Archives For Nicolas Batum

RubioFace

For the final play of the Wolves-Blazers game, Rick Adelman drew up a play that gave Ricky Rubio a fairly basic pick-and-roll set with the floor spread and plenty of options off of that play. And the Wolves actually ran it really well. They ended up with Dante Cunningham pump-faking, nearly traveling, and then having to rush a jumper just a bit against his defender.

After the game, Adelman described the play they ran:

“The last play was a bang-bang play. I thought it was the best play we had. Pek might have been open rolling down the middle. At least he was going right to the basket and forcing the action. Dante made a nice pump fake, missed the shot but he’s not used to having the ball in his hands like that.”

Cunningham had made eight of his 10 shot attempts in the fourth quarter and was 20 for his last 25 heading into that final play. The Wolves options on the play were essentially spot-up shooting from Barea and Shved on the two sides, Rubio driving to the basket, Pek rolling to the basket or DC pupping near the top of the key.

“When Rick draws up a play, it’s not only one option,” Rubio said in the locker room after the game. “You never know what’s going to happen. It was like a different option and I felt that was the best option because he was shooting pretty good. But they defended it pretty good too.”

How good was the play and could it have been better? Let’s take a look.  Continue Reading…

Loveback

Good to have you back, sir.

I’m still trying to parse my thoughts on his surprise return and what it means for the team. I think we’re in for some awkwardness over this road stretch. The Wolves will basically have one practice in between about four games. There isn’t a ton of opportunity to get Love and his teammates back on the same page and they’ll all have to re-learn what’s going on in the system. You know, assuming they can run their system. The Wolves are going to be a pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop heavy team until they’re closer to full strength. Love can thrive in this environment but how does everybody else manage to do it?

Kirilenko looked stagnant in the second half of the Nuggets game and the Wolves just can’t have that. He’s a smart player and he’ll quickly learn how work off of Love. But it’s probably more important he figures out how to have a two-man game with Nikola Pekovic while Love is drawing so much attention on the strong side of the ball. A quick reversel to Kirilenko in the high post should allow him enough space to get a quick pass to Pek when he has position.

Until Rubio comes back, we’re going to see a lot of forced offense by everybody on the floor. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it just means the games will be a bit harder on offense. The nice thing is the Wolves have enough talent this season to make it work, as long as the defensive effort keeps up.  Continue Reading…

The dream is over. Batum’s offer sheet will be matched by the Blazers and the Wolves now have to figure out what Plan B is for this team’s offseason.

We’ll miss you, Nic.

After much anticipation, it’s now official. The Wolves have submitted an offer sheet for Nicolas Batum, a four year deal worth $46.5 million, giving the Blazers three days to either match the deal or allow Batum to leave. The move caps off a week that featured much wrangling and even more ill-feeling between the two teams. Portland has vowed to match any offer that Batum receives–though, according to Ric Bucher, they don’t believe that he is worth what the Wolves are offering–and they have stonewalled any attempts at a sign-and-trade, despite the Wolves’ rather generous offers.

According to both Jerry Zgoda at the Strib and Bucher at ESPN, the mutual stink-eye has many antecedents: the Wolves’ attempt to poach then-assistant GM Tom Penn away from the Blazers, which attempt, it turns out, was merely a play by Penn and Kevin Pritchard for more of Paul Allen’s money; the Wolves’ (rather lame) accusation that Portland concealed Martell Webster’s back injury before trading him to Minnesota two years ago; the Wolves’ signing of Brandon Roy, which will (via byzantine salary cap bylaws that I’m not going to explain) cost the Blazers $17 million.

Since some of these events occurred before David Kahn’s tenure as the Wolves’ VP of Basketball Ops, and since Allen is known to have a vindictive streak, Kahn can’t entirely be blamed for the Blazers’ unwillingness to be flexible. On the other hand, I’d refer you now to Kahn’s reputation for abrasiveness and high-handedness when dealing with other GM’s, the feeling that other teams’ front offices do not exactly relish dealing with the Wolves. One wonders if a savvier GM, one more skilled at the social nuances of negotiation, might not have gotten a deal done.

Regardless of whether or not Nicolas Batum ends up on the Wolves or stays in Portland, he’s going to get paid $45 million over four years (with the possibility of bonuses). Let’s just pretend the contract is going to be four years and $50 million because of the bonuses. That puts Batum’s annual salary at an average of $12.5 million per year.

Is Nicolas Batum worth $12.5 million per season?  Continue Reading…

Jason Quick of The Oregonian tweeted that Brandon Roy has come to a decision regarding his comeback.

It has since been confirmed by a lot of reporters and the figures are out. Brandon Roy is signing with the Timberwolves for two years and $10.4 million. It sounds like a lot for a player who recently retired due to his knees being unfit for court time, and possibly it is. Personally, I don’t think you can have bad contracts if they’re two years or shorter. Two year deals are a risk worth taking because the reward for a player like Roy regaining even 75% of his form for half of the time he was used to playing per game is immense.  Continue Reading…

Any of these names sound good to you: Nicolas Batum, Jordan Hill, Greg Stiemsma, Brandon Roy? That’s the shortish list of players that the Wolves are pursuing in free agency this summer. The team has reportedly offered Batum a four-year deal worth around $50 million, although Batum left Minneapolis yesterday without agreeing to a deal.

The wrinkle, of course, is that Batum is merely a restricted free agent, meaning that if Portland is dead set on retaining the lithe Frenchman, there’s not much the Wolves can do about it. On the other hand, as Jerry Zgoda points out, if Batum were committed enough to coming to Minnesota–and Portland were willing to part with him–the Wolves could conceivably land him in a sign-and-trade deal. But that’s all speculation for now.

I will say that, even if the Wolves’ do swing a deal for Pau Gasol, signing Batum would be, in my opinion, their only unequivocally great move of this off-season. Batum is a young, three-point shooting veteran with ridiculous athletic ability and alarmingly long arms. He can convincingly play a few different wing positions and has a Rubio-esque defensive impact: disrupting passing lanes; swallowing up penetrators; sowing general perimeter chaos. He’s a perfect fit for this team and fills a need that’s been aching for years now.