It wasn’t a pretty preseason opener in many ways, but the Wolves got to debut some new faces and beat up on an incomplete Pacers team for the victory.
Between the poor 3-point shooting, the grainy Fargo television feed coming through NBA League Pass, lots of turnovers, and a lot of missed free throws, it would have been pretty easy to want to look away from our first glimpse at what the Wolves have to offer this year. Plus, D.J. Augustin was the main point guard for Indiana due to George Hill sitting out and nobody wants to watch him play starter’s minutes. However, we got to watch Wolves basketball once again and it was pretty fun to see the new direction the team is going.
I’m not going to try to find an overarching storyline with a preseason game and look for how it affects the team moving forward. It’s preseason after all. So let’s just try to look at what each individual player did and file it away for later use. Continue Reading…
It’s a Gwyneth Paltrow movie that shows the parallel life tracks of a woman whose life is up in the air. On the day she gets fired from her PR job, she is catching a subway to get home.
In one parallel, Gwyneth’s character makes her train. She meets a man that she hits it off with right away. Because she caught her train, she gets home early and catches her boyfriend cheating on her. Since she’s found out what a jerk he is, she returns to the new man she’s met on the train and begins a new life.
In the other parallel, she misses the train and doesn’t meet the new man. She gets home well after her boyfriend’s affair is over and is never the wiser to his deceitful ways. She ends up overworking herself to support him while he takes time writing a novel.
In one life, she gets to restart everything. Her life gets turned upside down and she hits rock bottom, but she finds a new way to begin the next phase of her life. In the other life, the bad hits just keep on coming and she’s stuck in the same rut she can’t seem to crawl out of.
Every time I think about Brandon Roy’s upcoming campaign with the Minnesota Timberwolves, I can’t help but think of this movie. There really are two parallels of the next chapter in Brandon Roy’s life. As we move forward, we’ll find out over the next two weeks/one month/three months/full season the answers to the questions we have about Brandon Roy. Continue Reading…
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…
Robbie Hummel, small forward from Purdue University.
I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with a 58th pick. Do you grab someone you can stash away in Europe for a couple of years? Do you essentially pick a guy that can develop in the D-League for you? Is there a way to address a need at 58? Are you just grabbing someone you hope can push the guys on your roster to compete in Summer League and training camp?
Wolves took Robbie Hummel with the 58th pick for two reasons:
1) He can shoot the lights out and this team sucked at shooting last season.
2) He’s torn his ACL twice.
I’m not sure that Hummel will ever be able to truly compete in the NBA after his injuries. We don’t know if it’s completely robbed him of the athletic ability and quickness to stay with NBA talent on a nightly basis. Before he was injured, Hummel was being picked as an All-American candidate and projecting to be a first round pick. He could have probably gone anywhere from late lottery to the mid-20s in the first round. On February 24, 2010, he tore his right ACL in a game here against the Gophers. About eight months later, Hummel tore the same ACL in a team practice on October 16th. Because these injuries happened to him, he fell drastically over the past two years. He essentially ended up in the Wolves’ reach because his ACL tore twice.
Through both of these devastating injuries, he’s come back. After two ACL injuries in the same knee, Robbie scored 16.4 points per game (career-high) for the Boilermakers last season. Sure, he shot a career-worst 41.7% from the field to get those scoring numbers but he also averaged a career-best 7.2 rebounds per game. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He doesn’t make a ton of plays. He just knows how to shoot the ball and find ways to score.
As far as his athleticism, he’s doing okay. Hummel was never the guy to wow you with his movement from a pure athletic standpoint. But when he measured out for the Draft Combine a couple weeks ago, he finished 23rd out of 40 small forwards in the 3/4 court sprint. He finished 25th out of 39 small forwards in the lane agility test. When he had his workout here in Minneapolis, he looked to be in phenomenal shape and moving quite well without even wearing a knee brace.
It’s unrealistic to think the 58th pick is going to come to the team and have an impact. In the last 10 years, only Luis Scola has been the third-to-last player drafted and made a real impact. The second best player in this classification is a fight between Brandon Hunter, Lester Hudson and Derrick Caracter. No, seriously. But Robbie Hummel isn’t your typical end of the draft guy. He was a legit NBA prospect before blowing out the same knee twice. He came back from those injuries to prove he can still play, and he showed enough in the pre-draft workout to let the Wolves think, “what the hell?” and give him a shot.
This week, the Wolves added two really incredible shooters to their roster. This is a good thing considering the Wolves were 27th in FG%, 23rd in 3FG%, 18th in TS%, and 20th in EFG%. If there was a way to measure shooting from anywhere that wasn’t the free throw line, the Wolves pretty much struggled. Now with guys like Chase Budinger and Robbie Hummel on the roster, you can feel a little confident spreading the floor. And when you can spread the floor, you open up driving lanes for Ricky Rubio (when he’s back) and J.J. Barea. You also open up entire sides of the floor for Kevin Love, which in turn opens up the middle for Nikola Pekovic. Adding shooting to this attack is a symbiotic relationship. It allows the offense to be a living and breathing organism.
Chase Budinger and Robbie Hummel may not be the sexiest of moves for this team, but the Wolves are addressing a huge need. They need a specific set of skills (like Liam Neeson in Taken) and are grasping them in the morning sunrise of the 2012 offseason.
Wolves have taken themselves out of the 18th pick fiasco that I babbled about yesterday by dealing it to the Houston Rockets for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu.
The Eliyahu aspect of the trade shouldn’t really matter. He’s a good athlete that really can’t shoot or do much with the ball. I guess a guy like Rubio could make him valuable in the open court on some level, but he really shouldn’t have a real chance at making the team if the Wolves are serious about filling out this roster. He’ll be at Summer League and we’ll see how he’s progressed.
As far as Chase Budinger goes, I love this deal for the Wolves. Is Chase Budinger a future star in the NBA? No. It’s also unlikely the Wolves would have picked up a wing player at 18 that would have provided the instant production that Chase will bring to the team. Terrence Ross falling to the Wolves seems like the only way the team could have maximized this pick. Otherwise, it’s a lot of square pegs into holes that already have square pegs there.
Chase Budinger is as good of an athlete as anybody that will be available, so let’s not pretend they downgraded there. He’s also a guy that shot 40.2% from 3-point range last year. Not only did he shoot 40.2% from 3-point range last year but he can make corner 3s as well.