Archives For Miscellaneous News

Cunningham

Following the Timberwolves’ win over the Grizzlies, Dante Cunningham was arrested on domestic assault allegations early Thursday morning.   Continue Reading…

As I was, as you were, J.J. Barea was mightily displeased by his teammates’ second-half effort last night. Here is what he told reporters after the game (via Tom Powers at the Pioneer Press):

We’ve got problems here. We just got a lot of guys that don’t care. When a basketball team got a bunch of players that don’t care, it’s tough to win games. It’s going to happen until we get players in that care: care about winning, care about the team, care about the fans…

I’ve been noticing it. But today you can really notice it. It was a brutal second half. Nobody fighting, nobody getting mad at nobody. After a game like that you got to have problems. You got to argue with your teammates. But nobody cares so we’ve got to change that.

I have three thoughts about this. First: I’m guessing that this is probably the kind of talk that prompted Kevin Love to get all up in J.J.’s grill during their loss to the Kings.

Second: he’s totally right and you can’t really blame him for being frustrated. And it takes some real ballz to essentially call out loud for the dismissal of dudes who are literally sitting feet away from you at that very moment. You have to kind of admire that.

Third: I wonder who he’s talking about. Michael Beasley’s vacant performances seem to me less about a lack of caring and more about his flaky personality. It just seems really hard for the guy to find focus and absorption in what he’s doing. Anthony Randolph seems to possess some of Darko’s melancholia: when things aren’t going well his shoulders slump, he wanders around like a lost child, he looks sad in the face. And Wes Johnson? Wes just seems happy to be there. Suffice it to say, none of the above qualities make for terribly competitive basketball players.

Well we all knew a fine or suspension was imminent. But now that it’s arrived, is it too much?

As a point of comparison, remember when Andrew Bynum got two games for this?

Wolves fans, you know as well as I do that this could all go away. These past years of nauseous disappointment have taught us that just when things are starting to look promising someone could, say, sign a backup power forward to a series of illegal under-the-table contracts and poison the whole party.

But right now everybody is crushed out on us and I think we should savor it. Check it out: David Thorpe and a bunch of other smart people think Ricky Rubio is the Association’s best rookie. Henry Abbott calls our Wolves the “League Pass team of the year.” Even The USA Today and The New York Times (the papers of record) are showing serious love. Never again will this team be so adored (especially if they continue to lose twice as often as they win).

Also, did you see this?


Do you see the look on Anthony Tolliver’s face? Isn’t it beautiful?

Raw power

Benjamin Polk —  January 3, 2012 — 6 Comments

Savor this moment friends. After their truly shocking Texas back-to-back and their close shave against the Heat, your Minnesota Timberwolves are now in the top 20 of at least three different Power Rankings. ESPN and CBS have them at 17, while the wise (and generous!) Britt Robson of SI.com has slotted them at 14th (in the NBA!), nestled right in between Orlando and Boston.

I’m aware of the ultimate insignificance of things like this–not just in the face of the lived world but in actual basketball terms, particularly at this point in the year–and that much of this hype probably revolves around the collective waking dream induced by a certain hypnotic Spaniard. And I’m also aware that the Wolves might not ever be this close to .500 again.

But it’s just kind of nice that instead of reading things like, “the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are run by charlatans and fools, and whose decisions are so incomprehensible that they must be either subjecting us all to some post-conceptual performance piece or just, like, tanking, barely merit the consideration of being called a professional basketball team” (or whatever, etc),  we now read that “there are plenty of positive signs for Minnesota, who have won back-to-back games…” which is completely normal and, therefore, completely amazing.

Great heights

Benjamin Polk —  December 29, 2011 — Leave a comment

For all of the strange and bewildering things that David Kahn has done in his tenure as Wolves’ GM, I would argue that the national media has actually managed to overstate his ineptitude. But in the case of Ethan Sherwood Strauss’ Truehoop piece on height exaggeration in the NBA, I’d say that the rep is well-earned. As Strauss says, “perhaps I am cynical and paranoid, but I could easily envision a dystopian future where David Kahn successfully trades ‘7-1′ Michael Beasley.” Yeah I guess I could too.

Anyone who has spent any time in the Wolves’ locker room knows that Kevin Love is about as close to 6’10” as I am to six feet, which is to say not close. Strauss even presents some damning evidence: a photo of K-Love standing next to the 6’8″ Derrick Williams. Strauss generously says that Love is at Williams’ “height-level,” but it looks to me like Love is a even whisp shorter. And J.J. Barea at 6’0″? I have stood next to J.J. Barea and I will tell you now that he is not a hair taller than I am. I’m pretty proud of this.

This lovable, golden-hearted sports agent is saying "Show me the money"

You have probably read that Michael Beasley is being sued by Joel Bell, his former agent, for failing to pay a 20% commission on an endorsement deal. Beasley, in turn, is suing Bell as well as, Curtis Malone, his former AAU coach and mentor. Beasley’s suit claims that Bell and Malone conspired to manipulate the teenaged Beasley and his family–with money and friendship–into signing with Bell. Here’s what it says in Beasley’s complaint:

In addition to funneling money to Beasley’s mother from [Bell], [Malone] received benefits for his D.C. Assault program and money from [Bell] “on the side” or “under the table” in exchange for [Malone] at least attempting to manipulate NBA prospects like Beasley, but typically far less talented than Beasley, into signing an agency agreement with [Bell].

Now I have no business assessing the validity of the particulars here. It could be that Beasley really was a victim or that he is simply countersuing for legal leverage. But the awful truth is that these claims are  unremarkable; even if they aren’t true in this specific case, they are true in legions of others. This is because the AAU circuit (and its kissing cousins in college and sports agency recruiting) is a system that runs on the exploitation of teenagers, many of whom, like the young Mike Beasley, are poor and/or sorely in need of stable, nurturing relationships. It is terrible.

There are lots of sad elements to this case: the revelation that as a kid, Beasley was “assessed as having special education needs” stemming from “conduct problems” and an inability to focus; the fact that he attended six high schools in five different states, which is really just a tremendous approach to serving those special ed needs; the fact that many of the most important adults in his young life seemed to view their relationship with him as a commodity.

Ronzone shuffles

Benjamin Polk —  September 4, 2011 — 8 Comments

So while I spent the early part of Labor Day weekend attempting to avoid being devoured by hawks and bears and mountain lions in the wilds of western New Mexico, Tony Ronzone and the Wolves went and “parted ways.” Jerks. Here’s what the AP has to say about it:

Philosophical differences between Kahn and Ronzone on the direction of the franchise started to surface around draft time in June and may have contributed to the split. It remains unclear what the Timberwolves will do, if anything, to replace Ronzone going forward.

Ah, good ol’ “philosophical differences.” Friends, this troubles me in a number of ways. It had always seemed to me that the two people in the Wolves’ upper-echelon who really, deeply knew the game were Kurt Rambis and Ronzone. Through all the surreality of the past year, it was nice to know that, somewhere near the top of the chain, was a guy whose decisions were based on things like data and close observation and experience.  Now they are both gone and, as commenter Mac says, Kahn has “nobody left to fire other than himself and the owner.”

Let’s be clear; we don’t know what these “philosophical differences” really amounted to.  But it is beginning to look like Kahn has a pretty generous view of his own expertise. The man seems to believe that he has a vision, but that vision is as inscrutable as ever.

This is not Michael Beasley's wrist

Look, I know it’s a little weird to be obsessively monitoring the travel plans of an, in most respects, average 66-year-old man. I mean, it’s not like Rick Adelman is carrying a radical cure for Alzheimer’s (which also happens to give apes astonishing powers of intelligence and will usher in the end of human life on Earth) in his suitcase. And part of me agrees with Kelly Dwyer that, considering the Wolves’ brass weird unpredictability and the distinct possibility that they won’t even hire a coach during the lockout, we should just ignore this story until there is an actual name on an actual contract written in actual ink.

But this is what’s going on so I might as well just go ahead and say that Adelman is reported to be in Minneapolis today to meet with Glen Taylor. This is his second trip to the TC in as many weeks, which would seem to point to a level of seriousness yet unprecedented in this coaching search. But the truth is we have no idea what this means and anything we might say is really just speculation.

On that note, I wonder what airline he took and if he got to see a movie. Someone should ask him.

And speaking of things we don’t know anything about,  Hoop China is reporting that Michael Beasley broke his wrist while dunking during an exhibition. So far, this is just a rumor of a rumor, written on the winds of Twitter and in languages I don’t read; I’m just putting it out there.

With the burning cities, murderous dictators and wild economic instability currently haunting our world, I think its only right that we focus a little on Nikola Pekovic amiright? Firstly, a panel of 91 ESPN experts (of which I am one–hope its not the last time I team up with Bruce Bowen on a journalistic assignment) rated Big Pek a 2.38 out of 10, good enough for 395th best in the league. This means that he bested 105 other players, including luminous gents like Samardo Samuels and Pape Sy. Unfortunately, now that I’m looking at the bottom of that list, its unclear if anybody ranked between 400-500 actually played a minute in the league last year. Oh wait, there’s Lazar Hayward at 409, I know he definitely played. (As did Sasha Pavlovic at 423, which is totally amazing.)

Although the homer in me wants to protest that some great injustice has been done, 2.38 out of 10 actually seems about right. The only thing I’d add is that I see Solomon Jones up there at 389 (2.44 out of 10) and I have a distinct memory of Pek giving him an ungodly pounding during a pre-season game (and then promptly fouling out after 12 minutes of floor time.) You could almost see the exact moment Solomon Jones stopped enjoying basketball. This doesn’t mean that Pekovic should have been ranked higher; I’m just saying is all.

In other Nikola Pekovic news, it seems that the big boy is the first T-Wolf to cast his hat into the European ring during the lockout, (although it would surely not be surprising to see Ricky Rubio add his name to the list). Word is that Pek has signed to play with Partizan Belgrade so long as the NBA has its doors shuttered. Which is great; goodness knows he could use all the floor time he can get. But one gets the distinct feeling that if he’s really ever going to be better than 395th best, what he really needs are NBA minutes, at NBA speed, against NBA players. Come to think of it, there are probably a lot of guys in that same boat.