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.
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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.