Archives For 2012 Offseason

After Thursday’s first two rounds of workouts, the Wolves hosted 12 more players today while execs from all over the league visited the Target Center. As of right now, our beloved Wolves still have the 18th and the 58th picks in this upcoming draft.

First round of Friday workouts included:
Kim English, G, Missouri
Justin Hamilton, C, Louisiana State
Robbie Hummel, F, Purdue
Orlando Johnson, G, UC Santa Barbara
Julian Mavunga, F, Miami (Ohio)
Tony Mitchell, F, Alabama

Second session this morning was:
Marcus Denmon, G, Missouri
JaMychal Green, F, Alabama
Darius Johnson-Odom, G, Marquette
Kyle O’Quinn, F, Norfolk State
Robert Sacre, C, Gonzaga
Mike Scott, F, Virginia
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Kevin Love: All-NBA

Benjamin Polk —  May 24, 2012 — 2 Comments

Kevin Love has been named to the All-NBA second team today. For anyone who remembers our discussions about Love’s relative value over the past few years, and for anyone who consider themselves Wolves fans for that matter, this is really an incredible thing.

Now, you may be thinking, hey, this dude was fourth in the league in scoring, second in rebounding and fifth in PER; how is it that he’s not on the first team? In response to that, I’d ask you this: is Love a demonstrably better defender than anybody else on those top two teams? Blake Griffin, maybe?

It comes as no surprise that Ricky Rubio was named to the All-Rookie first team today. And that, despite his knee injury and despite Kenneth Faried’s late push into all of our hearts, Rubio came in second in the voting to ROY Kyrie Irving. Look deep inside your memory to the first half of this past season: Ricky Rubio was great. It was really fun.

Slightly more surprising, for me at least, was that Derrick Williams managed to slide onto the second team. Williams’ season seemed to me a bit too inconsistent and half-formed to be considered all anything. But when you peruse the list of Williams’ companions on the second team–Chandler Parsons, Tristan Thompson, Isaiah Thomas, MarShon Brooks–you realize two things. First, that this wasn’t the hottest year for rookies. Second, that our guy fits in there pretty well.

Malcolm Lee’s NBA career began pretty humbly. Before the season even began, Lee had torn his meniscus and gone under the knife. He was an injured rookie point guard with three guys ahead of him on the depth chart, one of them a Finals hero, another a boy genius. But things happen strangely in a season as breakneck as this one. Thanks to the Wolves’ plague of injuries, Lee went from wearing a suit, to playing in Sioux Falls (where I guess even the basketball players wear camo), to sitting on the big club’s bench, to logging serious minutes in a matter of weeks.

When he did finally find himself on the court, he looked every bit the overwhelmed rookie. Running an NBA team is hard; Lee was not quite up to the task, not quite prepared for the speed and complexity of the pro game. His ballhandling looked a little shaky; he didn’t see the floor particularly well; in his decision making, he often seemed a step behind the action. When he was on the floor, the Wolves’ execution was noticeably less crisp, their offense noticeably more stagnant. Lee turned the ball over on 20.9% of his possessions, and the Wolves’ offense was 5.9 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the bench.

Luckily for him, Lee was drafted mostly for his defensive skills and in this realm, things were a bit more encouraging. Like most rookie point guards, Lee was a bit lost in the weeds when it came to defending the pick-and-roll–his low point in this regard was getting repeatedly shredded by Jonny Flynn in Houston. But he showed quickness, energy and, most importantly, desire on the defensive end (although as the Wolves careened toward their catastrophic end, these latter two qualities seemed to wane a bit).

Nevertheless, life is tough for a young point guard trying to make his way as a defensive specialist.  Possessing neither the instincts nor the length of, say, Ricky Rubio, Lee will have to become a productive defender the hard way: through many minute and many repetitions. And for a player with so many offensive shortcomings, those minutes may be hard to come by.

Ricky Rubio is down but definitely not out.

Here he is working on his… well… let’s say set shot. Andre Miller would be proud.

(H/T – @RussoDefender)

By the way, I love so much that Pump Up The Jam is what they’re listening to.