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This is uncharted territory.

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?

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Timberwolves get shiny

Benjamin Polk —  December 20, 2011 — 8 Comments

Right now I live in the desert and so I wasn’t able to see the Wolves take out the Bucks on Saturday. But Zach was there and this is what he had to say about it on Hoopspeak:

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.

Preach on brother.

Wolves in the Throne Room

Benjamin Polk —  October 8, 2011 — 2 Comments

You might think that a black metal band from Oregon has nothing to do with the NBA or the Timberwolves but that is just totally not true.

I imagine Nikola Pekovic starring in the video for this song.

K-Love, looking fit and trim. Photo by Judd Spicer

Judd Spicer is an award-winning, veteran freelance writer and was a colleague of mine at the City Pages, where he covered the Twins and Wolves. Recently though, he decided to leave the Midwest and relocate his writing desk to Southern California, the better to monitor the cutthroat world of pro beach volleyball (I don’t know if that last part is true). He’s a fine fellow and a sharp dresser and can be followed at Twitter here

Kevin Love may be locked out, but the All-Star forward and reigning NBA rebound champ isn’t locked down.  He’s just using the time during the  league’s labor dispute to attack a different net.

The Timberwolves’ forward made his pro volleyball debut on Thursday morning at the world’s most historic and most competitive beach volleyball tournament, the Manhattan Beach Open, part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series.  Total prize money for the event is $200,000, making it the richest domestic tournament of the season.  Love’s anticipated salary for 2011-12? Just a hair over $4.6 million.

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Our players aren’t featured on the team’s website, they can’t interact with management and now that our wunderkind has finally arrived from overseas, half the league is apparently headed from whence he came. But aren’t we excited now that the schedule is released?

Well, no.

Which is a shame, because it’s actually quite manageable. Only eleven games versus playoff teams in the first two months; immediate, yet conquerable challenges for Ricky Rubio (v. PHX 10/9, @ NJN 10/13 & v. MIL 10/16) and even a nationally televised matchup to boot (v. HOU 10/25, ESPN2). But knowing that the NBA & NBPA aren’t likely to resume bargaining until August, we face the reality that this is the only schedule that matters.

Well, that and Besiktas’.

Stay tuned, kids….

once

Say what you will of David Kahn-and we will-but the man is willing to confront his detractors. This afternoon, he took to the interwebz to chat with perhaps his biggest cynic, Bill Simmons.

Simmons himself has been criticized over the years for lambasting folks in print that he’s never willing to confront, so this exchange is fairly significant for both of them.

We’ll spare you the psychoanalysis this time and let you make the first judgment. Have a listen.

Inception

Myles Brown —  June 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

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The stage was quite literally set. A podium, dozens of chairs and several cameras all sat in the center of an arena he’ll be expected to fill. His family sat to the right of an impressive media gathering; his newfound fans perched behind them. The cameras flashed, the mics were on, he took his seat and the world watched.

Ricky Rubio hasn’t played a game yet, but he’s already been hailed as a savior and written off as a bust. It goes without saying that such chatter is premature. Only time will tell and the answer could be neither. But this morning our young man proved himself to be as graceful without a basketball as he is with one.

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We finally have our man. Well, boy. Whatevz.

Ricky Rubio’s flight from Spain arrived this afternoon, delighting a throng of fans, media and curious onlookers. The sixth Beatle smiled for the cameras, shook hands and signed autographs, before being whisked away with his family by David Kahn and Wolves PR. He will address the public tomorrow morning during a televised press conference live from Target Center and according to reports, he will also be in attendance at the Wolves draft party on Thursday, also held in Target Center.

But eventually, the man-wait, young man-will actually have to play basketball. There have been numerous reports of his early demise by analysts noting his unimpressive numbers in Spain, however considering that many of those folks have little understanding of the Euro game or Rubio’s role in it, we shouldn’t take them too seriously. I hope.

Instead, let’s have a look see at what our man Sebastian Pruiti has to say over at NBA Playbook. As expected, Pruiti provides his usual thorough breakdowns, this time highlighting Ricky’s pros: stellar pick and roll playmaking alongside strong defensive instincts- and cons: poor scoring with a side of shoddy post defense. Skeptic or not, it’s well worth the read.

Now this might be the sound of those screaming kids still ringing in my ears, but I’m feeling a twinge of excitement.

Update: He speaks!

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(Photo by Tracy Viera)

The current Wolves’ party line is that they’re hanging on to that second pick. (Tony Ronzone sez: “We really like where we’re at at two.”) And this makes sense; you certainly don’t want to give the impression that the team is desperate for a deal, that the pick could be easily had.

But that don’t stop the chatter. At ESPN, Chad Ford has a pretty interesting take on just why the Wolves are still likely to make a move:

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It’s a strange time in this strange wasteland that is Wolves fandom. Is our coach still a coach? Is our draft pick still a draft pick? Is anybody doing anything here? Good questions, all of them. Here’s a minor roundup of those trade rumors:

  • The most recent, most intriguing and probably weirdest rumor involves the Wolves moving the pick to Cleveland in exchange for the Cavs’ fourth pick and Detroit’s eighth pick. In other words, Cleveland would then be able to draft both Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. While getting two high lottery picks in exchange for one in a weak draft doesn’t really seem so bad, it would definitely add to the Wolves’ legacy of helping other teams utterly run the table (see: Garnett, Kevin; Lawson, Tywon). One wonders: considering that what they really need is one great player and the last thing they need are more average players, why aren’t the Wolves the ones on the aggressive end of this deal? Why we always getting played?

Update: Chris Broussard reports that this thing is dead.