Wolves and Grizzlies

A few weeks ago, the Wolves stole a game at home against the Grizzlies in rather dramatic fashion. It was Ricky Rubio’s third game back after his two and a half month absence, and it was immediately clear that Minnesota is a different team when he’s on the floor. The offense becomes functional, the perimeter defense becomes pretty damn good, and perhaps most importantly, there’s a certain level of grit that permeates throughout the roster.

Grit, moxie, chutzpah, toughness, fight – call it what you want. Although statistically immeasurable, it is a vital component to a franchise that is attempting to build a winning culture. The virtue of true toughness, in this sense, isn’t validated by the result. It is present no matter the situation, however good or bad things are going on the floor. Contesting shots, fighting for rebounds, working through screens, communicating with teammates, executing on both ends of the floor – all of it matters.

In that sense, the Grizzlies are a terrific barometer by which to measure these young Timberwolves, because they have it down to an art form. Continue Reading…

02-bulls-kgCredit for this 1995 photo goes to Timberwolvestimeline.com

It was 90’s night in the United Center. In a perfect world, such a night would have coincided with Kevin Garnett’s first road game as a returned member of the Timberwolves. But, despite the nice digs the United Center bring, it’s still not a perfect world, and Kevin Garnett opted to rest tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s home game. To be fair, neither Michael Jordan nor Luc Longley suited up for Chicago, so the playing field was evened out a bit.

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Often times, you can judge the hype surrounding an NBA team by its ceremonial player introductions. Typically, the louder the fans are, the better.

In Minnesota, this can be traced back to Kevin Garnett’s first stint with the Timberwolves. During the team’s 8-year playoff stretch, it was typically impossible to hear Garnett’s name when it was called by Rod Johnson during at the start of games. After the Cassell/Sprewell era was over, the noise started to fade, and Garnett’s name grew clearer during the introductions. After he left, as the team fell into a 10-year playoff drought, the crowd noise faded even more.

Tonight was Kevin Garnett’s first game back in the Target Center after the much-discussed deadline deal with Brooklyn, and with it came an opening of a magnitude that hadn’t been seen in, well, ever.

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Welcome back, KG

Zach Harper —  February 24, 2015 — 11 Comments

While there are differing opinions on the merits and the impacts of this move, I’d like to think Wolves fans can put all that aside for one night and just enjoy Kevin Garnett’s return to the Target Center as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He last played for the Wolves on April 9, 2007.

He’s the franchise leader in games, minutes played, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and points. The Wolves have never had a winning season without him. The Wolves have never made the playoffs without him. It will be a surreal sight to see him back in a Wolves’ uniform, and just for a night we should soak it in and enjoy the moment.

Welcome back, KG.

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First things first: happy 60th birthday to Phillip D. “Flip” Saunders and happy 20th birthday to Andrew Christian Wiggins. That’s right, they share the same birthday. They were destined to be together.

It’s always fun when the Timberwolves play the Rockets, especially if you’re the type of person who loves seeing contradictory approaches clash on the field of play, as I do. I enjoy football games pitting a run and gun squad against a defensive-minded one, I love watching a pitcher battle a deep lineup (think prime Pedro Martinez against the ’98 Yankees), and I enjoy seeing Daryl Morey’s analytics-powered basketball Frankenstein chase around the old-school villagers from Minnesota.  Continue Reading…

 

BAZZYBENNY

The Timberwolves’ run of rotten injury luck just got a little bit longer.

With the team as close to full strength as they’ve been since the first week of November, a freak injury in Wednesday’s practice will keep Shabazz Muhammad for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. Continue Reading…

Limbo, thy name is the first game after the All-Star break with one more to go before the greatest player in franchise history returns as a kind of éminence grise for a rawly talented but still rebuilding team. It wouldn’t have been surprising if the team had mailed it in, but pleasingly they didn’t and ended up holding on for a squeaker over the Suns. We’ll get to the Wolves in a moment, but let’s start with the Suns. Continue Reading…

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I’ve been a Timberwolves fan since my early elementary years in the mid-90s. I can remember sitting in the upper deck with my dad, watching a Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, and Tom Gugliotta big 3 lead the Timberwolves to their first playoff berth.

My friend and AWAW amigo William Bohl was not (obsessively) watching basketball at this point. In fact, he didn’t start (obsessively) watching the Timberwolves until after he was already gone.

This made for some interesting conversation when Kevin Garnett was traded to the Timberwolves yesterday. While I got to see the Timberwolves’ “glory years” as a fan, Bill’s lack of exposure to that era helped keep him more even keeled throughout yesterday’s happenings. We decided to exchange some emails on the matter. This is what we came away with.

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KG and Thad

It’s a done deal – the Minnesota Timberwolves have acquired Kevin Garnett from the Brooklyn Nets for Thaddeus Young.

Garnett, who turns 39 in May, is in the final season of a 3 year, $36 million deal and opted to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate the move. In 42 games with Brooklyn this season, he averaged 20.3 minutes, 6.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 45% shooting.

Of course, Garnett was drafted by the Timberwolves with the 5th overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft and is universally considered the best player in the franchise’s history. In 12 seasons with Minnesota, KG averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists, winning league MVP honors in 2004. Garnett led the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals that same year, the only time in the team’s history they’ve made it past the first round of the playoffs.

Thad Young was acquired from the Sixers as part of the Love-for-Wiggins megadeal, as the Wolves sent a lottery-protected first round pick (via Miami), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved to Philadelphia in exchange for his services. Young, who averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game as a member of the Timberwolves, has an early termination option in his contract which could make him a free agent this summer, which likely factored into the decision to deal him away.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press is reporting that the Wolves would like to give Kevin Garnett a two year extension, meaning this wouldn’t just be a 29-game farewell tour for The Big Ticket.

Steve McPherson wrote about the potential deal earlier today, and now that it’s a reality, his analysis is still worth a look. Obviously, the Wolves are hoping Garnett can help change the culture and lead the talented group of young players, including Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Zach LaVine, Anthony Bennett and Gorgui Dieng. While the idea is nice, it’s fair to wonder if they paid too big a price, or if they really gave Thad Young a long enough look in Minnesota.

Either way, Kevin Garnett is coming home. Tickets are on sale now. See you at Target Center.

kevin-garnett

As soon as ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves were involved in a late push to bring back Kevin Garnett from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Thad Young, a particular drumbeat began that went: “Wolves traded a first round pick for a 38-year-old KG.”

I’m here to tell you why this is a stupid way to think about this, whether or not it happens. And it’s not because trading for Young in the first was not a mistake — because it might well have been — and it’s not because trading for Garnett is not a mistake — because it might well be.  It’s mostly because of a little thing called the fourth dimension, so let’s travel back through it to when Minnesota traded for Thad Young for a first round pick this past summer.

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