Archives For Andrew Wiggins

basketball-shaped-birthday-cake

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…

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…

MVP

The Wolves had four players in the Rising Stars Game on Friday night. Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and the USA squad fell 121-112 to the World team, led by Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins, who took home MVP honors following his electrifying six dunk performance. Wiggins and LaVine tied for the game high in points (22 apiece), Dieng had 14 and Muhammad had 10. Continue Reading…

 

grizzlieswolves9“We’re not going to lose this game.”

In the NBA, phrases like that are uttered by a team’s leader. In addition, a leader is able to take those words and make them come true, even if it means he has to put the team on his back and willing his team to a victory.

That phrase, according to Flip Saunders, is what Ricky Rubio said to his team during tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

If it wasn’t clear before, it became completely clear during Rubio’s injury-ridden absence: he is the clearcut leader of this team.

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There were actually two more or less completely distinct things going on at Target Center last night: the return of Kevin Love to Minneapolis and a game between the Timberwolves and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Leading up to the game, it seemed as if these things were inextricable, but as the game unfolded, they became more and more distinct from each other.

Prior to the game, Love met with the media and, when asked about whether he wishes things had ended on a better note with the Wolves, he responded, “I mean, sure. It’s only human nature to want it to always be sunshine and blue skies, but that’s just not the case.”

Few would argue against the latter, but there’s also an issue with the former, and it’s something brought to the fore both by Love and the Wolves themselves. Per usual, Love seemed to face the media’s attention with a bit of a grimace. His annoyance with the media doesn’t seem to come from a place of not wanting attention, though, but rather not getting the kind of attention he thinks he should get. He has long embodied some particularly jagged contradictions: a tireless worker who turned himself from a doughy rebounder into a rangy shooter but still can’t really be bothered to “get” defense; a guy who wanted to be “the man,” to carry the team, but who also didn’t hesitate to throw some guys under the bus; a purported team-first player who only talks about wins, never numbers, yet whose greatest accomplishments come from stats and not the intangibles.

But aren’t Wolves fans themselves a bit like this? Is sunshine and blue skies really the goal for longtime Wolves fans? If that’s what they wanted, they could go follow a team that rewards them far better, yet there’s a persistent distaste for bandwagon fans, and way too much wallowing in how bad the team is, followed by insisting that they’re done, finished, never paying attention to this team again. And then they’re back again a couple weeks or months later.

Do we really want sunshine and blue skies? Or do we just think that’s what we’re supposed to want? Continue Reading…

Let's assume Wiggins convinced Embiid to join the Wolves in 2021.

Let’s assume Wiggins convinced Embiid to join the Wolves in 2021.

The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t been putting a great roster on the floor over the last two seasons. It’s been by design and it’s a risky proposition. It’s an idea that I’ve had, along with plenty of Wolves’ fans, when it comes to the rebuilding style of this Minnesota franchise. Strip down the roster, rid it of almost all of the veterans available, and just let the young guys get their reps, as many as possible.

It’s something I’ve gone back and forth with as the season progresses. We’ve seen components of such an idea when Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, and Ricky Rubio missed time as Mo Williams was dealing with some nagging injuries as well. We’ve seen the Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Thaddeus Young, and Gorgui Dieng lineup out there and full of failure on a possession by possession basis. You can talk yourself into this being a valuable learning experience for all of the young guys involved, but you can also see how the process and the results can be stilted.

Over the last two games, we’ve seen the Wolves get the pairing of Pekovic and Martin back into the rotation. The result has been a more organized brand of basketball that doesn’t lack a sense of hope while possessing a tunnel vision on the spectacularly calm moments of Wiggins doing cool stuff out there. You see the value of veterans mixed in with young players, removing many of the frustrations we’ve experienced watching that overmatched basketball team from November 19th or so to earlier this week. That’s where I start appreciating the plan of the Wolves because I’m not sure they have the infrastructure to pull off what the 76ers are doing.  Continue Reading…

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Oh Canada

Zach Harper —  January 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

We’re halfway through the 2014-15 NBA season and things haven’t gone exactly to plan. The Minnesota Timberwolves missed at least three starters for two months of the season and it’s helped them go from a promising start 4.5 games into the season to a 7-34 record at the halfway point. Granted, that record is mostly skewed because of the loss of Ricky Rubio (Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic’s absences hurt too), but you don’t get wins on a grading curve in the NBA.

Either you can win them or you can’t. And without Rubio, the Wolves’ defense has been a mess and the offense hasn’t been much better. However, there has been one constant beacon of hope on the horizon, showing the future seasons won’t be so bad.  Continue Reading…

FindAHappyPlace

This isn’t something I normally do, but I was watching that UFC fight night on Fox Sports 1 Sunday night. I’m not a UFC or MMA person. It really doesn’t appeal to me. I used to love boxing and will still watch the big fight cards but I definitely don’t keep up with it like I did in the 90’s. That’s probably because the quality of the product, especially with the heavyweight division is just so down. Perhaps that’s another blowout recap for another day though.

I was at a restaurant, enjoying some lovely ribs on a patio and they had the UFC card on all of the televisions. The NFL games were done and the NBA was smart enough to not schedule against the night of the conference championships in the NFL. Once the action from both leagues was done, the fights were on and I had an apple crisp to put down. During the fight, the camera flashed a picture of Mickey Rourke on the screen. He was wearing an odd hat, had some odd hair, and that meant it was time for Twitter to have a little fun with it.

And fun we had.  Continue Reading…