The Mailbag (1.28.08)

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 The Second TWolvesBlog Open Mailbag…

 

Like last time, we might as well jump right into this; it’s the long awaited Second Edition of the TWolvesBlog Open Mailbag.  (Ok, so it definitely wasn’t “long awaited.”)  Like last time, I’ve got even more quality questions from people all over the world!  Or not.  Anyhow, there is a very diverse variety of topics from: This year’s All-Stars, should we trade McCants (yes!) and/or Foye?, updated predictions about this team’s final record and status, Coach Wittman’s job status, Adriana Lima, Chris Richard’s PT, Corey Brewer, and finally, College Wolf’s First “Unintentionally Funny and/or Entertaining Roster of Awesomeness!”

 

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

[cw]


Do you think we should trade McCants and the injured Foye, and try n resign Gomes and Green?

-  Mad_Dog04

CW:  Thanks for writing in.  I am completely in favor of trading Rashad McCants.  In my opinion, he’s a classic case of “addition by subtraction.”  With the way he’s scoring this season, I would think we could be able to bundle him with a “bad” contract in return for either some young talent or a cap friendly contract.  I can’t imagine that there aren’t teams out that impressed with his “potential” and would be willing to take a chance with him.  We have all seen how he bogs down our offense, jacks up shots like no tomorrow, and stays away from playing defense like it’s the Ebola virus.

I’m not a huge Foye fan, but I’m not so sure we trade him… yet.  First off, his trade value is at an all-time low (one could argue it was never very high, but you get the point) due to him being injured the entire season to date.  I think he could have a place on our team as our shooting guard, or backup PG/SG off the bench.  I’ve never seen him as a NBA quality starting point guard.  He has half a season to prove me wrong until we (hopefully) draft Derrick Rose. 

I think we resign Gomes for sure.  He’s only 25 years old and has been our second best player so far this season.  He’s been arguably our BEST player the past month, after a two week down spell in middle December.  I think teams will lineup to give him the Mid Level Exception this off season, but he’s a restricted free agent… so the Wolves can match any offer.  I think we would be foolish not to.  If we are ever going to be a contending team, we need players like Gomes on our squad.

As for Gerald Green, I wouldn’t resign him unless we could get him on the super cheap.  I’m talking like minimum level territory here.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) for the Wolves, he is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team this off-season.  I think someone will give him a decent offer based on his “potential” and ability to score points while not playing one second of defense.  He would not be a loss, as we have enough swingmen as is.


Since you tend to have some funny things to say, I am going to follow up my
real question with a random question.
 
A – Your all-star teams would look like….?
 
B – Your favorite/least favorite beer/drink/shot….?

- Brother Ali

CW:  Thanks Bro, loved the last album.  Some very good (and sadly largely unknown) stuff right there.  Let’s see, I’ll do my starting five All-Stars along with my two “utility” subs.  My two subs will be (in my opinion) the next two best guys in the conference:

EAST:

PG:  Jason Kidd
SG:  Dwayne Wade
SF:  Lebron James
PF:  KG
C:  Dwight Howard
Util:  Paul Pierce
Util:  Chris Bosh

-  Surprisingly, I find myself agreeing with the entire starting lineup as the fans voted.  As we all know, that is pretty amazing.  (cough cough YAO/Yiiiiiii cough cough.)  Compared to the Western Conference, the list of potential All-Stars for the East is sickeningly shallow.  It also looks like Shaq’s 14 year run is about to end.  If the coaches vote him in as a reserve, it will be a shame.  I wouldn’t think that’s how Shaq would want to break that record.  Can anyone point out the next two best players rather than PP34 or CB?  It’s a toss-up at best.  Both those guys have gotten it done this year on winning teams.

WEST:

PG:  Chris Paul
SG:  Kobe Bryant
SF:  Carlos Boozer
PF:  Tim Duncan
C:  Marcus Camby
Util:  Allen Iverson
Util:  Baron Davis

-  My choices here are quite different than the fan voting.  I like Chris Paul over AI for the starting PG.  I’ve also got Boozer over Cardoucho Anthony, and Camby over YAO.  YAO’s been solid this year, but Camby has been an absolute beast.  He’s leading the league in rebounding and blocks, mainly because he’s been able to stay healthy.  ‘Melo sucks and I hate his game, hence, Boozer gets the nod because he’s a double-double machine.  A case could be made for a dozen players as the next best two, but I like AI and Baron Davis here.  Both players are scoring machines, and Davis is the catalyst that makes the Warriors offense go.  Oh, and his overall numbers are insane too.

B)  My absolute favorite drink is an “Incredible Hulk”, which is a sweet, sweet combination of Hypnotic and Hennessey.  It makes me feel so Hulk-like… minus ripping my clothes off due to instantaneous muscle gain.  Now… if an Incredible Hulk could do that, then we would really be in business. 

My least favorite drink is tequila of any kind except Patron.  Tequila is only good for forgetting what happens the night before.  So, I guess that at least makes it a passable option on most nights that the Wolves play.

HEY COLLEGEWOLF,
I BECAME A TIMBERWOLVES FAN AFTER THE TRADE.  I USED TO ENJOY WATCHING TELFAIR, GOMES, GREEN, AND JEFFERSON GROW IN ‘CELTIC GREEN’ SO I FOLLOWED THEM TO MINNESOTA.  I’M ALSO A BIG WALKER, THEO AND C. SMITH FAN.  I’M EVEN STARTING TO LIKE JARIC AND HIS TASTE IN WOMEN. =)  BUT AS A FAN, IT’S HARD TO STOMACH THE LOSSES THAT I SEE PILING UP UNDER WITTMAN’S BANNER.  IT’S NOT YOUTH THAT’S HURTING US, BECAUSE PORTLAND IS YOUNGER, EQUALLY TALENTED TO MINNESOTA, AND YET THEY ARE ABOVE 0.500.  THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MINNESOTA AND PORTLAND IS THE COACHES COMPETENCY. PORTLAND’S COACH, MIKE MCMILLAN HAS A GAMEPLAN, CAN INFLUENCE/WIN CLOSE GAMES, CAN INSPIRE HIS TEAM, AND MOST IMPORTANT, DOES NOT FORCE HIS BEST ’4′ TO THE ’5-SPOT’ OVER AND OVER AGAIN.  THAT BEING SAID, I GOT THE #4 QUESTIONS IN EVERY TIMBERWOLVES-FAN’S MIND.  SINCE YOU HAVE YOUR EAR TO THE GROUND OUT THERE, I’M HOPING YOU CAN GET US SOME ANSWERS.

WHAT THE _ELL IS GOING ON WITH GLEN TAYLOR, HIS STAFF, AND THE OTHER OWNERS?  WHY HAVEN’T THEY OUSTED WITTMAN, AFTER 16-52?   WHAT KIND OF DIRT (I.E., INCRIMINATING PHOTOS, NAKED PHOTOS) DOES WITTMAN HAVE ON TAYLOR? 

WHAT COACHES ARE AVAILABLE TO REPLACE WITTMAN, AS OF TODAY?

HAVE YOU HEARD THE # OF LOSSES IT WILL TAKE FOR WITTMAN TO FIND A PINK SLIP ON HIS DESK?

HAVE THEY LOOKED INTO SIGNING A CENTER FROM THE D-LEAGUE, (LIKE LANCE ALLRED OR SOMEBODY)?  DOLEAC AND MADSEN OFFER NOTHING BUT WARM BENCHES.

-  santiel creekmore

CW:  When I first opened your email, I almost deleted it because I thought it was yet another Nigerian Scammer spam email, lol.  The all caps look can be very intimidating sometimes.  Or perhaps watching the TWolves makes you want to yell at times?  I guess I can’t blame you for that.  Either way, thanks for the email. 

Let me attempt to answer as much of this as possible.  First off, welcome to TWolvesBlog.  It’s always good to have new members, even if you are a converted Celt’s fan.  I do agree with you on your first paragraph.  Youth is more of an excuse or crutch than the actual reason for the Wolves 7-35 record.  It’s a handy excuse and local media and bandwagon fans lap it up because they don’t know any better.  It’s what you do with the youth in regards to coaching and overall talent that really matters.  As to your other questions:

1)  The entire Wittman Regime has been a pretty pathetic display, I will agree with you on that.  There is a reason that he hasn’t been fired, but it’s not because he has photos of Glen Taylor wearing a woman’s brassiere and black leather thong with bells, or anything like that (as far as I know.)  The sad truth to the matter is that Taylor, Wittman, McHale, and Company are all buddies from way back.  This “Country Club” atmosphere is what people are referring to when mentioning the Wolves Front Office and the fact that there is never any “new blood” being brought in.  Coach Dwane Casey was one of the last “outsiders” to be brought in that I can remember, and of course he didn’t last long.  Granted, he deserved to be fired because he was a terrible coach, but that’s beside the point. 

Another reason that Wittman won’t be fired this season is the money.  If Taylor fired Wittman during this season, the new person he hired would be the THIRD head coach to be paid for coaching this year.  He is still paying off Casey’s salary for this season (his final), he’d have to pay Wittman for this season and the next TWO, and the theoretical “new hire” would be the third head coach to draw a salary.  So, the money alone is probably reason enough as to why Taylor won’t fire Wittman this season.  Perhaps *maybe* after this season, but I highly, highly doubt it.

2)  As to what coaches are available, I can’t pretend to know every name.  I’ve heard some European names being thrown around earlier this season in respect to possibly getting hired into the NBA, but I don’t know any of those guys or if they are any good.  As for some of the “big name” guys that are currently unemployed: 

-    Larry Brown:  Highly doubt he’d ever come to Minnesota
-    Paul Silas:  Could be what this collection of youngsters needs
-    Jeff Van Gundy:  My personal #1 choice for coach.  Too bad it most likely won’t be happening.  Plus, he’s amazing as a commentator for NBA games.  I thoroughly enjoy listening to him.
-    Rick Carlisle:  I’d take a chance with him.
-    Rudy Tomjonovich:  I suppose he’s technically available, but I don’t see him returning to coach the TWolves.

I was really hoping that we hired JVG, Rich Adelman, or Rick Carlisle this off-season.  Instead Taylor gave Wittman a three year contract extension.  Hmmm, you be the judge.

3)  See my response to your first question.  I think we could lose every single game the rest of the season and Taylor still wouldn’t fire Wittman.

4)  I agree that something desperately needs to be done about our Center position, but I don’t think signing a D-Leaguer will get it done.  Lance Allred has been playing pretty good, but honestly, do you see him being the answer for the Wolves?  I’d rather give the minutes to Chris Richard, who by the way, I cannot believe hardly gets any burn.  If we sign someone from the D-League, that means we have to cut someone from our roster and eat the salary since the Wolves roster is already at the maximum number of players.  That’s just not financially smart by any means.  Perhaps we sign one of the D-Leaguers this off-season after our expiring contracts leave (opening up space on the roster), or manage to draft a Center.  If so, here are the D-Leaguers and/or draft picks I’d take a look at:

-    DeAndre Jordan  (College)
-    Brook Lopez  (College)
-    Roy Hibbert  (College)
-    Hasheem Thabeet (College)
-    Lance Allred  (D-League)
-    Ian Mahinmi  (D-League)
-    Kyrylo Fesenko  (D-League)
-    Chris Alexander  (D-League)

I would think at least a couple of those guys would be more serviceable than the Madsen/Doleac combination.  Especially if we aren’t going to be giving Richard the minutes.



Are there any players that know you write for this site and check it out.  I’d guess that players are used to dealing with journalists who are critical of them but at the same time I can’t picture Dan from Hudson getting his Goose on with the players at Escape.

-  Pants

CW:  I can’t honestly say that I know of any active players that contribute to and/or check out TWolvesBlog.  However, my guess is that several of the players frequent the blog on a somewhat daily basis.  I say that because we probably considered one of the top/best/coolest/most awesomest Wolves blogs around, and there are actually some pretty “tech savvy” players on the Wolves.  So yeah, I doubt any of the players contribute to the forum, but I’m sure they visit to check things out.  However, perhaps “Mad_Dog04” is truly Mark Madsen?  Or… perhaps you are actually Michael Doleac?  I’d say there is a 50-50 chance that one of the past two statements is true.

Hey CW –
 
I want to know who your All-NBA lineup would be for entertainment value alone.  You can do this based on how spectacular they are to watch, or how goofy/unintentionally funny they are, or both, it’s up to you.
 
-  BonK

CW:  Awesome.  What a kicka$$ question.  You darn right I be taking you up on this one.  I was initially just going to do a starting lineup… but then quickly found out that there’s no way I could possibly hope to limit my Unintentionally Funny and/or Entertaining Roster to only five players.  And I HAD to throw in a coach for good measure. 

College Wolf’s Unintentionally Funny and/or Entertaining Roster of Awesomeness:

PG:  Baron Davis – Someone has got to show this collection of yahoo’s how to bomb threes at an alarming pace.  Plus, the beard.
SG:  Delonte West – It’s Delonte West.  I mean, he said that he’d take his dream date out for fried chicken.  How could I, in good faith, NOT have him starting on this roster?
SF:  Linus Kleiza – His name is Linus Kleiza.  I mean, seriously.  It’s not that he sucks or is awkward on the court, but he’s a goofy white European.  He makes the team.
PF: Michael Olowokandi – You are coming out of retirement Mr. frizzy hair.  Or, is he actually retired when in reality no teams want him?  Whatever, he is wanted on this squad.  Heck, he’s needed on this squad.  I can’t wait to watch him prance up and down the court.  Fits of glee will be emanating from me at all times.
C:  YAO – Khi rite check?
6th: Antoine “There are no fours” Walker – Sixth man of the year he will not be.  Jacking up threes like they are going out of style, running and setting screens on his tippy toes, and building a house out of free throw line bricks is what he will be.  And I love it.  A lot.
7th:  Ricky Davis – It’s not so much that he sucks and it’s funny, more so, I enjoy his pimp tactics while on the court.  Someone’s gotta show these guys how he do.
8th:  Edwardo Najara – The Mexican Connection has already attempted 71 three pointers this season.  71!
9th:  Stephen Marbury – If my team starts taking things too seriously, Marbury is around to keep everyone in line… err, help everyone get out of line?  I know what I’m thinking, and it’s in the best interests of increasing the entertainment value for everyone witnessing and participating.
10th:  Joakim Noah – His own teammates unanimously voted to suspend him a game.  Sign me up.
11th:  Allen Iverson – He’s pretty much on this list solely for “good” entertainment reasons.  Face it, I love watching the man play.  He’s amazing.  However, I must relegate him to the bench.  I wouldn’t want him to have too big of an ego… plus he would take shots away from other stars in my starting lineup like Olowokandiman, Delonte, Kleiza, and Najara.  That would severely diminish the value of this team for entertainment purposes.  I mean seriously, what’s funnier than watching the aforementioned players shooting brick after sullen brick?
12th:  Mark Madsen – The best towel waiver in the business.  Plus, he’s white.  And so very awkward.
13th:  Brian Scalabrine – The Veal lives!

Coach: Randy Wittman – Sorry Simmons, but I am christening the nickname “The Randy DimWittman Face.”  I get tickled pink every time the camera cuts to shots of him on the sideline, glossily gazing at the court with his mouth agape.  The less he talks, the funnier.  Also, there is a good chance that 90% of my lineup revolts against him at the helm, thusly raising the entertainment value by nth degrees. 

With the season at the halfway point and the team playing well for a few games in a row… What is your updated prediction for the wolves record and league position (i.e. worst record in NBA, 3rd worst, 26th best, etc.)

- Pants

CW:  As you all may or may not know, this per-season I predicted the Wolves would win 21 games (in my season preview articles for About.com and an Internet wide NBA Blogging feature.)  Sooooo, it’s become painfully obvious that we won’t approach even those painfully low expectations.  I never thought I’d see the day that one could predict the Wolves to win 25% of their games, and then have to hope for them to even win HALF that many.  Times are quite sad.

About 20 games into the season, I then hypothesized that we would win perhaps 10-12 games when all was said and done.  Due to our recent winning streak (2 games baby), that prediction looks like it will be a bit low. 

Now that we are at exactly the half-way mark (as I type this) with a record of 7-35, I’ll update my prediction to a total of 18 wins this season.  I know, it’s shocking for me to predict that we’ll somehow win 11 more games during the second half of the season, but I think that number seems about right.  I also think we’ll finish with the third worst record (aka 27th best lol) in the league.  My reasoning is that the return of Randy Foye might actually help (although I don’t think by much), and the Wolves have actually been playing pretty good ball of late.  Wittman seems to have *finally* found a roster that works (Jaric, Telfair, McCants or Brewer, Gomes, Big Al), and if they continue to play together some good things could happen.  I see Seattle and Miami finishing below us in terms of overall wins, with Miami having the worst record in the league.  Is there any hope at all for that sad sack Miami team?  I don’t think so.  One can’t even feel bad for Coach Pat Riley, as he is the one that constructed that roster as the team’s GM.  I honestly think their future is much darker than ours.  The fact that Blount and Ricky Davis play substantial minutes on that squad is enough to doom any team.  At least they still have D-Wade… until he opts out after two more years.

Should Chris Richard get more PT*and* more plays run for him?

-  NbaFan#8

CW:  Absofrickenlutely.  In an article I wrote recently regarding the sad state of the Timberwolves , I detailed, with lots and lots of concrete evidence, that Al Jefferson should not be playing Center full time for our team, as the roster currently stands.  It is obvious that he is more beneficial to our team as our power forward, except in a few situations regarding the composition of opponents “small ball” lineups.  So, the obvious conclusion to draw is that Big Al is playing Power Forward, who plays Center?  Well, let’s see…

-  Michael Doleac: Too pasty white, has wobbly legs, doesn’t really rebound or score inside.
-  Craig Smith: Too small
-  Mark Madsen: Too sucky
-  Theo Ratliff:  Too corpselike
-  Antoine Walker:  No way to shoot three pointers if playing center position

That leaves Chris Richard.  As to why he isn’t getting much burn this season, that’s beyond me.  From everything our Front Office has said, it appears like they want him to be part of our future.  So then why are we NOT playing him in this rebuilding year!?!?  Shouldn’t we be trying to get as much info on as many players as possible?  I mean, from what I’ve seen of him, it looks like he plays pretty good defense, can rebound, has good length, and takes up a lot of space.  However, his offense is… umm, lacking to put it nicely.  So, I guess I wouldn’t exactly “run more plays for him”, but I would be giving him a lot more minutes than zero.

CW:

You’re prediction on MarKo’s relationship with Adrianna Lima.  How long will it last?  How will it end?  And why?

-  Allyson

CW:  This isn’t people magazine, but still, I do enjoy the “social” questions.  My prediction is that their relationship will last for as d*mn long as Marko “Euroflair” Jaric wants it to last.  He is a bonafide P.I. when it comes to the ladies.  I’ve seen him in action with my very own eyes.  If someone told me that Marko managed to take home someone’s mother, wife, and daughter all in the same night, it would behoove me to not believe them. 

I think it will end when Marko drops three consecutive triple-doubles (going to happen soon) and the Wolves then trade him to a contender before the trading deadline.  Marko will have too much to do, and too little time, in a city full of entirely new women. 

What is Corey Brewer’s status on this team?  He isn’t getting any more minutes and he was listed as the most disappointing draft pick so far.  What do you think of him so far?

-  Singhcr

CW:  First off, Brewer was listed as “the most disappointing draft pick so far” by some random internet writer.  That fact should probably be taken into account.  I don’t know if I would go that far in regards to calling Brewer the most disappointing pick so far, but people should consider that he’s still only halfway through his rookie season.  In the Wolves second victory over the Phoenix Suns, Brewer played significant minutes and nailed 5 of 7 FG’s.  After shooting a horrendous 30% from the field during most of the season, it looks like he is finally gaining confidence in his jumper.  Also, he’s not hesitating to shoot when he’s wide open, much like he was earlier this season.  I think we just need to give him more time (both real time and playing time on the court), and he needs to bulk up a bit.  After he gets more used to the speed of the NBA game, I think he will be just fine.  I wouldn’t overreact and label him a bust.  He was the rookie I most wanted (amongst players available at our pick), and I’m still glad that we drafted him.  He appears to be finding some time in Wittman’s new “tighter” rotation, which is good.  The biggest question is, what happens when Foye and Theo possibly comeback in early February?  Who gets pushed out of Wittman’s 9 man rotation and has their minutes cut?  Probably Brewer, which would be a shame.

What do you think of this team’s style of play?  They seem to play their best against teams that run wide open offenses and deemphasize defense (Suns, GS, and Nuggets (sometimes)).

Should the Wolves be running an offense like that?  Do they have the personal to even attempt it?

-  Pants

CW:  Pants: First off, thanks for all your input for this edition of the ‘Bag.  It’s appreciated.  Hopefully I am at least enlightening people somewhat, and fulfilling your expectations with my responses.  If not, well… I do this for free, so take it and like it ;-)

I agree with you in regards to the Wolves playing their best against up-tempo teams.  So, it’s not a shocker (to me at least), that we should be trying to emulate this style as much as possible.  I hate the “style” that the Wolves employed for much of the season.  It was too much of a half-court offense, which suffice to say was very slow and deliberate.  While it is not a bad idea to feed the ball into Jefferson down low a lot of the time, we don’t have the necessary shooters to spread the floor which theoretically gives Big Al room to operate in the post.  Also, our Point Guard play can be pretty spotty at times, and it seems that the majority of our wing players are unable to make a competent entry pass into Al.  Either they can’t, or they simply refuse to do so.

It appears that we have enough young, athletic players to give an up-tempo “run and gun” type offense a shot.  It couldn’t hurt.  Jefferson seems like he is a pretty mobile big man (as far as big men go that is), so I don’t think he would have a problem getting up and down the court.  Also, he hasn’t really been too infatuated with playing much defense so far, so we wouldn’t have to worry about the “run and gun” killing any pretense of defense that he may display.  Being that we don’t play much team defense anyways (whether be design or lack of skill), I don’t think it would hurt us if we put most of our emphasis on the offensive end.  At the very least, I would think an up-tempo offense would at least make our team a bit more exciting to watch.  Heck, even Wittman and his cronies said we’d be a fast breaking team this off-season.  I’ve still yet to see it.

Hey College Wolf, you suck! hahahaha

-  Anonymous

CW: Thanks for that wise guy.  Always humbling when an anonymous person tells me I suck.  Oh wait… no it’s not.  It’s not actually humbling at all.

 

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.

Email all inquiries/Mail Bag questions/comments/hate mail to: Collegewolf@hotmail.com

CW


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