Archives For 2013 Preseason

It’s old news by now that over the weekend the Wolves waived Othyus Jeffers and Lorenzo Brown, instead retaining Robbie Hummel and A.J. Price. Color me a little surprised they didn’t keep Jeffers given his physicality in the backcourt and based on Hummel’s ho-hum(mel) preseason, but Adelman praised both him and A.J. Price, singling out Hummel’s work ethic during the week gap between preseason games the Wolves had.

What was less surprising, though — given how little floor time he saw in the preseason — was the release of Chris Johnson. In the grand scheme of things, Johnson’s tenure with the Timberwolves will not much matter, either to the team or to the league as a whole. But there are so many subtle undercurrents inside of it that are worthy of attention, revealing things that may not always be as apparent in the more opaque dealings that happen around star players. Continue Reading…

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I would like to preface this post with the fact that I have full confidence in Rick Adelman’s coaching abilities, fully believe in his philosophies when it comes to basketball, and think his offensive system is superb. I will never pretend to know as much about basketball theory or even half of the practical applications of said theories in comparison to Rick Adelman.

The offense of the Minnesota Timberwolves is crucial. This isn’t so much basketball theory as an expectation of what’s in store for us this season. I’m not breaking any ground in telling you that the Wolves have to be good on offense. This isn’t news to anybody reading this site. The Wolves need to score points and we expect that they’ll need to score a lot of points in order to neutralize whatever shortcomings are there on defense. We felt this way going into last season. Points wouldn’t be the problem; defense would.

Turns out that was backwards but mostly due to an injury rash that turned into an injury flesh-eating bacteria. Kevin Love went down. Ricky Rubio came back but missed significant time while needing a month or two to get back to where he needed to be. Brandon Roy never materialized. Chase Budinger went down for the middle of the season with love handles on each side of that middle. Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko were sporadically banged up. The season fell apart before we could even see how it fit together.

And that’s why the offense of the Wolves is so crucial this year. I think we see frustration this early from Rick Adelman for two reasons: Continue Reading…

The NBA’s annual GM Survey hit the stands on the internet today and the Wolves were prominently featured throughout the polling.

As you can see in the tweet above, Kevin Love won the award for doing the most with the most limited of natural ability. We’ll get into more of that later, but for now it’s interesting to see where the lay of the league is in the eyes of the general managers around the NBA. Here’s the full survey from John Schuhmann of NBA.com.

Let’s get into where the Wolves fall in some of these questions:  Continue Reading…

Derrick Williams

It’s rare that we have a lottery pick, especially a pick so high like Derrick Williams, have to worry about the fourth year of their option being picked up but with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement beginning to rear its ugly head, it’s looking more and more common for teams to take a much more cautious look when it comes to extending rookie deals to their fourth year. Factor in that Derrick Williams hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire as the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft and it makes sense that there was so much discussion as to whether or not Flip Saunders and Glen Taylor would agree to give Williams a fourth season with the Wolves.

Apparently that discussion is over though. According to Darren Wolfson and Nate Sandell of 1500 ESPN, Glen Taylor has confirmed that the Wolves will exercise the team option for $6.2 million in 2014-15 in order to keep Williams. Of course, that could also be exercising the option in order to keep their trade options with Williams open as well. Regardless of what the plan is, the Wolves have committed (for now) to pay the fourth year salary of a guy they’re struggling to find a place for in this system.  Continue Reading…

Kevin Love got his own This Is SportsCenter commercial as the barista who makes the best double-double espressos.

Stan Verrett is pumped about it!

(Via Mark Remme at Timberwolves.com)

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This picture has nothing to do with what I wrote about. (Getty)

Trying to find something to write about coming off of a preseason game against a bad team is really hard to do.

I could go through and critique the play of guys that are doing basic things in basic schemes and playing in a basketball environment that really won’t be similar to the regular season style we see in a week and a half. But really, it’s not actually analyzing anything of substance and it kind of just wastes everybody’s time. Finding a hook for these games outside of “I wonder if Othyus Jeffers and Robbie Hummel have shown enough to make the team” is pretty tough.

However, I saw a brief conversation on Twitter tonight after the game that actually fired up some of those writing juices and made me want to look at a small sample of something the Wolves did and extrapolate that as a bigger basketball theory. Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN posed this subject after the victory Sunday night:  Continue Reading…

Conservatively, 85% of the pictures of Rick Adelman on the Internet are of him doing this.

Conservatively, 85% of the pictures of Rick Adelman on the Internet are of him doing this.

Head coach Rick Adelman was more than a little disappointed with his team’s showing in a 104-97 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. It hardly seemed to matter that it was the preseason. “We just didn’t come with it,” he said. “I don’t understand. It’s like I told them afterwards: we played two home games here and we’re just going through the motions. We’re not the San Antonio Spurs, we’re not Miami. We act like we have plenty of time.”

Consistency might have been the watchword for the Wolves through training camp and these first four games of preseason, but urgency can’t come too far behind. Whatever the reason — maybe an unusual exhibition season schedule that had them playing four games in six nights, including a back-to-back, and then nothing for nearly a week before three away games had something to do with it — the team, especially the starters, have looked like they’re still waiting for someone else to arrive on the court. Continue Reading…

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Last night the Wolves played their third preseason game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and defeated the Bucks, who continue to look Christmas-y in those green and red road unis. A couple of notes about the game in bullet form because come on: preseason. Continue Reading…

This move Kevin Love worked on in the offseason isn't great. (Getty)

This move Kevin Love worked on in the offseason isn’t great. (Getty)

I tried. I really tried to churn out some thoughts on the Wolves losing to CSKA Moscow on Monday night and just nothing appeared. The effort was there for me trying to write about what was an on-the-surface embarrassing loss to a really talented Euroleague team. But ultimately, I just didn’t care enough about the result or what we saw on the court from a team standpoint.

And really, that was the problem with the Wolves in that game as well. I’m not sure they cared enough about their opponent throughout the 53 minutes of action to really want to do what they were supposed to do. There were individual players like Derrick Williams, Othyus Jeffers, A.J. Price, and Ronny Turiaf that appeared to give a damn. They fought through as much as they could against CSKA Moscow and nearly walked away with a victory. But there were too many mental mistakes, too many lazy offensive sets, too many poor defensive rotations throughout the game to end up defeating a quality opponent.

Make no mistake about it either; CSKA Moscow was a quality opponent. They have six guys (seven if Sonny Weems is playing) that can play in the NBA right now. The rest of their team is full of solid players as well. It’s an opponent that even the third string of the Wolves should be able to close out, but you have to have a full game of effort in order to do that. The Wolves didn’t have that and it showed both in their play and in the way Rick Adelman discussed the game afterward.

That wasn’t the case Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors.  Continue Reading…

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If an exhibition game of NBA 2K14 is anything to judge by, the Timberwolves shouldn’t have any problem handling Moscow CSKA tonight at the Target Center. After one false start (ProTip: European teams’ visiting jerseys are white, so if you’re playing against an NBA team, you need to make them both wear home colors to tell them apart) I put the new-look Wolves through their paces against visiting CSKA. Continue Reading…