Archives For Martell Webster

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…

Our friend Darren Wolfson at ESPN 1500 has reported that the Wolves are going to offer Brandon Roy a two-year contract and that the money is not known.

I don’t even know if I’m ready to deal with the idea of Roy’s knees actually being healthy enough to be a serviceable player in the NBA. It’s not even like he had a catastrophic injury that left him in deep Shaun Livingston type of territory. He had injuries that were manageable (relatively speaking of course) and the wear-and-tear-and-more-tear just deteriorated the situation in his middle-leg-joints (medical term) past the point of no return.

But there apparently is a return in sight. With that return, it means the Wolves have to woo him with money over those proposed two years in order to convince him Minnesota is more attractive than a more instant title contender. So how much money do they have?

For committed salary heading into next year (courtesy of Sham Sports), the Wolves currently stand at $52,874,151. That is with the understanding that Brad Miller’s retirement paperwork has all of the Ts crossed and the lower case Js dotted. But that number can be deceiving.  Continue Reading…

Martell Webster’s season will most likely be remembered with agonizing humor.

His blunder at the end of an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on February 20th was a frustrating mistake that potentially cost the Wolves a victory when the season still had life. He stole an inbound pass from Julyan Stone with the Wolves down three and just under four seconds left in the game, drove to the basket, and slammed it home. Rick Adelman said it was possibly emotions getting the best of Martell.

Martell explained his thought process as “But what was going through my mind was go to the rim and possibly get fouled. The contingency to that shot was get a bucket, get a foul, they miss free throws and we get another shot. It didn’t work out that way.” By the time he flushed the ball through the rim and the Wolves fouled Corey Brewer, there was only half a second left in the game and the Nuggets held on for victory.

He was the butt of the joke for the rest of the season whenever Wolves and end-of-game situations came up. In reality, it was a microcosm of sorts for how the Wolves played at the end of basketball games. Webster rushed through the motions and tried to extend the game. When the Wolves found themselves in “clutch situations” (plus/minus five points with five or fewer minutes left in the fourth or overtime), they had one of the highest paces in the league.

Considering the Wolves and their up-tempo DNA, it’s possible that was by design. They wanted to continue to run teams out of the building, no matter what the situation. But their execution in these situations left a lot to be desired.

There wasn’t really many clutch situations in which they were that close to having an advantage. When the defense was good, the offense seemed to not be able to match it. When the offense increased as the time ticked away in close games, the defense became pitiful.

Not all of those can be blamed on Martell Webster. In fact, very little of it can be blamed on him. Webster was not good this year. In fact, other than the five-minute season he had in 2008-09, he’s only had a worse PER once (9.9 in his second season) and WS/48 twice (.039 and .036 his first two years) than the 10.0 PER and .064 WS/48 numbers he put up this season. He also tied the second worse true shooting percentage of his career with a 53.3%.

Some of this could be chalked up to frustrating decisions with the basketball. Some of this could be due to the back injury he’ll pretty much have to live with the rest of his career. He’s a lottery pick that has never produced relative to his draft position, but he’s also a guy that can be a valuable veteran in the right role. And it seemed like for most of the season, Webster was accepting of and thriving in that role.

He has young players’ ears and even though he’s just 25 years old, he’s a seven-year veteran that has learned how the league works. He’s here to help the team but he’s also here for veteran stability.

Unfortunately on that particular February night in Denver, Martell will be remembered for not playing with stability or poise. He’ll be remembered for that embodiment of frustrating Wolves’ play at the end of clutch games this year. They made strides, finishing 7-7 in games decided by three points or less. But to be a serious playoff contender, the Wolves need all of their guys to continue to grow.

Webster is a reminder that grit and determination can get you on the court in the NBA. But he’s also a reminder to this young Wolves team that you have to keep your head when the game gets tight.

With just $600,000 of his $5.7 million contract being guaranteed before July 1st, we’ll find out in the next two weeks if he’ll get more chances with this team to learn how to close out games in the future.

The cruelties of the NBA schedule are beginning to catch up to the Wolves. To begin with, they are wading through the mire of a seven-game road trip, one that seems to grow more punishing as it goes on and that includes games against the three best teams in the Western Conference. Trips like this are almost an inevitability in a season as surreal as this one. Perhaps no less inevitable is the idea that players’ bodies will begin to break down as the year wears on. Sure enough, the Wolves have fallen victim to that one too.

During this evening’s game in Sacramento, a nightmarish idea started playing through my head: that  without Rubio and the suddenly emergent Nikola Pekovic, and with J.J. Barea and Michael Beasley knackered with nagging injuries, the Wolves begin more and more to resemble the team of the past two seasons. That’s a paranoid thought for sure; I’m guessing that Rick Adelman and superstar-mode Kevin Love will have something to say before that happens. Paranoid, too, because every team plays games in which their attention and energies slacken. Nevertheless, for a few reasons, this 16-point loss to the Kings brought back some awful memories.

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The Wolves got Kevin Love a couple of easy baskets against the Houston Rockets during their fourth and final meeting of the season by finding ways to get him moving across the lane and into the strong side of the floor. I thought I’d examine a couple of plays by breaking down how they developed and the options it leaves Minnesota on the floor. I figured I’d get my Sebastian Pruiti on for a little bit.  Continue Reading…

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…

From the Wolves:

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced today that guard Martell Webster is out indefinitely as he recovers from microdiscectomy surgery that was performed on Sept. 28. Webster is currently undergoing further evaluation by the Timberwolves medical staff.

“Out indefinitely” is such an ominous phrase. Whatever that means, considering how immobile Webster was after his surgery last year, the Wolves will definitely be thin at the two guard position this year. As Zach pointed out, for all of the optimism, the Wolves still don’t have a single proven perimeter scorer or defender on their roster. Arron Afflalo sure would be nice.

It seems only right that Martell Webster (231, 4.06) and Wesley Johnson (245, 3.91) are paired so closely together on #NBARank. They are, after all, the two Wolves left standing from David Kahn’s Summer 2010 swingman shopping spree. One irony of this fact is that of the three fellas vying last season to be the Wolves’ regular two–all of whom were young, curiously incomplete (as players) and most likely playing out of position–only Corey Brewer, with his dilated, edge-of-panic defense, had that single upper-echelon skill that separated him from the pack. But Wes Johnson and Martell Webster can shoot and Corey Brewer cannot, not even a little. And for this reason, Corey gets to wear a terribly beautiful, diamond-encrusted, bullet-proof SUV on his ring finger while Wes and Martell will still be logging off-guard minutes for the Wolves next year. Yeah, that part is a little confusing.

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Photo by Terry Bain

Here’s an interesting thing David Kahn said in his FSN live chat on Wednesday:

I think we have too many wing players and it may be something we have to address, if not before the deadline then certainly next summer. The concept was we would create a lot of competition for playing time in practices but I don’t think it works as well. It works more theoretically than practically.

Of course, the Wolves’ wing bounty was one of the primary criticisms leveled at Kahn and Rambis this offseason. And as recently as last month, Kahn and Tony Ronzone were still defending those moves on the aforementioned grounds: that competition would raise everybody’s level of play and allow the Wolves to identify the best players of the bunch.

So it’s pretty striking for Kahn to now admit that this little experiment hasn’t worked as the team had hoped. My guess is that it has to do with the recent struggles of Martell Webster and Wes Johnson.

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“Obviously,” said Kurt Rambis after this harsh game, “what plagues us as a ballclub is our composure in late game situations.” That it is indeed obvious makes the point no less salient and no less worth repeating. The Wolves are glaringly young and inexperienced; this resonates through nearly every game that the team has played this year.  In past seasons, the Wolves were defined by a simple, bitter fact: they were much less talented than nearly every other team. Watching those teams play, one was rarely tempted into false optimism; the crushing runs just seemed inevitable.

But that’s not quite the case this year. I’m guessing no one would look at this team’s roster and confuse them with the Miami Heat, but this season the Wolves are able to do many of the things that actual basketball teams do: they build leads; they make runs; they pose matchup problems; they manage to entertainingly compete with other basketball teams. What aggravates is the way the small but glaring mistakes accrue throughout a game, taking on a sinister collective weight as the Wolves inch closer to another single digit loss.

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