Archives For J.B. Bickerstaff

Rambis, the bullets

Benjamin Polk —  July 13, 2011 — 1 Comment

Photo by Will Keightley

These days, Wolves fans have to instinctively wince a little whenever we find our crew in the national media.  But thanks to the Kurt Rambis odyssey (“fiasco” or “debacle” could also suffice), here we are. So here are some more tidbits:

Thing is, the Wolves were already the fastest team in the league last year, averaging 96.5 possessions per 48 minutes. They were also one of the very worst in the league at converting fastbreak opportunities and turning the ball over…If Kahn is in fact trying to model his roster after these rare speed demons [early decade Kings, ’08 Lakers, D’Antoni-era Suns], he’s doing a miserable job. Those teams were built with play-making veterans, unselfish offensive philosophies, deft passing from all five positions and consistent 3-point shooters. These elements of efficiency and execution were necessary to win by imposing an uptempo style of play night in and night out against top competition. Kahn’s teams have not even approached a single element of what made these offenses so great.

True enough. I would also add: the Wolves played at such a high pace largely because they so deeply loved turning the ball over. Lots of quick turnovers means lots of possessions that end before they begin, which means more possessions per game.

  • This is hilarious: rumor is that Don Nelson is interested in the Wolves’ coaching vacancy (thanks to College Wolf for the tip).  In some ways, this makes a little sense. David Kahn wants that “uptempo DNA” and holy smokes, Nellie certainly has that. What’s more, with his knack for dissolving positional distinctions in order to create matchup anarchy, he would seem somehow suited for the Wolves’ oddly sized front court mishmash. On the other hand, its hard to see how the Wolves would address their defensive problems by hiring a coach who almost literally stopped coaching defense in Golden State. (Also, does Nellie know that Anthony Randolph plays for the Wolves?).
  • The Wolves’ rumored plan to hire Bernie Bickerstaff to mentor his son J.B., would seem a bit more complicated now that J.B. has agreed to join Kevin McHale in Houston. Seriously, what are they going to do?

Lately the webs (including we here at A Wolf Among Wolves) have been abuzz with talk of Michael Beasley’s hot shooting. How will defenses adjust? How will he adjust to those adjustments, plus his inevitable cooling off? What will happen when he plays a team that plays better defense than Sacramento? We got a few of these answers on Friday night against the Lakers, but I thought I ‘d put these questions to the two coaches who have worked with Beasley the most this year, Reggie Theus and J.B. Bickerstaff (the subtle differences in their answers are pretty interesting, by the way). First Mr. Theus:

I know you’ve been working with Beasley a lot. Can you talk about the way you’ve seen his game change in the past few weeks since he’s started to become more successful?

We talk about straight lines. I saw him as a guy coming in here that shot a lot of off-balance shots. We talked about how a game develops over the course of your career, the differences between an older veteran and a young player. The biggest difference is wasted motion. I said, “Right now you’ve got a lot of wasted motion [even though] it looks good.” And I used myself as an example. I was less flashy but more productive as I got even into my thirties because of the wasted motion.

I was telling him that he does a lot of things that are off-balance, so we talked about straight lines. Drive in a straight line, get your shot in a straight line. We talk about not snapping his arm back, and getting a full extension of his arm [on his jumper]. He’s worked very hard at trying to fit into this system and play within a concept and really find his niche. Because in the beginning of the season we didn’t really know if we had a go-to guy. And that’s something that’s not given, it’s earned. And he’s earned that.

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