I made it so you could say Marcy and it was all good. I ‘aint cross over, I brought the suburbs to the hood. Made ‘em relate to your struggle, told ‘em bout your hustle. Went on MTV with du-rags. I made them love you. You know normally them people wouldn’t be f—ing wit you, til I made ‘em understand why you do what you do. I expected to hear, ‘Jay, if it wasn’t for you’….
Shawn Carter bought a basketball team. Well, technically he bought one-fifteenth of one percent of a basketball team, but who’s counting? Regardless, the savvy branding of his recent purchase has blanketed the borough in black and white. Brooklyn Nets apparel is no longer solely in support of a franchise, but of a culture. Their snapbacks are the manifestation of a dream, their owner’s jersey sells more than anyone else on the team, and a short stroll from the Barclay’s Center holds the reason why.
See, because here’s the thing: I couldn’t find anything other than WCCO’s immaculate radio coverage to watch the Wolves in their final preseason tilt against the Milwaukee Bucks at Green Bay’s Resch Center. League Pass was blacked out, it wasn’t being shown on regular TV, and there weren’t any (ahem) places to watch it (cough) online. So I fired up the ol’ Xbox 360 and my copy of NBA 2K13 (starring Zach Harper), released Rubio and Love from the Wolves for this game and got my popcorn.
Before the ball was even tipped, Clark Kellogg tried to sell me on the importance of the preseason as a confidence builder. “Confidence leads to momentum,” he says. I’m actually pretty sure mass times velocity leads to momentum. Yeah science.
So here are some funny things that happened, and I will remind you I was watching and not playing this game.
Monta Ellis being Monta Ellis
“We must move forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.” —Kang as Bill Clinton (or possibly Kodos)
Pretty sure this is goaltending by Shved (whom I had to make), but Zach assures me they’re simply playing by the new FIBA rules. No word on what rules of physics allowed his arm to pass through the rim.
Ellis’ meaty thighs get in the way
Brandon Jennings dribbles the ball right off Monta Ellis’ big manly inner thigh here, leading to a break away and layup finish for Roy. If you look closely at the end, you can see James Franco reaching in desperation for the ball.
Drew Gooden leads the league in casual rebounds
The angle’s not great, but it actually hit him in the face. The little nod at the end that says, “Ain’t no thang” is the best part.
And finally, an actual basketball play that looked fairly pretty and also representative
Roy sets up Jennings with the nice hesitation cross and then drives the lane, drawing an extra defender before he kicks it out. Regrettably, he’s kicking it out to Derrick Williams who was very Derrick Williams-ish in this game going 2-8. But Kirilenko (who did some serious dirt in the actual game tonight and finished with a line of 8 pts, 10 rebs, 6 stls, 4 asts and 1 block) is there and cleans it up.
But behold: I actually kind of maybe almost learned something watching this. With Love and Rubio both out, the CPU-controlled Wolves utterly failed to make use of Pekovic, who finished with only 4 points and 9 rebounds. Instead, they relied time and time again on Budinger shooting long and often contested twos and threes and more of the same from Lee and even Roy sometimes. When Roy drove to the hoop, he was better, but still, the Wolves were out of this one by the half and never climbed back. If they’re going to be successful without Love to start the season, they’re going to need to use Pek a lot more.
In good news, this matters as much as a preseason game.
Also, Steve Kerr would like you to know that the position Luc Richard Mbah a Moute plays is “winner.”
You probably know the stats: the Wolves currently have 15 players on their roster. Ten of those players are what you might call “white.” Of the 12 players likely to see meaningful minutes this year, nine are white. This is a whiter team, both proportionally and in sheer volume, than any of the legendarily white mid-’80′s Celtics teams. This is about as white, I’d wager, as an NBA team can possibly be.
I bring it up not to encourage or endorse the message board/comment section paranoia that inevitably buzzes around issues like this. There’s no conceivable reason that Kahn/Adelman/Taylor (or whichever alliance of the above is actually making the Wolves’ personnel decisions) would have made skin color a guiding roster-building principle. Yes, Minnesota is a pretty white place and yes, we are crazy about Joe Mauer and hockey but we’ve also screamed ourselves hoarse in praise of KG and Kirby and Adrian Peterson and Clem Haskins among many others. The truth is, Minnesotans love a winner, just like everybody else; we’ll go nuts for anybody who can deliver the thrill. In fact, I find the feat of assembling this team even more fabulously weird for its un-intentionality.
But although almost nobody has failed to notice and remark upon the Wolves unconventional racial make up, our discussion of the issue has generally begun with the glib, occasionally paranoid one-liner and ended with a gaping moment of silence. The cultural complexity, the understandable and well-founded fear of giving offense, the sheer strangeness: it all tends to leave us a little stupefied.
Well, show’s over, kids. The thirtieth Olympiad has concluded and gone with it are the hours of equestrian, water polo, race walking and assorted moments in broadcasting cluelessness which left us fumbling for the remote. Of course scattered amongst the monotony were the reasons we actually watch; the worlds greatest athletes, having toiled for years in relative obscurity, dazzling us with their talent, passion and character. The Olympics are shared moment, one where household names and legends are created in a matter of seconds. For Kevin Love, it was just more of the same.
If you don’t mind, I’m going to ramble for a bit here because I don’t know how to properly approach this.
Aside from Myles Brown and a couple of the beat writers for the Wolves, Tim was one of the first Wolves people/fans that I got to know after I moved to Minneapolis last fall. Growing up in California I didn’t know another fan of this team until I got to college in San Diego. That was the first time I met someone that shared the same interest in a basketball team as me. It wasn’t until I moved here in September that I was actually surrounded by fans of the same team as me.
At Media Day in December, I was sitting down in a row of chairs, waiting for Wolves personnel to usher David Kahn and Rick Adelman to the podium. Tim walked over to me and introduced himself. I knew him from following him on Twitter and from reading his incredible writing on Canis Hoopus. We talked for a few minutes, exchanged a few comments about how excited we were to see Ricky Rubio finally play in a Wolves uniform, and then he went back to his seat.
During the season, the team would credential him and he’d join us in the locker room. If Michael Beasley said something quirky or Brad Miller said something funny or players joked about Darko a few feet away from him, we’d look away from the player, exchange a little eye contact, and ask what the hell was going on once the scrum broke up.
I can’t say that I got to know Tim extremely well. Aside from a few moments in Vegas at Summer League this year, we never really knew each other outside of the Target Center. We talked at pre-draft workouts and press conferences. We shared our thoughts on how we thought the team was coming together or falling apart or shaping toward the future. It was fun to talk about the Wolves with a fellow fan, face-to-face and in person. I find him to be extremely quick witted and just a blast to talk basketball with from time to time.
Last week, he sent me a DM on Twitter saying that on Facebook he had seen pictures of the new apartment my lady friend and I had just moved into, and wanted to know if it was the building he was about to move into. Turns out that it wasn’t the same building but his new place was actually going to be about 50 feet behind my building. We were excited to find out that Tim would be moving close to us and it would be fun to get to know him.
I never got to know Tim in the way I thought I eventually would, but I did get to know enough about him to know that I wanted to know more about him. He was a great guy and I never read or heard a bad word about him or his insightful writing about the Wolves. Over the past couple days, people have been kind enough to offer condolences to me and said that they’re sorry for my loss.
The truth is that it doesn’t feel right to have someone phrase it in that way. It’s not my loss. I obviously wasn’t nearly as close to him as his family and friends were. I wasn’t as close to him as the editorial team on Canis Hoopus or the commenters he bantered with on a daily basis. I was just a new person in his life hoping to foster a friendship. I do know though that his passing is everybody’s loss. Whether you were close to him or more on the outside looking in, he probably had a positive influence on your life.
I’m extremely sad to know that he’s gone and will think of him every time I look out my window to see the building directly behind me or watch the Timberwolves play.
The NBA today announced that Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio has been named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played from the start of the season (Dec. 25) through January. The honor is the first of Rubio’s career and just the fourth Rookie of the Month Award in franchise history.
Rubio ranks fifth among rookies in scoring (11.4 ppg) and first in assists (8.9 apg) and steals (2.24 spg). The first-year guard is tied for first in the NBA in point/assist double-doubles with nine and he ranks 12th overall in double-doubles. In 11 games as a starter, the Wolves are 7-4 with Rubio averaging 12.5 ppg, 9.7 apg, 5.5 rpg and 2.82 spg. Overall, he ranks 4th in the league in assists with 8.9 apg and 3rd in steals with 2.24 spg.
There’s are pretty impressive numbers when you look at em like that. And hey just because it feels good:
The Lakers are in town and for the first time in a long time, circumstances have changed between these two teams. Our fair city is no longer just another pit stop on Kobe & Co.’s championship tour, but a game the Wolves are legitimately favored in some corners to win. We had a chat with the Kamenetzky brothers of ESPN LA’s Land O’ Lakers for a closer look at tonight’s matchup.
Our pups aren’t supposed to defeat two Western Conference powerhouses in as many days. Those leads should’ve dwindled in the waning minutes and we should’ve been satisfied with an effort exceeding the cost of admission. Our progress was to be a slow and encouraging exercise in character development, but now we’re faced with a host of new questions in the wake of such excitement.
Yes, they’re only two wins. Yet given their quality, we have to face the distinct possibility that this team has improved.
Is this new found success a byproduct of the lockout? Our opponents weren’t afforded a training camp and the travel of this truncated schedule is surely wearing them thin. Meanwhile, the furthest we’ve strayed from the stimulating confines of Target Center is Milwaukee.
We’d also be remiss to ignore the aberrations contributing to this ‘winning streak’. Wes Johnson will miss another shot this season. We won’t shoot 60% from the field every game. Our opponents best player won’t break his finger every night. And can we really rely on Michael Beasley to be a stabilizing presence?
Then again, why question anything? Don’t we deserve to win? Why not just shut up and enjoy the ride?
Sitting through four years of soul-crushing and questionable rebuilding practices are quickly vanishing with each Love double-double, Rubio behind the back pass, and Derrick Williams baptism at the rim. We finally have Rick Adelman, A REAL COACH, guiding the process. There is no more waiting for Kevin Love to get minutes. There is no waiting for Ricky Rubio to want to play here. There is no more waiting, period. We want our franchise turning the corner and we want it NOW. After attempting to be patient for so long, it looks like our golden goose is finally shipping.