Archives For Tim Faklis

Lorenzo Brown

We’re kicking off our offseason coverage here at A Wolf Among Wolves with a comprehensive roster review of the team from this past season, looking at how each player’s 2014-15 went and what we see for them going forward. One player (or group of players) a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and/or those who have moved onto other teams, and rolling up to the starters.

When Lorenzo Brown was first cut by the Timberwolves after the preseason in 2013, common belief would lead most to believe it was the end of the then-NC State prospect’s career in Minnesota.

That changed in late February, when an injury to Ricky Rubio and a trade that sent Mo Williams to Charlotte forced Minnesota to look externally for a short-term answer at point guard. He had already signed a few 10-day contracts before, but the Williams trade was the sealer on keeping Brown around for the remainder of the season. Flip Saunders’ familiarity with Brown (he drafted him, afterall), along with Brown’s success in the NBDL earned him a callup to the team that had drafted him just a year and half before. Continue Reading…

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…….oh, hi

*ahem*

For the first time in franchise history, the Timberwolves will be picking first overall. Assuming Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins remain on the roster next season, the Wolves will employ the last three number 1 overall picks all on the same roster.

Technically, the Wolves have never moved up in the draft, but that was impossible this year, as injuries and inexperience led them to the NBA’s worst record, giving them a 25 percent chance at landing the top spot. Continue Reading…

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

It was announced today that Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine were selected as members of the NBA’s All Rookie team, along with 8 other rookies.

Wiggins, who was named the NBA’s rookie of the year, was unsurprisingly named to the 1st team unanimously, the only rookie to earn a unanimous vote. LaVine, who was named to the 2nd team, finished 7th among all rookies in voting.

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Expectations can be tough to live up to, even when the original expectations aren’t as high as you’d want them to be. When the Timberwolves opened the 2014-15 season, the hopes of the front office were to sneak their way into a surprise playoff run. After a trade that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland was complete, the starting lineup (Pekovic/Young/Wiggins/Brewer/Rubio opened the year, as Kevin Martin sat with a groin injury) had promise for something decent, but nothing was guaranteed.

Ultimately, a slew of injuries, inexperience, and There were some fun moments this year, but it’s hard to look back on a 16-win season with much fondness. But it’s also impossible to cover a pro basketball team, even one as bad as the Wolves were this season, and not embrace the good things that happened throughout the year. It’s the same thing for fans of the Wolves.

If one simply focused on the losses, the inconsistent (mostly bad) play of Adriean Payne the second half of the year, the injuries, and the health of Nikola Pekovic, it wouldn’t be fun. That’s not why we watch sports. So, as bad as the Wolves were this year, I’m going to look at both the good and the bad, for the sake of everyone involved. Especially myself.

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For a good month and a half, the Timberwolves have played opponents with a different kind of mindset than they started with. Of course, while the term “tanking” has been thrown around more than “the Wolves could have drafted Steph Curry” chatter, the players on the floor aren’t out there trying to lose.

Tonight, we saw Andrew Wiggins, Lorenzo Brown, Zach LaVine, Jordan Hamilton, Chase Budinger, Adriean Payen, Robbie Hummel, and Arinze Onuaku working to beat the New Orleans Pelicans, whether there was actual tanking going on or not.

That said, the New Orleans Pelicans were playing, trying to win, with a completely different frame of mind. With the Oklahoma City Thunder begging for a New Orleans loss, the Pelicans weren’t just trying to win for the sake of keeping a basketball game competitive; they were out there trying to keep their season alive.

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China Basketball NBA Nets Kings (3)

The Timberwolves played the Kings tonight. The Kings started rebounding demon Reggie Evans in place of the injured DeMarcus Cousins. Zach LaVine, as he’s grown somewhat accustomed to, at least in terms of regularity, stood in as Ricky Rubio’s spot as starting point guard. On top of that, tonight had no Nikola Pekovic, Darren Collison, Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng, or Carl Landry.

Both teams have seen lots of absences due to injury (or illness, in some cases), and both fanbases have come to expect some goofy outputs from players you wouldn’t expect. As per usual with losing teams at the end of the season, players who don’t normally get their time to shine seem more apt for finding looks.

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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.

I called, and you all responded. Let’s get started….

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When you’re a Wolves fan looking at a box score on NBA.com after another loss, it can be tough. The Wolves are flirting with another bottom-of-the-league season, unlikely to even crack the 20-win club occupied by teams like the Magic, Nuggets and (eventually, probably) Lakers. The reasons are a well-documented list, and not worth diving into in a game recap.

So when you come into a game, facing off against a New Orleans Pelicans team desparately trying to pass Oklahoma City for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs, things can get ugly. Anthony Davis and Omer Asik took full advantage of the Wolves’ depleted frontcourt, especially after Gorgui Dieng was forced back to the locker room (reported facial contusion – he did not return). The two of them combined for 43 points (the Pelicans dropped 56 total points in the paint) and 15 rebounds, and rarely showed any signs of struggle when they got the ball close to the basket.

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Now you look like you just got back from somewhere
Somewhere yeah you know that it’s true
Together we went nearly to nowhere
Nowhere really worth going to
Standing at the city center
In the middle of the winter

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When the Timberwolves traded Mo Williams in February, most Wolves fans appreciated what he had done in the tough spot he was forced into, upon the ankle injury to Ricky Rubio. Nobody will look back at Mo Williams with any level of ill will down the road, even if he had his share of questionable shots throughout the first half of the 2014-15 season.

Still, when Williams was traded, slight objection was the most negative feeling attached to his departure. While he showed his value (for good and, at times, for bad), his 1-year deal, his age, and the return (and obvious mainstay) of Ricky Rubio made Williams’ time in Minnesota an obvious rental.

In Charlotte, Williams has averaged 19 and 7 since the trade, and even has a recent player of the week award under his belt. Tonight, he made his return to Minnesota, where he and fellow former Wolf Al Jefferson (whose departure brought many, many more of the feels) saw a polite applause from the Target Center crowd.

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"Eric Bledsoe, Ricky Rubio, Justin Hamilton"

The Timberwolves and the Suns came into last night’s games in polar opposite situations.

Come summertime, the Wolves will be a team hoping luck is on their side come NBA draft lottery time. Their team hasn’t been healthy for quite some time, and the Kevin Garnett trade has helped change their defensive mindset a bit. And yet, while they’ll continue to compete, their fate is pretty set-in-stone.

The Suns are another story. They came into last night’s game with the knowledge that the Oklahoma City Thunder had fallen to the Clippers a few minutes prior to tip-off, an they knew this was a chance to close the 3-game gap for the final playoff spot.

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