CW’s Mailbag (8.27.08)

  mailbag.jpgCollege Wolf’s Open Mailbag…


Yeehaw.  Another day, another Mailbag.  Thanks in advance to everyone that submitted questions for this edition of the Mailbag.  Keep em coming and I will gladly answer.  Anyhow… as usual there is a very diverse variety of topics ranging from: The Celtics run through the NBA playoffs, Olympic basketball, The origins of TWolvesBlog, Which five NBA players I’d like to punch in the face, Something from Maddog_04, and two special submissions from actual, real-live NBA players!  Until next time…

Feel free to leave any comments and/or email me questions for the next Mailbag. (  

Previous Editions:

–  June 9th, 2008.
–  March 3rd, 2008.
–  January 28th, 2008
–  December 27th, 2007. 

(Click "Read More…" to dive into the MailBag.)


This past NBA playoffs TV coverage has given us a lot of clips of coaches in the huddle and in the locker room.  Also we were treated to a glimpse into the Laker bench by Curt Schilling this last week.  I know you don’t have floor seats but I’d guess you could move down pretty close during games last year. 

What are some specifically cool exchanges you’ve heard?   What do you consider the standard fare?  Do you heard guys having odd completely non-game related conversation?

– Pants

CW:    I really wish I could give you the “inside scoop” here, but honestly… I don’t have anything too exciting to relay.  Not what you wanted to hear, I know.  First off, I would like to say I was a fan of the Coaches Clips inside the huddle during the past NBA playoffs.  You could get some quality unintentional comedy, especially from coaches like Doc Rivers.

As for answering your question, our seats last season were in row P, so its not like we get to hear too many exchanges amongst famous people.  We would occasionally move down during games (ok, whenever the heck we wanted), but there wasn’t always a whole lot going on at the games.  If anything, we would do our fair share of “observing” people sitting close to us, and get some kicks out of that.  Namely, Mrs. Gomes and Mrs. Telfair spotting their customed jersey’s with the said names on the back, Babcock’s very… ummm… “weird” looking son who came with total goon buddies and this really hot chick (sad, I concur.)  Also, Babcock himself and Freddy always sat pretty close to us too.  Freddy’s sons would always be running around with different jersey’s on (never a Hoiberg jersey though.) We’ve also sat behind Dean Garrett before, and he’s pretty fun to listen to.  One game we had some great interactions with “Double Tee” a.k.a. Trent Tucker.  We were yelling out his lines/impersonating him and he was yelling back to us (in a good way, he was loving it!)  So that was a highlight.  Other than that, nothing super scandalous or extremely funny.  I hope I have not let you down.  It’s not our fault the celebrities stay away from Target Center in droves.


off to my questions
A. can we still get rid of the coach
B. thoughts on signing mutumbo, we could get him cheap.. we need a
center, since i dont want big al at center….n the others, yikes n
please mad dog is a PF not a center…
C. Any chance on offloading mccants, since we dont even have a use for
D. Thoughts on whacking numbnuts, ? i mean we could make it look like a
fishing accident gone bad get him drunk n kinda toss him over…make it
look like the moron fell in the water n drowned cuz well after a bottle
of wild turkey……
E. Hope your well n all is good..

– Maddog_04

CW:  Hey my man, as always, thank you very much for the submission.  I think you’ve sent in something for all my Mailbags!  Of course, I could be wrong but I’m too lazy to go back and check.  At this point, let’s just assume I’m correct.  That way you can also feel good about yourself as well.  Onward ho to your questions:

A)  Of course.  Anything’s possible.  Well… almost anything.

B)  I agree with you that Big Al is not naturally inclined to play center.  And god knows that Mad Dog is not either.  With that said, there is zero reason that Mutumbo would ever sign with the Wolves.  If I remember correctly, he was close to retiring the past two off-seasons but Houston somehow lured him back to the hardwood.  I’m pretty sure it was because they have been thought of as somewhat contenders.  Would I want Mutumbo on our team?  Hmmm… I’d love the 30 year old version of him.  Heck, I’d even take the 37 year old version.  However, if he were somehow willing to sign with the Wolves, I don’t think the current 62 year old version is going to be of a massive amount of help to our young nucleus.  If his minutes were limited, he’d be decent center for our team as currently constructed, (even though his bones could disintegrate, turn into a powder like substance, and float off into a stiff breeze at any moment), but that’s kinda like being the tallest midget in the circus.  We don’t exactly have many other options outside of Big Al.

C)  I’m not sure.  I would think some team would be willing to take a 15 ppg scorer that can come off the bench.  However, I don’t think too many teams would be sold on his horrid defense and “spotty” (I’m being nice) character… but if we traded him before all the other teams figured this out we might be in business.  Another issue with him is that this is his contract year.  I wake up trembling with cold sweats at least once a week, because of dreams about him re-signing with the Wolves for 6 years, $55 million.  Anyways, we should trade him or Foye.  Or trade McFoye, it wouldn’t bother me.  Too many similar players on our team, not enough minutes to go around.

D)  Hmmm… My lawyer has advised me not to comment.

E)  Of course!  And the same to you.  Thanks again for writing in.


Q1:  There is currently a thread that I HATE for no rational reason except it just doesn’t interest me (Minister of Defense).  Have there been any long running/or not that long running threads you just wished would go away.

Q2:  How did you get involved with

– Pants

CW:  1)  Not to hurt anyone’s feelings… but YES, I am with you on this.  The funniest thing about this question is that I was talking to Bonk about the same exact thread a few days earlier and how I can’t stand it.  So, I don’t know if you are reading my mind or what, but you are dead on.  I don’t know what it is… some threads in the forums are just impossible to get involved in.  I don’t know why.  And this is coming from someone with almost 6,000 forum posts.

2)  It’s a rather long story… but to keep readers from nodding off, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version.  DeROK and I had known each other “online” for a couple years before starting TWB from scratch.  We realized our mutual love for the Wolves and dreamt about what we could accomplish in the relatively new world of blogging.  Anyways, DeROK built the entire blog from the ground up (much props), and we both wrote articles for it.  I did a vastly inferior adaptation of my “Musings of a Wolves Fan” which, on any given night, perhaps 17 people read.  We also had an “old” version of TWB which looked nowhere near as snazzy as it does now.  After the aesthetic upgrade, we added some additional columnists and the invaluable “SG” of the “Daily Wolves News”, and there you have it.  Kazaam!

Dear College Wolf,
I am so pleased to be playing for the Wolves and I am looking forward to giving out some eicked outlet passes this season! I say outlet passes are the new
black. Get around it.
But I need your help. I am occasionally known as "White Chocolate".
That was great when I was the best guy on the team – no one disrespects the superstar, you know.
But now I’m in the NBA and I don’t think "White Chocolate" is going to cut it. I mean, it isn’t really even chocolate, just milk solids and a stack of sugar. I’m afraid my opponents might snigger and then mock my 90’s boy band beard outline.
Help me with a new nickname, I beg you. Something fearsome, yet understated; strong, yet fan friendly.
Yours in Wolvesness,
– Kevin.

 CW:  Kevin, nice to see you taking the time to write in.  I know you must be busy and all with your hectic schedule, so it’s much appreciated.  Soooo… you want a nickname huh?  I think I can help you out.  Do you like any of these:

The Garbage Collector – Not just because it’s what you’ll be doing in a few years, but because your rebounding is very valuable.
KEVlar – Because you’re… strong, right?
KLove – Just to be hip and modern like all the celebrities.
The Honky Tonk Wonk – I think this is solid.
Mr. Stout Pitch-Out – Stout doesn’t rhyme with “Outlet Pass”, so I figured this was the next best thing.
The Forgotten Beachboy – I think you’d fit right in with your Uncle’s band.
The Oregonian Outlaw – That makes you sound pretty tough, in my opinion.
The Barer of Terror – This is even more badass.
The Composed Cosmopolitan – This might help you with the ladies.

Hey, at least they aren’t as bad as what I came up with for Dirk when he emailed me.  I hope he likes being called “Dirk No-Ring-Ski.” 

Yo CW,

On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited/happy/relieved are you that the new uniforms that were recently unveiled are NOT the same as the “leaked” images of Kevin Love?


–  Jon

CW:  Twelve Gazillion.  Seriously.  Those rags KLove was sporting were just horrendous.  We would have cemented our legacy as the laughingstock of the league if we had played in them this season.  All I can say is “thank goodness”, and I can now finally buy my l o o o o o o n g awaited Ryan Gomes jersey.  These are very exciting times in the Wolf household, let me tell you.  I might even get CW Jr. a smaller version of a new Brian Cardinal jersey.  You know… through osmosis of wearing the jersey, it will hopefully teach him character, hustle, determination, good values, and other such pertinent things like that. 

Why doesn’t Tom Thibodeaux get a chance to be an NBA Head Coach?  He ran the defense for the Celts and by all accounts was a huge reason for why the team seemed so much stronger this past year.    I’ve given up on the Wolves hiring him (not when there’s a chance that Wittman could get us over .500 by 2014) but have you heard why he’s not been giving a head coach opportunity?
–  Christopher in Virginia

CW:  I don’t think teams are necessarily ignoring him or anything like that.  I just think he’s happy doing what he’s doing… (and doing it damn well!)  Anyways, before last season, he only signed a one-year deal with the Celtics, presumably in case signing with the Twolves anything “better” or more satisfying opened up.  However, he has since been re-signed by the Celtics.  Being that re-signing with the C’s was his own choosing, we can only assume it’s what he wants to do (rather than become a Head Coach at this point in time.)  If I remember correctly, there were a few teams that tried to court him this off-season as their HC (Knicks, Bulls, Wizards?, among others), but he ultimately choose to stay in Boston.

P.S. I’d take Thibodeaux over Wittman as the Wolves Head Coach.  Then again, I think CW Jr. could win about the same number of games as Wittman if he were the coach.  So I might be a little biased against Wittman.  Sue me.

Dear College Wolf,
Since I left Minnesota, no one has contacted me. There was no party, no going away gift.
Is THIS how you all show your appreciation to me? I SHIMMIED for you one night! I don’t give that up to any old team. I even sat at the end of the bench for 30 odd games.
But did I sulk? Well, a little, but that’s not the point. I’m a CHAMPION. I have a RING you know.
I use the depth of my knowledge to tutor your young players. Do you think Gerald though of the cupcake on his own? NO. That was TOINE. Hmmm. Cupcakes. And how is Gerald doing now after my tutelage?
Well, I’m not one to Grizzle (get it). I am trying to envelop myself in Memphis life. I go the Graceland al the time. I even visit the King’s grave, looking for the soul of Memphis. I haven’t found it, but the searching sure does make you hungry.
Well, you go off and enjoy your Mike Miller and Kevin Love (White Chocolate? Are you serious? Help the boy, CW) The Grizz will benefit from the vast knowledge of Toine. Toine knows. I think young OJ is need of some guidance.
Farewell, your bunch of ingrates,
– Antoine Walker.

CW:  Yo Antoine, thanks for taking the time.  Surely you must be pretty busy down there in Memphis programming all the locations for the All-You-Can-Eat Buffets into your GPS navigator? Anyways, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve missed your theatrics a bit.  A “little” bit, but you’ve been missed nonetheless!  I think your thank-you note from the Twolves must have gotten lost in the mail.  Either that or they didn’t know your new address yet.  I’m sure you’ll get some sort of gift from the Front Office.  I mean, you helped us win at least 1 game last year on your talent alone.  And the shimmy… whew boy… that ROCKED!  I think if you woulda shimmied more often you’d probably still be around.  Fans eat that stuff up you know.

Anyways… I’m sure you’ll enjoy Memphis.  I hear it’s a big night life town (snicker snicker) and they do have some FAN-tastic barbeque eateries.  Please, by all means teach OJ Mayo how to shoot fours.  That legend should never die.  It would be quite a shame I it did.

If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been referring to you solely as “The Toine” for months on the TwolvesBlog message boards.


Q3:  You wake up one morning to see the wolves pulled a trade that makes you say… "Damn that kicks ass".  Rules… not a superstar (probably making less than $10 mill a year) and don’t factor in who we gave up.

– Pants

CW:  Nice question.  That definitely happened when we got Gomes (hard not to factor in losing KG though.)  At this point in time, a trade that would make me think “holy moley that kicks ass!” would be us receiving a young stud center, although I don’t know how that could be possible as we don’t have a whole lot of assets to trade.  Assuming I don’t wake up and see us having acquired someone like Amare Stoudamire, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, etc.; the next best thing would probably be someone like a Tayshaun Prince or a Ron Artest (minus the attitude and zaniness.)  I’d love if we acquired a versatile, great defending small forward. 

Actually… disregard all of the above.  I want Brian Scalabrine to complete the white man bench riding trifecta. 

Why does McHale insist on drafting big, white centers or at least trading for them?  

Also, how can he keep his job after all the issues with the front office and there lack of production? 

– Down in the dumps….

CW:  I think he keeps drafting and/or trading for them because when he looks down our bench and sees them, it reminds him of his glory days.  I can come up with no better explanation.  He keeps his job because he’s got compromising pictures of Glen Taylor locked in a safe deposit box.  I’m convinced. 

Next up is the super duper extra special “EMailbagger of the Month!"  Unfortunately for my friend "Pants", he was usurped in this edition of the mailbag.  (If you can recall, he was the first official “EMailbagger of the Month” last month.)  Dear friend, I hope this does not discourage you, but only inspires you to work harder in the future to reclaim your crown.  I have faith in you.

Hi CW,

I have always dreamed about participating in your mailbag, but somehow
never managed to come up with a question that (even to myself) did not
sound totally asinine. But this time, I decided to let go of this silly
requirement and so here we go:

1. How many games of the Olympic basketball tournament have you watched?
2. How many games of the Olympic basketball tournament were aired on TV
stations you receive? Meaning: How many could you have watched if you
have had enough free time?
3. Of all international players you have seen on the tournament, which
one that has not already been signed or drafted by an NBA team and isn’t
projected to be a lottery pick next year impressed you most … or
simply put, which name(s) do you remember?
4. Could you name a thing you like and one you dislike about FIBA
basketball compared to the NBA?
5. Speaking of that, what do you think of the development in recent
years, that the NBA has tried to make the game less physical in favor of
small, quick guards? And is it a problem for NBA players to play under
FIBA rules, because I could not imagine Charles Oakley complain about
physical play by some Greek dude?
6. Will the NBA / David Stern at all react to a possible trend of good
(not very good or top) talent now moving (back) to Europe and the NBA
suddenly not looking as every basketball players dream anymore or are
they / is he too much caught in his own denial?
7. Given the (unlikely, imo) scenario the NBA would abolish the salary
cap to allow the franchises to compete with some deep-pocketed European
teams, how would this affect the T-Wolves as a supposedly small market
team, as one would expect such a change would strenghten the teams from
bigger markets?
8. Is the most likely solution to this problem (if it is or becomes one
at all) to abolish the restrictions regarding max contracts to
superstars (which probably would only prevent Superstars from leaving
the USA, but not hinder the loss of mid-card talent)?
9. In your opinion, which of the T-Wolves’ players will be the first to
end up in Europe one day? Telfair? McCants? Brewer?
10. Where do you see the Celtics in two or three years? First round
playoff-out? And will one of their three stars change teams (again)? Ray
Allen, maybe? Would it be treason for the C’s to try trading KG or
Pierce next year for junk and a couple of picks?
11. How many years will it take for the Trailblazers to contend for a
championship and will they ever with Oden yet unproven?
12. If, for some weird coincidences, the Wolves would end up with the
No.1 pick next year, could you see the Wolves draft Ricky Rubio and what
would this mean for PG project Foye? Would he be finally moved to SG and
McCants to the bench or to another team or would Foye the one who had to go?
13. When will McHale officially hand over the reigns to Fred Hoiberg?
14. In retrospective, what are your thoughts on the career of Detlef
Schrempf, aka "Nowitzki 0.6" (next mailbag I’ll ask you about Uwe Blab,
so be prepared).

Maybe I’ll think of a few other questions, but those should be more than
enough for the first time, I guess. After all, other guys might have
questions as well.

Best regards,

– Sanyarin

CW:  CW:  Egads!  This must be the longest… ummm… “question” I’ve ever received.  I think it is quite definitely worthy of being the “Emailbagger of the Month.”  With that said, let me try to tackle it for you.  Luckily for you guys (or is it unlucky), I do not have a bottle of Hennessey at hand.

1)  If you mean in their entirety, then four.  All US games… vs China, Greece, one other I can’t seem to remember, and the final vs Spain.  Let me tell you, that final game against Spain was a doozy!  I was legitimately worried their for a minute.  I don’t think the US so much as “stunk it up”, as Spain played really, really well.  Hats off to them for a much deserved Silver medal.
2)  I honestly do not know.  They had multiple channels showing various Olympic events throughout the entire two weeks, and I think we could watch most of the other games if we had so chosen. However, they were all on in the middle of the night, which did not make for very conducive viewing.  I watched the Olympics (via DVR) almost every night, but mostly just the “primetime” stuff and the USA basketball.
3)  That’s tough to answer because I didn’t take notes (wish I would have), but rather, I watched the games purely as a fan.  I didn’t go in looking to write up recaps or anything like that, so for the first time in a long while I simply watched and enjoyed the players play.  Spain had that big man (already forgot his name), but he was a stud in the final.  Even though this doesn’t fit your criteria, I would like to add that Ricky Rubio could be an absolute stud in the NBA when he is older and his body matures.  He has it all.
4)  This answer is somewhat of a “one size fits all”, but to be honest I like the FIBA rules and have no issues with it whatsoever.  I think it is conducive to being more up-tempo and higher scoring, which I would love to see in the NBA.  I particularly like the closer three point shot and having a wider lane.  I guess I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the trapezoidal lane, but I do think the NBA lane should be wider.
5)  At this point in time, no, I don’t think it’s a problem for NBA Players to play under the FIBA rules.  I think they struggled in the past because they were still foolishly dead set on throwing a mishmash of “stars” together to compete, rather than a bonafide “team.”  Also, USA players did not have near as much experience with the international rules in the past as they do now.  That makes a big difference.  The reason the original Dream Team was able to cruise through the Olympics (average margin of victory was like 42 points per game!) was because they were sooooo vastly superior to the rest of the world.  For the good of Olympic/International competition, the rest of the world has finally caught up and will only get better.  I think this competition “balance” is a good thing for the overall game of basketball.
6)  I don’t think it’s so much as Stern being caught up in “denial” right now, as it is not a big enough issue.  Yes, I realize Josh Childress left, but he can come back to the NBA after any Euro season if he so chooses.  Also, in the grand scheme of things he is nowhere near being a “star” in the NBA.  Until a true, grade-A star leaves the NBA to go overseas, I don’t think Stern really has to worry.  Playing in the NBA is still the dream of 99.9% of all high-school/college kids in America.  Even if the NBA is losing a (very) small percentage of it’s middle-tier talent, there are still more than enough players to fill out all the NBA rosters (and then some.)  It would take a marketing cash cow like Kobe or LeBron to leave before David Stern even begins to start sweating, in my opinion.
7)  I don’t see the salary cap getting abolished anytime soon, as the NBA doesn’t need to compete with the Euro teams until something drastic happens (aka Kobe or LeBron leaving, as I said in #6.)  If this did happen, it would be horrendous for the Wolves, as there is no way they could possibly hope to compete for top level talent.  Let’s hope this never happens.
8)  IF it somehow ever went down that road, then yes, they would need to find a way to allow teams to match offers from the deep-pocketed Euro clubs.  Maybe they could somehow expand upon the “Bird Rights” rule and allow teams to pay their stars whatever it takes (if teams actually wanted to do this.)  Also, they’d need to figure out someway for these gargantuan contracts to not kill a team’s salary cap. Sitting here right now, I don’t see how it could be done in a fair manner.  Well, perhaps they only count against the cap for what a “normal” max contract would have costed?  I dunno… it’s quite the dilemma wrapped inside a mystery all rolled up in an enigma, if you ask me.  I’d rather not think about it.
9)  Telfair and/or McCants.  Telfair – because I think his game would work pretty well internationally.  Also, a lot of guards seem to go overseas… at least, more so than bigmen. He’s got speed, quickness, and great passing ability. McCants – because teams are always looking for more scoring.  And if McCants can do one thing, it’s score points (granted he’s a volume shooter, but we’ll let it slide.)  I think McCants could actually flourish internationally, especially if he wasn’t in one of the “top” leagues, competition-wise.  P.S. If there is any chance of this happening with McCants, our Front Office should escort him to the plane.  Immediately.
10)  I think the Celtics can compete as one of the top teams in the league for another solid 3 years or so.  After that, it could start to get pretty dicey.  However, they do have a pretty decent young cast, and who knows, maybe those guys will carry on?  I mean, their cast is pretty deep (and young):  Rondo, Perkins, Tony Allen, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, Glen Davis, Leon Powe, and Patrick O’Bryant.  Granted, none of those guys are caliber talents equal to the Big Three… but they are young yet.  With that said, I also think PP34 and KG will retire as Celtics.  I don’t see them trading KG.  If anything, he might leave for one last contract after his remaining four years are up.  If they traded anyone, it would be (for sure) Ray Allen.  He doesn’t have the ties to Boston that PP has, nor is he as integral as KG.  Also, his contract is up two seasons from now and he could be a great expiring contract to bring in more young talent.  I’m not sure it would be treason to trade KG or PP, but I think there would be a LOT of disappointed fans.
11)  I think Greg Oden is the real deal.  Have you seen his physique?  Also, he’s had a year to practice and get stronger.  I could see Portland seriously contending for a championship within 3-4 years or so… maybe less.
12)   At this exact point in time, if the Wolves get the #1 pick we definitely should draft Rubio.  I don’t think there is any question.  He could become the next Steve Nash and he would only be 18 years old.  You can’t pass on a talent like that.  You just can’t.  I wouldn’t even care what happened with Foye and/or McCants.  The above would be a situation where you draft Rubio and figure out what to do with McFoye at a later date.  Trade one of them for anything.  Heck, trade them both.  It wouldn’t matter.  Whoever (if either) remained, then yes, slide them over to SG because Rubio would be firmly entrenched as our point guard of the future.
13)  I truly believe that McHale wants to go out on “his terms”, meaning that he doesn’t want to make it look to everyone like he simply gave up and walked away.  With that said, I think the next time we have a 0.500 or better season could be the long anticipated time.  So, it probably won’t be this season, but hopefully it’s very soon.  I think that would be good enough “success” for McHale that he would finally leave.  At least, that’s what I’m praying for.
14)  Detleft Schrempf??? Uwe Blab???  (… CW’s head explodes.)

In all seriousness, thanks for finally writing in with the intellectual question(s.)  Every now and then I like meaty ones such as this that really make me think and open up possible debate.  I hope I have sufficiently answered most of it for you.

Hey CW… why does crunch have a tail that is not poking through his jersey? I couldn’t tell he even had one because his jersey hung down so low.

– Derek

CW:  Hmmmm……..  I think he’s got a tail in there… somewhere.  I mean after all, he is a real, live wolf.  I’m not going digging around in his drawers though.  Be my guest.

During the offseason, I was thinking it would be fun to have a primer of each player’s off-season.  What they should be doing, what they are doing, what areas of improvement they each have, what should we look for next season, how to gauge if they had a good off-season, etc.

– Grunscion

CW:  Whew… a monster question!  I’ll try to keep it somewhat short(er), so that people don’t fall asleep while reading my answer.  As much as I’d like to write a novel for each player, I also would like to publish the Mailbag tomorrow morning.  Soooo Grunscion, I’m sorry for not going more in-depth with each player, because this is a very excellent question.  (Also, being that I have no idea what each player actually IS doing this off-season, I’ll throw out some guesses.)

Calvin Booth – What he should be doing is saving every last cent he’s ever earned from playing in the NBA.  What IS he doing this off-season?  My guess is sleeping in, playing Madden 2009, macking on the ladies… anything but thinking about actually getting playing time this season on our squad.

Corey Brewer – What he should be doing is shooting thousands of jump shots every day.  It is imperative that he improve his field goal percentage.  Also, he should be eating at McDonalds.  Like… all the time.  That kid needs to put on some weight and fast!  He needs to improve his aforementioned shooting percentage, as well bulk up so that he can play man defense on the opponents best perimeter player next season.  We’ll be able to gauge whether or not he had a good off-season simply by observing him.  If he still can’t shoot, well then he’s in a world of trouble.  My guess is that this off-season he’s been looking for a new cell phone plan because it does not appear to be 100% that his buddy Mr. Richard will be back.

Brian “The Custodian” Cardinal – What he should be doing is practicing his motivational speeches for the rest of our team this upcoming season.  What IS he doing this off-season?   My guess is cleaning his house while simultaneously practicing said speeches.  We’ll know if this was a successful off-season depending on how motivated our squad is next year.  Because god knows Wittman isn’t a master motivator.

Rodney Carney – What he should be doing is working on catching outlet passes from Kevin Love.  What IS he doing this off-season?  That’s a good question.  I highly doubt he’s been hanging out with KEVlar all summer, however.  If he gets any minutes at all next season, then I think we could consider this off-season “successful” for him.  He is going to have to improve quite a bit to get any significant playing time next year.

Jason Collins – What he should be doing is working on not being the worst overall player in the NBA.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Probably cementing his legacy as one of the worst overall players in the NBA.  I don’t even know where to begin quantifying what a “good off-season” would be for him. 

Randy Foye –
What he should be doing is working on his left-handed dribble, court vision, moves to the basket not involving running down the right side of the lane and banking it off the glass, and his defense.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Probably a combination of all that, to be honest.  (At least, I hope!)  For the Wolves to have a large amount of success next season, they are going to need one of McFoye to step up huge.  We’ll know if this off-season was successful for Foye simply by observing him play. The reason I say that is because he’ll most likely log a lot of minutes next year… and it should be fairly obvious as to whether or not he improved on what I mentioned above.  If not, he should be traded before it’s too late.

Ryan Gomes – What he should be doing is hanging out with his little daughter.  He should also be preparing to introduce his daughter to CW Jr. so that they can become friends.  He should also be calling me one of these days so that we can hang out.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Probably none of what I mentioned above, other than spending time with his daughter.  This will be a successful off-season for him if he comes in next year and continues to be the Jack-Of-All-Trades that he was last year.  Granted, you could say that he was the “Master of None”, but he didn’t hurt the team either.  Oh man I’m glad we resigned him.

Al Jefferson – What he should be doing is working on his defense and rallying his teammates together so that they can form bonds.  What IS he doing this off-season?  I would guess that’s probably what he is doing.  If not, he can do whatever the heck he chooses… I’m not going to be the one to tell him what to do.  We’ll know he had a successful off-season if he comes in next year and continues to average 20 ppg, 10 rpg and plays better defense than he did last year.  The bad defense wasn’t completely his fault, as our team pretty much sucked all-around.

Kevin Love – What he should be doing is growing 6 inches so that he can be our Center Of The Future.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Another good question.  Practicing his outlet passes?  Rolling around on his bed in wads of hundred dollar bills?  I dunno… what is it that rookies with newly minted contracts do?  In all seriousness, you can’t put it on him completely if he doesn’t star next season.  He’s just a rookie… give him time and a few off-seasons first.

Mark Madsen –
What he should be doing is… errr, I guess this doesn’t really apply to the Mad Dog.  I think he’s pretty much “reached his ceiling”, so to speak.

Rashad McCants –
What he should be doing is practicing with teammates to familiarize himself, working on his defense, working on his attitude, working on his shooting, working on his rebounding, working on his turnovers, the list goes on…  What IS he doing this off-season?  Well… I’ve heard he’s been at the Twolves practice facility working out… so maybe he actually IS doing what I am suggesting?  I can only pray.  He’s much like Foye, in that we’ll know if his off-season was successful simply by observing him on the court next season.  He will probably get a decent amount of playing time, despite the glut of SG/SF currently on our roster.

Mike Miller –
What he should be doing is continuing to shoot hundreds of three pointers per day, to maintain his silky smooth three point shot.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Apparently hanging out clubbing with Bonk.  That doesn’t sound like practicing to me…

Chris Richard – What he should be doing is praying to any and all deities he may or may not worship that Kevin McHale offers him a contract.  Because the Wolves are probably the only possible team that would even think about signing him.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Probably a lot of praying.

Craig Smith – What he should be doing lifting a ton of weights and working out with our other big men.  What IS he doing this off-season?  Probably eating babies for breakfast… he’s an animal.  With that said, he doesn’t really fit on our team, other than limited minutes as a backup PF.  I’m not sure why we re-signed him, but we did and are stuck with him.  At the very least, I think he could possibly teach KLove a few things down low, and work with him on building physique.  I guess that could be a positive benefit to our team.

Sebastian Telfair – What he should be doing is FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IMPROVE YOUR JUMPSHOT!  What IS he doing this off-season?  Who knows.  I honestly don’t.  I can’t even guess.  He could be doing anything.  I really hope it’s shooting hundreds of thousands of mid-range jumpers.  If Telfair were able to increase his field goal percentage by 5-7% next year, I would think he’d be considered one of the better PG’s in the entire league.  Certainly not a “top” PG, but one of the better ones.  He has the skills and is still young and ripe with potential.  I want him to succeed.  I hope he succeeds.  With that said, we’ll know if his off-season was a success by looking at his FG%.  C’mon Sebass… you can do it! 

Here’s my question:
What player on the current wolves roster would you most and least like to be stranded on a deserted island with?
Some things to consider:
1. Oddly this deserted island has a basketball court and an official NBA basketball that is indestructible
2. Take into account all factors. Examples:
Positives – Craig Smith is strong and could probably get a shelter built in no time.  Bassy possibly has his gun packed in his luggage, which is a huge plus especially if some mysterious cannibals or something show up.
Negatives – Big Al would dominate you on the court and you would probably give up on life after being beat for the 8,913th straight time.  Foye would instantly declare himself the leader, even though he hadn’t done anything yet.       
 –  Roundhouse

CW:  Most:  Ummm… let me think about it.  Ummmm… GOMES.  And no, it’s NOT solely because of my unhealthy and somewhat creepy obsession admiration for him.  The dude is an intellectual and seems like a genuinely nice and cool dude to hang out with from my own personal experiences… as well as what I’ve heard about him.  Plus, we could compare baby stories.
Least:  Hmmmm… how big is the island?  I suppose it has to be decent sized to support a full NBA court (unlike something you’d see from a comic strip where it’s a little half moon sized chunk of land with one palm tree.)  I guess if the island was big enough I could just ignore the said player.  However, I’d eventually get lonely and want to talk to another human being.  So, with that said my least likely choice would be Brian “The Custodian” Cardinal.  You might think my logical choice would be McCants, but the Custodian would be worse.  Can you imagine?  He’d be like a nagging wife.  Always telling me to pick up any garbage on the beach, make sure our little hut is nice and tidy, don’t forget to clean our eating utensils…etc etc etc, it would be never ending.  At least McCants would just ignore me.  Plus, I wouldn’t be able to stand looking at The Custodian for more than a week.  He is one ugly man.  The one positive about being stuck with Cardinal however, is that I might actually be able to defeat him in a game of basketball after a few years (or when he finally becomes old(er) and (more) decrepit.)  Seems like a solid choice to me.

P.S.  Props to you for having one of the funniest submissions.  I’m still chuckling over the Foye quip.

With the Olympics just over and, IMO, doping once more being on obvious display by all nations (China as well as the USA, Jamaica as well as Germany) and having seen the U.S. basketball team out-jump, out-muscle and out-run all their opponents, I was wondering … what do you think about doping in Basketball? Is it common to use performance enhancing substances in professional Basketball as much as in most other professional sports? I’m not accusing the U.S. boys, to reiterate, or trying to tarnish their well deserved gold, it just made me thinking about this issue in general … in a sport … no, entertainment industry so focused on athletic ability as the NBA, wouldn’t it be realistic to expect that some individuals would try to improve mother nature’s gifts? And if you assumed it was a common practice among players, would it affect your opinion on the whole league in a negative way or would you be satisfied with the thought that the same rules (or the lack thereof) apply to everyone?

Thanks for your thoughts and best regards,

–  Sanyarin

CW:  Another solid question from my Emailbagger of the Month.  First off, of the four professional sports in America (Football, Baseball, Hockey, and Basketball) it seems to me that Basketball is the least “infiltrated” by Performance Enhancing Drug use.  This is just my opinion, and I could be wrong.  However, I can’t recall an athlete in recent memory testing positive for PED’s.  Perhaps it is because the NBA doesn’t test (I thought they did but maybe they don’t), and that is why no one is ever caught.  There is certainly a place in every professional sport for PED’s, basketball included (if players wanted to use them.)  I’m not saying that no players in the NBA use, but I don’t recall anyone getting caught.  With that said, for the most part, basketball is more a game of speed and finesse than brute strength.  On the other hand, like in baseball, some PED’s would help with endurance during the grind of the extremely jam-packed NBA season, so it makes sense that some players could go this route.  For example, someone like Corey Brewer would vastly benefit from gaining more muscle mass quickly.  However, players don’t “get huge” instantly, like with what happened in MLB or the NFL the past decade.  “Big” NBA players like Dwight Howard and Shaq have always been huge and muscular, so it would be tough to target them for steroid use.  Personally, I don’t think it’s prevalent in the NBA at all, nor do I think many players, if any, use PED’s.  I could be naïve, who knows.

As for the second part of your question, if everyone was indeed using PED’s and it became a “level playing field”, that wouldn’t matter to me.  I would still be disgusted.  There is no place for steroids in any sport, and I’d much rather have them done away with completely, than allow every player the chance to use them if they so desired.

I think the wolves will make a push for the playoffs this year.  Does that make me crazy?

– Matt

CW:  Yes, very.  

Ok, ok.  It’s not completely insane. Just a little bit insane.  First off, the only “playoff push” the Wolves could even possibly make would be for the 8th and final seed.  Technically, despite the low seed, it would still fall under the classification of being a “playoff push,” so I’ll give you that.  However, there are some very logical reasons as to why I don’t think this could possibly happen.  First off, The Golden State Warriors won 48 games last year and missed the playoffs!  Forty-freakin-eight!  I assume you are aware, but the Wolves won 22 games.  That’s a 25+ game improvement… only to possibly corral the 8th seed.  That kind of single season win turnaround is getting close to the territory of “best ever” type improvements.  Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I don’t see it happening.  On top of that, the West is loaded.  I don’t think the “good” teams will drop off too much, and other teams are improving greatly.  I don’t think you can argue that there is still an above average possibility of any/all of the following teams making the playoffs: LAL, NOH, SA, UTAH, Houston, PHO, Dallas, Denver, and Golden State.  On top of that, teams like Portland and the LA Clippers have improved substantially.  Which three teams on this list do the Wolves beat out for the final playoff spot?  Ummm yeah, that’s what I thought.

Anyways, if I had to guess… I’d peg us for about 33-35 wins at this point in time.  I don’t see us making any significant moves before the season starts, so that seems about right to me.

Hey, three questions:

1)  Favorite/least favorite things about the 2008 Olympics, or your most overrated/underrated 2008 Olympic performers & or events.

2)  Thoughts on Celtics off-season…..

3)  5 NBA Players you would most wanna punch in the face.

–  Bonk

CW:  1)  First off, I just want to say that the 2008 Olympics have been simply outstanding!!!  Between Michael Phelps’ historic 8 gold medals, the resurgence of USA Basketball, and Ussain Bolt’s pure dominance in sprinting, I have enjoyed these Olympics immensely (Cheating China’s female gymnastics notwithstanding.)  I have watched the majority of each Olympics dating back to Atlanta in ’96, and I could probably say that this year has been the most enjoyable for me.  Some favorite things include:  the basketball, PING PONG, all the track and field, the gymnastics (minus Cheating China), Swimming (more male than the females… and no, I’m not gay), Bela Karolyi, and Bob Costa’s various interviews and narrations.  Some of my lesser favorite things include:  all types of volleyball, Cheating China, the baseball, the obscure events like Fencing, Equestrian, Air Rifles and stupid crap like that, Diving, and the long fluff pieces about obscure athletes that are crammed down our throats. 

As for most underrated… I think it has to be Ussain “Lighting” Bolt.  I mean, people know who he is now, but even then he isn’t getting a ton of publicity.  He also came into the Olympics without a ton of fanfare, (at least not as much as Tyson Gay or Asafa Powell.)  The man only set World freakin Records in the 100M and 200M dashes.  I hope everyone can fully comprehend how insanely difficult this is to do… in the same Olympics!  On top of that, he did it while absolutely blowing away the field.  He is simply incredible.  The most underrated sport BY FAR is PIIIIINNNNGG POOOONNNNGGGG!  It is unreal how awesome world class PING PONG is to watch.  Seriously.  If you have never seen Olympic PING PONG, you owe it to yourself to stay up one night and watch.  It will blow your mind (sober or otherwise.)

The most overrated so far is seemingly all the praise for beach volleyballers Misty May and Kerri Walsh.  Pffffffff seriously?  I mean… does beach volleyball really seem like an Olympic sport?!?  It sure doesn’t to me.  I know, I know.  They are undefeated in like 621 straight matches, and are also the only twosome to win consecutive gold medals… but still.  Way too much praise for something that shouldn’t be an Olympic sport.  Disclaimer:  This is my own personal opinion about Beach Volleyball and I am often wrong about a lot of things. 

2)  I think so far it’s been “ok”, but not “great” by any means.  Losing Posey obviously hurts, but upon much further consideration it is probably best that they didn’t bow to his demands and overpay him.  (I know, you don’t have to jump down my throat, I am contradicting what I initially said in the TWB forums.  Hence the “Upon further consideration…”)  I actually think Patrick O’Bryant is a great (cheap) signing, as he is the epitome of “low risk, high reward.”  If they get any solid minutes out of him at all, it could be a great pickup.  If not, they simply cut him and lose a little money.  It’s like Boston getting a free lottery pick.  Hard to complain about that.  Losing PJ Brown hurts a tad, but losing Sam-I-Am certainly doesn’t.  In fact, it’s almost worth it to lose PJ if Sam doesn’t come back either.  Bringing back Tony Allen is largely inconsequential, as he won’t log huge minutes next season (if he does they are in trouble!)

The biggest boost to their team will be the fact that all their young players got a year of superb championship winning experience.  There is nothing better for a young player’s confidence/mindset/development/etc than winning a championship “the right way.”  Also, most of their youngsters contributed throughout the playoffs due to Doc Rivers’ inability to establish anything resembling a typical rotation.  So, perhaps in the end Doc truly was the genius. 

But really, with this veteran laden team, there is not a whole lot that needed to be done.  Remember, they are the champions!  The biggest hurdle will be overcoming any possible fatigue of the Big Three next season, due to playing 108 games last year.  They will undoubtedly be around the top of the league at season’s end again next year.

P.S.  Late Edit:  I love the Darious Miles signing!  No risk, huge possible reward.  Can he finally realize his potential under veteran leadership?  I think it’s possible.  If anything goes bad/wrong/horrifically, terminally awful; the Celtics can merely cut him and move on.  They don’t have much to lose from this.  Also, it sure was nice of Danny Ainge to scratch Kevin McHale’s back for once… (I’m talking about this costing Portland a ton of extra money against the cap if DMiles plays more than 10 games next season.)

3)  Awesome question:

–  Sam Cassell:  Not only did he undermine our team after the greatest season in history, he also wrought upon us the “Marko Jaric Experiment.”

–  Kobe:  Pretty self explanatory.

–  Jason Kidd:  So that he knows what his wife felt.

–  Chris Quinn:  One of the few players in the league I could get away with punching, and not getting too mauled in return.

–  Carmelo Anthony:  I am a little hesitant about him, because I was brought up with the understanding that I should never hit girls.

Thanks to everyone that participated and sent in questions or comments, I couldn’t do it without you all.  Feel free to leave any comments or whatnot below. 

Hopefully I can continue to do the Mailbag on a somewhat steady basis… feel free to email me any questions or comments and I can save them for the next edition.  The more questions I get, the sooner I can open another Mailbag.

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