Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
If you've watched any of the Timberwolves' 21 games this season--you know Wesley Johnson has struggled. However, to say he's struggling is an understatement. Anytime he touches or shoots the ball the majority of the time you can basically chalk it up as a turnover!
It seems Wes was more comfortable in Rambis' triangle offense last season--than Rick Adelman's free flowing offense relying on pick-and-rolls and taking what the defense gives you. That leaves you scratching your head--as practically every other player from last season is either playing the same if not better under a much simpler system from Adelman.
Wes' confidence seems to be as low as humanly possible out on the basketball court. He's a young player--it's understandable, but the problem is the Wolves feel they have no other options. I think with the return of Martell Webster would could see Minnesota make some adjustments. I'm advocating a stint in the D-League for Mr. Johnson. The only reason I believe it hasn't happened already is the lack of wings on the roster, but as guys like Beasley & Webster get healthier and continue to play better than Wes--it would seem--only a matter of time before Johnson's either in the D-League or the bench. Which I think would be the best possible scenario for the young swingman. A chance in the D-League where he could go and play--work on his shot and get some of his confidence back.
Let's compare stats for Wes from last season and thus far this season...
When you look at those games played last season. You notice Wes played all but three of the Wolves' games. He began 2010-11 as the team's starting shooting guard. However, after 30-45 games the Wolves decided to go with Corey Brewer in the starting lineup--as he injected a lot more energy into the starting five. Brewer was a spark plug on both ends that was very beneficial for Minnesota. Then, of course Brewer was traded to New York Knicks to get Anthony Randolph (Brewer was later waived and picked up by Dallas--won a championship--and was traded this offseason to the Wolves' division-rivals: Denver Nuggets). With Brewer gone--Wes was put back into the starting lineup. Then this season--because there's really no competition for the starting two-guard spot--he's just handed the starting job--not earning it OR validating it with his play! And that's my point--he has no competition for that starting spot! Last season when he was moved to the bench in favor of Brewer--he stepped up and proved he was worthy of being a starter. This year--I have yet to see that fight I did during those games when Brewer took the starting job.
He's averaging about four less minutes a game and apparently in those four more minutes last year he was able to score four more points and shoot better in every shooting category! 24% from deep is just awful and it's not like he's not taking a lot of shots. 55 three-point attempts and he's only made 13 this season!
Beyond that all the other stats weren't impressive last season and remain that way--low averages in rebounds, assists, blocks & steals! You'd think those intangibles might be what's keeping him as a starter (his ability to do the little things) clearly--you can see THAT'S NOT THE CASE!
His defense isn't even impressive. Nothing he's done this season--beyond a few highlight-reel dunks, has impressed anyone. If nothing changes the next few games--I could see Wes (who's starting at small forward right now) moved to the bench in favor of either Michael Beasley or Martell Webster.
I pray the Wolves make a change soon. I'd attribute at least a part of the Timberwolves' problems to start games 'quickly' (often times getting down by double-digits in the first half) to Wes. I'm not saying he's the entire problem with the starting five--but he's a big chunk of the blame. The other "chunk"? Darko Milicic. However, Pekovic is proving he deserves that starting spot in favor of Darko, game-by-game.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Timberwolves are getting players back these past few days as a lot of guys are working back from injury. Guys like Martell Webster, Brad Miller & Michael Beasley are hitting the court after injuries have kept them out.
According to multiple reports, there were a group of players that stayed after practice to get some extra work in.
Guys like Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Randolph, Michael Beasley, Malcolm Lee, Brad Miller and J.J. Barea split into two teams for some 'intense' three-on-three games.
Both Anthony Tolliver & Anthony Randolph are players that have seen their playing time dip these past few games. Anthony Randolph has practically been banished to the bench--bringing back memories of his stint last season with the New York Knicks.
The other four guys out there are all working back from injuries. I was definitely surprised to hear that Malcolm Lee is back at practice! It sounds like his return could be just a week or two away!
It's not hard to understand why these guys were competing so hard. While the Wolves get back to 100%--with 15 healthy players, there's not going to be sufficient time to go around for them all. It sounds like it could be a battle for playing time for 13 guys going forward. I'd think it'd be safe to assume Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio are quite safe in their playing time!
That's all I've got for now. The Wolves host the Lakers at 6pmCT this evening--check out our preview under the Gameday section for that as well as the injury report to see who's available! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves are slowly, but surely getting healthier. Friday's win over the San Antonio Spurs the Wolves had 12 available players. The three players who arel out with injuries are J.J. Barea who is nursing a strained hamstring, Malcolm Lee who is recovering from surgery on a torn meniscus he had in early December and Darko Milicic who was sick.
In that win over the Spurs, we saw, for the first time this season: Martell Webster. Martell has been out as he's recovered from back surgery he had on a herniated disc in his back. He played just six minutes, but had 3pts & 2rebs. He's a big boost for the guard-forward positions for Minnesota. Two areas the Wolves have been in dire need of help in.
Wesley Johnson should probably be playing in the D-League for a while as his confidence is insanely low! Who knows, if Martell emerges as a solid contributor--Wes just may. Wayne Ellington is playing great as of late and the more we see him on the floor--the more apparent it becomes he's deserving of the play time--and maybe an increased role.
Michael Beasley also returned to the active roster after missing eleven consecutive games with a mid-foot sprain. He played 22 minutes off the bench, but still stopped the ball WAY TOO MUCH, isolating and causing the offense to fall apart. He shot 3-for-11 and finished with just 7pts and 4rebs. He's still got the potential and I genuinely believe Adelman can change that--either that or Beasley won't be back in a TWolves uniform next year. He can still be a great scorer--he's got all the tools, but he has to work within the flow and constructs of the Wolves' offense.
The two players who were active, but didn't play were Anthony Tolliver and Brad Miller. Tolliver has a sore wrist and definitely could've played, but Adelman decided to rest him--Tolliver said after the game it was okay with him, because it'll get him back to 100% before the Lakers game. Like Webster--Brad Miller could've made his debut, but didn't play--despite the Wolves having just one healthy center (Nikola Pekovic: who started) play. He'll be available to play from here on out so it's just a matter of time before we see him on the floor--maybe Friday vs. the Lakers...
The hope is the J.J. Barea can return sometime in the next week--though he wants to be sure he's at 100% so he doesn't further aggravate it and have a lingering injury that doesn't allow him to play to his full capabilities. For Lee, I'd guess another couple weeks before we hear anything on him, when he had that surgery--they said he'd be out 6-8 weeks. It's been about 5 weeks now--so it's possible his return is on the not-so-distant horizon.
That's all for now, thanks for reading--if you haven't already check out our gameday preview of Sunday's game vs. the Lakers. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
One of the pieces that went to the New Orleans Hornets in that deal that sent Chris Paul to the Clippers and Eric Gordon to the Hornets--also sent big man Chris Kaman to the Hornets. However, its become apparent that Kaman isn't in the Hornets' long-term future--in fact the Hornets are exploring trade options and have told him to stay away from the team.
The Hornets have favored their younger players instead of the veteran as the Hornets are clearly not a playoff contender this season as they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference: currently 3-15.
The Hornets originally looked to extend Kaman's contract at one point earlier this season, but the team has decided to go in a 'different direction'--clearly as a result of the Hornets' poor play early.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up? Could Kaman be a target for the Timberwolves. It's been known the Wolves are looking for a new big man, but they're in search of an athletic center--Kaman being more of a bruiser.
It seems to be a VERY long shot for the Wolves to make a trade for the big man for a number of reasons. First and foremost: Chris Kaman's salary is just under $14million this season! The Wolves don't have anyone with that large of contract that could be one player for one player. Secondly, the Wolves have three centers under contract. Darko is a great starting center, but when he keeps it simple, making bunny shots, rebounding, defending and blocking shots in the post he's good in that sense. I also think Pekovic could quickly take his spot if he continues on his hot streak. He's shooting the ball well and efficiently and is just a beast in the post.
If Kaman's contract wasn't so incredibly high, the Wolves would probably look into trading for him, but they'd have to let go of a lot of pieces to get him and I'm not entirely convinced he's worth that. If the Wolves are genuinely interested he'll likely be a free agent this season--barring he's traded to a team that signs him to an extension. Though there are a few scenarios that could work--particularly one that would feature Michael Beasley & Darko Milicic. I don't see the Wolves doing that, but it doesn't seem completely idiotic either. Beasley is a restricted free agent this season and if the Wolves can sign someone like Nicolas Batum (a player they've long coveted) Beasley likely won't be back. As for Darko, with Kaman in the mix, he wouldn't be needed and Pekovic is a VERY solid backup! A lot of pros and cons in every scenario you look at...
Ultimately if the Wolves are going to make any trades, I'd expect one for a shooting guard. Though, now that Martell Webster is back the may not be as active looking into trades for someone in that department.
All in all if you're hoping to see Kaman in a TWolves uniform this season, it's the longshot of longshots!
That's all for now. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Timberwolves are getting back some players for tonight's game versus the San Antonio Spurs. According to multiple sources the Wolves will be getting at least three of their injured players back and one more will be a gametime decision.
In the Wolves' last two games they've had just nine healthy players. Wesley Johnson missed a game with the flu, but came back versus the Mavericks and played 17 minutes. Luke Ridnour missed the Dallas game with a sprained left knee.
The Wolves are expected to have two point guards available tonight: Ricky Rubio & Luke Ridnour. Ridnour is doing better, it's not known, if he'll be back in the starting lineup--or if he's at 100%. If he's limited at all--expect Wayne Ellington to see some more time again tonight.
J.J. Barea won't play as he's still recovering from a strained hamstring and Malcolm Lee is still a ways from a return after having surgery on a torn meniscus in early December.
For the first time this season the Wolves will have more depth at the guard-forward when Martell Webster will play his first game of the year. Webster has been out while he recovers from back surgery he had this summer from a herniated disc. Adelman says he's a bit concerned about his conditioning, but depending on the scenario/situation--we'll see him tonight.
Not only will Martell be making his debut, but there's a very good chance we see veteran center Brad Miller in a TWolves uniform on the floor for the first time this season. Like Martell there are some concerns about conditioning, but in the right scenario/situation we'll see him tonight. It'll be interesting to see how if affects guys like Nikola Pekovic & Darko Milicic who have elevated their game in recent games.
Lastly, Michael Beasley. Beasley has been back at practice this past week as he's recovered from a mid-foot sprain that's now kept him out for eleven consecutive games. He'll be a gametime decision for the Spurs' game, but I wouldn't expect to see him for extended minutes--or back in the starting lineup right away.
I'm most interested in seeing how guys like Martell Webster & Brad Miller fit into the Wolves lineups and rotations. Not only those two, but also Michael Beasley. The Timberwolves have played without him for the past eleven games, the Wolves have gone 6-5 in that time, but in certain games they've definitely missed his scoring and ability to create his own shot.
That's all for now, be sure to check out our gameday preview for game tonight under the gameday section. We'll have a recap of that one following the final horn. Tipoff is set for 7pmCT, enjoy the game! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Love & Kahn "making it official"
Kevin Love will remain a Minnesota Timberwolf for--at least--the next three years with an option to remain in Minnesota for a fourth season.
The overall deal is for four years worth an estimated $60-62million. The Wolves decided to play hardball and not extend the maximum offer of 5-years for $80million, Love retained some of that power by accepting the four year deal, but making that fourth year an option.
It's no coincidence that, that after those three guaranteed years of Love, rookies Ricky Rubio & Derrick Williams' contracts expire AND head coach Rick Adelman's contract expires. Ultimately, if Love doesn't like the direction of the team--you can expect he'll be on the first plane to L.A.
All in all, the Wolves need to continue to build on what they've begun this season under Adelman and with new additions Ricky & D-Will and a budding friendship of Rubio & Love--two players that are or will be stars in this League.
The Wolves did have the option of offering 2008 draftees Michael Beasley (#2 pick) & Anthony Randolph (#14 pick) contract extensions, but have decided against that. Michael Beasley's future with Minnesota hinges greatly on the emergence of Derrick Williams and his ability to defend and play the small forward--if he shows he's capable of doing that this season--Beasley won't remain in Minnesota. For Randolph, I don't see him being a part of this team long-term. He's buried on the bench this season--just as he has been in New York & Golden State, I was extremely happy when the Wolves acquired him last season--but he doesn't seem to fit within Adelman's system.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The deadline for the Minnesota Timberwolves to sign Kevin Love to an extension is in the not so distant future--in fact, it's just a mere 25 hours away (by 11pmCT Wednesday night).
According to multiple sources: the Wolves & Love are having 'ongoing' talks tonight (Tues.). And it sounds as though--for some reason--the Wolves have decided to play hardball, leaving Love with just two options.
1.) Accepting a four year deal worth an estimated $62 million, even though they have the option to sign him to the max: 5-years $80million (more than anyone). The Timberwolves gave Al Jefferson the same contract offer extension (4yrs. $60million) which he accepted--despite his agent's objections. Jefferson's agent is actually the same as Love's: Jeff Schwartz. Love is definitely a better player--I think we'd all agree he's worth more! However, the Wolves know the most he can get in free agency is 4-years and roughly $58million, which I guess they believe gives them the power here.
2.) Love's second option is to not agree to any extension and become a restricted free agent this summer. Any offer he gets from another team can be matched by the Timberwolves. There are plenty of teams out there that have already expressed interest in Mr. Love. For one, the Boston Celtics are prepared to offer him a max contract this offseason.
3.) There is actually a third option. Kevin Love can decline an extension--right now, accept the Timberwolves' $6million qualifying offer which we keep him here for the 2012-13 season and he'd become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013. Allowing him to sign with any team without restriction from Minnesota.
Speculation has swirled these past few hours--in fact at one point it got out that Love had accepted that four-year deal. Multiple sources had stories posted on that fact, however it was refuted by Love himself via Twitter: "If you read it on the internet, it must be true, right? #sarcasm".
If I was the Timberwolves? Sign Love to a max deal. If the Wolves are worried they won't be able to offer Rubio or Williams a max deal when they become free agents, that's just dumb. I guarantee that if the Wolves lose Kevin Love sometime in the next couple years, Ricky Rubio won't be far behind! They're buddies and Rubio will bolt in four years when his contract is up.
Like any other Timberwolves fan, I'm praying the Timberwolves don't botch this and lock him up before it's too late--just 25 hours from now. We'll have an update before then, hopefully it's good news!
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The NBA recently put out a press release of the all-star balloting thus far. And for the Timberwolves, it looks like they could have two representatives at the 2012 All-Star Weekend.
For the Forwards in the West: Kevin Durant (OKC) 633,538; Blake Griffin (LAC) 394,264; Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 231,832; Pau Gasol (LAL) 185,428; Kevin Love (MIN) 143,814; LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) 118,268; Tim Duncan (SAS) 81,783; Lamar Odom (DAL) 59,686; Metta World Peace (LAL) 39,006; Danilo Gallinari (DEN) 34,438.
For the Guards in the West: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 690,613; Chris Paul (LAC) 540,173; Ricky Rubio (MIN) 133,520; Steve Nash (PHO) 118,922; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 107,197; Kyle Lowry (HOU) 90,725; Monta Ellis (GSW) 63,696; Manu Ginobli (SAS) 50,765; Jason Kidd (DAL) 49,596; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 42,657.
As per usual, the competition for a forward slot in the Western Conference has a lot of competition. However, with Tim Duncan getting on in years, it's likely you won't see the Spurs' big man in Orlando this year. Some surprises for forwards? Lamar Odom. How do you play as poorly as he is for Dallas and still get votes? Oh yeah, the Kardashian thing...duh!
For the guards, Ricky Rubio is beating out the likes of Steve Nash & Russell Westbrook. Two elite guards, being beaten out (currently) by a rookie, who hasn't even got his first NBA start yet! It's still pretty early, but you never know...I have voted a couple times and each time Love & Ricky were on my ballot. I also wrote in Darko for one (it was during a stretch when he put together a couple decent games).
The link below is for the full story via NBA.com on where the top players stand (including the Eastern Conference). Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had their lows and highs this season and right now, Kevin Love is definitely one of their highs.
Love is play, thus far, has been incredible as he leads Minnesota with 23.6ppg & 14.7rpg. He's also shooting 42% from 'deep' as well as 42% from the field. He's Minnesota's main man and he's performing very well.
With another all-star appearance on the horizon, it appears as though he'll also have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot on Team USA's Preliminary Roster, which includes between 17-20 players (so far). Among those names? Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard etc. Not bad company for such a young player--still on his rookie contract (he'll be paid soon enough, however).
The team will be cut down to 12 players for this summer's competition, so it's very possible Love may not make the team. An honor for the young star, no matter what, though. Those twelve players will play next summer (2012) in the Olympics.
That's all for now, check out our new Quotes page on WeeblyWolves: featuring quotes from all over the NBA on your Minnesota Timberwolves. Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Michael Beasley has been out for the past two games as he recovers from a painful mid-foot sprain. He'll also be out for tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls. Following tonight's game the Timberwolves have two days off before their next game: Friday vs. the Hornets. During those two days off Michael Beasley is going to be re-evaluated and the staff will ultimately decide if he's able to play yet. Michael said shortly after the injury that he wasn't going to rush back, he had those ankle injuries he dealt with last season and they lingered on for an extended period, because he just kept playing on it.
However, with Michael Beasley's return--may come a new role for him in the Wolves' organization. Since his arrival two summers ago, Michael Beasley stepped into a starting small forward role for Minnesota. He was the go-to scorer the Wolves had lacked for far too long. There has been chatter, though, that upon his return, Beasley will be coming off the bench for Minnesota. Minnesota already has a very strong bench led by the likes of Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea, Derrick Williams, Anthony Tolliver & (at times) Anthony Randolph.
I'm not completely sure about this. I can boldly say, I hate the Wolves' current starting lineup. And by that I mean: I hate that Wesley Johnson hasn't been moved to the bench yet! I understand his confidence is down and he's not playing well, but he's got no competition to play well, he's got no reason to elevate his game! Do you remember last season, when Kurt Rambis moved Johnson to the bench in the favor of Corey Brewer? It was GREAT! Corey Brewer became the spark of energy the Wolves needed in the starting lineup and Wesley Johnson actually played better, because he had someone who was competing with him for minutes! Beyond Ellington, whose play is sporadic (at best), there's no other shooting guards on the roster. I guarantee you this though, if Wesley Johnson is still starting when Malcolm Lee gets better--he won't be for long. I truly believe the Wolves' 6'5'', 205lb. combo-guard will easily overtake this spot if Wes continues to play the way he does! And of course, the Wolves will be getting back Martell Webster (likely before Lee). He's got the skills to play both the 2 and the 3 and will definitely be vying for a starting spot in Adelman's lineup.
Anyway, back to Michael Beasley. I just don't understand how you can justify starting Wesley Johnson over Michael Beasley! I understand, Beasley would be a big spark off the bench with his scoring, but you can't trot out a 1, 2, 3 of Ridnour, Ellington & Johnson and expect to win games against the top competition in this League!
"I've talked about that since the summer," Adelman told the Star Tribune. "Right now, we're just trying to get going in the season. That's something we've always talked about because we weren't sure how we were going to play. But it's something we're going to address. We're going to look at everything." Ultimately, Adelman doesn't seem 100% sold on the idea. I desperately hope they re-evaluate the Wesley Johnson situation first!
Kevin Love "joked" that the offense with the first team ran better without Beasley and that has sparked the questions about what role is best for the team and player. This was following the Wizards game in which they blew-out Washington. Then they went to Toronto. Their fourth quarter play was atrocious and they could have desperately used Beasley's ability to create his own shot. The only joke in the Toronto game? Kevin Love's field goal percentage: 19%!
That's all I've got for now, if you haven't already check out our gameday preview of tonight's game vs. Chicago under the Gameday section on this site. Tipoff for that one is set for 7pmCT and a full gameday recap as well as pictures and video can be found on this site following the final horn! Thanks for reading and as always GO WOLVES!
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