With the Wolves missing the playoffs for a tenth-straight year, why not use the final nine games to get some of the younger guys some playing time. Monday night's fourth quarter vs. the L.A. Clippers was proof that the starters aren't too interested in giving much effort.
It just makes too much sense to give guys like Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel and maybe even Alexey Shved a bit more time.
Nikola Pekovic played just 7 minutes vs. the Clippers before being shut down for the night with a sore ankle. That ankle has plagued him the past couple months, missing 13-straight games then coming back and re-aggravating it to miss another 6 games only to come back and re-aggravate it after playing in just three games.
With Gorgui Dieng turning in a terrific March that earned him a Rookie of the Month accolade, why not shut down Pekovic for the season, get him healthy before there is a more serious injury or he does some permanent damage. Pekovic is a competitor and likely still wants to play this season, but it just makes to much sense for him to a call it a year.
Ronny Turiaf is likely to return from that bone bruise on his knee sometime this week (perhaps as early as Wednesday vs. Memphis). If Pek is still feeling pain in that ankle, the Wolves should roll with Dieng in the starting lineup and Turiaf off the bench.
Ultimately, Adelman is a coach who resists change at every turn. That's why we have a starting lineup that (if healthy) always gets the starts. It doesn't matter if they lose three-straight games by double digits or if they go on a four-game winning streak, it's always the same lineup. When Dieng made his leap to a productive NBA big man, I would have moved Pek to the bench for the remainder of the season playing him 20-25 minutes and I would also move Corey Brewer to a sixth man role and choose between Mbah a Moute or Budinger as the starting small forward. The difference between me and Adelman? Just 20 years experience, a 1000+ wins and a likely spot in the Hall-of-Fame.
I've been an adamant supporter of our Hall-of-Fame coach in his first two years in Minnesota, but this season it just seems like he's biding his time before his likely retirement this summer.
The Wolves are back in action on Wednesday night when they'll face the Memphis Grizzlies at the Target Center.