Archives For Anthony Tolliver

Oh well now this is getting hilarious. Just as we embark on an epic conversation regarding the meaning of the Wolves very whiteness, “the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind,” the team goes ahead and signs olde Lou Amundson to a one-year deal at the veterans minimum, reports Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports.

Although I argued last week that the Wolves racial makeup ought to be seen as an outgrowth of the new poly-cultural, multi-stylistic NBA, I must admit that there the weirdness of the situation resurfaces with every white dude the Wolves acquire. On the other hand, I like Lou Amundson. He’s an athletic, energetic forward who loves to stir things up on the court and was at the heart of the Suns incredible run of playoff success and positive vibes of two seasons ago.

On the other other hand, this means that the Wolves will likely not resign Anthony Tolliver, and I liked him a lot too.

Update:

Here’s what the Wolves had to say about the Amundson signing:

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed free-agent forward/center Lou Amundson. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“Lou is an active defender and rebounder who will give us plenty of hustle and energy when he is on the floor,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “We feel Lou is a good complement to our existing roster.”

Amundson, 29, is a six-year NBA veteran who spent the 2011-12 season with Indiana, averaging 3.5 points and 3.7 rebounds in 60 games. In 288 career games (7 starts), the 6-9 forward/center has averages of 4.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 13.2 minutes per game. His best season came in 2009-10 with the Phoenix Suns when he finished with averages of 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds. In addition to playing for Indiana and Phoenix (2008-10), Amundson also saw action for Philadelphia for parts of  the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, and played in one game for Utah in 2006-07. He has appeared in a total of 29 playoffs games for Philadelphia, Phoenix and Indiana, averaging 2.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game.

 

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…

There were reports about a week ago that the Wolves were working out Hassan Whiteside for one of their final two roster spots. They’ve also been linked to trying to bring back Anthony Tolliver or reaching out toward veteran Mehmet Okur to bring in some much needed depth to the interior.

My initial thoughts are I really want Tolliver back. I loved the presence he provided for the team both on and off the court last season and think his talents, skill set and knowledge of the game greatly benefit the team. He can guard multiple positions, is a threat to knock down outside shots, and is more than willing to give up his body.

He’s the cliché that every coach wants in their reserve guys.

But Tolliver is looking for some money right now, and you can’t really blame him. The Wolves are capped out and exception-free after their flurry of moves this offseason to retool the players surrounding a promising core. The best they can offer Tolliver is the veteran’s minimum. For a player with his experience (four seasons), that’s a contract for roughly $915,000. That may seem like a good enough chunk of change to you and me, but he may be trying to fit into a room or mini mid-level exception somewhere to more than double that amount.

The Wolves simply can’t offer him the money he desires unless they make a trade to free up some cap room. The Wolves are about $2.3 million over the cap right now. Unless they trade Luke Ridnour ($4 million this season) or J.J. Barea ($4.4 million) for a draft pick or non-guaranteed deal, they can’t create the room to sign Tolliver. And really, trading one of those guys to bring in room for AT would be a nonsensical move.

Unless the market for Tolliver dries completely up and he decides to come back to the Wolves for the vet’s minimum, the Wolves will have to move their full attention to Whiteside and Okur. Okur is reportedly (Insider) looking for money that exceeds the veteran’s minimum ($1.3 million for his 10-year service), which means the Wolves are basically out with bringing him in too.

Honestly, I’m fine with that because while Okur may be a decent player still, he’s not the type of guy the Wolves need on their roster. He hasn’t been a decent rebounder in three years and he can’t defend the way the Wolves would need him to.

That leaves us with Hassan Whiteside, who may actually be interested in playing for the minimum salary (roughly $850,000 for his two years of experience).

Whiteside is… well… interesting, to say the least.  Continue Reading…

Our friend Darren Wolfson at ESPN 1500 has reported that the Wolves are going to offer Brandon Roy a two-year contract and that the money is not known.

I don’t even know if I’m ready to deal with the idea of Roy’s knees actually being healthy enough to be a serviceable player in the NBA. It’s not even like he had a catastrophic injury that left him in deep Shaun Livingston type of territory. He had injuries that were manageable (relatively speaking of course) and the wear-and-tear-and-more-tear just deteriorated the situation in his middle-leg-joints (medical term) past the point of no return.

But there apparently is a return in sight. With that return, it means the Wolves have to woo him with money over those proposed two years in order to convince him Minnesota is more attractive than a more instant title contender. So how much money do they have?

For committed salary heading into next year (courtesy of Sham Sports), the Wolves currently stand at $52,874,151. That is with the understanding that Brad Miller’s retirement paperwork has all of the Ts crossed and the lower case Js dotted. But that number can be deceiving.  Continue Reading…

Anthony Tolliver is one of the nicest, most earnest, least self-important professional athletes you will ever hope to meet.  What’s more, over the past three years, he’s poured remarkable quantities of energy and passion into some of the more hopeless NBA teams imaginable. Even when his coaches have neglected to actually coach defense (see: Nellieball), or have done so exceptionally poorly (see: Kurt Rambis), or when his teammates have given up on the idea of doing the difficult, painful things necessary to compete in NBA basketball games (see: well, you know), there has been Anthony Tolliver: diving on the floor, rotating with fervor, contesting shots, fighting for loose balls.

And there were a handful of games this season in which Tolliver’s energies, particularly on the defensive end, won the Wolves extra possessions, disrupted their opponent’s execution and inspired his teammates to hang against teams with vast manpower and skill advantages (I’m thinking particularly of those grueling consecutive road losses to San Antonio and Oklahoma City in mid-March). Tolliver is a touch undersized to guard fours and more than a touch slow to guard threes, but his willingness to compete defensively, plus his great team defensive instincts, allowed Rick Adelman to plug him into both spots when needed. Indeed, the Wolves’ were .8 points/100 possessions better defensively when Tolliver was on the floor, a feat made more impressive when you consider that the bulk of his playing time came after Ricky Rubio went down and the Wolves’ defense went into its death spiral.

The problem, of course, the thing that kept Tolliver at the end of the bench for much of the season, was the offensive end of the floor. Simply put, Tolliver had a terrible season shooting the ball. He hit only 35% of his twos outside of ten feet and only 24.8% of his threes, both of which are far below his career averages. Tolliver has a nice shooting stroke and many of those misses were wide open looks; and so a great portion of his struggles seem to stem simply from an extended  slump.

But it also seemed as if Tolliver was struggling to find a role within the offense. In the past, the better portion of Tolliver’s buckets came from hard work around the rim and smart off-the-ball movement. He got a lot of putbacks, a lot of layups and a nice helping of open midrange j’s. For much of this year, though, Tolliver seemed stranded in the corners, simply waiting for the Wolves’ guards to do their thing and find him for the open three (and I guess you can’t really blame him). He kept shooting and kept missing; his offensive game became both one-dimensional and ineffective. Not a good combo.

Tolliver has been is a free-agent this summer and its hard to predict whether he figures into the Wolves’ plans. If he does stay on, the team would be well served by finding a more nuanced role for him within the offense. Also: if you’re an undersized tweener, frontcourt energy guy, you’d be advised to hit those open j’s.

You know what’s kind of crazy?

Kevin Love finished this game with 40 points and 19 rebounds last night, including 14 in the fourth quarter to close out the worst team in the NBA, and it’s probably his third best game of the week. The level of production and play Love is throwing at our eyeballs and his opponents’ defensive schemes are ridiculous right now. I like to fancy myself as a pretty good NBA 2K12 player. It’s really hard to put those numbers up in the video game, let alone with actual athletic giants flying around your personal space.

I’m having a hard time really getting excited about this win because they beat the worst team in the NBA. However, without Rubio, Pekovic, Barea and Beasley, it’s still cool to see Kevin Love take over a contest and just decide to win it. He didn’t win it on his own either. Anthony Tolliver had another phenomenal effort off the bench with a double-double (11 and 11). Luke Ridnour was slinging passes all over the court and finished with 15 points and 14 assists. The Wolves dominated the boards in a game that saw plenty of misses (40.7% FG for Minnesota, 39.7% for Charlotte).

Watching the Bobcats, I felt sort of bad for them. They do have talent in role player form. Bismack Biyombo is awkward and yet will be a really good rebounder and defender in this league. Kemba Walker might end up being a really good third guard on a team someday. Corey Maggette can still score. DJ White and Gerald Henderson are guys every team in the NBA would love have coming off their bench.

But they don’t have any top talent right now. They don’t have anybody who can take over a game for a six-minute stretch to give the team a little breathing room. They don’t have Kevin Love.  Continue Reading…

The Timberwolves are professional basketball players; moving on from tough losses is part of the job. The Wolves have four games in the next five days, two of them on the road, three of them against probable playoff teams. They’ll just have to figure it out. Still, its hard for me to imagine how they’ll manage to put this one behind them.

There is the obvious heartbreak of losing despite Kevin Love’s touched performance. There is the reality that four players played at least 44 minutes in a draining, fiercely competitive double-overtime game. And then there is the rather nauseating thought that if the Wolves had made a single play in the last 46 seconds of overtime, they would have won. If they could have rebounded James Harden’s three point miss; if they could have prevented Russ Westbrook from hitting that impossible midrange floater; if Love had not been called for that travel (which call, given the game’s intensity, the paucity of whistles in its last minutes and the relative insignificance of the little foot-shuffle, seems a little petty to me); if Love had switched harder onto Kevin Durant on that tying three; if J.J. Barea had hit that pristinely wide-open jumper at the buzzer…I don’t even want to get into Anthony Tolliver missing that uncontested doorstep layin, down by three with three minutes left in the second overtime. Anybody feel like playing another basketball game against another good team on Sunday?

Continue Reading…

I’m not the biggest video game nerd in the world, but I used to go nuts over playing Mega Man. There was something so captivating about a guy in a little blue, pixelated suit, trying to shoot Kix cereal at bad guys coming at you from right to left.

Maybe I was just a huge Running Man fan as a child because there was the Light Bright guy trying to saw the Terminator in half or something. I’m not quite sure what the allure was. But I had a really fun time jumping and shooting at attackers from all angles. When they had a sequel of Mega Man in which you could earn powers and become a guy wielding wind or fire or earth or the Temptations, it was hard for me to imagine having more fun playing a video game as a kid. They had taken such a simple concept and added options for attack.

Mega Man had so many weapons now and it was fun to experiment with them on different levels and see which ones got you through the battles on any given pixelated plane. It’s a lot like watching Kevin Love the last two seasons. Kevin Love is the Mega Man of the NBA. He’s unassuming from the outsider’s perspective. You wouldn’t expect the evolution of a stretch-4 to be looking at your right in the face when you see him. Continue Reading…

Potential is stupid.

I have discussions with basketball fans every night on the Daily Dime Live chat on ESPN.com and every night I read comments about how good several young prospects in the league are going to be. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about what could happen in the future. As a Wolves fan, we’ve been going through this mental process for years on years on years now.

Al Jefferson could be a franchise guy some day. If Gerald Green can get some consistent play, he’s going to be a steal for us. Good lord, did the Wolves really just bring back Sebastian Telfair again? Kevin Love needs to get minutes because he’d be the best rebounder in the NBA. Maybe if Jonny Flynn isn’t in the triangle, it won’t look like he’s trying to murder the game of basketball.

If Wes would just attack the basket… If we can get Ricky Rubio to just play here for a couple seasons… Michael Beasley’s scoring ability is like none other if he’ll just get better shot selection… THIS will be the team that Anthony Randolph finally shines on if he can get some minutes…

It’s always if, if and more ifs. Continue Reading…

Wolves fans, you know as well as I do that this could all go away. These past years of nauseous disappointment have taught us that just when things are starting to look promising someone could, say, sign a backup power forward to a series of illegal under-the-table contracts and poison the whole party.

But right now everybody is crushed out on us and I think we should savor it. Check it out: David Thorpe and a bunch of other smart people think Ricky Rubio is the Association’s best rookie. Henry Abbott calls our Wolves the “League Pass team of the year.” Even The USA Today and The New York Times (the papers of record) are showing serious love. Never again will this team be so adored (especially if they continue to lose twice as often as they win).

Also, did you see this?


Do you see the look on Anthony Tolliver’s face? Isn’t it beautiful?