NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic

It wasn’t a fun night to be a Wolves fan. The Timberwolves played a tightly-contested game with the young Orlando Magic for the entire game, neither team grabbing a double digit lead in regulation. With 28 seconds left in the fourth, the Wolves were up 2 with the ball, and had a chance to put what would likely be the seal on the game.

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The adidas Swingman jersey campaign is in full swing and they made one starring Andrew Wiggins.

This is a pretty great ad that reminds everybody some people already spent money on those now throwback Wiggins Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys right after the draft when the Cavs selected Wiggins with the top overall pick. Make sure to rock those Cavs’ Wiggins throwbacks at Bonnaroo next year and you’ll be all the rage.

As for everybody else, this Wiggins Wolves jersey doesn’t seem like a bad one to get. The jerseys retail for $110 at the NBA Store and LIDS.

Wiggins

Most fans understand that there’s a steep learning curve for rookies entering the NBA, and know they must try to be patient when a talented young player debuts for their team… but they don’t know what a learning curve actually looks like until games begin and victories hang in the balance. The coaching staff has to walk a fine line between managing expectations and demanding steady improvement from their young players, and has to know when to reassure and when to reprimand. And the player himself, who has undoubtedly been told by his family, agent and coaches that the transition from college to the NBA is a difficult one, might not know exactly what he’s in for until he is staring at a bigger, stronger veteran player and is tasked with trying to keep him from scoring.

That’s what Andrew Wiggins has experienced during his first four regular season games with the Timberwolves. Continue Reading…

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Brooklyn Nets

The Timberwolves jumped out to a hot start in last night’s game, which is not actually new. Last season, Minnesota boasted an offensive rating of 111.1 and a defensive rating of 101.1, good for a Bo Derek-approved net rating of 10.0. The problem, of course, was in the fourth quarter, where they only mustered a 98.1 offensive rating against a defensive rating of 107.8 — good for a net rating of -9.7, a swing of nearly twenty points. But we’ll get to the ending in short order. Continue Reading…

Nikola Pekovic

Yes, Deron Williams isn’t the player he was in Utah, but he still gets you 18 and 8 on most nights. No point guard sees a matchup against Brooklyn as a night off. He’s still a beast.

Yes, Brook Lopez has a lengthy injury history to his record, but a healthy Brook is still a dangerous Brook.

Yes, Joe Johnson doesn’t deserve to have the third biggest paycheck in the NBA, but he’s still giving the Nets very good (All-Star caliber?) production in the latter stages of his career.

Speaking of latter stages, yes, Kevin Garnett is nowhere near the dominant two-way player the he once was, but he’s still a useful starter in spot minutes. Plus, this just happened a couple days ago.

Lastly, it’s true the Nets aren’t the title contenders some hoped they’d be when they acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce a year ago. Still, you’ll see them competing in the playoffs this spring.

The Nets are the ultimate “yeah, but still” team in the NBA, and they’re who the Timberwolves face off against tonight to start their November road trip.

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(Note: I really wanted to put up a video for “The Future” by Restorations, but couldn’t find one. It’s on Spotify if you want to hear it.)

Here are two things that aggravate me: moral victories and people who complain about them. Lucky for us, then, that tonight’s close loss to the Chicago Bulls was not a moral victory. It was a loss. But when I said it was a good loss, several people got at me to say they were tired of moral victories as Timberwolves fans. So here’s what we need to do: stop talking about moral victories and also stop being sick of them. Continue Reading…

RubioExtension

About a month ago, maybe even a week ago, the likelihood of a contract extension for Ricky Rubio with the Minnesota Timberwolves seemed very low. Rubio’s agent was asking for a max contract, according to reports and rumors, and the Wolves were never going to pay the max in a rising salary cap situation. Committing that much money to Rubio would be an optimistic investment, considering his scoring woes, to say the least. However with the last couple hours before the extension deadline for the 2011 rookie class, the Wolves and Rubio finally came to a much more manageable compromise.

Reports have come out that Rubio and the Wolves agreed to a four-year, $55 million-plus contract extension that will keep Rubio with the Wolves through the 2018-19 season. Our friend Jon Krawcyznski of the Associated Press has the deal at 4 years and $56 million with the incentives included.

The concept of Rubio, his worth, the market for players of his status/position, and his future with the club appear to be very divisive topics, so let’s try to work this out on the page and come to a consensus on how good of a deal this is for both sides and what it means moving forward.  Continue Reading…

This just happened. #IceIceBaby #GoNinjaGoNinjaGo

A video posted by Andrew Renschen (@infraren) on

Smart people who cover the Timberwolves (including our own Tim Faklis) called their opening night loss to the Memphis Grizzlies a “moral victory,” or at least something roughly equivalent to one. Despite the loss, there were enough encouraging signs for Wolves fans to feel good about how the game went, hanging tough with a gritty playoff contender on the road. Expectations were a little higher for the team as they came back to the Target Center to face the lottery-bound Pistons in the home opener. A letdown loss in front of an energetic, near sell-out crowd would’ve been a step backwards. Continue Reading…

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The Timberwolves fought to the final seconds tonight, but couldn’t get over the hump against a borderline top-tier Memphis Grizzlies squad. Mid-broadcast, Dave Benz mentioned the Grizzlies haven’t won an opener since they moved to Vancouver. It was a tough 105-101 loss, but it’s important to remember the quality of competition that the Wolves were facing tonight, and the connotations that a win would bring for said competition.

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To make the fifteen man cutoff for rosters at 5 pm ET on Monday, the Wolves were going to have to cut (or trade someone). Although Chase Budinger’s name had surfaced in trade rumors with Indiana and Cleveland, nothing concrete was likely to happen there prior to the deadline, so that essentially left the Wolves to decide between J.J. Barea, Glenn Robinson III and Robbie Hummel. Obviously, solidifying the fifteenth man on the roster is not exactly a major thing, but that it was Barea who was bought out does in fact say something about the direction of the team. Continue Reading…