Archives For Roster Review

Stiem Engine

We’re kicking off our offseason coverage here at A Wolf Among Wolves with a comprehensive roster review of the team from this past season, looking at how each player’s 2012-13 went and what we see for them going forward. One player a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and rolling up to the starters.

Embarrassment.

That’s what you are asking shot blockers to accept. They have to be able to accept being embarrassed. If they can’t accept it, they’ll be timid and unable to do their jobs. Their jobs are to protect the rim and risk becoming a YouTube sensation in a less than ideal manner. Get dunked on and you’re immortalized forever. Block the dunk and you’ll be pretty cool for probably a night. There isn’t much reward outside of being somebody who deters people from even driving into the lane. People don’t try to dunk on Dwight Howard anymore. In a couple years, people won’t try to dunk on Larry Sanders anymore.

The appeal of the attempt to dunk on the great shot blockers doesn’t outweigh the consistent threat of rejection. For role players who aren’t going to be earning eight-figure per season contracts because of their ability to put up a velvet rope at the rim and tell you that you’re not on the list, there isn’t much glory in their jobs. People rarely remember their blocks and often only remember the time they got dunked on. And that’s what we seem to have with Greg Stiemsma as the backup center for the Wolves. There isn’t any glory with what he does; there’s only looking past him as you scan the room to see if there is anybody else you should be talking to. Continue Reading…

Wile_E__Coyote3

There are a lot of rookie clichés that can be deployed about Alexey Shved: the rookie wall, a tale of two halves, he needs to add strength, needs to get comfortable, has to look for his shot, etc. If you talk to him—which almost no one ever got to as the season wore on because he would duck out immediately following games—you would hear a lot of clichés as well, but maybe that was down to Shved trying to get a grip on a language that’s still elusive.

The same thing happens with Rubio. I lamented to Zach one night that it’s too bad we can’t have a crack Spanish translator there so we could ask very specific questions that could garner specific, hopefully insightful answers from the Catalonian wunderkind. (And yes I know that’s mixing Spain and Germany—multiculturalism!) But instead all we get are bromides about competing, playing hard, playing as a team, and then crazy people in the skyway yelling at Zach that they don’t need a translator. (True story.) Continue Reading…

RoyLove

We’re kicking off our offseason coverage here at A Wolf Among Wolves with a comprehensive roster review of the team from this past season, looking at how each player’s 2012-13 went and what we see for them going forward. One player a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and rolling up to the starters.

The Brandon Roy experiment.

It failed, right? Of course, it failed. He played five out of the 82 games and in those five games he struggled mightily. The only part of his game that was still there was his passing game. In fact, he showed the best passing rates of his career with 6.8 assists per 36 minutes and an assist percentage of 28.8% in the short amount of time he spent on the court.

I’ve tried to look at his time with the Wolves and glean as many positives as I can from it. It’s an overused cliché but he was a warrior of sorts out there. It doesn’t make him the same as a gladiator from long ago or any soldier that has ever fought in a battle or war. We’re using warrior in a much different sense here. Brandon Roy was a warrior because he fought. He fought against his body. He fought against what was expected of him, which was next to nothing. He fought against what modern science was trying to whisper into his psyche.  Continue Reading…

JOHNSON

We’re kicking off our offseason coverage here at A Wolf Among Wolves with a comprehensive roster review of the team from this past season, looking at how each player’s 2012-13 went and what we see for them going forward. One player a day for the next couple weeks, starting with the bench and rolling up to the starters.

Folk hero. Fan favorite. Stopgap. Stringbean.

Chris Johnson was all these things and more for the Timberwolves this season. He was, in some ways, a supremely concentrated basketball experience, delivering block after block or dunk after dunk every time he saw the floor and yet not really seeing the floor all that much. Just take, for example, this litany of throwdowns he generated against the Houston Rockets in his season debut on January 19: Continue Reading…