Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Today, we're taking a look at the performance of the Wolves' forwards this preseason. Yesterday, we analyzed the guard positions which included: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea, Malcolm Lee, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington & Bonzi Wells.
Today, we'll be looking at the stat lines of the two preseason games from: Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams, Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph & Anthony Tolliver.
The forward position is definitely a position the Timberwolves have plenty of. At the small forward: Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph & Martell Webster will all see playing time. Williams will be working on his perimeter defense so he can play more time at the three--and of course Martell Webster is still recovering from offseason back surgery to correct a herniated disc in his back (he'll also play some 2-guard). At the power forward, the majority of time will go to all-star Kevin Love, also seeing time at the four will be Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph & Anthony Tolliver.
Let's take a look at how these guys did this preseason...
MICHAEL BEASLEY: 33pts, 8rebs, 3ast, 2blks, 1stl, 4fls, 2tos, 11-for-27 (41%) FG, 1-for-2 (50%) 3PT, 10-for-12 (83%) FT in 2 games--58 minutes as a starter
--As per usual, Beas takes a lot of shots and doesn't make too many. He had a good first game, scoring 21pts in 27 minutes. As usual, he's not extremely active on the boards--with Love on the court, he doesn't need to. I mentioned in the gameday recaps of the two preseason games that Beasley surprisingly still takes a lot of shots in Adelman's system, often times he'd stop the ball and isolate, working to get his own shot--not keeping the ball moving and allowing to be set up. I suppose it works when his shot is falling, but too often that's not the case! He's in luck though, he doesn't have Derrick Williams "breathing down his neck" for playing time--as D-Will has struggled to defend on the perimeter--having Adelman focus him on playing solely power forward. One last thing: it was a pleasant surprise to see his turnover rate drop drastically compared to last season. Just 2 turnovers in 58 minutes of two games, is incredible for Beas--considering he had games of 7-8+ turnovers some days!
DERRICK WILLIAMS: 18pts, 5rebs, 1blk, 1stl, 3fls, 3tos, 7-for-12 (58%) FG, 3-for-5 (60%) 3PT, 1-for-1 (100%) FT, in 2 games--35 minutes off the bench
--The frontcourt of Beasley/Williams/Love was one of the more exciting lineups to watch this preseason. Williams is an exciting player, but he's still pretty "raw". He'll take a bit of time to get acclimated, but he'll also need to work himself into more playing time as he battles in with a plethora of forwards for minutes. Like most of the Wolves' players, he had a great first game, racking up 14pts on 63% shooting in 21 minutes off the bench. He's packed on a bit more muscle since college and now has even more strength and "girth" to work with in the paint against opposing big men. There are likely a few games he'll start this season, when Adelman decides to start Kevin Love at the center. We'll see how he performs going on. One thing is for sure--5rebs in 35 minutes of two games isn't ideal for a full-time power forward.
KEVIN LOVE: 43pts, 31rebs, 7ast, 1blk, 1stl, 8fls, 3tos, 14-for-23 (61%) FG, 6-for-11 (55%) 3PT, 9-for-11 (82%) FT, in 2 games--54 minutes as a starter
--If there was any doubt that Kevin Love wasn't the best player on this year's squad--those questions were answered in the preseason. Both games he scored over 20pts & grabbed 15rebs, he began dishing the ball off more--racking up 7ast. A slimmer Kevin Love was fun to watch go to work on both ends of the floor. If there was any question whether he was deserving of a maximum contract before--that was answered this offseason (see our post on this topic under our News & Rumors section). As I said before I'm excited about a Beas/D-Will/Love frontcourt. We saw it for a bit the first game, but the big concern will be whether Love can guard 7-foot centers. Generously listed at 6-10 (more like 6-8), Love is certainly more mobile now with the weight loss, but I guarantee you won't see him out there covering Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum--it'll be centers like OKC's Kendrick Perkins, ATL's Al Horford, BOS' Jermaine O'Neal, CLE's Anderson Varejo etc.--smaller centers that don't have a big advantage over Love (height-wise). Good chance we'll see another all-star appearance & rebounding title this year. His three-point shooting should be fun to watch as well!
ANTHONY RANDOLPH: 8pts, 4rebs, 2fls, 4tos, 1-for-7 (14%) FG, 0-for-0 (0%) 3PT, 6-for-8 (75%) FT, in 2 games--20 minutes off the bench
--The most underwhelming performance of the preseason goes to...Mr. Randolph. Randolph underperformed in pretty much every way possible. Shot just 14% from the field, scored just 8pts & grabbed 4 boards. Watching him out there, it was "kinda sad" he was trying VERY hard, but absolutely nothing was working for him. Well, I won't say that...he did shoot 75% from the line. Hopefully he can turn things around. He could be a great player in this league--a lot of potential! His ability to play three different positions (SF, PF, C) is a big asset for the Wolves, hopefully he can contribute for Minnesota!
ANTHONY TOLLIVER: 9pts, 5rebs, 2blks, 1stl, 7fls, 3tos, 3-for-8 (38%) FG, 2-for-6 (33%) 3PT, 1-for-1 (100%) FT, in 2 games--36 minutes off the bench
--Señor Hustle! His hustle and willingness to dive for loose balls, defend both on the perimeter & in the post, knock down the three and ultimately do anything the Wolves ask of him, makes him one of the most important players on this team. His stat line won't really ever be anything too impressive, however what doesn't show up in the stat line is exactly what Tolliver does best! He'll see time this year at both the 4 and the 5. I don't know how much small forward he'll play, but hopefully Adelman will get him time on the floor.
MARTELL WEBSTER: N/A
--Martell didn't play any preseason games as he's recovering from some offseason back surgery to correct a herniated disc in his back. He had the surgery on September 28th and is listed as out indefinitely. It's too bad Webster won't be available (possibly at all) this season. His ability to play guard and forward, would have been huge for the Wolves, whose biggest concerns now lie at the shooting guard and a backup small forward!
That's all for now. Stay tuned for a Center Preseason Analysis coming later today! Also we'll put out the gameday preview for the Wolves' opener on Monday vs. Oklahoma City hopefully latertonight! Look for both of those coming soon! Have a Happy Holidays & GO WOLVES!
A TWolves fan, bringing you the daily updates.