Archives For Game Preview

Here we are.

Last preseason game to get our role players finely tuned and guys more connected with the system in real-time action before the games actually mean something. We’ve had a contentious preseason so far, mainly because of the injuries. Obviously, there was Rubio and his injury. Then we had Luke Ridnour up and down with his back, Love breaking his hand, Pek hurting his hand when he knocked out George Washington on Mt. Rushmore for giving him a funny look, and Andrei Kirilenko had a hammy issue for a moment.

I’m not quite sure that we’ve learned a whole lot from the preseason action. Derrick Williams is still a question mark for us, we have no clue if Brandon Roy will remain moving the way he has so far, and who knows how the first month of the season will go? We have learned that Dante Cunningham is an awesome role player, Kirilenko is going to make this team look fun on both ends of the floor at times, and Chase Budinger is a better shooter than you.  Continue Reading…

Image taken from @MNTimberwolves

Just two more games are left in this preseason before we get to see some real action on the court.

Now if we could just get through this without having anybody else get injured, we might just make it through the first month of the season when we see how tough and resilient our second and third units are. If the Wolves start out 2-8, I won’t be singing the same tune but there is something nice about seeing which players belong because of a big injury.

I’ve mentioned this before but last season we got to see who belonged and who didn’t belong once Rubio, Pek, and Love got hit with injuries. It was probably better than if the Wolves had made the playoffs and pretended Darko, Beas, and Wes were long-term options on this team. It allowed for a changing of the guard outside of the core of this team. Situations like this make me think that there are small glimpses into if you actually want a player on your team.  Continue Reading…

I’d like to talk to you about a serious pandemic that is hurting this great planet we inhabit.

It’s called Knuckle Pushup Prehensile Fracture Disorder, or KPPFD. KPPFD literally affects dozen of power forwards each year, crippling their hands for month at a time. The key to battling KPPFD is to make sure workouts for star athletes are being done in a safe and secured environment. You want to have a soft floor of carpeting or a yoga mat to soften the force affecting the carpal bones in your hands. If not done properly, you can suffer from KPPFD and send thousands of fans into a panic.

We have not found a cure for KPPFD but with even a donation of just $15 million per year, we can support those who suffer.

Continue Reading…

After tonight, we’ll be halfway through the preseason madness, which means we’re halfway to the start of the regular season. Hooray for hoops!

I don’t know that there is much I have to say after last game that won’t be said in a Pekovic article I’ve got posting sometime tomorrow. So I’ll turn your attention to the Hollinger forecast for the Wolves he posted today. He’s got the T’Wolves finishing 45-37, third in the division, and seventh in the Western Conference. This sounds like a pretty great scenario for the Wolves.

We don’t need to get into a lot of preseason predictions but every advanced stats person seems to be projecting the Wolves for big things this year. And by big things I mean making the playoffs and winning a healthy number of games. Here’s an excerpt from the Insider article from Hollinger:

The biggest reason for optimism in Minnesota has less to do with Rubio and Love, and more to do with Darko and Johnson.

Here’s why: If the Wolves can just replace all the crappy players they used last season with average ones, they should have a really good team. It’s pretty amazing how many minutes this team gave players who had no business being in a rotation, let alone prominently figuring in one. Milicic started 23 games; Johnson, unbelievably, started 64.

That’s not all. Go down the list, and you’ll see Tolliver, Milicic, Johnson, Ellington and Webster all had single-digit PERs, and those five players played nearly 5,000 combined minutes. Beasley and Williams killed the Wolves with their shot selection, but they played another 2,500. That’s 7,500 minutes devoted to nonperformers. To put that in perspective, it nearly quadruples Love’s playing time.

This season the Wolves are replacing a lot of that performance with real basketball players: Kirilenko, Budinger, Shved, Cunningham and Stiemsma all should be improvements on the players they replaced. The new wing players provide particularly massive upgrades, while also allowing the Wolves to play a more traditional backcourt. (They started two point guards for most of last season because the wings were so bad.)

While I don’t have high expectations for Roy, anything he gives them will be gravy. And then there’s Williams, who one has to think will show more shot discipline (and, hopefully, accuracy) in his sophomore season.

There’s a lot of good stuff in there, so I recommend clicking the link and checking out John’s entire preview (if you have Insider, of course). I’m trying to remain cautiously optimistic. Over/under for Wolves’ wins this year seems to be around 39.5 for a lot fo places and I think 40 or 41 seems like a fair estimation without going overboard. If Rubio was going to be healthy all year, I’d be through the roof and being completely insufferable preaching the Wolves’ success.

But alas, I can’t bring myself to those lofty exultations just yet.

For today’s 3-on-3, I brought back Noam Schiller of Hardwood Paroxysm. He’s a noted Israeli basketball fan, who loves cheering for a horrible Hapoel team. That Hapoel team employs old friend, Craig Smith. He knows the Wolves’ opponents tonight better than just about any basketball writer there is out there. I also had Steve McPherson come back for some 3-on-3 action, mainly because he’s a newbie to the site and didn’t have a choice he just did a great email exchange with Noam about the matchup and the greater state of everything Minnesota and Israel basketball.

Let’s get it on. Continue Reading…

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I wish I had something to add to last night’s affair against the Pacers, but I sadly didn’t get to watch the game. It looks like the Wolves let Derrick Williams be the man and sat the majority of the main guys to give them some rest. This is to be expected during the preseason. Maybe the key the rest of the preseason is to see if guys like Amundson, Cunningham, Derrick, Chase, and even Shved, Barea or Conroy can develop any chemistry as a second unit of sorts.

These guys need to learn how to play together, as much as they need to learn how to play in the system. Especially in an offense that is so reliant on feel of what the defense is giving you and how you’re going to exploit it away from the ball, the Wolves’ bench guys will need to learn the mannerisms of their teammates when a backdoor cut is coming or it’s better to pop or roll after the pick.

I’m very interested to see if we see any progression throughout the preseason with the second unit.

For today’s 3-on-3, I’ve grabbed Matt McHale of Bulls By The Horns and Basketbawful fame. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Matt before and I can tell you he’s a very funny guy, a smart basketball mind, and someone that literally just throws drinks on the floor in an effort to announce his presence with authority. Ben Polk is also joining us for the 3-on-3, and while I’ve never watched him throw drinks at people, I’m confident he can acquire this skill.  Continue Reading…

Don’t have much time for today’s preview, so just remember what I said in the game recap for the first game against the Pacers and then assume that I was going to gush about Ricky Rubio’s awesomeness and Nikola Pekovic’s strength.

We do have a 3-on-3 today though. I asked Steve McPherson of AWolfAmongWolves fame and Noam Schiller of Hardwood Paroxysm and Hapoel Jerusalem fame to answer some questions about the state of the Timberwolves, fan favorites and how to drink in these preseason results.  Continue Reading…

Whoooooaaaaaaaaaaa Nellie! Basketball is almost back. I mean… it’s not real basketball; it’s preseason basketball. But we get to finally get a glimpse into what the Minnesota Timberwolves have been doing with themselves during the offseason and first week of training camp.

This season on A Wolf Among Wolves (or AWAW as the kids say), we’ll try to have a brief game day preview taking from the ESPN.com 5-on-5 model. We’ll be going with a 3-on-3 look with either myself, Ben and Steve or two of us and a guest or one of us and two guests. Basically, it will be some combination of three people and three questions about the incoming opponent or what we are looking for in the upcoming game. Or maybe we’ll just talk movies.

For tonight’s preseason opener in Fargo, I’ve assembled the trio of myself and two bloggers from the fantastic TrueHoop Pacers blog EightPointsNineSeconds.com. Jared Wade and Tim Donahue were kind enough to share their thoughts on Lou Amundson, a key matchup if this game mattered, and the Granger-Love scuffle.

3on3_truehoopnetwork_110Without further ado, let’s talk some Wolves-Pacers.  Continue Reading…

Feed the meter: Rubio v. Lin

Myles Brown —  February 11, 2012 — 4 Comments

You know, it’s odd that sports are still viewed as a monogamous endeavor. Franchises flee cities overnight, cut or trade players on a whim and will lock us out if they feel like it. Players, largely presumed available to the highest bidder, openly court new teammates and tease us with their decisions. Fans, having the most options and least invested, are perhaps the most fickle bunch of the lot, our commitment wavering by the box score.

Ultimately, this is just a business for them. However we’d still like to believe they love the business they’re in, just as they need to believe we’ll keep coming back. Which of course, as the lockout has proven, we will. It can be frivolous, maybe even a waste, but that’s why we call them pastimes.

Don’t be mistaken though. This doesn’t mean we aren’t looking for something substantial. Many of us are bound by loyalty to nothing other than entertainment, but what casual and hardcore fans will always have in common is the love of a good story. We all want to believe in the triumph of will and spirit against any odds or opponent. It’s enjoyable and more importantly, inspirational.

It’s why we’re all talking about Jeremy Lin.

The New York Knicks, as bloated and incompetent a franchise as any in sports, stumbled upon the league’s best story in years. Now, regardless of familiarity with the sport or affiliation with the team, America wants to see the Harvard grad help a big business succeed.

Which surprisingly means, if only for a moment, we’ve found something more adorable than Ricky Rubio. Maybe even more entertaining.

Continue Reading…

Hopefully you’re all somewhat familiar with Devin Kharpertian and the fantastic work he and his team do at Nets Are Scorching, our Nets blog in the TrueHoop Network.

He and I exchanged three questions each to prepare for tonight’s contest in New Jersey. Here are his answers about the Nets and then my answers for him about the Wolves. Enjoy.  Continue Reading…

Playing small to be big

Zach Harper —  February 1, 2012 — 3 Comments

Size matters. Size doesn’t matter. It’s not the size but how you use it.

These all may be hilarious euphemisms we like to throw around like cackling adolescents whenever we talk about wingspan, height, and the overall height charting of various frontcourts but in the NBA, the size you have and the way you use it couldn’t be more prevalent. This isn’t to take anything away from Kobe Bryant and his accomplishments over the last five seasons, but I don’t think we’d see a return to Laker glory without Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom being bigger and longer than every other frontcourt they faced in the NBA. Continue Reading…