The Timberwolves don’t rate above a holiday party these days, apparently, since that was the excuse two different people gave for not taking up Barry on his offer. He finally presented his freebies to the doorman at the team hotel, but a few days after the game his phone mysteriously went out of service and it’s not clear if the guy actually went.
He played with a noticeable calm and exhibited better decision making, converting those offensive boards and possessions into points from the line where he scored 5 of the Wolves’ 8 total points in a second quarter to be forgotten. Whether his play to that point warranted the decision or not, McHale put his full confidence in the rookie, playing Love the entire 4th quarter and even running the offense through him for 20-footers, reverse layins and jump hooks. Shots that would have made them wince weeks ago were encouraged by a raucous crowd. Finishing with 17 and 7, Love may not be the messiah Mayo is, but 12,000 people exited the building believing in him a lot more than they did upon entry.
So what do we make of this? The story goes that Memphis initiated the trade and that the Wolves initially balked. It was the inclusion of Miller and his outside shot, they say, plus the benefit of added salary cap room that made the deal happen. But unless we think that Miller, now 28, will be a major contributor in however many years it takes this club to be a playoff contender, or that the Wolves will be able to land a significant free agent with all of that cap room (not typically a strong suit up here on the tundra), I think we have to see the trade as, essentially, a swap of Mayo for Love.
Mike Miller accompanied the team to Dallas, but missed his fifth consecutive game because of that sprained right ankle he re-injured 10 days before.
McHale said Miller came to Dallas so he could continue his conditioning work and be with his teammates as they continued to install new schemes McHale added at the team’s pre-game walk through.
Troy Young/Timberwolves.com writes a piece on Al Jefferson.
Carlisle and McHale are just two of a half-dozen NBA coaches to play for the Celtics’ 1986 championship team. Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson and Sam Vincent also walked the sideline at some point, though McHale said that isn’t a big surprise considering the intellects on those Celtics teams, which won a pair of NBA titles in the ’80s.
“That was a team that had a bunch of guys that really knew how to play basketball,” McHale said. “Later on in my career, when you had new guys come in, you realized how blessed you really were. Because you’d say, ‘Hey, let’s change this coverage,’ and they’d look at you like, ‘What?’ And you’d say, ‘Oh, boy.’ “
The Timberwolves, Kings and Thunder all have a few intriguing pieces to build around, but how do you convert young teams playing as badly as they are into winning organizations? It’s going to come down to making some shrewd trades and surrounding young talents like Durant, Minnesota’s Al Jefferson and Sacramento’s Spencer Hawes with players who can help them turn the corner sooner than later. Those revamps are impossible to predict: Did anybody forecast the Celtics’ summer of 2007?