Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Before tonight's game vs. the Lakers, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced that Malcolm Lee would be returning to the D-League and would be playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in their game tomorrow vs. the Bakersfield Jam.
This will be Lee's second stint in the D-League. According to League rules, a first or second-year player can only be assigned to the D-League a maximum, three times in one season.
Lee was drafted 43rd overall and has yet to make his rookie debut with the TWolves. He did play in two preseason games vs. the Bucks this year, but shortly thereafter discovered he tore his meniscus. He had surgery in late-December and played in three D-League games earlier this month.
In those three games, Lee averaged 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 6.0apg in 25.3mpg. Feb. 7th vs. Dakota he had 16pts & 6ast. Had 9pts & 7ast on Feb. 10th vs. Idaho and then 4pts, 4rebs & 5ast on Feb. 11th vs. Canton.
Adelman said last week that they really like Lee's talent and abilities, but don't foresee him contributing/playing for the Wolves this season (never ruled it out, however).
We'll keep tabs on Lee and have updates on his game either here (in the "News" section or under the "Team Report--Injury Report" section). Here's a small post (from 2/14) after he returned from the D-League.
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
As a reserve last season in the All-Star Game, Love didn't play much. Love played just 11 minutes in the 2011 All-Star Game in L.A. and had just 2pts & 4rebs.
Tonight, Love played about 12 minutes...in the first half. He played a total 18:24, scored 17 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished 1 assist, had 3 steals, shot 7-for-12 from the field, 2-for-4 from deep and 1-for-3 from the line.
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant was named the MVP. Not surprisingly, as he had 36pts, 7rebs, 3ast, 3stls, on 14-of-25 shooting and played the most minutes out of anyone on either team w/37:23 (thanks to the Western Conference coach: Scott Brooks--OKC's head coach, Russell Westbrook was also in the game at crunch time as it came down to the final seconds!).
Kobe Bryant also added 27, and became the leading scorer all-time for the All-Star Game. He surpassed Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Michael Jordan to top #1 on that list. With this appearance tonight, Bryant tied the most All-Star appearances by one person, with 14! The old record by Jordan was 262pts, Kareem moves to third with 251pts and Big O drops to fourth with 246pts. Kobe sits atop them all now with 271 total points, he'll likely add to that the next few years, but most believe that LeBron James could possibly best Kobe in his career...
Blake Griffin added 22-8 and Russell Westbrook had 21-5-3 off the bench. Most surprising to me for the remainder of the Western Conference players? Steve Nash played just 4:40 and LaMarcus Aldridge just 9:48. The fact that Kevin Love played as much as he did was also a pleasant surprise!
For the East, LeBron was the high-point man with 36 points, also adding 6rebs & 7ast. Fellow-Heatle Wade had 24pts, 10rebs & 10ast (just the third triple-double all-time in the ASG). New Jersey's Deron Williams added 20 off the bench and Melo had 19 & 9.
The Western Conference team set a new NBA record for the All-Star Game by scoring 88 points in one half. That broke the old record of 87.
Here's a full box score from tonight's All-Star Game
All in all it was a good weekend for Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves. I'm excited to get back to the regular season games once again, however and, of course we'll have the previews, recaps, videos, pictures of each game as well as every TWolves news story all year round on HOWL!
If you haven't already, check out these stories & videos from All-Star Weekend...
Kevin Love Interview After All-Star Game (Video)
Derrick Williams Interview After Slam Dunk Contest (Video)
Kevin Love Interview After Three-Point Contest (Video)
Kevin Love (All-Access) All-Star Weekend (Video)
Kevin Love Interview #2 All-Star Weekend (Video)
Kevin Love Brings Home the Hardware; D-Will: "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda"
Rising Stars Challenge Results
Three-Point Contest Recap, Love Grabs the Hardware (Video)
D-Will's 2012 Slam Dunk Contest (Videos of his 3 Dunks)
Derrick Williams Post-Game Rising Stars Challenge (Video)
Ricky Rubio Post-Game Rising Stars Challenge (Video)
Ricky Rubio All-Access All-Star Weekend (Video)
Rising Stars Challenge Video Recap/Highlights (Video)
Ricky Rubio Rising Stars Challenge Highlights (Videos)
Ricky Rubio Breaks World Record (Video)
Ricky Rubio All-Star Weekend Interview (Video)
Derrick Williams All-Star Weekend Interview (Video)
Kevin Love All-Star Weekend Interview (Video)
Those are links to all the stories and videos we put on our site during All-Star Weekend, you can find them in their sections up top, but that's everything I've got, just in cased you missed...everything!
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Not too many people (including myself) believed Kevin Love, really stood a chance in the Three-Point Contest.
I assumed, perhaps scoring champion Kevin Durant, last year's champ James Jones or even sharpshooter Anthony Morrow would walk away victorious.
Kevin Love becomes the second power forward to win this award, all-time. The only other? Dirk Nowitzki in 2006.
Hopefully this W gets Love a big more recognition as one of the NBA's best! And, perhaps, the Minnesota Timberwolves as a whole, as well!
Let's get a rundown of the rounds.
Kevin Love tied Chalmers in the first round, Durant & Jones were the other two finalists. In the 24 second tiebreaker round, Love ousted Chalmers. The second round, Love went first, followed by Durant, they both got the same number. That left last year's champ James Jones with a chance to win it. Jones' second round was definitely disappointing. That left Love and Durant in a final round showdown. Love went first to set the mark. Durant went into the final rack, still with a chance to get the win, but no such luck. Kevin Love is your 2012 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest Winner!
Here's the numbers, round-by-round...
Kevin Love then set the stage for fellow TWolf: Derrick Williams to cap off All-Star Saturday Night with a W in the Slam Dunk Contest. However, the motto for D-Will after his performance tonight, is certainly the aforementioned; "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda..."
I can definitely tell you, if Williams had made his final dunk, he "woulda" won this one. Apparently, Williams was told afterwards that he finished second in the voting.
The NBA introduced a new format this season for the Dunk Contest. A new format, that I pray and believe they'll be changing for the 2013 All-Star Game! Instead of having a judges table and elimination rounds, as per usual. Fans had the outcome in their hands. You could vote either via Twitter or by texting. Afterwards, I found out that each player received at least 20% of the votes, with Jeremy Evans winning, with 29%.
Let's be honest, though. There were numerous problems with this year's Slam Dunk Contest. Apparently this event has become a scripted reality-esque show! It began with Kenny Smith talking to P-Diddy that led to Chase Budinger's first dunk. It was just plain corny and it had every fan in that arena and at home, letting out a big 'ol groan!
I'm only going to focus on what Derrick Williams did in the dunk contest, but you can find full recaps of the dunk contest on YouTube and all over the web.
Derrick Williams was the fourth of four dunkers. He made his entrance on a motorcycle 'driven' by the Wolves' Mascot, CRUNCH! His first dunk was a windmill over the motorcycle. He nailed it on his third attempt.
His second dunk was his most impressive. Ricky Rubio helped him out on this one. Rubio threw it off the side of the backboard and D-Will rose up and threw down a 360-SLAM! He finished that one on his first attempt. It wasn't anything that no one has seen before, but that didn't make it any less impressive.
Williams' last dunk...was ultimately what lost him this one! Derrick attempted a dunk where he'd throw it off the backboard, go between the legs and throw it down with his right hand. I don't know the exact number of times he attempted it, but it was at least 7 or 8! He couldn't complete any of them and as time wound down he settled for a simple, throw it off the backboard--catch it--and throw it down with two hands. All in all, a dunk you likely see 5 or 6 of a game! I found this on Star Tribune, however...he may not have been able to pull it off in Orlando, but he did it in Minnesota at the Wolves' practice facility! Link: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/139471598.html
I'll be posting some video highlights of Love's three-point contest win as well as Williams' dunk contest recap as well as the dunks from the other three contestants, including the winner: Jeremy Evans.
FINAL NOTES: Team New York won the Haeir Shooting Stars Challenge and Tony Parker won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
That's all for now, stay tuned to our "Videos" section for those recaps! As always--thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
I was asked tonight (via Twitter) about a trade rumor that involved the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers. I hadn't heard anything about it, so I went to the web and found a few different stories on it.
The Timberwolves are apparently, once again possible participants in a deadline blockbuster trade featuring a bonafide NBA superstar. Last season David Kahn involved Minnesota in the trade that sent former Denver Nugget to the Carmelo Anthony (Minnesota sent out Kosta Koufos & Corey Brewer and got Anthony Randolph back in return).
This season it appears the Wolves may be part of a trade that'll send Dwight Howard out of Orlando.
According to the report the Minnesota Timberwolves will be sending out J.J. Barea, Derrick Williams & Michael Beasley. The Magic will be trading Dwight Howard. The Lakers will be giving up their frontcourt: Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. A lot of big names involved in this one, if you're hoping Minnesota gets Bynum or Howard, you're mistaken, Minnesota would get the 31-year-old Gasol. J.J., Beasley & Howard would head to Los Angeles and the Magic would get Andrew Bynum and Derrick Williams.
If David Kahn pulls the trigger on this, I might go crazy. Why, when Nikola Pekovic is emerging as a top center in this League, do we trade for a guy like Gasol? Why isn't Kahn exploring trades for a shooting guard, perhaps he hasn't watched too many games this season.
A starting lineup of Rubio, Ridnour, Johnson, Love, Gasol. Is an improvement, but the Timberwolves bench would REALLY suffer! The Wolves second unit would be Ridnour (only other true PG) or Lee, Ellington, Webster, Tolliver, Pekovic. Does that seem like a lineup that's going to be very effective?!
I don't understand how the Lakers get SO much in this trade. They get J.J. who could start at point guard (a problem area for them), Michael Beasley who would likely start at small forward (their biggest problem area) and Dwight Howard (the best center in the League). The Lakers in turn, only give up Andrew Bynum (the second-best center in the League--doesn't matter when you get the best center in return) and a 31-year-old who's stats are noticeably down (could be because of the trade rumors). The Magic don't make out too bad either. They're trading away just one player. They give up the NBA's best center and in return get the League's second-best center as well as Derrick Williams--who may be struggling in this young season, but WILL one day be an All-Star.
I pray David Kahn understands that this move would deplete the bench. The bench depth is one of the reasons they've been more successful this season (clearly that starting lineup has struggled starting games, until the subs come in...think about it!). If for some reason Kahn feels he needs to do this trade....fine! But, the Wolves need to grab a shooter as well. I guarantee if this trade goes through it won't be the only trade/signing the Wolves make before the March 15th deadline.
I've got plenty of doubts about this one going through though. I've heard plenty of times that the Magic don't want to repeat history (a-la SHAQ) and that Dwight Howard doesn't want to follow in those footsteps either. Other reports say that Kobe Bryant has turned DH's interest in LA away.
Who knows what'll happen, I guarantee we'll hear plenty of reported trade rumors in the next few weeks as we rapidly approach the Trade Deadline (3/15). As always, if anything happens (TWolves-related) we'll have the story here, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Ricky Rubio certainly didn't disappoint the crowd with his flashy and effective passes and a couple crafty layups. Derrick Williams, on the other hand...didn't do much of anything, perhaps he's saving it all for the Dunk Contest tomorrow night...
Ricky Rubio started for TEAM SHAQ. Joining him was Knicks' phenom Jeremy Lin, Detroit's Brandon Knight & Greg Monroe and L.A. Clippers' Blake Griffin.
Derrick Williams started for TEAM CHUCK. Joining him was Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Philadelphia's Evan Turner, Indiana's Paul George and Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins.
If you've watched the Rookie-Sophomore Game in the past, you know it's all about high-flying dunks and playing as little defense as possible. This year was no different. Guys like John Wall, Blake Griffin, Paul George and almost every player on the court contributed to the highlight reel! All about putting on a good show and all in all that's what they did.
Also joining Rubio on TEAM SHAQ: Miami's Norris Cole, Phoenix's Markieff Morris, Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, New York's Landry Fields and Charlotte's Kemba Walker.
Joining D-Will on TEAM CHUCK: Washington's John Wall, Utah's Gordon Hayward & Derrick Favors and New Jersey's MarShon Brooks. San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard was also supposed to play, but a strained calf kept him out.
Ricky Rubio finished with 12pts, 3rebs, 7ast, 1stl, 3tos, 5-9 FG, 2-6 3PT in 21:24 minutes.
Derrick Williams finished with 2pts, 3rebs, 1ast, 1fl, 1stl, 1to, 1-4 FG, 0-1 3PT in 18:33 minutes.
The #1 pick in the previous draft has now won the MVP these past two seasons. Last season John Wall took home the honor, but this year it was Cleveland's Kyrie Irving. Irving finished with 34pts, 3rebs, 9ast, 2stls, 3tos, shot 12-of-13 FG and a perfect 8-of-8 from 3, in 27:03 minutes. Kyrie joins Zydrunas Ilgauskas (1998) and Daniel Gibson (2008) as Cleveland's MVP winners in this contest.
Here's a link to the box score, if you're interested... http://www.nba.com/games/20120224/SHQCHK/gameinfo.html
Plenty of guys in the crowd (all-stars) and other Rising Stars players had 'nice' things to say about Rubio. West All-Star Chris Paul said: "He's been great. He's an unbelievable passer....He's going to continue to get better and better." Cleveland's Tristan Thompson said: "We've been hearing about Ricky Rubio since like 400 b.c." East All-Star Deron Williams added: "His court vision, his basketball savvy is amazing. He just seems like has another set of eyes out there." Magic Point Guard Jameer Nelson said: "He knows the game well and his passes, even when you guard him, you know he'll do something during the game." Plenty of praise for the rook. I didn't find any quotes on Derrick Williams though....hopefully he'll turn some heads tomorrow and garner some respect in the Slam Dunk Contest...
Some other key notes from tonight: Broadcaster Kenny Smith was asked what position Derrick Williams is in the NBA, responding: He's a definite three, he just needs to work on a reliable and consistent three-point shot. Clearly Kenny hasn't watched too many TWolves games this season or watched D-Will play much in the NBA this season. It has nothing to do with Derrick's offense why he can't play small forward. His perimeter defense isn't up to par for a small forward and Rick Adelman has asked him since training camp began to focus on playing solely power forward..........There were plenty of ooohs & aaahs from the crowd and on Twitter about Ricky's passing and playmaking..........Blake Griffin & Jeremy Lin, both didn't play much (Lin: 9min., Blake: 10:30) as their teams had played back-to-back games leading up to this game............Paul George jokingly talked about tomorrow's dunk contest saying: "I think I can take him down. He's still a rookie." In reference to his TEAM CHUCK teammate, TWolves Derrick Williams.....
That's all for now, we'll be back tomorrow night with updates on the Three-Point Contest (Kevin Love) and the Slam Dunk Contest (Derrick Williams). Until then, enjoy the All-Star break--thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Just one last thing....check out this play....
It's been a long time comin', but Timberwolves fans can actually start muttering that elusive "P-word" that has become, quite foreign to not just Timberwolves fans, but Minnesota fans these past few seasons.
Rick Adelman has made an incredible impact on this young team and has them at .500 on the season and just one game out of the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
To be fair, if the Wolves were an Eastern Conference team, they'd already be in the playoffs--in fact, with their 17-17 record, Minnesota would currently be a 7th seed in the East. That would put them ahead of current #7 seed: New York Knicks (17-18) and #8 seed: Boston Celtics (15-17).
Instead, Minnesota sits behind #8 seed: Portland Trailblazers (18-16) and #9: Denver Nuggets (18-17) (the 7th seed is Memphis at 19-15).
Since the departure of KG, the TWolves have been annual cellar-dwellers. However, thanks to Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio & Rick Adelman, NBA Basketball is once again relevant in the Twin Cities. And, with a core group of young players like: Love, Rubio, Williams, (Beasley?) & Pekovic--the Timberwolves don't appear to fade out of the playoff picture, anytime soon.
Kevin Love is an all-star and is garnering consideration for MVP, Rick Adelman has made a tremendous turnaround for this Wolves franchise and is a prominent Coach of the Year candidate, Nikola Pekovic's surprising emergence has practically gone unnoticed, however if not for Jeremy Line, Pek would be the favorite to win Most Improved Player of the Year and Ricky Rubio is battling #1 pick Kyrie Irving for Rookie of the Year honors. The biggest 'award' these young TWolves want? 2012 NBA Playoffs! For the first time in a long time, that's not a joke we get to sadly, laugh at--with every game it's becoming more and more a reality.
With half the season gone, we'll still be bringing you the same year round coverage of the Minnesota Timberwolves on HOWL! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves moved into 10th place in the Western Conference, 4th in the Northwest and finished the first half of the season at .500 (17-17).
However, these next few days a few TWolves players will be participating in All-Star Weekend in Orlando, FL.
Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio & Kevin Love will all be taking part in the festivities.
On Friday, at 8pmCT the Rising Stars Challenge will take place. Ricky Rubio & Derrick Williams will be playing in that (on opposing teams). You can catch that one on TNT!
On Saturday, starting at 7:30pmCT there will be four events taking place. The first is the Shooting Stars Challenge, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and the finale: the Slam Dunk Contest. Kevin Love will take part in the Three-Point Contest and Derrick Williams will take part in the Slam Dunk Contest. All those events will be taking place on TNT.
Lastly, the All-Star game. That'll take place on Sunday, it starts at 6:30pmCT. Kevin Love will be a reserve for the Western Conference.
If you're interested there are two other big events...On Friday at 6pmCT you can catch the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, on ESPN. And the other: Saturday at 1pmCT you can watch the NBA D-League All-Star Game, catch that on NBA TV.
The Timberwolves have Thursday-Monday off. They'll return to action on Tuesday vs. the Clippers. That'll be the first of a back-to-back-to-back game set. The Clippers game is followed by the Lakers on Wednesday and the Suns on Thursday.
I'll bring you the news stories from All-Star weekend (TWolves-related), expect updates on Friday from the Rising Stars Challenge, Saturday from the Three-Point Contest & Slam Dunk Contest and of course on Sunday for the All-Star Game.
Thanks for reading HOWL! Enjoy All-Star Weekend and GO WOLVES!
The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in the Wolves' small forward scorer Michael Beasley.
A report says that the Lakers had a deal that once they landed Chris Paul, would have a second trade that landed them Michael Beasley. That Chris Paul deal obviously fell through and the Lakers never got Beas.
However, the Lakers seem to still be interested in Beasley.
As we wrote before the TWolves are interested in Pau Gasol, but it sounds as though they don't have the players the Lakers would want in return (mainly because Minnesota won't give up Kevin Love).
So.....what would the Lakers give Minnesota for Michael Beasley? It's sounding like: not much. With Los Angeles' $8.9million trade exception (from trading Lamar Odom) could be used to absorb Beasley's contract and the Lakers could send out as little as a draft pick.
Michael Beasley is a restricted free agent this summer and as you know his future in Minnesota is uncertain. Last season he said he hoped to sign in an extension with the TWolves as he LOVED Minnesota. I have a feeling that may have changed since then--as he's now coming off the bench in favor of Wesley Johnson and often nights not receiving very many minutes. If you recall Beas was an advocate of keeping Rambis--ultimately because he let Beas do whatever he wanted on the court.
I won't say this won't happen, because it seems with David Kahn--anything is possible. I do feel the TWolves will make some sort of trade before the March 15th deadline though. Just as Kahn did with Darko two seasons ago and Anthony Randolph last season.
Stay tuned for more on this and all things TWolves on HOWL! GO WOLVES!
Yeah, this is a post about the big guy: Nikola Pekovic! 6-11, 290lbs. and the Minnesota Timberwolves' new starting center.
Paired with Kevin Love, Minnesota suddenly has one of the better frontcourt's in the NBA!
Pekovic's emergence has taken some of the pressure off of Love. Not just scoring points and grabbing rebounds, but actual defensive pressure. Pek's big body demands A LOT of attention when he plants himself down low.
Pekovic began the season injured. A groin injury kept him out of the lineup for the first few games and then, he simply couldn't get off the bench. It looked like it was going to be another long year, similar to his rookie season under Rambis for the mighty man from Montenegro.
In the first eleven games for Minnesota, Pek played just 4 minutes, in two games (2 minutes apiece). Then, he finally got his chance vs. the Hawks on Jan. 14th. He began as a reserve, coming off the bench and providing minutes behind Darko. His January was certainly an improvement, from last season, but the impressive performances came in February. February was when Darko went down with his multitude of injuries, February was when Pekovic became imPEKable!
His February, suddenly has him in the discussion for Most Improved Player of the Year. I can almost guarantee you who won't win it though. A certain player from New York will. And that's what really bugs me. What Pekovic's been doing these past few weeks has been ultra-impressive, but because he's in a small market like Minnesota--not like the bright lights of Broadway! If Pek was starting for the Knicks, you'd have Peksanity, not Linsanity. Here's another thing that bugs me...the NBA added Jeremy Lin to the Rising Stars Challenge as a sophomore and therefore they also had to add a rookie: Norris Cole of the Heat. The NBA overlooking Pek as a player for this game is absolutely ridiculous.
But, don't worry! The Rising Stars Challenge isn't the only place the League is disrespecting the Pek-Man. Take for instance the video game NBA 2K12. Yes, even video games aren't giving the big guys his 'props'. Pekovic has been on a tear in February, giving them plenty of time to update his overall rating. Coming into the season Nikola was rated as 56 (of 100) overall. At this time, Pek is listed at...56... Oh, but that's not all! Remember that Jeremy Lin guy I was talking about earlier. Well, Lin also came into the 2011-12 NBA season rated at 56. About a week and a half ago, they updated him to a 69 overall! Yeah, he puts 6 solid games together and his rating boosts up 13 points! OH, but that's not all. Just a few days ago the NBA2k12 updated their rosters again, giving Lin, another rating boost, he's now rated...75 overall! Yeah, apparently 7-8 games is enough to boost your rating by 15 points. But Pek's past 10 games aren't good enough to get him even one update!
What's Pek been doing in February...well let's take a look! If 10 games this February Pekovic has scored in double-digits all 10 games. His lowest being 10pts vs. Memphis on 2/8. His highest? The Wolves' last game vs. the Rockets--30pts (career-high too)! He's playing with one of the best rebounders in the NBA and he's still pulling down rebounds! Pek's lowest total rebounds came 2/10 vs. Dallas when he had 7. Of the 10 games in February, 7 of those he's had double-digit rebounding numbers. His career-high for rebounds in a game is 13--he's reached that mark twice this month. He's tallied 12 blocks in the past 10 games. 6 of which have come in the Wolves' past two games (3 vs. CHA, 3 vs. HOU). He's also got 11 steals in 10 games, 3 of which came in the TWolves' last game; a win over Houston. The big guy is shooting 62% for the season, from the field. In 10 games this month here's the averages: 18.4ppg on 62% FG, 10.7rpg, 0.6apg, 1.2bpg, 1.1spg, 2.4fpg, 2.9topg, in 33.4mpg.
What're Lin's February numbers? Averaging: 22.1ppg on 49% FG, 3.6rpg, 7.8apg, 0.1bpg, 1.7spg, 2.0fpg, 5.2topg, in 34.3mpg. Yeah, I understand Lin & Pek play different positions, ultimately comparing apples & oranges. Though, beyond the rebounds, assists & blocks, these stats aren't too different! Still all you hear is Linsanity!
Nonetheless, Minnesota loves him! The Timberwolves have a new starting center and for the first time in a long while, he's a force to be reckoned with. It's now safe to say that the Darko-era in Minnesota has officially come to an end. The mighty Pek reigns supreme!
Yeah, he was given a chance to start when Darko went down. But, he's now earned his spot in the starting lineup with these incredible performances. The NBA, the Rising Stars Challenge or NBA2K12 may not be giving the respect he deserves, but soon enough...he'll make them!
Jump on the Pekovic bandwagon while you can, when he drops 40-20 on some team continuing to overlook him, perhaps he'll make some headlines, because that 30-11 game vs. Houston couldn't even do it...soon enough.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The season may be just 66 games long and compressed to where the Wolves are playing at least every couple days, however, that hasn't stopped Adelman from shortening up his rotation.
You'd think that with a compressed schedule like this he'd be playing more guys. I'm not arguing with it, because doing so is winning games!
Against the Rockets on Friday, Adelman played just eight guys. The starters played the majority of the minutes: Rubio, Ridnour, Johnson, Love, Pekovic. Off the bench came just three reserves: Webster, Beasley, Williams.
In that game vs. the Rockets, Pekovic & Love both played 42 minutes, Ridnour played 40, Rubio played 39, Johnson played 29, Beasley & Webster both played 19 and D-Will played 10. Miller, Milicic, Tolliver, Randolph & Ellington did not play--coach's decision. The result? A 111-98 win over the Houston Rockets and a 3-1 season series win.
On Wednesday the Wolves played the Bobcats. Adelman played 11 guys that game. Pek played 44, Love played 42, Ridnour played 34, Barea played 26, Rubio played 25, Johnson & Webster both played 24, Beasley & Williams both played 9 and Tolliver & Ellington both played 2. The result? A 102-90 win.
The difference between these two games? Opponents. The Rockets are clearly a better team than the Bobcats. That difference can be clearly seen in the win totals. Houston: 17, Charlotte: 3. Even though that's just a two-game sample, it makes the point. Against the better team's in this League Rick Adelman will likely be shortening up his rotations. Playing his main guys, the players who are playing well, the players who are 'hot'--the guys that give Minnesota the best chance at a W.
So, that begs the question: Who are the main guys for Minnesota? Who's going to be a part of this new shortened rotation? Well, let's start with who we won't see logging any big-time minutes--barring of course injuries, suspensions etc.
There are three guys that won't see much time at all, going forward. The first is Anthony Randolph. With Malcolm Lee still rehabbing his knee, that's one inactive player. When the Wolves have 14 healthy players, Randolph is the other inactive player. He's been inactive for three games this season. He's also the only healthy scratch, thus far, this season. All in all, AR is the last player on the depth chart. He's a restricted free agent this summer and if he doesn't leave the Wolves via trade before March, expect him to be gone come summer. The next is Brad Miller. Miller was brought to Minnesota before Adelman was hired and before Rambis was even hired. But, it was lucky that Adelman came because that's given Minnesota probably one player who knows Adelman's system 'to a T'. He doesn't see much time, but his value comes in practice and as a veteran presence for a very young Timberwolves team. The last is Anthony Tolliver. I hate that AT isn't getting any playing time now. His hustle and constant effort is what makes him the perfect reserve player. Understandly, however, Tolliver is the third power forward on the depth chart and the majority of the time goes to Kevin Love, with Derrick Williams getting the rest. Unfortunately, if nothing changes, I could see Tolliver moving on in the offseason--as he'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The next two players: Wayne Ellington & Darko Milicic. Ellington is a good shooter and will come off the bench when the Timberwolves need to get quick points. He'll come in, late in games when the Timberwolves are down and need three-point shooting. Other than that, he won't see much time. Darko Milicic began the season as the team's starting center, he held that position for the Wolves' first 18 games. Then he was out for three games with an illness. For those three games Pek started (scoring 14pts, 13pts & 8pts). Then, Darko came back, started and played limited minutes vs. Indiana & New Jersey (Pek came off the bench, played the majority of minutes at center and had 13pts & 27pts). Then, the injury bug hit Darko. He missed the first few games with a quad contusion, he missed the next couple games with a sprained ankle. All in all, he missed a total of five games. Then came the game vs. Orlando, he played just a couple minutes off the bench had 1 block & 3 fouls. The past two games he's got DNP-CDs and I doubt that'll change. Pekovic's emergence has erased the need for Darko (I could honestly see an amnesty cut for Darko this offseason, it's pretty early to be discussing that, though).
That accounts for a third of the team. Malcolm Lee isn't really in any disccussion about this. He hasn't played a game yet this season and it looks like his debut ISN'T on the horizon. Lee's knee is reportedly at 90%. He did play 3 games in the D-League and according to Adelman it sounds as though, he'll likely make another trip there, before debuting with the Wolves.
This leaves just nine players. Those nine players are your shortened rotation.
I don't see any changes of the starting lineup, in the near future. The backcourt will likely remain Rubio & Ridnour (barring any trade(s) or injuries). Wesley Johnson will remain the team's starting small forward. His defense is what's keeping him in the starting lineup, anything extra is a plus, at this point. Then, your frontcourt: Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic.
The Timberwolves' main reserves will be...
Guard J.J. Barea. J.J. will come off the bench and provide a spark. With the Wolves starting Rubio & Ridnour, J.J. is the team's main reserve point guard. Often times he'll run the second unit, but in many situations, he'll also team up with either Rubio or Ridnour in the backcourt.
Guard-Forward Martell Webster. Web is still working into playing shape and working to get his shot back, but little by little he's becoming a better player and the type of reserve Minnesota needs. Another energy guy, who, even when his shot isn't falling--his defense will keep him on the court.
Forward Michael Beasley. Beasley started the first seven games of the season. Then, against Cleveland he went down with that mid-foot sprain that kept him out for eleven games. He came back to the active rotation, but not to the starting lineup, but instead as the team's sixth man. When his shot is on, he provides instant offense off the bench. On Jan. 30th, he came off the bench vs. the Rockets and scored 34 points! Obviously, he can't/hasn't keep/kept up that kind of production. But, it's that instant offense he brings off the bench.
Forward Derrick Williams. Out of these four main reserves, Williams will get the least amount of playing time. His inability to play multiple positions is a BIG problem. The fact that he can only play power forward, remains a big problem! He's playing behind All-Star Kevin Love who is averaging close to 40 minutes a game. Unless, Williams' perimeter defense suddenly, drastically improves we won't see him out on the court for extended playing time. Probably the main thing, he'll need to work on this summer if he wants to be in the future plans of this team!
That's all I've got for now. I apologize for this being such a long post, but as you may know--when I get going, I have trouble stopping! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
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