Archives For Andrew Wiggins

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Twenty minutes after a 2-point overtime loss to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, Zach LaVine sat in front of his locker, putting on a floridly color-blocked sock inside out. It was LaVine’s foul on Jordan Clarkson that sent Clarkson to the line with 0.3 seconds left in the extra period to seal the win and he seemed none too happy about it. Assistant coach Ryan Saunders strode with purpose through the locker room and sat next to LaVine, leaning in and placing a hand on his shoulder, speaking quietly but intensely to the 20-year-old rookie for half a minute before clapping him on the back and standing. By this time, LaVine had gotten the sock inside right. Continue Reading…

KawhiSoSerious

Typically, when the Minnesota Timberwolves look like they’re going to get blown out in a game and I’m on recap duty, I start thinking of tangents and topics outside of basketball I can explore in my writing. There’s no real sense in figuring out why a bad team got destroyed by a good team. This is the nature of the business and while you hope to be competitive in match-ups like that, the talent often overrides the Disney story and nature versus nurture takes over. Heading into last night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Wolves were missing Ricky Rubio (ankle), Gary Neal (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Kevin Garnett (knee), Anthony Bennett (ankle), Robbie Hummel (hand), and Shabazz Muhammad (hand).

The Spurs were at full strength and they’ve been clicking as of late. They had won six of their last seven games by a margin of nearly 16 points with their only loss happening in overtime thanks to Kyrie Irving’s 57 points. The Wolves hung tough with them in the first quarter and even kept it relatively close in the second quarter until a late push by San Antonio pushed the halftime deficit to double digits for Minnesota. When the third quarter opened, “hell broke Luce” (as Tom Waits would say) and the game was officially going the way of nature for the Spurs. Normally, I would have been gathering my thoughts about recent movies I had seen, like Foxcatcher or St. Vincent. Instead, I had basketball on my mind, which was surprising to me.

I had three thoughts kicking around in my head:  Continue Reading…

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For some reason, the 14-win Timberwolves have found a relatively strange level of success against the 41-win Portland Trail Blazers this season. They managed to beat the Blazers back in December amidst the flurry of injuries to Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Martin, ending what was a 6-game losing streak.

While injuries and losing streaks were also there for last night’s win over the Trail Blazers, the situation was different this time around. Rubio, Martin, and Pekovic are back and playing. Andrew Wiggins, who is still discovering what he is (really) good at, is further along in his development. Kevin Garnett is here now.

None of this is to say the Wolves came into the game projected as favorites, but it would explain the high level of confidence they displayed as early as the opening tipoff.

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JustinHamilton

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced yesterday that they were awarded 7’0 center Justin Hamilton off of waivers from the New Orleans Pelicans. Hamilton played collegiately at Iowa State for one year before transferring to LSU before the 2011-12 season. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, who promptly traded his draft rights to the Miami Heat. Hamilton spent his first professional season in Croatia and Latvia before he returned to the States to make an attempt at cracking the Heat roster. 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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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…