Archives For Denver Nuggets

Rubio in Sleeves

You probably need some cheering up, so here’s Ricky Rubio (in the Timberwolves’ sleek new v-neck shirsey) with a neckerchief, courtesy of Steve McPherson.

There are plenty of reasons why the Timberwolves lost to the Nuggets on Wednesday night. Denver scored 60 points in the paint, exploiting Minnesota’s questionable perimeter defense and lack of a rim-protecting big man to compensate for it. The Nuggets erupted for a 36-point second quarter, extending the halftime lead to nine (64-55), a difficult hole for any team to crawl out of. Ten (10!!!) different Denver players logged 18 minutes or more, keeping fresh legs on the court at all times, their capable bench unit outscoring the Wolves’ bench players 47-10. Minnesota’s assist-to-turnover ratio was 19-16. Shall I go on?

A loss causes fans, coaches, media members and players to look beyond the box score an into the realm of the abstract for explanations. Postgame, Rick Adelman repeatedly stressed his disappointment with the team’s effort, especially early in the game, and hinted that his players may not be handling their early-season success very well: “There’s been all this talk about what kind of team we can be. I don’t care what people talk about… we have done nothing.” Corey Brewer, candid as always, echoed his coach’s sentiments and elaborated on the mental state of the Timberwolves: “We’ve got to get some kind of swag, or energy. I was in Denver last year, and we thought we were the greatest team ever, even when we weren’t. We need to get an identity. We don’t have an identity yet.” Continue Reading…

WolvesTrio

I would like to preface this post with the fact that I have full confidence in Rick Adelman’s coaching abilities, fully believe in his philosophies when it comes to basketball, and think his offensive system is superb. I will never pretend to know as much about basketball theory or even half of the practical applications of said theories in comparison to Rick Adelman.

The offense of the Minnesota Timberwolves is crucial. This isn’t so much basketball theory as an expectation of what’s in store for us this season. I’m not breaking any ground in telling you that the Wolves have to be good on offense. This isn’t news to anybody reading this site. The Wolves need to score points and we expect that they’ll need to score a lot of points in order to neutralize whatever shortcomings are there on defense. We felt this way going into last season. Points wouldn’t be the problem; defense would.

Turns out that was backwards but mostly due to an injury rash that turned into an injury flesh-eating bacteria. Kevin Love went down. Ricky Rubio came back but missed significant time while needing a month or two to get back to where he needed to be. Brandon Roy never materialized. Chase Budinger went down for the middle of the season with love handles on each side of that middle. Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko were sporadically banged up. The season fell apart before we could even see how it fit together.

And that’s why the offense of the Wolves is so crucial this year. I think we see frustration this early from Rick Adelman for two reasons: Continue Reading…

rubio smile

It’s frustrating, right?

For two years, we’ve had hope that the misfortunes of this franchise, which have often been used as setups to punch lines about the Wolves, were going to turn around. The Wolves have a roster that includes the number two pick of a recent draft, the best power forward in the NBA, a point guard prodigy that has been competing at a professional level since he was 14, and one of the best coaches of the past 25 years. We’ve had a big man made of granite emerge from the depths of the roster.

But the Wolves have also had a horrible run of injury “luck” in the past calendar year. Ricky Rubio tore his knee, Nikola Pekovic had bone spurs, Kevin Love had a concussion, Love broke his hand, Chase Budinger tore part of his knee, Brandon Roy had the same issues, Andrei Kirilenko got dinged up, Ricky Rubio had a back issue, Kevin broke his hand again, Pek strained his groin, AK hurt his calf, then his quad, Pek strained his abdominal, etc. Let’s not forget the scary stretch for Rick Adelman in which his wife had medical issues, which she hopefully can put far behind her very soon.  Continue Reading…

On the surface, the Nuggets and the Wolves in their current state of frontcourt decimation seem to share a common profile. Both teams run radically simplified half-court offenses and generate many of their best looks off of opponents’ turnovers. Both teams rely heavily on the energy and wiles of their backcourts and depend on dribble penetration to create looks. Neither team shoots threes well; both teams require on heavy outputs of energy to play their game.

But two crucial differences make those commonalities merely superficial. The first is that while Denver is absurdly deep, rich with players who fit the profile of their team’s game, the Wolves are down to their last nine ragtag dudes, many of whom are not what you might call All-Star material. Its a lot easier to sprint up and down the floor when you know that a breather is right around the corner and that your team won’t be the worse off for it. The second is that the Wolves play that way by necessity, out of desperation, while the Nuggets do so by design. When you play with such simplicity, chaos and pace, you are in the Nuggets’ wheelhouse. And nobody does it better; if you get drawn into their game, particularly on their home floor, where the thin air seems to corrode your lungs and turn your legs into noodles, the Nugs will run you through the thresher.

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RickAdelKahn

The trade deadline is schedule for 2pm CT on Thursday and the Wolves are said to be buyers right now by enticing prospective trade partners with Brandon Roy’s salary relief and a future first round pick. This makes sense for the team if it means they’re adding a piece they can take into next year that helps balance out the roster without taking on too much money. While I don’t believe Glen Taylor to be a cheap owner by any means (when the team is good and producing, he historically spends the money and even flirts with the luxury tax), the Wolves do need to be cognizant of cost right now (more on that in a bit).

So what could the Wolves be targeting?  Continue Reading…

KEVIN-LOVE

When Jon Krawczynski broke the news that Kevin Love was coming back to start for the Wolves tonight, a brief hush fell over press row, or at least, my end of it. It was about an hour before gametime and we were suddenly filled with an admixture of uneasiness and excitement. Love was supposed to be back in six to eight weeks, but here he was taking the floor in just a little over four. The way Love described it after the game didn’t make it seem like a medical miracle. “The doctor said, ‘When’s your next game?’ and I said, ‘Tomorrow.’ He said, ‘If you want to give it a go, go ahead.’ And I said all along that when I have a chance that I was going to be out there first game and I didn’t want to wait.” Continue Reading…

"Kerze," Gerhard Richter

Well this was surely one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen. It has been a little bit horrifying to see how, during this rough April, the Wolves have slowly morphed into a pre-Adelman version of their defensive selves. The first half of tonight’s game was easily the apex of that nauseating transformation. Like the Rambis-era Wolves, this crew has showed execrable perimeter defense. Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari…and really whoever else felt like penetrating the Wolves’ defense in the first half was more than free to do so.

Almost worse than that, though, and possibly even more redolent of their old selves, has been the team’s incompetence away from the ball. When, in a given defensive possession, the time comes to negotiate an off-the-ball screen, or make a decisive rotation, or give weakside help, the Wolves have reacted indecisively–and defensive indecision is an excellent way to give up points again and again. It was not so much a matter of lack of effort–although the Wolves’ first half was not exactly a paragon of energetic basketball–as of lack of awareness and anticipation.

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That was not a fun way to lose a basketball game.

Denver’s side of it will talk about how they gutted out the win with depth and heart and all of that crappy romance novel stuff that people love to spit after a win like this. And on some level, it’s completely valid. Ty Lawson injured his ankle in the first half and never returned. Then Andre Miller acted like a petulant teenager to the refs and was thrown out, leaving Denver with something called a Julyan Stone (I think you can get one from Crate & Barrel) to run the point.

Denver did outhustle the Wolves. They were active in the paint, fought for every loose ball and seemed to want to rebound more than the Wolves. Several times, it looked like guys on the Wolves were looking for someone else to grab a rebound, while Denver chased down the ball like it was a historic artifact in the National Treasure movie franchise. Kevin Love ended up with a 20 and 13 night, which doesn’t sound bad at all until you watch Kenneth Faried destroy him on the boards in the second half and overtime (Love had five rebounds, Faried had 10).

But let’s get down to the embodiment of what went wrong in this game – the Martell Webster blunder. Continue Reading…

It’s not every day that an opportunity arises to write about the Timberwolves on the main Truehoop page. But today, by virtue of the Wolves’ glancing involvement with Carmelo Anthony, is one of those days. As such, our boy Zach got his pretty face in the lights. Suffice it to say, he was underwhelmed with the Brewer-for-Randolph deal:

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ESPN is reporting that the Knicks have finally landed Mr. Carmelo Anthony. In exchange, the Knicks have traded almost all of their young players plus Governor’s Island and three scuzzy, bro-infested East Village bars. For us, though, here’s the important part:

New York will send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota as part of the deal in exchange for Corey Brewer, a league source told Broussard.

I hope that, just once, the Wolves deign to put Darko and Curry on the floor together. That would be pure magic.

By the way, Corey Brewer is/was my favorite T-Wolf. This hurts a little.