Archives For 2012-13 Season

Over the years, most Timberwolves fans have had their share of moral victories, and most have likely grown sick of them. If you’ve been a fan for more than this season, you know what I’m talking about: although the team loses, they keep it close, or maybe at least show some teeth somewhere in there. But any long-suffering fan is ready for moral victories to be replaced by actual ones, and now that the team is actually winning games they’re supposed to win and looking pretty damn strong — both on offense, where they’re second in pace, and defense, with the league’s sixth best defensive rating at 98.1 — maybe we can begin to accept that there are ways to be successful without necessarily winning, and not feel like we’re just trying to talk ourselves into it.

Last night’s close loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, which came down to three opportunities to score on the final possession and a Kevin Love tip-in that came up just short, showed us a lot. On a basic level, it reinforced something we already know: the Timberwolves bench is in trouble. But even this is interesting because the bench seems to be poorly understood by a lot of people. Almost by definition, your bench is going to be flawed in some ways — if the players there were closer to flawless, they’d likely be starting. Continue Reading…

tigerrock2

In The Simpsons episode “Much Apu About Nothing” from the show’s seventh season, a docile bear wandering onto Evergreen Terrace causes an uproar that leads to the creation of a Bear Patrol. Homer (who led a mob to the mayor’s office chanting, “We’re here, we’re queer, we don’t want any more bears”) is satisfied with the result, saying, “Well, there’s not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is sure doing its job.” Lisa then explains that this is faulty logic: “Dad, what if I were to tell you that this rock keeps away tigers.” Homer asks how it works and Lisa replies, “It doesn’t work. It’s just a stupid rock. But you don’t see any tigers around, do you?” So Homer says, “Lisa, I’d like to buy your rock.”

Right now, a lot of people are buying the rock when it comes to Shabazz Muhammad’s forced exit from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program for “bringing a female guest into his hotel room” as initially reported by Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Muhammad was no stranger to controversy during his time at UCLA, from sulking on the court after it was Larry Drew who hit a last-second shot to beat Washington to off-court troubles with the legitimacy of his age and his father’s relentless self-promotion. If Muhammad struggles at the NBA level, this latest transgression will be remembered as a bellwether, a giant misstep as he entered the league that augured his problems. Continue Reading…

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 2012-13 went and what we see for them going forward. One player a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and rolling up to the starters.

We do ridiculous things when we are 22 years old. We climb trees and then fall out of them. We smash things we find on the street. We punch the pavement. We (“we”) make awful choices and then write long, agonized, hand-written letters explaining/apologizing for/recanting those choices. We are newly birthed into the adult world but still soaked in a purply, emo brain-haze, a volatile emotional soup that spikes the adrenaline and clouds the judgement.

Remember, now, that despite his many years of playing professional basketball as a teen, despite his experience leading his countrymen against the best basketball players in the world, Ricky Rubio is this very age. And its not just Rubio’s bio that misdirects us. He possesses a set of seemingly native-born skills that generally belong to much more seasoned players. His total court-vision, his almost physiological feel for movement and spacing–these are things that are usually acquired only after a decade or so of apprenticeship. Even when he was just a very skinny boy with floppy hair he was able to perform feats that, while not adult exactly (more like sylph-like or even transcendent) certainly belied his age.

Continue Reading…

DDubLion

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 2012-13 went and what we see for them going forward. One player a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and rolling up to the starters.

There is a very old bit of Greek literature called Agamemnon by Aeschylus. You know the whole spiel about Helen of Troy and how she was “abducted” by Orlando Bloom? Well, Agamemnon was the guy that told the Greek army to get going on the Trojan War. If you don’t feel like reading literature from over 2,500 years ago (and really, who has the time for that?) then you can just watch the movie “Troy” to get the gist of what happened with that whole love story. Brian Cox plays Agamemnon in the movie.

The reason I bring this up is in Agamemnon there is a parable of a lion cub. The baby lion is taken in by a family. They nurture the cub. They feed it, protect it, and treat it as a child of their own. It was too weak to survive on its own, so they went the SPCA route of adopting it and giving it a chance to grow, be cared for and be healthy. However, caring for such a beast isn’t enough to subvert the instincts of the lion cub permanently. At some point, nature takes over within the heart and brain of the lion.

But waxing time and growth betrays
The blood-thirst of the lion-race,
And, for the house’s fostering care,
Unbidden all, it revels there,
And bloody recompense repays-
Rent flesh of kine, its talons tare:
A mighty beast, that slays, and slays,
And mars with blood the household fair,
A God-sent pest invincible,
A minister of fate and hell.

The lion kills the family that made it part of their home. He tears them apart, rips their flesh, and feasts on them, as if they had never met and just happened across each other’s paths in the wild. The parable is meant to be about Helen’s time in the city of Troy. But really, I can’t help but think about the tale of the lion cub and the family whenever I look back on the season Derrick Williams had with the Timberwolves.  Continue Reading…

When we watch March Madness we watch very young, extraordinarily gifted men burn like roman candles. It is a carnival, less a display of basketball prowess than an ecstatic frenzy. We see the spirit carrying the body to places it literally cannot go. There are shows of incredible effort and passion, fevered battles for loose balls, defense played on the edge of exhaustion, wild last-second drives to the hoop. But also: shots crush the back iron; muscles drown in adrenaline; so many turnovers. The tournament is like the most spectacular party you barely remember, the one where the floor bent to the beat of the music, where you could not speak, only scream, where your veins ran with gold, where you loved everybody.

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cst Wolves last game 36651

I’m not sure if any of you have been in the kind of situation the Wolves found themselves in last night, but I feel like I definitely have.

In the fall of 2003, things were not going so well for my band. A little less than a year after we changed the band’s name—a name we’d had for almost a decade—because we felt it no longer fit what we were trying to do, a little more than six months since we’d fired our bassist and not been able to find a consistent replacement, a few weeks after our drummer had to cancel several dates because of conflicts with another band he was in that paid him better, we played our last gig.

It was at a pretty new spot in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, not more than half an hour from Pittsfield, where we regularly packed them in whenever we played. Or rather, we used to, before the name change. The other guitarist—who was also the singer—and I were living in southern Connecticut at the time and trying to make inroads into New York City, where we’d played a good number of gigs, but hadn’t really found our niche. Massachusetts was supposed to be our safe space, our home turf, where we could be comfortable.

But nobody showed up on that October night. And I mean just about literally NOBODY. We had ringers on bass and drums, had maybe chucked whatever name recognition we had, and had barely rehearsed the drummer enough to get him through both our sets. I don’t think we knew for sure it was our last show, or at least we hadn’t said so out loud, but I think we had a sense that things were going off the rails, that any gig might be our last.

And we couldn’t rise to the occasion. It would be great to be able to tell you that we played our asses off that night, that our play rose to the level of the moment and that we really brought it. But we didn’t. And neither did the Timberwolves last night. Continue Reading…

jamsession

You live by the Dante Cunningham midrange jumper, you die by etc. With Pekovic out with calf contusion, this game—for as close as it seemed down the stretch—was yet another lesson in how a steady diet of pick and pop from Stiemsma and Cunningham in the early going doesn’t set the table the way a heart pick and roll from Pek does. It’s not rocket science; it’s just basic nutrition. Look: Continue Reading…

WolvesClipped

Maybe it doesn’t matter what type of team you have.

People get tired and worn down. It’s hard to continue to fight for something that really doesn’t have an end game. There are days you don’t want to be at your job, even when you make a lot of money and have a cool profession. And what we see with a lot of teams that don’t have anything to play for at the end of a lost/wasted season is they give in to the regular human nature the majority of us have and they just kind of stop fighting like they used to. It’s something that you can get frustrated about as a fan, but at the same time, I get it.

I don’t want to say the Wolves aren’t fighting. I think they’re clearly fighting.  Continue Reading…

This has nothing to do with Beasley but here's an old photoshop I did.

This has nothing to do with Beasley but here’s an old photoshop I did.

I’ve been watching the HBO series Entourage lately when I go to bed for a couple of reasons. The first reason is it helps me clear my head when I’m lying down to sleep. It’s something that’s fairly mindless and I can just relax to. The episodes are relatively short (25 minutes) so if I fall asleep during one of them, it’s not really a pain to go back and finish the episode later.

The second reason is I’m curious as to what my fascination is with this show. Is it that Entourage is a minuscule peek into a world I’m fascinated by? People have often wondered why I like bad movies because they equate it with not being entertaining. I would argue that bad movies can be just as valuable in the entertainment department because it can bring about questions you might never think of asking. How did this get made? Was this how the original draft of the script was? Why would a studio dedicate this much money to such a terrible project? What was the side deal that went with this movie? Is that really the best take they could have gotten out of Hayden Christensen?  Continue Reading…

LoveMonster

We were hoping to see a glimpse of Kevin Love with this core of a surging Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, and friends so that we — and more importantly management — would have a good idea of what this team looked like when everybody was on the court this season. The ideal lineup of Rubio-Chase-AK-Love-Pek played exactly zero minutes and zero seconds on the floor together this season, which makes it hard to evaluate what they need to know heading into this offseason.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen at all. Love is going to have knee surgery to clean up some scar tissue and that will keep him out of action for about a month. Considering there are only eight days left in the season, math tells me he won’t be back before the game against San Antonio on the 17th. From the team:  Continue Reading…