Archives For Kevin Martin

Brew

Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love, and Nikola Pekovic were sporting the white side of the practice jerseys against a team of J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved, Robbie Hummel, Derrick Williams, and Dante Cunningham.

As media availability for the first practice of training camp began, the likely starting lineup for the Wolves to begin the regular season was actually losing to a second unit by a few points. With Jack Sikma reminding Nikola Pekovic that he was going to have to leave the key some time on offense to avoid a violation, the starting Wolves set up their offense. There was some motion across the lane and Pek found himself defended on the block by Cunningham. Because of his strength and size advantages, Pek had deep post position as he received the post-entry pass from Brewer. Immediately, Williams dropped down from the wing to double up on Pek.

Pekovic absorbed the double-team’s attention, kicked it right back out to Brewer, who was waiting on the left win above the break, and the Wolves had a spot-up 3-point attempt rip through the net. This was the first bit of training camp action that I got to see from the Wolves and it nearly knocked me deeper into my seat. Healthy players. Kick-out passes to shooters that resulted in points. This seemed like a pretty cool way to kill some time in Mankato Tuesday afternoon.  Continue Reading…

BareaInquisitive

With a couple days until the Minnesota Timberwolves kick off their 2013 Media Day and officially get going on starting the new season, we’re still finding things to pass the time. Some people may be doing it with Grand Theft Auto V or even by reading my Rabbit Hole posts on CBSSports.com (shameless plug!). Some people are wrapped up in the NFL season and the close of the baseball season. And some of us are ranking players on various platforms.

ESPN.com is pumping out the NBARank project right now with more than 100 bloggers, writers, and media pundits giving each player a score on a scale of 1 to 10. Then those scores are averaged out for each player and that’s how we get their rank. There are 500 players ranked each season and it gives an interesting look into how the collective can come to certain conclusions about every player around the league. It doesn’t make the rankings definitive by any means but it certainly gives you a good idea of how the basketball coverage community views the players.

NBARank is past the halfway point in the rankings, so I thought it might be a good idea to check out which Wolves players fell from 190-500. Again, these rankings are not definitive and you’ll find that some players just don’t get paid attention to by the collective, leading to a ranking that is often too low for some guys. But this will kill some time so let’s check out some of the Wolves players.  Continue Reading…

Rubio leads the offense

On the surface, the question that is the headline of this post may seem preposterous to fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ricky Rubio is one of the best facilitators in the NBA and someone that can turn any offensive weapon into an offensive weapon with an ability to score efficiently. Team him up with Kevin Love and you’ll get a deadly pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll game. You’ll get post-entry passes on point that don’t require Love to give up precious post position. Team him up with Nikola Pekovic and you have one of the better pick-and-roll combinations in the NBA, despite Pekovic not exactly being a threat to drop the hammer down with an alley-oop dunk on the play. And again, the post-entry passes are so choice.

Run one of those fancy pick-and-rolls with Rubio as the initiator while having Chase Budinger and Kevin Martin in the corners and the defense respecting Kevin Love’s ability to stretch the floor and the bulldozer rumbling down the lane that is Nikola Pekovic and it seems like the possibilities for points are endless. Even when you throw some of the bench guys in the game with Rubio and we know Derrick Williams scores better at the rim with Rubio on the court, Dante Cunningham is a great pick-and-pop option in the midrange, and the Corey Brewer-Ricky Rubio fast breaks could be quick and deadly. There’s a lot to love with these combinations.

So what’s with the question in the headline? Continue Reading…

MiniMart

There was an awkward moment during Kevin Martin’s press conference that made me pretty curious about his impact on the court. After discussing how Martin felt like he could score 17 or 18 points per game in his sleep and the impact he could have being back in Rick Adelman’s system, someone in the media section asked (and I’m paraphrasing) if Martin was capable of having a big enough impact on offense to make up for a lack of impact on defense.

It was at this point that Flip Saunders talked about defending as a team and how this isn’t a one-on-one league. I fully support this. Regardless of what you want to make out of his short time on the job (and you know how much I love that “intelligent” conversation), what he’s said there is completely true and something that I’ve been saying as soon as we realized this team was going to have Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic as the two big men going forward. While Pek showed a lot of big defensive improvements last year and Love’s defensive missteps are a little overblown (other than when he’s complaining to an official and not getting back on defense, which isn’t as often as people make it out to be but is still too often to be acceptable), their inability to protect the rim means the perimeter defenders have to be pretty good.

And by all accounts, Martin isn’t that good of a defender. In fact, he’s bad enough for a member of the media to ask Flip Saunders in front of Kevin Martin how they’re going to do defensively with Kevin Martin on the court. It made me wonder just what kind of impact Martin has on his teams.  Continue Reading…

Spurs

Model and process.

The San Antonio Spurs are the model franchise for those places that have trouble attracting free agents to move their families to a less than desirable location. When I say less desirable, it’s in relative terms. It’s hard to equate our lives to those of an NBA player, whose lifestyle will always be a different world to us. When you have the opportunity to live in a lively city that also has complementary amazing weather or unmatched nightlife, that’s going to be more desirable for you as an NBA player. When you don’t have those luxuries, you have to have a core set of values that never get compromised. You have to possess a process to believe in.

This is how the San Antonio Spurs are and it makes me insanely jealous. It’s not even that they’re successful. Sure, it would be awesome if the Wolves had four championships or even one championship to look up at in the rafters of the Target Center, but what I’m envious of is the process for how they look to accomplish their goals for success. Continue Reading…

MiniMart

Now that the Timberwolves have lost out on J.J. Redick, they’ve turned their attention to Kevin Martin as the backup plan for the shooting guard position.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and Sam Amick of USA Today, the Wolves and Martin have agreed on a four-year, $28 million contract. The awkward but accurate shooting guard is incredibly familiar with Rick Adelman’s system, which he came into the league with in Sacramento and played in with the Houston Rockets for a couple of seasons.  Continue Reading…

Bud

I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is the Timberwolves verbally agreed to a deal with Chase Budinger for three years and $16 million the same day that Martell Webster and the Washington Wizards agreed to a deal for four years and $22 million. The third year for Budinger is a player option, which I think gives the Wolves great flexibility moving forward.

The bad news is J.J. Redick is officially off the market. He’s agreed to a sign-and-trade as a part of a three-team, four-player deal that will send him to the Clippers. Here is the info from the tweets: Continue Reading…

You expend serious effort in an ultimately futile double-digit comeback, one punctuated by one of the greatest scorers ever breaking your heart on possession after possession. You get on an airplane that night,  fly to Houston, Texas and then play in yet another NBA basketball game 24-hours later. Just thinking about this makes me want to ice my knees and take a nap. And yet the Wolves did this very thing and managed to put together their finest offensive performance of the season (and a pretty solid defensive one to boot). An aesthetically pleasing road win against a good team in which your most talented players really live up to those talents: this one feels pretty nice.

Continue Reading…

I was shocked to hear that Bonzi Wells has been invited to the Wolves’ training camp and even more shocked to hear that he is only 35 years old. Considering that Bonzi played serious minutes on a team that included Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis and Detlef Schrempf,  I had him pegged for at least 50. But I was wrong and right now he’s a Wolf. Come to think of it, the Wolves could use an upgrade at center; I wonder if Sabonis is still in playing shape?

Even more surprising: the Wolves are also pursuing NBA Finals hero and bona fide Small Person J.J. Barea. Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? a three-guard lineup featuring Rubio, Ridnour, Barea? Am I right? But for real: is another primary ball handler really what the Wolves need?

Speaking of perimeter players: now that the Chris-Paul-to-the-Lakers deal is in ashes (beautifully played everybody), I’m curious whether Kevin Martin remains available. He makes a chunk of change ($11.5 million this year and $12.4 million next year), he never passes the ball and the Wolves rotten perimeter D wouldn’t be made any less rotten, but Martin is the most efficient high volume perimeter scorer in the league–and the Wolves could definitely use a little of that.

And by the way, isn’t it delicious to see the Wolves’ unprotected 1st round pick bandied about in Chris Paul trade rumors? Oh Kevin McHale, will your gifts ever stop giving?