Archives For Anthony Bennett
Throughout the season, Flip Saunders has told stories to players and media about his early years with the Timberwolves, specifically his memories developing a young, untapped 19-year-old named Kevin Garnett.
In some cases, telling such stories could be seen as pointless. There’s no way he told these stories to his title-contending Detroit Pistons squads, filled with veterans and guys who grew up playing against KG, and had already gone through the growing pains. One can only imagine what Rasheed Wallace would have thought if Saunders was reminiscing about a guy he was picked ahead of in 1995.
But this year’s Timberwolves team needs to hear these tales. Currently, the Wolves start one teenager, and have had another in and out of the starting lineup.The average age of their two leading scorers is 20 years old. They have 3 rookies on the active roster, and are at a point where guys in the range of 24-27 years old classifies you as a “seasoned veteran”.
Yes, Saunders needs to tell stories to Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, and Anthony Bennett, not just because they’re young, and not just because they’re developing. It’s also because of the way Kevin Garnett played, even when he was 19.
It’s safe to say the Minnesota Timberwolves won’t be making the playoffs for the 11th straight season.
With a record of 5-29, the Wolves sit just 2.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks and are tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the second worst record in the NBA. The Knicks have played four more games than the Wolves and have one-upped the Wolves for the longest current losing streak at 14 games (Wolves are at 13 losses in a row).
The injuries have taken their toll on the Wolves this season, which is the main reason for their record being as abysmal as it appears. Ricky Rubio’s high ankle injury, Nikola Pekovic’s sprained wrist and ankle, and Kevin Martin’s broken wrist have decimated the veteran leadership on the court and the organization needed to remain competitive most nights. NBA.com has the Wolves with the worst defense in the NBA at a rating of 110.2 points per 100 possessions allowed. The Los Angeles Lakers are the second worst at 109.8 per 100. They have the fifth worst offense at 99.2 points per 100 possessions scored. Only the Sixers have a worse net rating (minus-12.9 points per 100) than the Wolves (minus-11.0).
I never thought the Wolves would be good this season and hopes of them approaching what they did last season with a deeper team seemed foolish and too Disney story for my liking. But expecting them to be this bad would also have been crazy, if you assumed this team was going to be healthy. Since they are currently this bad and looking like they’re officially focused more on the future than the present (we’ll see how it goes when the veterans get healthy), I thought we could take a look as we approach the mid point of the season and look at the long-term, rebuilding prospects of each player on this team. Continue Reading…
Down two points with 5.5 seconds to go, Thad Young rebounded a missed Isaiah Thomas free throw, pushed the ball up the floor, passed it to Chase Budinger, who darted diagonally across center court from left to right, ultimately finding Andrew Wiggins for a good look from the right wing with the clock winding down to zero.
It didn’t go in.
If you have been following the Wolves closely lately, you probably know how often Flip Saunders has repeated something to the effect of “Developing and seeing signs from the young players is nice, but it’s important to have positive reinforcement and win every once in awhile.” So while everyone was ready to talk about Andrew Wiggins’ terrific night – 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and several big plays down the stretch – Saunders was clearly frustrated with the loss, offering only measured praise for outstanding individual performances and commenting that he’ll spend time going over the events of the night, particularly the final 30 seconds, in his head. The loss stung him. Continue Reading…
(Once upon a time, friend of the program Matt Moore wrote a wonderful post about why the Oklahoma City Thunder fell short against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs last year. He looked at everything: the departure of James Harden; the perpetually woebegone Scott Brooks; the injury to Serge Ibaka. All of it. And what he found is that none of that was really to blame, although each thing certainly plays its part in ways. At the bottom of all of it, the Spurs were just better. So just take that article and in place of the Thunder — a team with one of the two best players in the league, two of the top 15 or 20 and probably three of the top 40, plus many years and many playoff runs together — and substitute a Wolves team whose ten available players together have played 297 minutes (or roughly six games) more than Tim Duncan alone. They played the Spurs tonight and lost, badly. To quote Gregg Popovich from after the game, “It wasn’t a fair fight.” Wiggins got aggressive and good in the third quarter, Bennett had a career high with 20 and several strong dunks. That’s my recap.)
Earlier today I needed a break from basketball-related activities. This is maybe something that sets me apart from your real “hoops junkies,” which I am definitely not. I am not a “cannot get enough of basketball” person. I can get enough. So I just wanted to dial up a movie on HBO GO and watch it, maybe take a little nap along the way. Continue Reading…
The poorest effort the Wolves showed all night was at the end of the above video, when the rookies’ version of “Happy Birthday” fell into halfhearted, off-key mumbling. Other than that, it was a pretty good night for Minnesota. Continue Reading…
Because it’s the preseason, and the actual storyline behind the game itself isn’t actually all that important, we’ll keep this recap short.
Despite some poor interior defense, and some equally questionable shot selection, the Timberwolves were able to pull away from the Sixers after a surge in the third quarter. Also, some veteran 4th quarter leadership and savvy from Mo Williams probably saved the Wolves’ bench from a collapse to end the game.
With media day and training camp just two days away, and the first preseason game less than two weeks away, we finally have a (mostly) set roster. Now that the Timberwolves have announced the names off their official training camp roster, the first attempt at a post-Kevin Love era has more or less taken shape.
We start with the group big men that Kevin Love used to lead. Even with a haul as good as the one the Wolves got, replacing a frontcourt presence like Love can’t be done right away.
In short: Minnesota’s frontcourt won’t be as strong as it was a year ago. While the center position may actually be the deepest it has ever been, there are some big question marks, especially at power forward.
Some thoughts on the Wolves’ media and fan meet-and-greet at the State Fair, in bullet form:
– People began packing themselves around the stage nearly an hour prior to the start of the show. The atmosphere was jubilant and peppy – fans cheered loudly for each of the four players (loudest of all for Wiggins) and lingered long after they were done speaking, taking selfies, asking for autographs and hollering praise to Flip for getting the deal done. It was certainly an interesting environment for an introductory press conference – the Fair’s enormity shrinking for an hour into a very intimate, uncontrolled setting. A few barely audible catcalls arose from the crowd and drew chuckles from the guys onstage. Those awkward moments aside, today was a very positive day for everyone involved. The weather was perfect, the Wolves garnered some much-needed buzz, and Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and Zach LaVine got their first taste of Minnesota’s atmosphere. Continue Reading…
It’s finally official. Officially official. The frequently discussed deal to send Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers has finally been announced as an done deal.
Let’s look at the breakdown:
Minnesota receives: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, trade exception
Cleveland receives: Kevin Love
Philadelphia receives: Alexey Shved, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Miami’s (top 10 protected) 2015 first round pick
The deal has been discussed off and on for a number of months now, but was amplified when LeBron James made the decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers back in early July. After the LeBron announcement, rumors and speculation took off, especially since LeBron left Wiggins and Bennett’s names off of his announcement of guys he was ‘excited to play with’.
Talks with Cleveland were temporarily put on hold after Cleveland signed Wiggins to his rookie deal, due to a rule that makes it illegal to trade a rookie for 30 days after their first contract is signed. Still, reports came out during the waiting period that a handshake deal was in place.
Most saw this deal as the best of potential scenarios for the Wolves, but any trade involving a player like Kevin Love is going to have good stuff and bad stuff.