Archives For Andrei Kirilenko


Andrei Kirilenko patrols the paint

As I alluded to last night, one of the most encouraging elements of the Wolves nice start has been their basic competence on defense. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re a Wolves’ fan of long standing you know the thrill in the blood induced by those simple words. Great defense isn’t truly satisfying until you’ve been made to watch (and cheer for) hours and days of awful defense; and lord knows we have. Its true that the team hasn’t played many offensive juggernauts so far–of the Wolves’ five opponents, only the Nets have managed to crack the top-25 in offensive efficiency. Still: the Wolves are allowing just .93 points per possession, good for seventh in the league. That is happy news no matter who you’re playing.

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Thought you might want to see some pleasant turnovers for once.

Remember how the Wolves took such great care of the ball against the Kings, which was a huge contrast to the careless nature with the ball last season? Apparently, there is a big difference between playing a Keith Smart coached team and playing a Dwane Casey coached team.

The Wolves were disgustingly careless with the basketball. They didn’t seem to value their own defensive boards enough, giving up 16 offensive rebounds to the Raptors. Those offensive rebounds led to 21 second chance points. And then there are the turnovers — my god the turnovers! There were 24 turnovers by the Wolves in this game that resulted in 32 points for Toronto. That’s 53 points off of carelessness by the Wolves. Half of the Raptors’ points came off of carelessness. That’s disheartening.  Continue Reading…

Here we go!

We’ve been waiting months to see how this whole thing would work in a real game that counted. The dead weight from last year has been excavated from the site and now the Wolves will have a bevy of competent and actually good players to run through Rick Adelman’s system, which they’ve been able to learn for over a month now.  Continue Reading…

This is what effort looks like.

This is also what the difference between playing a top defense and a young team that struggles at defense looks like.

The payoff is somewhere in between these two realities.

Yes, the Detroit Pistons are a bad team and it’s preseason. These are all things to take into account until November 2nd gets here and we get to duel at 10 paces with the Sacramento Kings. But we should still love the effort we saw from a Love-less basketball team. Continue Reading…

The annual NBA GM survey was released on today and as per usual, it’s kind of confusing in places and complimentary in others.

The Wolves were mentioned quite a bit throughout the survey of the 30 GMs around the league, and you know it was outside forces voting nice things about the Wolves because you’re not allowed to vote for your own team or personnel. Some of the nice things said about the Wolves:  Continue Reading…

It wasn’t a pretty preseason opener in many ways, but the Wolves got to debut some new faces and beat up on an incomplete Pacers team for the victory.

Between the poor 3-point shooting, the grainy Fargo television feed coming through NBA League Pass, lots of turnovers, and a lot of missed free throws, it would have been pretty easy to want to look away from our first glimpse at what the Wolves have to offer this year. Plus, D.J. Augustin was the main point guard for Indiana due to George Hill sitting out and nobody wants to watch him play starter’s minutes. However, we got to watch Wolves basketball once again and it was pretty fun to see the new direction the team is going.

I’m not going to try to find an overarching storyline with a preseason game and look for how it affects the team moving forward. It’s preseason after all. So let’s just try to look at what each individual player did and file it away for later use.  Continue Reading…

Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko

Photo by Steve McPherson

Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved sat down with Kirilenko very much in the driver’s seat. Shved mostly hung back, responding only when addressed directly and looking a little sheepish. Kirilenko seems convinced he’ll speak most loudly with his game.

  1. steventurous
    Kirilenko on Shved: “I don’t like to give advice. I think everyone is a grown man.”
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:35:18
  2. It was clear from the moment they came in and sat down that Kirilenko is very much playing the big brother role to Shved. Although he said he wasn’t going to help him out, Kirilenko helped Shved to translate his thoughts into English. Shved said he had no trouble understanding English, but has difficulty with speaking it. His quotes bear that out, although he’s certainly not a disaster.
  3. steventurous
    Shved and Kirilenko meeting the media.
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:36:07
  4. steventurous
    “Adelman’s system is very good for me.” –Kirilenko
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:36:37
  5. In some ways, this would almost indicate to me that Kirilenko envisions spending a good amount of time at the four as well as the three, since Adelman’s system involves big men making cuts and hitting cutters. These are both things that Kirilenko can do, and he expressed admiration for watching Adelman’s system work over the years while he was playing in Utah.
  6. steventurous
    Kirilenko: “All English I learned in the locker room my first year.” Confident Shved will pick it up.
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:37:56
  7. Kirilenko was basically saying that he never had any formal one-on-one tutoring in English. It certainly seems like Shved is at the level where he will begin to pick it up quickly once he’s immersed in it. Certainly, Kirilenko will ease that transition.
  8. steventurous
    Kirilenko: “Love has made the jump from being just a very good player to being a franchise player.”
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:39:31
  9. It was good to hear the kind of belief players like Kirilenko have in Love and his abilities. It certainly seems like they’ve assembled a group of guys who respect Love but also expect him to lead the team vocally and by example. I guess we’ll find out how that goes with vets like Kirilenko and Roy as the season progresses. If things start well, I think it could go very well. If they don’t … well, we’ll see.
  10. steventurous
    Kirilenko: “You can’t guard the superstars in this league one on one. You have to help each other and build a team defensive philosophy.”
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:40:43
  11. I always like when players simply admit something we all know without being hung up on how it sounds. Clearly, if you’re talking about Durant and James, defending them is not up to any individual player. Everyone on the team has to make the rotations and know where to be. This echoes Adelman’s statement that although the team has defensive deficiencies, he’s hopeful that they’ll play good team defense.
  12. steventurous
    Kirilenko says he signed a picture of Shved holding up a Kirilenko jersey when Shved was 12, but doesn’t remember it.
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:42:32
  13. This was the funniest part of the presser. Kirilenko initially said it was a picture of Shved when he was seven or eight, but Shved interrupted him to say he was twelve. Kirilenko responded, “Well, you looked really young in that picture.”
  14. steventurous
    Kirilenko: “Russians are going to invade the United States.”
    Mon, Oct 01 2012 10:43:01
  15. Kirilenko tossed this out as he and Shved were getting up to leave. Sarah Palin, you’ve been put on blast.

The Wolves’ 3-point shooting last season was pretty atrocious.

Despite being 23rd in the NBA in 3-point percentage, the Wolves just kept chucking up shots from long range. They finished sixth in the NBA in attempts from downtown, even when you adjust for pace. Perhaps one of the reasons the Wolves kept shooting them was because of a confidence built up the previous season.

In the 2010-11 debaclypse season, the Wolves were deadeye shooters as a team. They shot 37.6% from 3-point range, much better than the 33.2% they managed in the lockout season. They had the fifth best percentage off the 10th most attempts. They liked to fire from deep and they were good at it. In fact, it was really the only thing they were good at.  Continue Reading…

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.

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No big deal. It’s just Andrei Kirilenko on a jet ski next to a pig.

I’m so excited for Wolves’ Media Day.  (H/T — @_V_W)