Archives For William Bohl

 

OLD AND NEW

As soon as Flip Saunders’ Cheney-esque search for a head coach resulted in naming himself for the job, observers began to speculate about whether his offensive style fit the modern game. The Wolves had a top-10 offense in 6 out of 8 full seasons during Flip’s first stint in Minnesota, and until his two tumultuous seasons in Washington, the lowest any of his teams finished in turnover-to-assist ratio was 7th in the league. Flip’s gameplan, when executed properly, fosters ball movement and generates open looks, especially from the midrange area.

The problem, of course, is that the midrange game is dying a slow, painful death. Thanks in part to the rise of analytics, the most valuable shots in basketball are now considered to be at the rim, the corner three, three-pointers in general, and getting to the free throw line. That doesn’t exactly jive with how Saunders’ teams have ranked in the past: Continue Reading…

The Wolves play in Cedar Rapids tonight! Finally, we get to watch them pl... what's that? It's not on TV?!? Dang it!

The Wolves play in Cedar Rapids tonight! Finally, we get to watch them pl… what’s that? It’s not on TV?!? Dang it!

So, it’s probably not something to get up in arms about or anything, but most NBA preseason schedules don’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s odd that they don’t make a whole lot of sense, because as far as I can tell, teams are in charge of making their own exhibition schedules, with very little oversight from the league other than “play between six and eight games.”

Thanks to this interesting SF Gate story from a few days ago, I understand that the nuts and bolts of creating a slate of games is a more cumbersome task than many people realize. Among the factors to consider: handshake agreements with other teams who you’ve “traded” home dates with, whether or not the arena where you’d like to play is actually available, geography, travel, and pleasing players and coaches with days off in desirable locales (like Santa Monica or South Beach) rather than less desirable ones (like, Iowa, or something).  Continue Reading…

SWORD

“Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

-Hebrews, 4:12

I don’t often begin posts about basketball with quotes from scripture. But when thinking of the term “double-edged sword,” my mind inevitably wanders back to my Catholic education and the place I first heard it, the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews. The quote above is in reference to God’s word, and is often misinterpreted due to the presence of the term “two-edged” or “double-edged” sword. In this instance, it’s merely a noun; it could just as easily read “sharper than any axe” or “sharper than any dagger.”

“Double-edged sword” usually signifies something appearing to be a benefit that can also be a curse. The reason this interpretation applies to the 2014-15 Minnesota Timberwolves is that they have a ton of depth (good), but not nearly enough minutes to make all of the players on the roster happy (not so good). Continue Reading…

Media Day: Quick Hits

William Bohl —  September 30, 2014 — 6 Comments

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Good morning! Prior to all of last night’s “Dunks After Dark” fun, Wolves media day took place deep within the cellar of the Target Center. Here are a few quotes and general observations, in the order the players and coaches went to the podium to talk to those of us assembled:

1. Flip Saunders

– The Wolves’ minority owner/ President of Basketball Operations / Head Coach began with the usual coachspeak platitudes, about being ready to build a contender, being excited to get to camp, and discussing the leadership roles on the team. But he had a few noteworthy quotes that offered a peek into his mindset as the team embarked on its journey to Mankato.

– “One of the great thing about having young players,” Flip said, “is that you have a really significant impact on what they might become down the road.” He also spoke about getting to the grind of camp and working on things with his team daily. “What coaches love are practices. What you have the opportunity to do is mold these players.” But in his mind, it isn’t just up to the coaches to get Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and the other Minnesota youngsters ready to be successful. “The success we have will not (come from) the rookies (alone). It’s the veterans being able to help these rookies out.” Continue Reading…

Wiggins Parker Embiid

Play along for ten minutes (or however long it takes you to read the next 1500 or so words): imagine that the Kevin Love trade happened prior to the NBA Draft instead of afterward. Pretend the Wolves acquired the first overall pick rather than the draft rights to the first overall pick who was already chosen, Andrew Wiggins. Pretend Flip Saunders, Milt Newton, Glen Taylor and the rest of the Timberwolves’ brain trust are in the war room when Adam Silver heads to the podium to announce that Minnesota is on the clock, the entire class of 2014 at their disposal. Whose name do they call? Continue Reading…

Chairs

Some thoughts on the Wolves’ media and fan meet-and-greet at the State Fair, in bullet form:

– People began packing themselves around the stage nearly an hour prior to the start of the show. The atmosphere was jubilant and peppy – fans cheered loudly for each of the four players (loudest of all for Wiggins) and lingered long after they were done speaking, taking selfies, asking for autographs and hollering praise to Flip for getting the deal done. It was certainly an interesting environment for an introductory press conference – the Fair’s enormity shrinking for an hour into a very intimate, uncontrolled setting. A few barely audible catcalls arose from the crowd and drew chuckles from the guys onstage. Those awkward moments aside, today was a very positive day for everyone involved. The weather was perfect, the Wolves garnered some much-needed buzz, and Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and Zach LaVine got their first taste of Minnesota’s atmosphere. Continue Reading…

RUUUUFIO

After being tantalized (or annoyed) with the slow release of the upcoming NBA schedule via the Twitter accounts of Adrian Wojnarowski and others all day Wednesday, the full slate of the Timberwolves’ 2014-15 games was released by the team at 5:00 PM central. Here is a succinct rundown of a few particulars, first from the Wolves’ official website: Continue Reading…

HUMMEL2K

Several random thoughts, in bullet form, on the Wolves’ re-signing of forward Robbie Hummel and what it means for the roster moving forward:

– First things first: on a personal level, I’m really happy Hummel is coming back, with a fully guaranteed contract to boot. After blowing out both knees in college and toiling in the Spanish ACB for a season, it’s nice to see him rewarded with a little bit of security. He’s affable, smart, seems like a good teammate and is great to the media (which fans may not care much about, but those of us at AWAW all appreciate it).

– As far as on-court contributions go, the general feeling is that Hummel outperformed what his offensive statistics showed during his rookie season in the NBA. Continue Reading…

Shakespeare and Love

William Bohl —  July 12, 2014 — 11 Comments
ShakespeareInLove

Photoshop credit: Steve McPherson

“For it so falls out

That what we have we prize not to the worth

Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack’d and lost,

Why, then we rack the value, then we find

The virtue that possession would not show us

Whiles it was ours”

- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene I

Some relationships end in a fury, a storm of accusations, screaming matches and slamming doors. Other relationships end slowly, gradually, marked by words left unsaid, the quiet, empty spaces where conversation and laughter used to live.

In Shakespearean tragedies, ill-fated romances almost always conclude with the gruesome, if eloquently narrated, death of one or both the characters involved. Thankfully, the tumultuous partnership between Kevin Love and the Timberwolves isn’t so dire; he’s merely leaving for employment in another city, and possibly soon. The conclusion to Minnesota’s Love affair resembles the second type of breakup, the slow kind, quibbles bubbling to the surface every now and again, the atrophy taking its toll until Flip can no longer bear it and Kevin is sent packing.

The Bard almost always killed his star-crossed lovers, but he had a few things to say about more civil splits as well, especially in his comedies. The above quote from Much Ado About Nothing is a flowery rendering of the timeless adage that “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” And while Love isn’t quite gone yet, and the breakup isn’t complete, many who follow the Timberwolves closely are preemptively employing a common breakup coping mechanism: we’re trying to convince ourselves that we never really loved him at all. Continue Reading…

GR3

With the 40th pick in the NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Glenn Robinson III, a small forward from the University of Michigan.

Robinson averaged 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 49/31/76 shooting splits in 32.7 minutes per game for the Wolverines in 2013-14. He turns 21 in January, stands 6’7 with a 6’10 wingspan, a 42 inch max vertical and weights 211 pounds. He possesses good size and athleticism for an NBA small forward, but must answer questions about shot creation and focus on the defensive end in order to be contributor at the next level.

He got lost in the shuffle, somewhat, playing for such a loaded program during his two seasons in Ann Arbor. All in all, it seems like a pretty good value where the Wolves got him; DraftExpress, for instance, had him pegged somewhere in the late 20s.

Anyway, here’s a fun video of him dunking:

In other news, the Wolves sold the 44th pick to the Brooklyn Nets for a reported $1 million, and they in turn selected Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown. Then, Minnesota sent the 53rd pick to the Houston Rockets for undisclosed cash considerations. Daryl Morey took Italian shooting guard Alessandro Gentile from Milano.

In summary, the Wolves used their second round picks to draft a guy who’ll have a fighting chance to crack the roster (Glenn Robinson III) and profit marginally by selling them off (44, 53) rather than grabbing prospects to stash abroad. Ideally, I would’ve preferred one of the second-rounders to be kept in-house, but don’t feel strongly enough about any of the ones available to get worked up over it.

And with that, the Minnesota Timberwolves 2014 draft has concluded.

Reaction / analysis to come over the next few days.