UCLA v Arizona State

The trade of Corey Brewer to the Houston Rockets wasn’t just a signal that the Timberwolves are ready to go young, sacrificing a veteran player in the name of draft picks and a young shooter with upside (Troy Daniels). While that type of deal is the one rebuilding teams often make, and while this one made sense for Minnesota’s long-term plan, there was something else motivating the Wolves to move Brewer: freeing up playing time for second-year man Shabazz Muhammad. Continue Reading…

Invisible

If I had the Photoshopping skills of a Steve McPherson or a Zach Harper, you’d see Andrew Wiggins’ head on Harry Potter’s body, but alas, I do not. So you get a regular photo instead.

It’s got to be unnerving to be the center of a media machine that is constantly wondering where you’re headed next, but that’s exactly where Andrew Wiggins has been since he was 16 years old. People wondered where he’d go to high school, then wondered where he’d go to college, then wondered who would win the lottery so they could draft him, only to wonder if the Cavaliers should trade him to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love. They wondered at his awkwardness during a stupid interview that he should have never been forced to give in the first place, then wondered when he’d finally arrive in Minnesota, and now they wonder when he’ll finally realize the superstar potential we all hear about, but still wonder about. Continue Reading…

Last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics played a game with the knowledge that one of their respective teammates wouldn’t be there anymore. Players often remind us that the NBA “is a business”, but even with that in mind, NBA players are still people. When personalities as bright and fun as Ronnie Turiaf and Corey Brewer permanently exit your locker room, you’re going to think about it when you’re playing, at least right away.

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Brewer

Reports surfaced about a week ago that the Houston Rockets were determined to use their $8.4 million trade exception by December 19th. When they struck out on Rajon Rondo, they turned their attention elsewhere, which apparently meant Corey Brewer.

Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to confirm what Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN and Jonathon Feigen of the Houston Chronicle have been discussing for days: the Minnesota Timberwolves have sent Corey Brewer to Houston in exchange for shooting guard Troy Daniels and a pair of second round picks. Continue Reading…

Corey Brewer, Jeff Green

In preparation for tonight’s game in Boston, I had a chat with SB Nation’s Celtics Blog writer Dustin Chapman, a guy I’ve talked basketball with for a long, long time. Click here to follow him on Twitter. We talked about the Rondo trade, key matchups, and discussed Pek vs Vitor in a battle of the giants.

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ThadYoung

I didn’t go to my first funeral until I was in my mid-20s. This is not to say that I didn’t lose people in my family: both my grandmothers died within a couple years of each other and my dad’s brother died while I was in college. But for myriad reasons — timing, travel and, truly, fear of death as a real thing — kept me from attending their funerals. I think my understanding of funerals at the time could best be described as “death is unequivocally bad and scary and funerals must therefore be the same.” I didn’t understand them as part of the long, uneven grieving process.

Timberwolves power forward Thaddeus Young lost his mother this year, at the age of 26. I lost mine at the age of 30. Britt Robson’s column this week for MinnPost is an excellent and thorough look at Young’s struggles this season on the court with due deference given to the way his mother’s death has bifurcated his season into a before and after, but I wanted to talk a little about how a human loss seeps into every aspect of our lives for longer than we usually anticipate. Continue Reading…

JohnWallIsTheOneWhoKnocks

This game wasn’t as close as the score would imply. However, it was pretty close at various times throughout the night, which makes it a bit confusing as a whole. About six or so minutes into the game, it seemed like I was going to have to find a blowout recap topic for tonight’s game and I even crowd-sourced for a few ideas. John Wall was picking apart the Wolves and we had several instances of big men not getting back on defense.

There were multiple plays in the first couple of minutes in which Thaddeus Young and Gorgui Dieng were slow to either get back in transition, only to get beaten down the floor by Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries, or to locate their defensive assignment once they did get back. You don’t give space to John Wall’s passing targets and win to talk about it. He’s too good at this stage in his career and as the Wolves found out a few times, you can’t just play 10 feet off of him and expect him to Kemba Walker that jump shot. His game doesn’t break like that anymore.

Since this was a blowout that wasn’t a blowout, let’s actually recap instead of me just rambling for 1,400 words about Pauly D from Jersey Shore or something along those lines.  Continue Reading…

Last night, Ronny Turiaf posted the above photo and (apparently original) poem on Instagram, this morning, he had successful surgery on his right hip, and this afternoon, the Timberwolves announced the 10th-year pro out of Gonzaga will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 NBA season.

Drafted in the second round (37th overall pick) of the 2005 Draft, Turiaf spent time with the Lakers, Warriors, Knicks, Wizards, Heat and Clippers before signing a 2 year, $2 million free agent deal with the Timberwolves prior to 2013-14. He missed a large chunk of last year following a freak elbow injury that occurred against the Thunder on November 1st; in 33 total appearances with Minnesota, Ronny averaged 4.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18.5 minutes per game.  Continue Reading…

KobeToWiggins

While Kobe Bryant can elicit some pretty polarized takes on how great he is or isn’t, how nice he is or isn’t, how good of a leader/teammate that he is or isn’t, and everything else involved with historic players, what you can’t deny is his psychotic, competitive nature that has fueled one of the greatest careers you could ever imagine. To be completely honest with everybody, I was beyond jealous that I wasn’t in the Target Center Sunday night when Kobe passed Michael Jordan for third on the all-time scoring list. Sure, it’s come in what will essentially be a lost/wasted season for Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers, but history is history, and the Target Center saw something no other building will ever see — Kobe passing Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

The game was another injury-riddled loss by the Wolves, desperate for the direction of a point guard with a little bit of a veteran touch at his disposal. But there were aspects to this game that were fascinating. Mostly, they resided around the burning desire of Kobe to kill the defender in front of him, despite the Hall of Famer being at the end of his rope athletically (relatively speaking, of course). 36-year old Kobe Bryant plays a megalomaniacal brand of basketball. It’s both an inspiration to those that have come after him and a cautionary tale of finding the right balance between hubris and a pathos of sorts. That’s not a knock on Bryant either. If anything, it’s a compliment about a player that by all historical measurements shouldn’t be able to do what he does anymore.

Kobe is the league’s third leading scorer after 1,269 games, 18-plus years, and over 46,000 minutes in the NBA. That just doesn’t happen. The retort is about how he’s shooting under 40.0% from the field while hoisting all of these shots that allow him to be the scoring leader. And it’s completely correct. He’s allowed to play a certain way that almost no other player has ever been afforded at this point in their careers. To me, that’s why it’s so impressive and it’s a blueprint for competitiveness that I pray someone on the Wolves picks up. I’ll explain:  Continue Reading…

shabazz-muhammad-timberwolves-hazing

Fully healthy, the Timberwolves would still not be as good as the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have Russell Westbrook back, and he went for 34 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and could essentially get to the rim whenever he wanted by turning on the jets. The Thunder have eight players 6-10 or taller (if you count Durant, who is at least 6-10); the Wolves have one healthy player over 6-10 (Gorgui Dieng). No surprise, then, that Oklahoma City outrebounded Minnesota 47-30. The expected disparities were there: the Wolves took 7 3-pointers and made just one; the Thunder made 6 and took 23. If the Portland game the other night had everything going against the Blazers and for the Wolves — a genuine outlier — this was much more routine. Continue Reading…