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!