Raptors 113, Timberwolves 96: Here’s a song
The Timberwolves, stuck with a starting rotation of 3 D-League call-ups (Payne, Hamilton, Brown), and 3 rookies (Payne again, Wiggins, LaVine), and just 3 bench players, have been losing. In the thick of playoff positioning for a good quantity of teams in the league, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that such events have been going on.
They’ve been going on for a while, and have been recapped by all of the AWAW crew already (see: here, here, here, and here) So, instead of rehashing another sad recap, I’m going to revive something done by William Bohl early in the season.
Send me your questions…any questions…and I’ll try to answer them in tonight’s recap.
— Tim Faklis (@timfaklis) April 2, 2015
I called, and you all responded. Let’s get started….
— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) April 2, 2015
Good way to get the ball rolling, courtesy of Canis Hoopus’ own John Meyer to boot. I think the therapist answered the question effectively in the video, but she is, of course, just an actress. My recommendation: if anyone is worried about losing it if you don’t use it, set up a doctor’s appointment.
@timfaklis any reason(s) for wolves lack of improved defense throughout the year?
— Colin Kemp (@ckemp10) April 2, 2015
Hey, a Wolves question!
I would start by saying that it’s tough when your team’s defensive leader, Ricky Rubio, has been sidelined by most of the year. Even worse that his replacement (for most of the year), Zach LaVine, came into the league with a notable problem on the defensive end. His troubles, especially on the pick and roll, have lived up to those expectations.
That’s really where it starts for me. If the guy guarding the point guard allows his man to enter the lane, it causes one guy to help, then another to slide over and so forth. Too many breakdowns will result in lots of points for the other team. To be clear, I’m not pinning this all on LaVine, as the rest of the Wolves’ roster, especially the interior, has been bad. But it starts at the top. As it does in every other facet of the game, missing Rubio hurts the Wolves on defense.
@timfaklis I know most of team is injured bt has Flip ever had a good defensive team? Detroit??
— Jeff (@jcfarm1) April 2, 2015
Yep, they were still deadly defensively in Detroit. Finished in the top 7 (only 7th once, top 4 every other time) every year he was there in both defensive rating and opp PPG.
The best year for the Timberwolves defensively, not surprisngly, was 2003-04. They were 6th in the NBA in defensive rating, and 7th in the league in opp PPG (89.1).
In 1998-99, they weren’t bad, either. They finished the year 11th in defensive rating, KG and Joe Smith were a decent shotblocking duo, and Dennis Scott was on the team. That last part wasn’t really relevant, but I had no idea Scott ever played for the Wolves.
So, overall, no. Not for the Wolves. Yes for the Pistons.
— Bryan Reynolds ☠ (@BReynoldsMN) April 2, 2015
Not sure. I’ll ask Flip at the next post-game presser. Or would this kind of question go to Governor Dayton? I’ll ask them both.
And Vin Diesel. I’ll ask him too.
@timfaklis I'll throw you a bone: can you explain Budinger's resurgence? Did he have to hit rock bottom to find his game again? It's weird.
— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) April 2, 2015
No bone needed to be thrown, but thank you again, Sir Meyer.
Chase’s sudden improvement is something I’d like to look into in more detail at some point, because right now, I’m not sure.
For those who watched the preseason, most were excited about Chase when it ended. He looked good, was hitting his 3’s, and was finishing at the rim…kind of like he is now. Maybe this is the Chase that we should have been seeing all year. Maybe he’s finally dusted off that lack of confidence. Or maybe he’s just incredibly inconsistent. Right now, I’m really not sure.
— Brandon ® (@BLcity5) April 2, 2015
Cavs’ win total LeBron James’ rookie year: 35
Sonics’ win total Kevin Durant’s rookie year: 20
Timberwolves’ win total Kevin Garnett’s rookie year: 25
Mavericks’ win total Dirk Nowitzki’s rookie year: 19
Rookies rarely, if ever, lead their teams to high win totals their first years. Wiggins has shown flashes of legitimate greatness. It’s impossible to predict exactly how good he’s going to get, but using the Wolves’ win total is not the place to start.
Start by looking at his increased aggressiveness going at the rim, his improved sense of when to stay down on pump fakes, etc. There are things to look at, but history suggests win totals are not a great place to start.
@timfaklis Is Robbie worth dealing a contract next year?
— masakazu (@masakazu_min) April 2, 2015
I may not be in the most popular camp here.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Hummel back, but there are other Robbie Hummel-types in the league. If everything pans out in the offseason, the Wolves make a couple signings, draft picks, maybe a trade, and there’s still a spot open for Hummel, why not? He plays hard, doesn’t make mistakes, and does just about everything well on the floor.
— McRyno (@RTM59) April 2, 2015
He would help a lot. His ceiling defensively is DPOY-levels of high. Still, D’Angelo Russell is far and away my favorite prospect after Okafor and Towns.
I’m always scared to take defensive-minded centers that high in the draft, and I really think Russell has a chance to make playing shooting guard in the NBA cool again.
And with that, good night! Here’s a song.