2014-15 Season

Bucks 103, Wolves 86: Corey Brewer played point guard

Minnesota Timberwolves Media Day

Tonight’s game was goofy.

On one hand, it would be easy to shrug off tonight’s 103-86 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Wolves were down to just 10 available players, had a pair of teenagers in their starting 5 (to be fair, so did the Bucks (tonight was the first time in NBA history 4 teenagers started in a game)), had many playing way out of position, and had Thad Young, its only returning player, come back noticeably (and understandably) rusty. They played hard, but got beat by a healthier team.

On the other hand, they were in the game for 3-plus quarters, and let some bad defense get the best of them. To be fair, the limited options Flip Saunders had to work with forced some guys to play more minutes than they’re used to. They got gassed towards the end, and when you get gassed, you foul. Brandon Knight took and made 8 of Milwaukee’s 13 free throws in that final quarter, where the Wolves were outscored 31-16.

Past the game itself, the storylines were surprisingly ample for a Bucks-Timberwolves game. Let’s look at a few:

Corey Brewer played point guard and Robbie Hummel played center….at the same time

This was by far the goofiest part of the night. With Rubio still out with an ankle injury, and Mo Williams out with the flu, Flip Saunders was forced to re-insert Mo Williams into the starting lineup. After that, his options at point guard were virtually nonexistent.

In the first half, Brewer was a surprisingly competent point guard, something he said he hadn’t done since college. Flip made the job as simple as he could from a schematic standpoint. For the most part, he’d bring the ball up the floor and immediately pass it off to another wing to start the offense. In the second half, he played more like the non-point guard he is, made a few mistakes, and forced Flip to go back to LaVine.

To add metaphorical insult to literal injury, Robbie Hummel played his third straight game as team’s backup center. At times, he was out there at the same time as point Brewer. Again, this game was goofy.

Hummel got overpowered and subsequently dunked on a couple times, but it’s tough to knock him. Like always, he played hard and was rarely out of position on either end. Still, he may be more excited than anyone for Turiaf and Pekovic to get back than anyone.

Andrew Wiggins vs. Jabari Parker

Early on, it looked like Wiggins was going to get the clear win in the battle between this summer’s top two picks, but an underwhelming finish to the game for Wiggins helped even up the battle towards the end.

Overall, Wiggins probably looked a bit better, especially when you factor in the flashes of defensive brilliance he put on early in the second half. This includes a block on one Jabari Parker.

Still, don’t let this swat fool you. Parker looks really, really good. His hesitation dribble was working on Wolves defenders just about every time. Much like we’ve seen from Wiggins, he would frequently get the ball poked away from him before he could make a play.

In short: both had their problems, but both showed flashes of dominance. Both are going to be ridiculous in a few years.

The Greek Freak

Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it has very little to do with him as a player. The word “potential” is almost synonymous with his play on the court, and he’s so far from a finished or even a guaranteed product. I saw a number of picks for him as this year’s Most Improved Player, and I remain convinced that his time to win that award, if ever, is still 2-3 years away.

Regardless, he is an absolute monster in-person. The length of his arms live up to the “freak” aspect of his nickname, and I mean that in the absolute nicest way possible. After seeing him live, it’s easier to understand why people might use a bit of hyperbole when talking about his future impact on the floor.

In tonight’s game, he made some smart decisions and nice passes in the game. He did a little bit of everything and looked like a guy going places in the league. It’s tough to decide whether he should bulk up and look at playing power forward, or continue to try to be the most ridiculously large wing in the league. It’ll be a fun watch regardless.

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7 thoughts on “Bucks 103, Wolves 86: Corey Brewer played point guard

  1. What a funny game. Can’t help but be positive that our youngsters continue to show signs of development, even if they are small steps. I would wager that this season we are seeing more positive growth already from Wiggins, LaVine, Bazz, and Bennett than we ever saw from Flynn and Wes. Of course, actual NBA coaching has a lot to do with hat, but that is the small win I’m focusing on right now. Do I want to see more? Absolutely. Do I want these guys to develop into really good starters? Ideally, yes. But, the historical bar for rookies is so low for this team that I will take what I can get. These guys are so much better than those Rambis teams – even short handed. I think it’s worth recognizing that our younguns aren’t crumbling right now but competing hard every night.

    One other thought. You remember Nemanja Bjelica? Wasn’t he supposed to be a point forward – a sweet ball handling PG in a PF body? I know we don’t have a roster spot available, but I’ve always wondered how he’d have done in this league if he had gotten the. Chance. I think we still own his rights.

  2. Still not getting why Bennett plays PF and chases Ilyasova around the perimeter while Hummel guards centers and doesn’t get any chances for 3s. They can play Bennett at PF and have him spell Dieng; it doesn’t have to be either/or.

  3. @gjk: if we just try to make it reasonable, Flip may want Bennett’s defense is more easier to execute. Guard different position of players during a match maybe still too challenging to a sophomore (which his rookie season is a chaos). We don’t want to admit that we may have a very bad season in early stage, lose 3 veteran starters is fatal to this rosters, and may let Flip may want to more focus on the development of the young guys. I know this is arguably. I hope Flip would give more clear explanation later.

  4. That would be my guess. It’s valuable to have him do, but it might be as valuable to have him guard centers. With his wingspan and inside/outside potential, he’d be a small 5 who’s tough to guard.

    I wonder in general what Flip thinks is okay to develop in games and what isn’t. Defensive experimentation seems within bounds, but their offense seems to have strict boundaries for each guy.

  5. With all of the injuries I bet Mr. Saunders is trying to keep legs fresh and mix around the order to create a spark by changing the pace of the game or games. Having fresh legs to start the third quarter would be a different pace. It’s a new team, gives him a chance to know the players better yet to see how far these men can dig by finding bigger roles of who wants the balk with one shot left, gives these guys a chance to play and have fun out on the floor. Laughing, high five one and another is what we need. These men got here for the love of the game by wanting to compete at a higher level than their role models. Go Wolves!

  6. I would guess Flip is trying to keep it simple for Bennett and have him concentrate on just the PF spot for now. But he sure looks like he has the size to be a better option at the 5 than Hummel

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