Some random thoughts…
*Apparently, Gerald Green is
good at birthday cake dunks, and not much else. He was released by the
Houston Rockets, meaning I was completely wrong about the Green trade. I
mocked the fact that McHale could only manage to get Kirk Snyder and a
second-rounder in exchange for a player who was still quite young, and could
possibly still develop into a serviceable player. Now, McHale and Company
are looking pretty good, considering Snyder has been a decent contributor in a
few games with the Wolves (a team that’s actually given him a chance to play – he’s received over 30 minutes of playing time in several games).
In Houston, Snyder appeared in
just nine games in over three months. And when he did get the chance to
play, he was yanked pretty quickly, returning to rot on his seat at the end of
the bench. With the Wolves, not only has Snyder appeared in the vast majority
of his team’s games since joining the squad, but he’s started on four
I don’t know what to say about
Green. Certainly, his outlook in this league is anything but optimistic,
and he has a lot to prove before any coach is going to consider using a roster spot on him, much less give him significant minutes.
Before he can realize his
potential to be a solid offensive threat at the NBA level, Green must first
undergo a major attitude adjustment. I’ve heard that he was a horrible
teammate and locker room influence, and judging by the body language he
displayed during games, it wouldn’t surprise me if those characterizations of
his attitude were fully accurate.
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You’d see him slam his headband
on the court when taking a seat on the bench. You’d see him grow visibly
frustrated with himself when he missed a jumper, or turned the ball over.
And you’d see him pouting on the bench, waiting in vain for Wittman to tell him
to go to the scorer’s table and enter the game. I ripped Wittman early in
the season for his unwillingness to give Green much of a chance – now, it’s
apparent that Witt knew exactly what he was doing.
When I look at Green, I see a
complete lack of mental toughness. Forget any talk about his so-called
"basketball IQ"…the bigger issues are his attitude and
confidence. If Green missed a shot, you could count on him missing his
next two or three shots…he got frustrated with himself very easily and simply
wasn’t able to bounce back after making a poor play. That’s just major
Snyder’s last two outings have
been quite rough, but he did put up 16 against the Jazz. Anyways, I think
we’re FINALLY seeing some indications that the front office is starting to get its act together. The Wolves turned Mike James’
ridiculous contract into a relatively cheap buyout of Juwan Howard’ s
contract. They got rid of a locker room cancer in Ricky Davis, as well as
Mark Blount, a player who couldn’t care less about such trivial things as HIS
JOB and HIS TEAM (seriously, you couldn’t ask for two worse influences on a
young team than those guys).
The clowns in this front office
have a nice little streak going…they’ve made smart moves in their last four
major transactions (if you count the Garnett deal, that is – and, as of now, I
fully consider that trade to be a smart decision by the organization). Of
course, this doesn’t exactly compensate for the endless seasons we’ve endured
of brutal management from the front office, but it could bode fairly well for
the future of this team.
*With last night’s win, the
Wolves now trail the Heat by 2.5 games in the "lottery standings" for
the worst record in the league. I honestly don’t see the Heat giving up
their position as the worst team in the league anytime soon, either…I mean,
they’ve won a grand total of two games since January 26th, so their tanking
efforts are clearly proving successful (though I’m not sure "successful"
is exactly the right word for this situation). The Wolves are also in "danger" of
losing their spot as the second-worst team in the league to the Grizzlies,
Sonics, and Knicks…so it’ll be interesting to see what measures this team
takes in their annual attempt to secure as many ping pong balls as possible in
the Draft Lottery.
Honestly, though, I don’t think
it matters too much where the Wolves end up finishing…more than anything, it seems to be luck that determines draft position. The tanking efforts of
the Celtics, Grizzlies, and other squads throughout the past few seasons haven’t
helped those teams get the top pick in the draft, as the past three lottery
winners have been slotted fourth or higher in the lottery standings.
*That Bassy injury was
nasty-looking, wasn’t it? I’ve gotta feel bad for him after
that…without question, he’s been a huge success story this season.
When the Celtics deal went down, a number of Wolves rubes were wondering if
Bassy would simply get cut before the season even got underway. And when
Foye’s injury was revealed, I wasn’t expecting much from Telfair – he was
certain to get a chance to prove himself with Foye out of the picture, but I
thought seeing Bassy receive significant minutes would simply serve as a
constant reminder of how badly the team missed #4.
To a certain extent, that was
the case. Especially in the beginning of the season, we often lamented
Foye’s absence – primarily because the team lacked anyone to take the big
shots, to control the game in the final minutes. But for the most part,
Bassy exceeded all expectations by a long shot, averaging 9.3 points per game
and 5.9 assists per game this season…both figures being well above his career
Hopefully the injury isn’t as
serious as it appears to be. Major holes still exist in his game, but
Bassy’s made huge strides this season towards being a court general and a
leader – a transformation into an unselfish player who’s looking to create
scoring opportunities for his teammates. I mean, he earned the freaking
starting point guard spot, even when Foye was healthy and back in action, so he deserves quite a bit of credit for that.
So Foye returns to the starting
point guard role, the spot where he spent much of last season playing at. If Saturday night’s game against the Clippers was any indication, the
remainder of the season should be a lot of fun, as Foye put up 26 points on
8-12 shooting, while picking up six assists and doing an excellent job of
taking care of the basketball (no turnovers). Oh yeah, he also scored the
final six points of the game, and hit a hook shot with 10 seconds remaining to
seal the deal for the Wolves. Forget the critics and haters,
Foye…you’re gonna be just fine.