I hadn’t posted on the Brandon Roy news from earlier this past week because I didn’t really know what to say about it.
He’s looking for alternative methods to keep his comeback going. He was looking good practicing with the team and had a chance to play this past Saturday if his back-to-back practices went well. The problem was the back-to-back practices never happened. His knees didn’t allow it.
We can get into debating whether or not the signing was the correct move but I’m not sure what comes out of such a discussion. It was a low risk, medium reward type of deal. If he’s able to find a way to come back again (and I really hope he gets that chance), I think he’ll have a few moments in which he can provide a little spark to the team and the rest of his contributions will come from being a veteran voice in the locker room. If he can’t come back and has to retire again, I still think a name (even if he’s battered) choosing to sign with this team is just some nice credit for the organization to build around the league. It shows players want to come here, especially if Rubio comes back to full health (many players last season whispered about wanting to play with Rubio last season).
It can be looked at as another swing and a miss by Wolves’ management and it sort of is. But a move like this could have better long-term potential than many of us realize, and I refuse to believe you can have bad contracts on deals of two years or less. It’s a one year test to see if the guy fits and if not, it’s an expiring contract that can be moved at the trade deadline the next season. It’s financially responsible to give out those deals for guys you’re taking a risk on.
With the final roster spot vacated because of Josh Howard’s torn ACL, the Timberwolves have settled on Lazar Hayward to provide some depth on the wing. After working out James Anderson, Joey Graham and Hayward this past week (according to the Star Tribune), the Wolves have settled on Hayward after James Anderson went to the Houston Rockets.
As many of you may remember, Hayward scored 160 points in 42 games as a rookie for the Wolves in the 2010-11 season before being dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder last December. Personally, I would have preferred James Anderson because he does more offensively and would fill more of the shooting guard role the Wolves need when they decide to go small or even just to have backup for Shved at times. Anderson can also play the 3 in a pinch. However, Hayward will most likely provide a few minutes here and there to save Andrei Kirilenko’s legs and back and allow Adelman to not lose too much size at the backup small forward position, if he decides to keep Derrick Williams more at the 4 when he plays him.
The deal is non-guaranteed, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was only here for a week or two as they try to acquire or sign someone else to fill in for the rest of the season.
So yeah… that’s pretty much all there is to this story.
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…
Timberwolves have announced that Lazar Hayward is no longer on the team.
They acquired Robert Vaden and two future second round picks for Hayward and then promptly waived Robert Vaden. Now the Wolves can sign JJ Barea without having to amnesty anybody and pick up a couple second round picks in the process. Not bad, I guess.
I’m going to miss Lazar. He and Wes Johnson were very jovial with each other during their Media Day appearance together. They roomed with each other this past summer during the lockout. Hopefully, this decision doesn’t keep the Wolves from securing Wes Johnson with a contract extension in three years.
Here are the highlights of Lazar Hayward that I could find on YouTube.
I’ll tell you… nobody made layups like Lazar Hayward. NOBODY! So many layups. He also had one of Jonny Flynn’s assists by the looks of the video. That’s like catching a no-hitter in baseball.
In all seriousness, I liked Lazar on the team but I wasn’t married to the idea of him having to be here. He was at a crowded position and will hopefully get a better chance to provide some scoring off the bench in OKC. Good luck, Lazar.
It’s strange to see Lazar Hayward standing on the court next to other NBA players. The slightly stiff, deliberate way he moves and his modestly preportioned body make him appear to be an emissary from the world of normal people, a world of reasonably sized arms and recognizably human leaping ability. (None of this holds true when you’re standing next to him though; then he looks much more like a professional basketball player than any normal people I know).
So it’s been edifying to see him, over the last few games, make actually meaningful contributions to the team’s effort. Hayward will probably never be confused with a slashing, dynamic finisher; he still looks a little overwhelmed by the awesome size and speed that reigns in traffic and around the basket. But recently, Hayward has also been showing off his crisp, clean shooting stroke and, much like Wayne Ellington and Anthony Tolliver, has played with a hunger and exuberance typical of the Wolves’ second unit during this recent shorthanded stretch.
Much like Las Vegas itself, with its miles of ersatz culture, its endless, eerie replicas and synecdoches, Monday’s Wolves-Spurs game looked strangely familiar. The Wolves hit only 36.5% of their shots (and 33.3% of their threes). Their opponent, the Spurs, hit over 50% of theirs. The Wolves look ragged and confused on both sides of the ball. They lose by 21. I’m pretty sure we’ve been here before.
Happily, this was not some disheartening, mid-February grinder. This was the summer league, itself a strange, brightly lit but dishevelled version of the NBA itself, in which nobody really cares who wins and loses (although I don’t think that single-digits are too much to ask) and ragged confusion is an essential facet of the game.
Now, this game was slightly less wild and free than your average summer match-up (apparently the Spurs corporate culture filters all the way down); there were some token efforts by both teams to run an actual offense and move the ball. Still, it was easy to tell what was foremost in most players’ minds: getting up shots. A pageant of adventurous dribbling, long jumpers and forced passes ensued. Viva Las Vegas. Here are some observations:
Wesley Johnson did all of the things we were told he would do: he got way up in the air; he came off a screen to hit a towering, perfectly balanced catch-and-shoot three; he played active, spidery defense, blocking shots, deflecting passes and creating turnovers with well-timed traps. So far so good. But, as promised, he also looked a little shaky with the ball in his hands, at one point allowing it to sort of drift from his fingers and languidly float out of bounds in the open floor. Then his hamstring tightened up and he left the game. As Kevin Arnovitz points out at Truehoop, Wes made little effort to force the action–and this was a good thing since nearly everyone else on the court was doing more than enough forcing. Arnovitz puts it well:
Johnson didn’t dominate the game by any stretch of the imagination. But he also didn’t waste possessions, which is a bad habit most summer-league guards and wings have a hard time kicking…Johnson is the rare summer league player who will look better playing with and against the best players in the world rather than trying to dominate the rookies and fringe prospects that populate NBA Summer League rosters. When Johnson’s teammates start looking for him and setting him up with opportunities to finish plays, he’ll shine as an offensive player while making an impact on the defensive end.
Lazar Hayward looked a little bit small and a little bit slow. But, while other players were clearly playing a notch or two faster than their skills could manage, Hayward stayed pretty chill, showing some Paul Pierce/James Harden-esque craft and a deceptively quick release. And while its hard to tell whether his splay-footed shooting style is a harmless quirk or a sign of poor balance, it does seem like Hayward has developed some useful old-man tricks to overcompensate for his lack of more obvious gifts.
Jeremy Pargo seemed pretty overwhelmed. He over-dribbled; he missed open teammates; he took ill-advised shots. Jonny Flynn can tell you: this is what it looks like when a guy who is used to being the most skilled and athletic player on the floor finally finds himself matched up against his peers.
It has been wondered aloud just what prevents Patrick O’Bryant, despite his size, length, and touch, from sticking in the NBA. Apparently its because he has terrible footwork and seriously limited ball skills. He did fight for some boards and play relatively thoughtful defense, but when O’Bryant had the ball in his hands he looked lost in the wilderness.
Holy smokes, Wayne Ellington had a terrible game. He seemed to have made up his mind, as the team’s presiding veteran, to dominate with his scoring and playmaking. But instead he just ended missing open shots and forcing the ball where it wouldn’t go. I would imagine we’ll see a more measured, poised Ellington in the coming days.
Speaking of trying too hard, announcers Rick Kamla and Steve Smith were working manfully to affect a bro-ey camaraderie. Smith is a likeable, knowledgeable guy but his emulation of Mark Jackson’s wisely macho proclamations–“you know the rule: hand down, man down!”; “Mama, there goes that man!”–has got to go. And Kamla is kind of unbearable. That Stu Scott-ish combination of outdated playground slang and classic broadcaster over-annunciation almost always just ends up sounding like someone’s dorky little brother trying to hang with the cool kids. Can’t take it.