Archives For 2013 Offseason

Wolves

I like it.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I’m not sucking up to the organization. I genuinely like what happened for the Wolves in the 2013 NBA Draft. It wasn’t perfect and I get why it’s confusing to some. But I feel like I see a vision here and I think the two main pieces the Wolves added in this draft are going to be major contributors in a positive way. The draft was turned on its head from the get-go when the Cavs selected Anthony Bennett with the first pick.

Nobody saw that coming. Nobody saw Nerlens Noel falling to sixth. Nobody saw Jrue Holiday being traded for Noel just minutes later. Not many thought Ben McLemore might fall to seventh and it seemed weird that the Bobcats would take Cody Zeller without trading down from No. 4. But all of that happened and when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was taken right before the Wolves were up at No. 9, it seemed like a lock that C.J. McCollum was a lock to run the backcourt with Ricky Rubio. And then it happened. The Wolves selected Trey Burke and the internet went into David Kahn joke convulsions.

Right away, you have to figure this pick was about getting value. It wasn’t about getting value with Burke joining the team, although I think he’s a lock to be a Rookie of the Year favorite with the Utah Jazz; it was about moving Burke and seeing what the Wolves would get in return. With the 14th pick, they took Shabazz Muhammad. With the 21st pick, they took Gorgui Dieng. They sold off the 26th pick for cash and a future second rounder from the Golden State Warriors. Continue Reading…

hwl

Here we are. It’s 2013 NBA Draft Day and the Wolves possess the 9th, 26th, 52nd, and 59th picks in the draft.

UPDATE 5:35pm CT:

UPDATE 3:23pm CT: 

This isn’t much of an update so don’t get totally excited here but just thought I’d update everybody with some of the updated Mock Drafts:

Chad Ford’s Mock Draft 7.1 on ESPN.com: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at 9 to the Wolves, C.J. McCollum at 7 to the Kings

Draft Express’ Mock Draft: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at 9 to the Wolves, C.J. McCollum at 7 to the Kings

Chris Mannix’s Mock Draft 6.0 on SI.com: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at 9 to the Wolves, C.J. McCollum at 15 to the Bucks

Scott Howard-Cooper’s Final Mock on NBA.com: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at 9 to the Wolves, C.J. McCollum at 10 to the Blazers

KCP it is!  Continue Reading…

Love

There are going to be a lot of absurd Kevin Love trade ideas over the next few months because I’ve found that people are usually slow to hop on what’s current. Look at Twitter. Twitter was around for a couple of years before people really latched on to it and accepted it as a reality in the social media world. Now? Everybody and their grandmas seem to be tweeting, we’ve got the social media platform in video games, and there seem to be very few people that don’t understand what is going on with Twitter.

I think we’re going to be that way with the Kevin Love trade rumors/offers for a little while. With David Kahn gone, Kevin Love no longer hates the team’s management. I don’t know if he likes Flip Saunders, but I know he doesn’t have contempt for him. Saunders is showing him respect and showing him that he’s the most important part of this franchise moving forward. These were never opinions David Kahn seemed to publicly show Kevin and certainly didn’t show him when he tried to trade him multiple times and insulted him multiples times during contract negotiations over his extension. Considering Love doesn’t have this saturating animosity toward Wolves’ management anymore, it seems unlikely he’ll request a trade any time soon.

That’s not going to stop teams from trying to trade for Love and really they shouldn’t stop trying. ESPN.com’s Andy Katz is reporting that the Cavaliers offered up Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and the No. 1 pick in the draft in exchange for Love.  Continue Reading…

Brooks Stare

The Minnesota Timberwolves need depth at the wings, 3-point shooting, perimeter defense, and could stand to unload one of their three point guards under contract for $4 million-plus a pop (not Ricky Rubio). And since it’s officially dealing season with the NBA Draft hitting us on Thursday, it’s time for rumors that don’t make any sense to start flying.

Remember MarShon Brooks out of Providence? Back in 2011, I really wanted this guy to be on the Timberwolves. The team had the 20th pick in the draft and following their selection of Derrick Williams at No. 2, it seemed like a real possibility the Wolves could get him at 20. Instead of opting for that route, David Kahn started wheeling and dealing to bring in cash to pay for Kurt Rambis’ existing two years left on his deal after being fired accumulate assets and ended up with… well hell, I can’t even keep track of it two years later. I know the Wolves got a bunch of cash, Brad Miller’s hunting gear, and Malcolm Lee.  Continue Reading…

No26

It’s taken a little while longer for me to compile than the options at No. 9 pick for the Wolves in this year’s draft, but it’s time to go over the plethora of options the Wolves have at No. 26 to add some depth and missing weaponry to their roster for next year and moving forward.

We know there are a lot of different ways this team can go thanks to the potential free agency of Andrei Kirilenko and the restricted free agency of Nikola Pekovic. And while this draft isn’t going to be able to outright replace what those two bring to the table on any given night, adding depth in case they can’t replace these guys right away, should that option come up, is important in keeping the core together and properly equipped to battle in the NBA. With the 26th pick in the draft, I love the number of options the Wolves have. They can go big with plenty of solid options here or they can go back to the wing and try to keep adding to depth on the perimeter.

No matter which way they go here (assuming they keep the pick), I think the decision will end up being a good one. Like we did with the post on No. 9 in the draft, let’s look at the options most likely available to the Wolves, who the experts are picking right now for No. 26, I’ll give my opinion on who I think they will take, and then we’ll have a worst-case and best-case scenario for Minnesota.

Let’s look at the options for No. 26 (I won’t go as in-depth as I did with No. 9 because there are just so many more options, but I’ll try to hit the basics and we can discuss the rest in the comments):  Continue Reading…

Shabazz

We’re a little over a week away from the 2013 NBA Draft.

This used to be like watching a really good horror movie for Timberwolves fans. You’d feel all kinds of excitement and adrenaline coursing through your veins, but ultimately you knew the demise of many was coming at the end. But now with David Kahnye West gone from the front office and Flip Saunders in charge, we have a blank slate for the organization’s draft credit. We could either end up with good credit or bad credit starting with the 2013 NBA Draft, but we do know that it will be different than what David Kahn gave us.  Continue Reading…

Pekovic

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.

Tradition in a storm of revolution.

That’s what Nikola Pekovic is for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s tradition. He’s brute strength and post skill. He’s rebounding prowess and paint protection. He doesn’t block shots but he cuts off paths to the hoop for every player in the league that thinks they can bang with him. Amazingly, it happens more often than you’d assume it does. Nikola Pekovic is kind of a traditional center. He can run the pick-and-roll or put opponents in the meat grinder on the low block. He’s great at battling for the boards on both sides of the floor. And he doesn’t kill you from the free throw line.

The weird thing though is that you’re trying to fit this traditional center into the concept of today’s basketball. And I’d imagine that’s what gives people a lot of pause when trying to decide just how much Pek is worth to this team. As of July 1st, you don’t get to measure that value in terms of points or rebounds or win-loss record or PER or win shares or win shares per 48 minutes or skulls collected. When June 30, 2013 dies, so do all of the measurements of Pek’s skills too. At that moment, Pek becomes a monetary value to the Wolves’ organization and that’s the number we’ll judge him by.

Before we get to that point on July 1, I’d like to go over the value of Pek that exists/existed before he became a monetary value.  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.

As a member of the Utah Jazz and a student of Jerry Sloan–legendary codger, American Gothic come to life–Andrei Kirilenko spent the first decade of his NBA career toiling within that nest of cuts, screens and re-screens known as the flex offense. The flex is both highly choreographed and Pynchon-esque in its complexity; and Sloan was an exceedingly exacting and demanding coach. In each offensive set, players would be expected to arrive at certain spots on the floor at certain moments in the shot clock. If they didn’t hit their mark, they could often be treated to a profane tongue-lashing from the old man.

Such military-style precision may not have been much fun to execute (although it could be a real thing of beauty when it was humming), but his apprenticeship gifted Kirilenko with an almost preternatural instinct for the game. Which is to his credit: many players so-schooled might find it difficult to thrive in a less systematic environment. For AK, though, the flex’s rhythm and flow have become internal. His intuition for off-the-ball movement and for the dynamics of an offensive possession are nearly unmatched in the league. You could just see him envisioning the flows of movement and open space even before they occurred. The perfectly timed backdoor cut; the telekinetic high post feed; the interior touch pass–these were the staples of Kirilenko’s game. (By the way, if you ever want to feel better about life, I suggest checking out all 177 of AK’s assists from this past season. Really makes you breathe easier.) Watching him play was one of the real joys of the Wolves’ year.

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.

I spent my 28th year in disarray. I turned 27 less than a month after my girlfriend—following weeks of tense negotiations and mixed messages—decided not to pick up the team option on my expiring 5-year contract. Instead of staying on the East Coast in the hopes of getting picked up by a new team, I moved to Minnesota and spent the next year honing my skillset, by which I mean drinking too much, staying out all night, living in a one room double in a dorm with a slovenly 19-year-old art school student, and playing out a string of 10-day contracts with different women while trying to believe they were going to pick me up for good. These were—as someone once called a time like this—the wonderful nights, the wonderful days.

You’d be hard pressed to call the 2012-13 season wonderful for Kevin Love. To be more blunt, Kevin Love fucked up a lot this season. Some of those things were out of his control, and some of them weren’t. I’m not here to tell you which were which. I’m here to say I look at Kevin Love and see a man in his 25th year who—at least at least outwardly—is in disarray. 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…