everyone’s best interest that Love conquers all, no?

  • Michael Beasley is also an open book, one he’ll tell anyone within earshot is still in the first chapter. More from the STrib

When asked if coming here was a fresh start: “I don’t want a fresh start. Everything that has happened in my life made me what I am.”

On whether he has a chip on his shoulder (the short answer: yes): “Always. I feel some people have counted me out.” Beasley noted his averages of 15 or so points and six rebounds from last year weren’t bad, but promised more. “We’re going to have fun this year. I have a lot of motivation built up. Not against a particular team or person, but I think a lot of people think I can’t play basketball.” Beasley said he hopes to prove those folks wrong.

Beasley said Kahn should not have been fined for comments the GM made on local radio when he revealed some details about why Beasley might not have met expectations in Miami. “He meant the right thing, he just didn’t word it right,” Beasley said of Kahn’s comments, which included a reference to marijuana use by Beasley. “I don’t feel he should have been fined. … I feel I have learned from what I did. He only said what half the world already knew.”


It was just a couple years ago that we were forced to decide between two such talented players. To have them both presumably starting in the same front court is a relatively solid foundation for yet another rebuilding effort. If they can channel their desire and frustration into a collective effort rather than competing with each other, the results could be encouraging for both Wolves brass and fans alike. Offensively, at least. Though it does leave us to wonder how much room is left for Wesley Johnson. Beasley and Love may be versatile players, but they’re also only capable of playing one role, small forward and power forward respectively. Pitting the two against each other is counterproductive and playing them out of position could be another disastrous version of the smallball that has yielded few positive results over the past two seasons. Eventually these things will sort themselves out on the court, but it’s a safe assumption that someone won’t be satisfied and somebody will have something to say about it.

Myles Brown

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7 responses to Save Me a Seat

  1. How different do you think Rambis’s coaching will be this year (if at all)? Did it take a year of adjusting and evolving to get to a place where the triangle can take a more cohesive feel? And, how well can a running game compliment a system that’s so much about spacing and very deliberate cuts and patterns? Did Rambis have any part in that open letter (whether in content or support for it)? It didn’t feel like the kind of thing he’d be an enthusiastic part of – it felt quirky in such a deliberately self-aware way. Sorry for all the questions but I live in a different part of the country and didn’t catch many games last year.

  2. From all the interviews I’ve seen of Rambis lately I think we’ll see dramatically different coaching/schemes defensively this year. I think last year he realized that he simply didn’t have the right players to do what he wanted defensively and kind of put it on the back burner. This year you can tell that he’s very excited about the overall improvements in size, length, and athletic ability of the team – plus defense has reportedly been a focus of camp and Rambis cited improved defense and rebounding as being keys to running the offense he wants to run.

    Hopefully the rotations and substitutions are a lot better this year, as this was the area where Rambis seemed to show an uncanny knack for putting in the wrong guy at the wrong time last year (subbing in Ryan Hollins for Love in the last 5 minutes of a close game?!) I personally think that Rambis is a pretty shrewd guy who always knows either what he is doing or why he doing it whenever he does anything as a coach, and my private theory is that they were playing for a draft pick last year (among other things) and thus Rambis always seemed to know precisely when to put in players who were very, very below average last year in order to just weaken us enough to lose. Can I prove any of this? Clearly no, and this is all my own little conspiracy theory, but my guess (and expectation) is that we’ll see markedly improved rotations and substitutions this year.

    Lastly, Rambis himself has stated in more than one interview this last week that he only runs aspects of the triangle and not the triangle itself, per se. He also runs aspects of Popovich’s and Adelman’s offenses as well. If you watch old clips and games of the Showtime Lakers I think you see the best example of what it is he wants to run and why he says he uses the triangle as a learning tool – lots of passing and cutting and flowing. The triangle helps players learn how to cut to the open spot at the right time, and how to recognize where to pass when. That’s what Rambis is after, and that’s why he also cites improved defense and rebounding as keys to his offense (along with pushing the ball up the court) – he doesn’t want a lot of “iso-Joe Johnson” offense on this team, he wants them to get out and run and make 3 or 4 passes to get a basket rather than have one guy dribble coast to coast and drop off one pass for a bucket. Does that make sense? It’s also why he and Kahn have assembled big men who pass pretty well (and hopefully rebound well outside of Love) as well as accumulated a rather large collection of outside shooters with some size/length/athletic ability (meaning they should have some finishing ability) so that there’s always the option of one guy going strong to the hoop and another waiting for the open three point shot.

    Finally, I think last year was an incredibly great luxury for Rambis’ development as a coach. How often do coaches get to actually try out different ideas and see what happens without worrying about wins and losses? I think Rambis learned an incredible amount last year about he thought he knew as far as strategies and schemes go, substitutions, and even player development and talent evaluation (he certainly played certain guys enough in certain situations that a story could be made that he was finding out if his suspicions were correct about what a given player would/should be able to do). Perhaps Rambis’ greatest ability going forward, however, is one that has nothing to do wins and losses, and that is that he kept the team together and didn’t lose them at any point during the season. Last season royally sucked, and yet the guys stayed together and this year it appears he’s already doing a great job of getting everyone to buy into the team and each other.

  3. Doesn’t Love for Jeff Green make sense for everybody involved?

  4. –Doesn’t Love for Jeff Green make sense for everybody involved?–

    Not at all, Will. Jeff Green sucks–he disappears in big games, and isn’t a reliable shooter. Just look at last year’s playoffs against the Lakers. He made 23 out of 70 shots in the series (that’s 32.9%. And that was just field goals, he was 8 of 27 or 29.6% from behind the arc). If he had just made 35% of his shots (which still isn’t good), the Thunder could have beaten the Lakers (the Thunder lost game two by 3 points, a game in which Green made 2 of 11 FG’s).

    Green was cut by Team USA. Love was not. People think we can’t form a team around Love, well there’s absolutely no way you can form one around Jeff Green.

  5. biggity,
    I typed up a response to your comments last night but they seem to have vanished (the WAW software hates me). I don’t have sufficient powers of recollection or patience to recall what I said but suffice to say that your points were right on and make perfect sense. Great conspiracy theory by the way.

  6. How different do you think Rambis’s coaching will be this year (if at all)? Did it take a year of adjusting and evolving to get to a place where the triangle can take a more cohesive feel? And, how well can a running game compliment a system that’s so much about spacing and very deliberate cuts and patterns? Did Rambis have any part in that open letter (whether in content or support for it)? It didn’t feel like the kind of thing he’d be an enthusiastic part of – it felt quirky in such a deliberately self-aware way. Sorry for all the questions but I live in a different part of the country and didn’t catch many games last year.

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