Archives For William Bohl

Shaw and Hunt

Q: Did you think Denver would come out with life and zip after the previous two days?

A: “No, to be honest, they quit on Brian Shaw and they’ll quit again. A quitter is a quitter. That was my take on that.”

 – Kevin Garnett

This directed to whoever in listening range

Yo the whole state of things in the world bout to change

Your head is throbbin and I ain’t said shit yet

The Roots crew, the next movement, c’mon!

- The Roots

Clearly, Brian Shaw was the problem in Denver.

That’s tongue in cheek, of course, but it was interesting to see the Nuggets play so well on Wednesday night, mostly because they looked entirely different than the reanimated corpses that wore their uniforms for most of Brian Shaw’s tenure as coach. Shaw was fired on Tuesday morning, ending his, um, checkered tenure in the Mile High City. Between rapping scouting reports to his players (oy vey), routinely calling out his players (to no effect), and admitting that he was reading books on millenials to “try to connect with his players (*facepalm*), it was painfully obvious that a change was necessary. Continue Reading…

Wolves and Grizzlies

A few weeks ago, the Wolves stole a game at home against the Grizzlies in rather dramatic fashion. It was Ricky Rubio’s third game back after his two and a half month absence, and it was immediately clear that Minnesota is a different team when he’s on the floor. The offense becomes functional, the perimeter defense becomes pretty damn good, and perhaps most importantly, there’s a certain level of grit that permeates throughout the roster.

Grit, moxie, chutzpah, toughness, fight – call it what you want. Although statistically immeasurable, it is a vital component to a franchise that is attempting to build a winning culture. The virtue of true toughness, in this sense, isn’t validated by the result. It is present no matter the situation, however good or bad things are going on the floor. Contesting shots, fighting for rebounds, working through screens, communicating with teammates, executing on both ends of the floor – all of it matters.

In that sense, the Grizzlies are a terrific barometer by which to measure these young Timberwolves, because they have it down to an art form. Continue Reading…

basketball-shaped-birthday-cake

First things first: happy 60th birthday to Phillip D. “Flip” Saunders and happy 20th birthday to Andrew Christian Wiggins. That’s right, they share the same birthday. They were destined to be together.

It’s always fun when the Timberwolves play the Rockets, especially if you’re the type of person who loves seeing contradictory approaches clash on the field of play, as I do. I enjoy football games pitting a run and gun squad against a defensive-minded one, I love watching a pitcher battle a deep lineup (think prime Pedro Martinez against the ’98 Yankees), and I enjoy seeing Daryl Morey’s analytics-powered basketball Frankenstein chase around the old-school villagers from Minnesota.  Continue Reading…

 

BAZZYBENNY

The Timberwolves’ run of rotten injury luck just got a little bit longer.

With the team as close to full strength as they’ve been since the first week of November, a freak injury in Wednesday’s practice will keep Shabazz Muhammad for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. Continue Reading…

KG and Thad

It’s a done deal – the Minnesota Timberwolves have acquired Kevin Garnett from the Brooklyn Nets for Thaddeus Young.

Garnett, who turns 39 in May, is in the final season of a 3 year, $36 million deal and opted to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate the move. In 42 games with Brooklyn this season, he averaged 20.3 minutes, 6.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 45% shooting.

Of course, Garnett was drafted by the Timberwolves with the 5th overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft and is universally considered the best player in the franchise’s history. In 12 seasons with Minnesota, KG averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists, winning league MVP honors in 2004. Garnett led the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals that same year, the only time in the team’s history they’ve made it past the first round of the playoffs.

Thad Young was acquired from the Sixers as part of the Love-for-Wiggins megadeal, as the Wolves sent a lottery-protected first round pick (via Miami), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved to Philadelphia in exchange for his services. Young, who averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game as a member of the Timberwolves, has an early termination option in his contract which could make him a free agent this summer, which likely factored into the decision to deal him away.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press is reporting that the Wolves would like to give Kevin Garnett a two year extension, meaning this wouldn’t just be a 29-game farewell tour for The Big Ticket.

Steve McPherson wrote about the potential deal earlier today, and now that it’s a reality, his analysis is still worth a look. Obviously, the Wolves are hoping Garnett can help change the culture and lead the talented group of young players, including Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Zach LaVine, Anthony Bennett and Gorgui Dieng. While the idea is nice, it’s fair to wonder if they paid too big a price, or if they really gave Thad Young a long enough look in Minnesota.

Either way, Kevin Garnett is coming home. Tickets are on sale now. See you at Target Center.

MVP

The Wolves had four players in the Rising Stars Game on Friday night. Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and the USA squad fell 121-112 to the World team, led by Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins, who took home MVP honors following his electrifying six dunk performance. Wiggins and LaVine tied for the game high in points (22 apiece), Dieng had 14 and Muhammad had 10. Continue Reading…

MOTOWNPEK

Photo credit: Raj Mehta

Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back nothin’
I’ll keep right on, right on truckin’
Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back nothin’
I’ll keep right on, right on truckin’

– Eddie Kendricks, Keep on Truckin’

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant launching heat check threes like trebuchets of fire is fun to watch. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook barrelling towards the rim on fastbreaks, unstoppable freight trains of power and agility, is fun to watch. Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo catching impossible lobs with go-go-gadget arms is fun to watch. Rudy Gobert and DeAndre Jordan meandering over from the weakside, lurking, before springing up to swat away a shot attempt with authority is fun to watch. Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul putting the ball on a string and tripping up helpless defenders is fun to watch.

I don’t know how much fun the casual fan has watching Nikola Pekovic play, but hell if it isn’t fun for me. He’s not any of those guys above; he’s a below the basket center who is going to feed you a steady diet of seal, turn, catch, post move, shovel or hook shot. I imagine as a competitor, there’d have to be something satisfying about everyone on the floor knowing exactly what you’re going to do and physically imposing your will to do it anyway. Continue Reading…

RUBIO

While Ricky Rubio was gone – 87 days, 42 games – the Wolves went 6-36, sporting the 4th-worst offense and worst defense (by more than 3 points per 100 possessions) in the NBA over that stretch. There were plenty of injuries to go around and all of them contributed to the slide, but Rubio’s absence was both the longest and most critical.

Without him, Mo Williams was thrust into a starting role, the extremely raw Zach LaVine had to play minutes he wasn’t ready for, Corey Brewer and Robbie Hummel had to make out of position cameos at the point, and a recent D-Leaguer on a 10-day contract (Lorenzo Brown) had to play all but 5 seconds of Saturday night’s game. Point guard defense was nearly nonexistent. The offensive playbook shrunk to 5-15% of its original size (according to Flip Saunders).

Not only were the Timberwolves much less functional without Rubio, they were also a hell of a lot less FUN. There were moments of joy while Rubio was out, most of them provided by Andrew Wiggins, but also random nights from Zach LaVine (in Staples Center versus the Lakers), Mo Williams (52 points at Indiana) and tough battles against the Suns, Rockets, Pacers and Kings. But the consistent spark was gone.

So it was a sight for sore eyes to see reports that he’d make his return on Monday night in Dallas, and especially so when he was on the floor at the opening tip. The minutes restriction aside (more on that later), Ricky Rubio was back, as was the concept of fun. Continue Reading…

 

Boo Ghost Gif

Tomorrow night, a divisive former Timberwolf returns to the Target Center as a visiting player – and not just Mike Miller, the guy whose curious aversion to pulling the trigger on threes during his lone season in Minnesota vexed many observers (including, famously, Steve Aschburner). It’s that other dude – what’s his name? He sometimes has a beard, sometimes not, used to be a duff but now he’s buff? The All Star? The white guy? Continue Reading…

AViewInWheatRidge

Continue Reading…