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16 posts categorized "Timberwolves"

April 16, 2010

Today's topic: The Wolves ... yippee!!

PHERSY: Trent Tucker used to say: "The Minnesota Timberwolves are playin' their basketball when they're playin' it with themselves."

And by that, I think he meant that there isn't another team on the planet they're capable of beating, so maybe an intra-squad scrimmage would be fun???

So yeah Feldy, the season is over. And your Wolves were the second-worst team in the NBA with a 15-67 record. Inept would be a nice word to describe this squad.

So what happens now? When the team is this bad, the plan to bring it back to respectability must be extensive.

This is expected to be one of the best free-agent classes in NBA history. That's great ... for solid franchises. But the Wolves aren't in a great market, they don't have a great team, they don't have a great arena, there's not much to do in Minnesota and it's cold here. So, I don't see a whole bunch of big-name free agents lining up to sign in Minnesota. If the Wolves get one upper-end free agent, I'd be thrilled. I'm not going to hold my breath for that, though.

Right now this organization should be formulating its plan. They need to take a very hard look at their current roster and decide who fits and who can truly play at this level. Honestly, struggling for a few more years just isn't acceptable, and I can't imagine Glen Taylor wants to bleed money too much longer. That means the Wolves have to take a realistic look at every single player on the roster. If they don't think the guy has a chance to play at a high level in the NBA, they should get rid of him now. Identify five players who fit roles, and go with those guys ... and when I say five players, that may include a few (or all) guys who aren't on the current roster.

Let's start with the draft. This team finished second to last in the NBA this season. Theoretically, that gives the Wolves a great shot at getting the No. 2 pick in the draft and a decent chance at getting No. 1. But, anyone who's followed this franchise knows we can't bank on that, especially in a year when there are two standout players in John Wall and Evan Turner. Any good Wolves fan is planning on the team getting the No. 3 pick ... the ping-pong balls love making us suffer.

Some people around the sports department aren't set on Wall ... but I think both Wall and Turner are going to be NBA superstars, franchise-type players the Wolves covet.

If the Wolves do fall out of the Top 2, they should trade up. I don't care what it takes. The other problem with the No. 3 pick is that the consensus No. 3 is Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors. He's a solid player. But the last thing the Wolves need is another power forward!!! So I can't see the Wolves going in that direction ... actually, I shouldn't say "can't" because we all know the Wolves are very capable of taking players they don't need! But I hope they wouldn't go in that direction.

Really, who cares about the rest of the Wolves' draft picks at this point? There are some good players in this draft, and the Wolves can fill up their bench nicely ... but I'd rather see them trade those picks, for whatever they can get.

Before draft day, the Wolves should decide what to do with Ricky Rubio. I say trade him. I'd rather not wait years for this kid to show up in the Twin Cities ... and there's no promise he'll ever play here. If some team is willing to give up a hefty ransom for him, go for it!

Jonny Flynn and Kevin Love ... I think those are two spots that must be addressed, too. Do these guys fit the franchise? I like Flynn, and I'd keep him. But the Wolves have to figure out if he's going to be an above average point guard in the NBA. That decision might have to come after the draft and could depend on who the Wolves get at the top. And what about Kevin Love? We all know I'm his biggest fan (only because he went to UCLA). But I'm not sure he's anything more than a role player in the NBA. Now, he'd be a great player to have coming off the bench. But, if some team is willing to offer an established player in return, the team probably has to consider the trade.

One thing I'd really like to see the team embrace in the offseason is defense. This team played horrible defense for good chunks of time this season. I say get rid of anyone who won't play defense. Flynn ... I'm talking to you buddy! I think Flynn can be better, though, so I'd take the wait-and-see approach with him, let him know that's an area that must be better next season.

OK, Feldy, you have me rambling again. I think there is hope for this team. But, I'm not certain it's with the current roster. There are a few pieces I'd keep, but for the most part, I'd blow this thing up, build a team starting next season. Put a team on the floor that can compete next year and then make the playoffs in two seasons. It's the NBA, so it's possible. But it will take some great moves this offseason.

• • • • •

FELDY: Maybe we should just pack up Target Center, its tenants (both the Wolves and Lynx), and ship it all off (building included) to Bismarck or Sioux Falls in exchange for an NBA D-League team.

Oh, where do I start with this team's issues? I guess I'll start in the logical place: David Kahn and Kurt Rambis.

Kahn seems intent on trading either Al Jefferson or Kevin Love in the offseason. It seems like Love is the name that has come up more often and that would seem to be the bigger mistake. I'd rather see Love in a Wolves uniform for years to come instead of Jefferson. I like the inside-outside game that Love brings, and his passing ability. Love at least tries to play defense; Jefferson looks lazy on that end of the floor.

Here's all you really need to know about Kahn and Rambis: They've seemingly fallen in love with Darko Milicic, a 7-foot stiff who couldn't cut it with four other NBA teams. Of course fans and coaches of a team that won just 15 games and has never had a true center are going to fall in love with him. He averaged — what? — like 8 points and 5 rebounds a game. That's gotta be some sort of franchise record for a Timberwolves center, right?

OK, enough of the negativity. Let's look at the positives. This ... should ... be ... eeeee .... zeeeee. Well, the Wolves have plenty of draft picks. I believe they own about half of this year's first round picks. Of course, as you mentioned, Phersy, there are two obvious top picks in this draft, which means the Wolves will end up drafting at No. 3.

I can't bring myself to care much more about the Wolves right now. We'll get back to this in two months, when those things called the playoffs are over. Maybe.

January 13, 2010

Wednesday tidbits

PHERSY: Hey all, sorry Feldy and I have been so out of it lately. I've been swamped with covering The Clash, and I know Feldy has been in and out of town for family stuff and now he's back covering the high school hockey beat. But Feldy and I made a New Year's resolution ... we're going to attempt to post something new on Faceoff every week day. It's out goal ... not a promise, but it's what we're shooting for.

So, I figured I'd start things off with some random thoughts that are swirling around in my head ...

I heard this on KFAN earlier this week, so I can't take credit for it, but how amazing would it be if the Vikings brought in Jessica Simpson to sing the national anthem for Sunday's playoff game against the Cowboys? Honestly, I don't care how much it would cost. A million bucks? Done! It would be well worth it. I'd laugh for 30 straight minutes, and Tony Romo would be rattled before he threw his first pass. Priceless, I tell ya! ...

Speaking of the Vikings, is there any chance they lose this game? It's at the Dome! I know Romo and the Cowboys are considered red hot, but I just don't see them walking into the Metrodome and stealing this game. Anything is possible, but I think the Vikes are playing for the NFC crown next week. ...

I have to put this one on here, simply because Mrs. Phersy is infatiuated with this guy. When the Wild traded Benoit Pouliot to Montreal for Guillaume Latendresse, I was a bit skeptical. I was starting to like some of the things Pouliot was doing, and I wasn't ready to give up on him just yet. But man, I was way off. Latendresse has been fantastic. Really, I don't even know if Pouliot's ceiling was as high as what the Wild are already getting from Latendresse (here's a Strib story about him). The guy's a stud, and I'm glad he's in a Wild sweater. Plus, Mrs. Phersy thinks he's hot. ...

The Lynx recently traded for Lindsay Whalen, the former University of Minnesota star who got this state excited about women's basketball. Can she do it again? It's going to be an uphill battle, that's for sure. Despite having a top 3 pick in the WNBA lottery every year since the beginning of time, the Lynx still stink. And nobody is going to their games. Let's hope the trade for Whalen will at least generate some moderate interest. I guess the fact that I'm talking about it now shows just that ...

Your Rochester Ice Hawks had a rough weekend, dropping two out of three games. I was at The Clash all weekend, so I didn't get to see any of the games. I'll be chatting with coach Fatis later today, so I'm interested to hear what he has to say. I texted him Sunday night after they lost to the Lumberjacks, and I asked if the guys just didn't have the fire this weekend? Basically, he said the team had been holding the gas pedal down for more than a month straight and they let off of it Friday night against the Flying Aces. And once you let off, it's hard to find that pedal again. What are your thoughts Hawks fans? Good news is they have three more this weekend to figure something out! ...

The Timberwolves still stink. Enough said. ...

Guess what?! Feldy's favorite college hockey team, the University of Minnesota, is starting to play better. They've got a nice little winning stretch going. Are they better or are they just playing worse teams? Tough to say. I think we'll know more after this weekend, when the Gophers host North Dakota. ...

I will say I'm glad Feldy didn't do too much trash talking last weekend when the Sioux got lucky and took two from the Mavericks. I received a few nasty text messages, but that's it. So hats off to Feldy. This is always an odd weekend for me, when the Sioux and Gophers meet. Normally, I love to hate the Sioux, simply because of Feldy. I'm an MSU fan, so I generally dislike the Gophers, not to mention I'm not a big Don Lucia guy. So this weekend I'm torn ... I guess I'll root for a pair of ties.

On the local MMA front, there's plenty of news going on. Tommy Speer has accepted a fight in Canada against Ryan Ford (this is a big fight, because Ford is very, very good ... check him out on youtube). Also, Travis Wiuff successfully defended his IFC heavyweight title. Finally, there will be an amateur MMA show in Rochester (at the barn) on Jan. 30. I haven't heard any further details on this show, but I'll let you know when I hear something. ...

Totally random ... I went to the movie "Up in the Air" for the second time yesterday. It's a great movie, and I highly recommend it. Mrs. Phersy loves it. I'm not sold on the ending, but it's still a fantastic movie, one of Clooney's best performances. ...

That's all for now. Watch for an Ice Hawks update later today if I can get in touch with coach Fatis.

May 20, 2009

Ping, pong the Wolves are dead ... again

FELDY: From the category of "you can't make this stuff up," for, I believe, the 13th time, the Timberwolves were in the NBA's Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. And for the 13th time, they failed to get their ping pong ball to pop up in a spot that would improve their draft position. If there was no such thing as a draft lottery, the Wolves would have picked fifth. As it is, they fell a spot to sixth.

This franchise seems to have the market cornered on bad luck: 1. they get a lot of it come draft and draft lottery time; and 2. they make a lot of their own bad luck.

They're on the verge of going into the NBA Draft without a head coach or GM. You think the Wolves' first-round pick is going to be excited about that? What about the current players? They see the circus that goes on daily at Target Center. It's no wonder free agents have zero interest in the Wolves now that KG is gone.

Team owner Glen Taylor continues to make his own bad luck (see: Smith, Joe and McHale, Kevin) by making some arrogant decisions. He has had several good General Manager candidates back out on him already, presumably because Taylor will not allow the new GM to hire his own coach and personnel people. If that's the case, why even have a GM? Taylor should just add that title to his own resume. He continues to leave McHale's fate in the hands of, well, McHale. It's an absolutely absurd way to run a franchise and Taylor is either too stubborn or too stupid to see that.

Taylor needs to hire a GM, let him hire a coach and personnel people and Taylor needs to just stay out of the way.

The happiest guy in the country on Tuesday night was probably Blake Griffin, realizing he doesn't have to come to Minnesota.

December 09, 2008

The day after ... McHale is the 'new' coach

PHERSY: So, we've now had some time to digest the whole Randy Wittman out, Kevin McHale in as Timberwolves coach scenario.


And I'm still not sure what to think.

Certainly, Wittman had to go. But I sure wish it would have been a package deal, firing both McHale and his buddy Wittman. But McHale now will surrender his GM duties and act as the team's coach. Some think McHale is a good teacher, so it will be good for the team. Others think this is the same man who has driven this franchise into the ground ...

It's hard to imagine the team getting any worse, so I suppose it's a good situation for McHale. He'll have a better record than Wittman, and some people will play that off as improvement, regardless of whether the team actually gets any better.

Anyway, what do you Faceoff rubes think? Feldy? I'm guessing this will be a good talking point for this week's edition of Faceoff.

June 27, 2008

I LOVE the trade!

PHERSY: So, I went to bed last night, for the most part happy about what Kevin McHale and the rest of the Timberwolves front office did on draft night. I say for the most part because while I love that they drafted OJ Mayo with the No. 3 overall pick, I was a little ticked when they traded Mario Chalmers for a pair of second-round picks next year and cash. When the Wolves drafted Chalmers, I was happy. He's a true point guard who plays outstanding defense. Even if he isn't your starting point guard, he could be that lock-down type defender off the bench. I know the Wolves have waaaaaay too many guards, but Chalmers would have been a good guy to keep around. Still, it was tough to be too disappointed because McHale finally did the right thing in the first round.

So then I wake up this morning and check my yahoo mail. And there it is ... the Wolves traded OJ Mayo for Kevin Love.

And I must say, I LOVE this trade. Why? Because it works in the Wolves's favor in so many ways.

First off, I think Love will make Al Jefferson much, much better. That's a scary thought. Love is a phenomenal passer, a good rebounder and an even better shooter. He's a big man who can play away from the basket. He'll take his defender away from Big Al, and Love will be able to feed the ball down to Big Al in one-on-one situations. And trust me, other bigs will have to respect Love's outside shot. As a diehard UCLA fan, I watched Love all season. He's the real deal. Forget about all the "he's not athletic enough" talk. What he lacks in athleticism, he'll make up for in hard work and smarts ... he's such a smart player. He may not be a 20 points per game kind of guy, especially right away. But his passing skills will get him by while he's learning the ropes.

Second, the Wolves were able to get Memphis to throw in Mike MIller, one of the league's best outside shooters. He's big, plus he's from the Midwest! He's the type of shooter last year's team really lacked.

Third, the Wolves also found someone dumb enough to take on the contracts of Antoine Walker and Marko Jaric. You can't beat that! Really, that might be the biggest part of this whole deal. I didn't think there was any way to get rid of those contracts, but McHale pulled it off.

Bottom line ... I really, really like the trade. Whether it works out or not, I give McHale credit for doing something like this. If it fails, I won't call for his head! I promise. Really, I hate to not have Mayo on this team, because he could be a superstar. But Love will do all the little things well, and he'll make this team better. That's the thing ... just because you're a superstar doesn't mean you make the team better.

What I know right now is I like the Wolves potential starting five for this upcoming season about 10 times more than I did a year ago. I just may find myself at Target Center a time or two this winter.

* * *

FELDY: Of course you love the trade, Phersy. You're the biggest Kevin Love pimp I know. I have no idea if he'll make a good pro or not, but to me it seems like this trade just made the Wolves a lot slower. And if they can't fast break, who is Kevin Love gonna throw his all-world outlet passes to? Sebastian Telfair?

I will aplaud Kevin McHale for getting rid of some awful contracts. The fact that any team would take on Marko Jaric's deal is absolutely astonishing to me. Maybe that speaks to where the Grizzlies franchise is at right now.

So, essentially, the trade was Love for Mayo and a bunch of bad contracts thrown in. Mike Miller? Yippee! Sure, he's a pretty good shooter, but he's a poor man's Wally Szczerbiak (check that out -- spelled it right without having to look it up!). Gets hot from the outside for three quarters, can't find the rim in the fourth and isn't what you'd call a great defender.

Sure, a starting five of Jefferson-Love-Miller-Foye-Telfair (or is McCants in there? Gomes?) is better than what they threw out there last year, but does it make a 22-win team a 32-win team? A 35-win team? I don't see it.

Plus, is Al Jefferson going to be your center? Do the Wolves really want that? There isn't a true NBA center on this team, so it's gonna have to be Jefferson or Love on a nightly basis.

June 26, 2008

Let the countdown begin

PHERSY: Is anybody else just shaking in their boots today, frightened to death about how badly Kevin McHale will botch tonight's NBA Draft?

McHale's draft record is terrible ... at best. I don't even want to start listing his first-round busts (because once I get past Felton Spencer, I start crying).

The obvious pick is O.J. Mayo. There's about a 95 percent change he'll be available when the Wolves pick at No. 3. And some "experts" believe Mayo will end up being the best NBA player from this draft.

So, why are the Wolves so unsure about what they'll do at No. 3? The easy answer is because they're a bunch of idiots up there at Target Center. But hopefully everything that has been said so far is simply a smokescreen, and the Wolves will do the right thing tonight and take Mayo.

Now, McHale keeps ranting about Kevin Love. And I'm a big Love guy ... but I'm extremely biased because I'm a UCLA fan. McHale is saying he sees a lot of himself in Love. And there's nobody McHale loves more than himself.

Personally, I wouldn't have a huge problem if the Wolves took Love. But I still think the better pick is Mayo.

The worst thing that could happen is if the Wolves take Brook Lopez, the Stanford big man. This guy just screams bust. I watched him play probably a total of 10 times this year, and it was enough for me to know the Wolves don't want him.

So, pins and needles, here we come. If McHale does the right thing, all will be well in Minnesota. If not, there could be a collective scream coming from the homes of many Minnesota sports fans tonight. What's that scream equal? An empty Target Center!

Go Wolves!

* * *

FELDY: Mayo HAS to be the guy. If the Wolves pass him up, it'll be Ray Allen and Brandon Roy all over again. The Wolves drafted both of those guys then traded them immediately, Allen for Stephon Marbury, Roy for Randy Foye. I think it's safe to say the Wolves got the best of neither of those deals.

If they pass on Mayo, I have a feeling he'll be the next name added to that list of would've/should've/could'ves.

Phersy, I wouldn't be surprised if Brook Lopez ends up playing at Target Center next year, though. I don't think the Wolves will draft him at 3, but it wouldn't shock me if they trade down, get a guard from another team and draft Lopez.

In a way, I kinda hope that happens because it'll be rather amusing watching Wolves home games next season with 3,000 people in the crowd.

May 20, 2008

Draft Gods kick Wolves in the stomach again

FELDY: This is about right, eh?

The NBA Draft, by all accounts, is exactly two players deep this year. Our beloved Timberwolves will pick third.

You'd think by now Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale would be tired of feeling like the fifth wheel -- the guy who tags along on a double-date with his two buddies. You know the cool dudes -- Chicago and Miami -- will get to court the two prettiest dates available -- Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. Then there's the Wolves, left with whatever falls to them. Sure, they'll say they're happy ("we had OJ Mayo on the top of our board all along!") and smile and pat each other on the back, but every time they see Beasley in a Heat jersey and Rose in a Bulls jersey (or the other way around; doesn't really matter much now, does it?) they'll wince just a little bit and try to ignore those jealous pains.

So go ahead and start printing the OJ Mayo jerseys or Kevin Love jerseys or whoever it is the Wolves will happily select. It won't really matter to the fan base because they won't get to see Rose or Beasley every night.

This was the worst possible scenario for the Timberwolves, who desperately needed a top-two pick to re-energize a disinterested group of fans.

***

PHERSY: I must say, this stinks to holy ****. When the yahoo on my TV set announced the Wolves had the No. 3 pick, I screamed out an expletive so loud it could be heard over at Sunset Terrace ... and I'm sorry if there were any kids over there who heard it.

After it was announced, I instantly sent out four text messages stating that the NBA is fixed. Chicago, the No. 1 pick? Come on NBA ... try to hide it at least. They always do their best to make sure the major-market teams are good (minus the Knicks ... though I think even the NBA has given up on them). OK, in all seriousness, I don't really think the NBA is fixed. I wish I could make myself believe something like this, but I have a feeling it's just that the Wolves are a doomed franchise.

Now certainly, the Wolves will get a good player at No. 3. But they won't get a franchise changing player, and that hurts knowing there were two of those types available this year. I'm fine with the Wolves drafting OJ Mayo, even though I love me some Love. The one pick that would make me turn my back on the franchise forever would be Brook Lopez, the center from Stanford. BUST!!!!!

Anyway, I'm now totally not excited for Wolves basketball again! Wooo hoooo!

April 17, 2008

The Wolves can't even lose right

PHERSY: Knowing the team wasn't going anywhere this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves really only had one object over the last part of the season ... and that was to LOSE!

And they failed at that, miserably.

It's great that they wanted to "build momentum" for next season. And that the young guys were developing "chemistry" together.

But getting Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose in the draft would have done much more than build momentum and develop chemistry. First off, it would have sold tickets. Second, it would have given the franchise instant hope. Playoffs? Maybe. And if not next year, in the very near future.

Now, don't get me wrong, there still is a chance the Wolves could get a top-2 pick and select either Beasley or Rose.

However, their recent winning ways have made that a statistical improbability.

The Wolves now will have no better than a 13.8 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, in which case they would most likely select Rose (you can't go wrong with either of those guys, though). There will be a blind draw with Memphis on Friday, since the two teams tied at 22-60 overall, which also ties for the fifth-worst record in franchise history.

Let's just hope and pray the Wolves finally get a little ping-pong ball luck! Because if they get a top-2 pick, I can see myself getting very interested in Wolves basketball once again.

If not, it could be another rough year of "building momentum" and developing "chemistry."

March 18, 2008

Glen Taylor: "KG tanked it"

FELDY: How about this one, Faceoff rubes: Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor today told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Kevin Garnett "tanked it" at the end of last season.

Here's the link to the first version of the article, posted just minutes ago.

Whether Garnett shut it down or not last season, Taylor should've taken the high road on this one, especially after KG busted his butt for so many years, in so many pointless games. So, even if KG had played late last season like he always has, what difference would it have made? The Wolves would still be the Wolves. They're like the NBA version of Haley's Comet -- they make some noise once every 76 years or so.

July 31, 2007

RIP KG

PHERSY: Everything I'm hearing is that the Kevin Garnett trade is a done deal. Of course, the names and draft picks involved are different, depending on which paper or radio station you count on. The Wolves still aren't talking. But the Strib is reporting the deal now includes two first-round draft picks, one next year and one in 2009. So, KG would be headed to Boston for Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and two first-round picks. Until the Wolves front office starts talking, we won't know if this is real. But it sure seems like it's a done deal.Kg

People are going to be upset about this trade. But I really have no problem with it. The Wolves get young, very young. Last report I heard said the Wolves roster now contains nine players 24 or younger. They also get major cap relief because Ratliff's giant contract comes off the books next season, freeing up $10 million plus. With the young kids getting another year of experience and then the team having some money to spend on the free agent market, I think this team could be fun to watch again in two years. And they could compete for a playoff spot in two, and possibly do some damage in the playoffs in three or four years.

Hey, I'm selling hope here people!