According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves are in the midst of shopping Chase Budinger. Several teams so far, according to Woj, have made their interest known, including the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons.
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I wasn’t prepared for how interesting watching an NBA team practice was going to be. When the assembled media was granted access to the Timberwolves’ first day of training camp for the last half hour, we filed in and sat down on the north side of the Taylor Center’s court. The players were going up and down, divided into three sets that matched last night’s squads for the Dunks After Dark scrimmages — black, white and gold.
The coaches on the floor — Flip Saunders, Ryan Saunders and Sidney Lowe — set up a drill on dealing with the pick and roll, working on specific calls and approaches. Some of it may have seemed basic, but training camp is about getting everyone on the same page. It’s a way to say, “This is how we do things.” To that end, it’s not a test just of learning specific things, but a test of how well a player learns things in general, how coachable a player is.
The first true superstar to play for the Wolves was Kevin Garnett, a power forward. Eventually, he was traded for Al Jefferson, a power forward/center, who was eventually (and, arguably, unnecessarily) replaced by Kevin Love, a power forward. Heck, even Tom Gugliotta and Christian Laettner put up big numbers for the Wolves in the early-to-mid 90s.
Power forwards have led the Timberwolves for nearly the entire existence of the franchsie. Thaddeus Young has a chance to lead the team in scoring this year, but for the first time in nearly two decades, the current shape of the franchise does not revolve around the development of a promising young power forward.
When a team trades its star, it isn’t uncommon for that team’s starting lineup to look completely different the following year. When Kevin Garnett was traded in 2007 to the Boston Celtics, the only starter that remained somewhat consistent in the same role the following season was Marko Jaric. Besides Al Jefferson, there was uncertainty surrounding who would be opening day starters in 2007-08. Craig Smith? Sebastian Telfair? Rashad McCants? Theo Ratliff? Ryan Gomes? Greg Buckner? Randy Foye?
Even Kirk Snyder started 18 games that year. Yeesh.
After Kevin Love was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, there was little doubt in what most of the starting lineup would look like. Once the trade went down, it was assumed that Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Thaddeus Young and Kevin Martin would be starters from day one. Most teams who rid themselves of their star see a completely new starting 5. This team’s isn’t going to be all that big of a mystery. It’s the rest of the rotation that is so fascinating. And it starts with the final starting spot.
We’re kicking off our offseason coverage here at A Wolf Among Wolves with a comprehensive roster review of the team from this past season, looking at how each player’s 2013-14 went and what we see for them going forward. One player a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and rolling up to the starters.
Who is Chase Budinger? And is it more troubling if we don’t know the answer to that question, or if we do? We are talking, after all, about a player who was brought over from Houston as a key piece of the puzzle to fix the Wolves’ offensive woes, a guy who was supposed to be a seasoned vet of former head coach Rick Adelman’s system. And yet in two seasons on the Wolves, Budinger has played in only 64 games and for just 1,259 minutes. By contrast, Terrence Jones — who was selected by Houston with the 18th pick acquired from Minnesota for Budinger — has played 2,354 minutes in that same stretch. J.J. Barea played 1,471 minutes this season alone. So have we seen enough to know? Or is the fact that we’ve seen so little the more telling thing? Continue Reading…
The Minnesota Timberwolves need to hit more shots.
Okay, that’s not totally the end. That would be an extremely short post of basketball analysis, but at this point in the season I am of the belief that this is the crux of the Wolves’ issue with the 2013-14 season. It’s hard to judge the disappointment of everything going on because the expectations and preseason guessing are what creates the disappointment. If we all went into this season with the expectation the Wolves would miss the playoffs and had no real chance at getting some postseason experience, would we be disappointed at all? Continue Reading…
The rotation may finally be whole. While the starting lineup of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been great for the team almost the entire season, the bench has been pretty tough to handle. As the season has gone on, Rick Adelman has found ways to stagger the substitutions and try to leave at least one of the main scorers (Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin) on the floor with a few members of the bench. But the Wolves’ starters are still averaging more minutes per game than any lineup in the league.
They may finally be getting a little more rest. Ronny Turiaf returned to the team Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and Chase Budinger will make his season debut for the Wolves Wednesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns. Continue Reading…
Chase Budinger cleared to return to full-contact practice. Still no timetable for his return, but obvious step in right direction. #Twolves
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 18, 2013
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been waiting for Chase Budinger to get healthy enough to see if the money committed and the vision of Flip Saunders this offseason would provide the necessary balance to make this more of a complete team. Continue Reading…
Chase Budinger had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, according to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dr. James Andrews performed a meniscectomy on Budinger to remove the damaged meniscus. Here is the press release from the Wolves: Continue Reading…
We were all having such a nice time. The weekend is almost upon us, Media Day is on Monday, training camp starts on October 1, and then the Wolves dropped this in our laps:
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that forward Chase Budinger sustained a cartilage injury to his left knee.
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) September 27, 2013
Hooray! Just in case you forgot, Budinger tore his meniscus in his left knee last season. Timberwolves PR added in a follow-up tweet that “Budinger to visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL early next week. An update to his status will be provided after that examination.”
Two things: 1.) This is lame. 2.) Don’t panic.
I know: I know. It’s hard not to when last season was picked over by the vultures of injury like a broken body in the desert, but you need to keep in mind that every team has players that get injured every season (well, Granger aside, not the Pacers) and that the Wolves were not going to get off scot-free just because they rang up such a huge injury surplus last season. We don’t know the extent of the injury or the exact nature of it.
So let’s talk impact: If Budinger misses some time, it likely solidifies the starting rotation as Rubio / Martin / Brewer / Love / Pek. And hey: That’s not awful. There was always the possibility that that would be the starting lineup anyways in order to provide shooting punch off the bench and defense for the starters. The Wolves’ roster is more balanced this year than last, and they can absorb some hits like this along the way. It’s important to remember that every team needs to if they’re going to be in the hunt for the postseason.
But let me also put a sympathetic arm around you. If you panicked at this news, it’s because you’re suffering from a mild form of PTSD called PTSSD (Post Timberwolves Season Stress Disorder). It’s the inverse of what happens for Heat or Lakers fans when they sign Greg Oden (who hasn’t played a minute of NBA basketball in FOUR YEARS) or Chris Kaman and then think to themselves, “You know, this … COULD WORK!” We assume the worst. We’re not just underdog fans. We’re Midwestern underdog fans. I can’t tell you not to feel the feels. But I can tell you to keep your chin up.
At the very least, keep it well away from your knees. They’re the worst.