Archives For Myles Brown

Steve McPherson, ruminating.

As Heraclitus told us some years back, “nothing is permanent except change”. If you’ve ever been an alive person you know that this fact is a little sad, a little hopeful and inexorably true. So it is today. Our good friend A Wolf Among Wolves co-founder and very tall man Myles Brown is leaving us for olde New York and a sweet job at Nike. This is a great loss for us but its a fabulous opportunity for Myles, so if you see him on the street, give him a pound. We will, of course, miss his contributions here at the site (although we very much hope he’ll be able to cover the Wolves’ NY/BK excursions) but we’ll miss even more the infuriating and hilarious courtside conversations, his magnificent obsessions with enigmas like Kanye West and Kobe Bryant and, most of all, his friendship. Thanks Myles, we’ll miss ya.

Of course, this is also an opportunity for us to renew ourselves and, in bringing Steve McPherson into the fold, I think we’ve done that in spectacular fashion. You may know Steve from his contributions to the local music scene, both as a musician and a writer. Or you may follow his Twitter feed (@steventurous) or know his very insightful, culturally attuned and funny basketball writing at Feelings Aren’t Numbers and Hardwood Paroxysm. Any man who can drop references to both Homer and Anais Nin while also delving deep into advanced stats is a man after my own heart. So welcome, Steve, we’re thrilled to have you. Here’s the man in his own words:

The late, great Mitch Hedberg had a bit where he talked about how after he said he liked to drink red wine, this girl asked him, “Doesn’t it give you a headache?” “Yeah,” he replied. “Eventually. But the beginning and the middle parts are amazing. I’m not going to stop doing something because of what happens eventually. ‘Mitch: do you want an apple?’ No, because eventually it will be a core.”

That joke can teach you a lot about following the Timberwolves. And not just because they’ve been trying to build a core for the last several years. The beginning and middle parts of the first stage of my Timberwolves fandom were amazing: I watched Kevin Garnett turn from a promising young player into one of the game’s top power forwards, then watched the Wolves advance through a tough seven game series against the Sacramento Kings in 2004 under his leadership, the leadership of the league’s MVP.

Then they faced the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and the headaches started settling in. There were many and they were legion and had names like Clippergate, Troy Hudson, Randy Foye, David Kahn, Jonny Flynn, Manna from Heaven, and the list goes on.

The kind of brilliant part of the Mitch Hedberg bit, though, is the recognition that we are better able to accept suffering the better able we are to live in the moment, to appreciate the little things, to accept the struggle not because it leads to glory but for the struggle itself. Like Jimmy Dugan says in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

I had an English teacher in high school who explained the idea of tragedy in literature with the following anecdote: A man is walking through the desert when he comes upon another man crouched over a bloody meal, a gaping hole in his chest. The first man asks, “What is it you eat?” and the second man replies, “My heart.” “How does it taste?” he asks and the man replies, “It is bitter.” He asks, “Then why do you eat it?” “I eat it because it is bitter,” the man answers, “and because it is my heart.”

And when I was sixteen, I thought that was so badass. It probably wasn’t a good sign. It’s probably why I’m a musician, a graphic designer, a writer, a teacher—nothing with a clear or certain path to monetary success. It’s why I follow the Timberwolves. I’m for underdogs, for unrequited loves, for hopeless romantics, for eternal pessimists, for cynical optimists. My glass of wine might be half empty, but I’m calling for another and I’m looking forward to drinking it with A Wolf Among Wolves.

In the future, the Wolves will make the playoffs and we will all live in places like this.

The regular season is just a tick over halfway done. Almost miraculously, your Timberwolves have won as many times in 33 games as they did all of last year. They have players that do incredible things, players that people enjoy watching. It seems possible that they may actually be competing for a playoff spot as the season winds down. The days of dreary, callow basketball, of loss after disheartening loss, seem to be over.

But the riddle is far from solved. The Wolves remain incomplete, full of gaps and shortcomings. And they face a punishing schedule, sure to deplete whatever reserves of energy they may have stowed away during their long weekend. So Zach, Myles and I will here attempt to tackle some of the big questions facing the Wolves as the season’s second half gets underway.

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Friends, the longest night of the year has come and gone. The lockout is now, miraculously, a bitter memory. Ricky Rubio, Rick Adelman, Derrick Williams, the svelte, newly athletic Kevin Love and all of the rest of your Wolves will soon take the floor for an actual, certified NBA game. So how’s this gonna go? This year’s Wolves are a strange amalgamation of moving parts and oddly shaped puzzle pieces.  Although we’re hopeful that something new and great is about to begin, there are still scads of unanswered questions hanging in the air. Zach, Myles and I have no better idea than the rest of you how this will all play out, but here’s our best shot untangling some of the riddles that will inform the Wolves’ season. All that’s left to do is play basketball. Read on…

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It’s funny how the schedule works out sometimes. Kevin Love has been engaged in a heated battle with LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin for the past month over an All-Star spot. Now that he’s been named to the team, he has to face them both before Sunday’s festivities. How’s that for congratulations?

Well, let’s ask LaMarcus…

“First of all, I have nothing against Kevin Love, he is a really good player. But I thought All-Star was about making your team better, making your record better. But now I know: It’s about stats, not record.”

How’s that for passive aggressiveness? It’s disappointing that his ire wasn’t directed towards Tim Duncan, an actual undeserved candidate, but then again, his bewilderment with Kevin’s selection was equally understandable on this night. Not only did the Love and the Wolves starters go scoreless for the first eight minutes of the contest, LaMarcus nearly outscored our entire team in a first quarter where we could only muster 14 points to his 11.

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Maybe this will help lift Ben’s spirits? Justice has been served and Kevin Love is officially an All Star.

Der Komissar delivered the good news before last night’s tilt versus the Raptors and the STrib’s Jerry Zgoda was kind enough to spread the word:

Rambis stopped Martin from starting his scouting report and told everyone that Love will play in the Feb. 20 game at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“He put out his hand and I thought he was messing with me,” Love said while sitting at his locker after Friday’s game.

“I was so shocked. I blacked out for a second ’cause I didn’t know what was going on. When he said that, I was sitting right here, I just like ‘What are you talking about? Is Ashton Kutcher about to hop up in here?’ I had no idea.”

Love is the first Timberwolves player named to the All-Star Game since Kevin Garnett made the 2007 game in Las Vegas.

The Wolves immediately bought advertising space on electronic billboards around Target Center and Block E. Messages congratulating Love flashed over First Avenue Friday evening and will continue through Sunday.

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It was just another Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The Lakers and Rockets were engaged in a mildly entertaining matchup and we were all probably searching for something better to watch while they delayed the inevitable. But those who couldn’t find the remote were treated to a noteworthy showing from Lamar Odom.

As it has for quite some time, Odom’s game defied definition. His elongated frame swept through the lane with a preternatural grace, each step too casual to have been calculated. On the defensive end, opponents were denied and rebounds were snatched with an aggression that belied such finesse, each board leading to a magnificent whirlwind of versatility. He conducted fast breaks, dished with a captivating flair, calmly pulled up in transition, and spotted up expertly from three. Of course this wasn’t anything we haven’t seen from him before, just more of it. Kobe Bryant’s theatrics may have dominated the nightly recaps, but the W was primarily thanks to Lamar’s 20 points and 20 rebounds.

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Forget about the dead birds, the dead fish, and the functional illiterate squatting on The Times’ Bestseller List. Our surest sign yet of the coming apocalypse came last night in Los Angeles. Kevin Love didn’t grab a single rebound in the entire first half. Not one.

This is quite possibly the rarest of statistical anomalies the NBA has to offer. Even an uncontainable talent like LeBron James has the occasional cold streak, as do Rajon Rondo’s fellow Celtics, which would explain either of the two respectively failing to register a point or assist. Try as they might, the ball doesn’t always go in the basket. But that’s exactly what made this so….strange.

Not one? Really?

Then again, it wasn’t hard to understand why. Saddled with early foul trouble, Love saw limited minutes and upon returning to action, he simply couldn’t handle Blake Griffin. You see, even after acknowledging them for the coded indicators of race that they are, we must also accept that the essence of Kevin’s game is hard work and a high IQ. Underwhelming physique or not, he knows the entire floor, positions himself well and never gives up on a play. This alone has been enough to outperform championship frontcourts in both Boston and San Antonio, in addition to hanging a 30/30 game around Amar’e Stoudemire’s neck. But Griffin is an unparalleled athlete and workhorse. It almost…no, it was unfair. The Clippers carried a twelve point lead into the half, which by no coincidence was the same advantage they held in second chance points, thanks solely to Blake Griffin. Nothing that powerful should be so nimble.

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"That's a lovely tie, Greg."

Sean Elliot has forgotten more about our fair sport than I’ll ever know. But he still makes me feel much smarter than I should. You see, former jocks who trade in their…well, jocks for headsets tend to fall into one of two categories: Those who are unable to articulate their wisdom and those who haven’t much wisdom to articulate. Elliot is definitely the latter.

Again, it’s not that the man hasn’t gleaned a nugget or two from his years between the lines, but much of his wisdom is conventional instead of personal. Nothing we haven’t heard before, just re purposed and repackaged in supposedly charming little anecdotes that encapsulate his employer’s greatness. Many of which show little regard for the truth, the opponent or the listener. It’s enough to make you long for Reggie Miller.

Upon returning from a second half commercial break, Sean began another of his syrupy soliloquies on the meaninglessness of statistical achievements. Specifically those in losing efforts. More specifically, Kevin Love’s double-double streak. “It hasn’t translated into victories. A lot of people put up numbers. Wins are far more important.”

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photo by carol_cacau

It goes without saying that this team doesn’t enjoy much positive attention. So when the national spotlight turned to our neck of the woods last month, it was a time to bask in hopes of a bright future. For one glorious night, we’d let the numbers speak for themselves.

But now comes the responsibility to state things more plainly. 31 rebounds was a feat in itself, even for such a prodigy. Those 31 points however, well…they were the ugliest 31 points I’d seen in quite some time.

Which makes Kevin Love’s performance tonight even more satisfying.

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photo by agingresearch

Kevin Durant’s arms are long. Comically long. No chest, no rib cage, just the gangly, awkward frame befitting a Tim Burton character. All arms. Upon taking the court amongst the chiseled chests and sculpted shoulders of his teammates, an uninformed observer would rightfully presume KD to be the team’s weakest link. “Look at him!” they’d exclaim, “It’s a wonder he can even move without tripping over himself!” Much laughter and mocking would ensue.

This of course would also be the scene where Kevin reveals the talent belied by his physique, carving masterpieces of the competition with an unnatural grace and precision. He’d score in bunches. He’d score from the perimeter, driving to the basket, from the line, fading away and on the occasional slam just for good measure. Having converted his tormentors, their mouths agape in awe, Durant would saunter out of the arena with the same humility with which he arrived, arms dragging behind him all the way.

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