CW’s Mailbag (1.12.09)

College Wolf’s Open Mailbag…

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It’s been too long!  Finally we are back with a brand new edition.  More questions and incoherent ramblings answers to everything you all have ever wanted to know.  Ohbytheway, the Wolves are riding a 5 game winning streak for the first time in god knows how long.  Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!  We’re commin we’re commin!  Enjoy the Mailbag, and until next time…

Feel free to leave any comments and/or email me questions for the next Mailbag. (Collegewolf@hotmail.com)

Previous Editions:

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

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

My question is two-part: Who’s your favorite team website reporter, and if Kevin Love were an American Gladiator, what would his name be and in what events would he compete?

- MT

CW: Funny you ask that, but my favorite team website report is easily a fellow by the name of Mike Trudell.  You may or may not have heard of him, but he is the Web Reporter for the Los Angeles Lakers. He does quality stuff and has some dry wit that I enjoy.  He used to report for the Wolves, but alas, he has moved on to bigger and better things.

As for KLove, his American Gladiator name couldn’t be one of the flashy or edgy one word names that instill fear, because everyone would see through it the moment he stepped into the arena.  So that eliminates possibilities such as “Killer”, “Thunder”, “Destruction”, and “Talented.”

I’m not entirely sure what events he would compete in, but I can tell you which ones he WOULDN’T compete in:  Any events that involve climbing, running, grabbling, jumping, lounging, sparring, punching, tackling, wrestling, and/or feats of strength.  That leaves only Eating Contests.

Dear Wolf,

Now that the Lions have seen the light and got rid of Matt Millen, what is it going to take for Glen Taylor to part ways with that stiff of a McHale??
Thanks,

- Longing for Freedom

CW: Divine intervention.

Someone in my league offered me Nene for Randy Foye. I start Foye, but I have Lou Williams on the bench. I would gladly welcome Nene in favor of benching Wilson Chandler. But then Foye comes out with this ridiculous 26 point, 16 REBOUND game? I feel like this guy could break out at anytime, but everytime I get hyped, he throws out a 3 for 11, 4 assist doinkfest. What should I do?

I’ll hang up and listen.

-meatwad

CW: First off, I’m sorry to hear that you have Randy Foye on your team.  Like the Wolves, you can’t be anywhere within sniffing distance of first place.  However, unlike McHale you are considering trading him.  (This is a good thing.)  This answer is a bit more difficult then “hell yeah trade Foye asap!”  I can sympathize with his inconsistency, as we have to watch him on a daily basis.  However, *someone* has to score points on the Wolves, and along with Gomes and Jefferson, Foye is right up there.  If you are looking for PG statistics from Foye, then you are looking in the wrong spot.  The “right” answer involves a mix of whom else you’ve got your team, and what you could get for Foye.  If you are weak in big men, and need more rebounds, blocks, and a higher FG%, then Nene is a great option.  If you are pretty solid all-around and are just looking to make a trade, I think you could probably get more for Foye, since he is perceived to have decent fantasy value (for some reason.)  So, if I were you I’d try offering Foye and your worst player for Nene and another solid guy (if possible.)  Nene is having a great year and gets a ton of minutes, so I don’t think you can go wrong with him.  Then again, I traded Brandon Roy in my Western Conference Only Auction Keeper League, so you may want to do the exact opposite of everything I am telling you.

EDIT: Foye has been on a tear the past 10 games or so.  You may want to keep him.  Then again, the majority of those games are against the dregs of the league, so we’ll see if he can keep up his consistency or not.

C-Dub,

Being a Celtics fan, I know almost nothing about your T-Wolves so I came up with this doosey: Is the new two-tone floor in Minny having an impact on individual scoring? I could do the math and compare the PPM for players in Minny at least two years, but I want to play Guitar Hero, and figured I’d throw you a bone and make you look really smart by coming up with the answer.

Thanks,

- rinoblast05

P.S. Thanks for KG!

CW: The answer is unequivocally “YES”, the new two-tone floor is solely responsible for our scoring increases.  Statistics and research are grossly overrated, so everyone is going to just have to take my word for it.  I can tell you that the engineers were experimenting with a new floor prototype that is able to slowly release steroid fumes, which then get assimilated into the bodies of our players.  That may or may not have something to do with it as well.

RE: P.S. Grumble grumble you’re welcome grumble grumble… (punches self in face.)

CW,

I need your expertise on the off season. Does McFail stay or does he get flushed? Who will replace him? Is Wade a real threat for coming to Minney?
Do you think the Wolves should pack it (they might have already) for the rest of the year for ping pong balls in this summer’s draft and is there anyone out there at the college/foreign level worth it?

CW: Dear Nameless One,

Not only does McFail not appear to be going anywhere, he’s now our coach.  (However it would be interesting to see him getting “flushed.”  I’d pay for that.)  As for who (hopefully) replaces him this coming off-season, I just hope it’s someone (anybody) that would not be considered part of the “600 First Avenue Country Club.”  By that I mean, it should be fresh blood with NO current or past ties to the organization.  This goes for our (hopefully) new coach AND GM.  Personally, I am under the belief that Glen Taylor needs to start his entire Front Office over from scratch, before this team can finally take the necessary steps towards contending.  Will that happen?  Being as Taylor is highly (overly) loyal, I doubt it.  Look for more of the same next season, and beyond.

I never heard about D-Wade coming to the Wolves.  No more drugs for you.
I’m not sure if we should “pack it in” the rest of this season, as ingraining a losing culture upon our players is never a good thing… especially not this early into the season.  With that said, I cringe every time that we beat an equally crappy team, knowing that it is costing us valuable lottery ball chances.  My (very) early draft board for our lottery pick (assuming we keep it) contains James Harden, Ricky Rubio (but it sounds like he’s not coming out this year), and Blake Griffin (only if we trade him; or keep him and trade Al or Love.  Craig Smith should be traded regardless, as he’s by far the most redundant player on our team.)  Being that it’s incredibly early and we haven’t even seen conference play (or most of the freshman) yet, my draft board is subject to change.  Probably more change than is healthy.  There is also a great chance I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to NCAAB.

Hey Idiot Wolf,

Foye is great!  You suck!

- Get a clue

CW: Sorry if I have offended you Mrs. Foye.  I guess wanting my team to win a championship is pretty foolhardy.  For what it’s worth, everyone here knows that I was ecstatic when we drafted Roy, and subsequently very distraught when we traded him for Foye.  If I were GM I would have never made that trade.  But then again, I guess I suck so it’s a moot point.

CW,

1.  As apparently Hoiberg takes WallyWorld’s phone calls… does he take yours?  Have you tried?

2.  You mentioned getting to see the Wolves Jersey’s early if I recall.  Was that because of your status as a Wolves Blogger?  Does the team do stuff to positively support people who are blogging, or whatever else, as fans of the Wolves?

3.  It is your job to cut or trade one of these guys…  Miller, Carney, Gomes, Telfair, or Craig Smith.  Who would you like to see off the team?  Assume that whatever comes back is of the useless 2nd round pick or guy with expiring contract who will never play variety.  i.e. as of next year it will be like the guy never existed.

- Pants

CW: Thanks as always Pants, I appreciate your submissions to each and every Mailbag.  Let me tell you… you were thisclose to being the first repeat winner of “Mailbagger of the Month.”  As for your questions:

1) They told me that if I ever called again asking for Hoiberg they’d send “The White Coats” after me.  I figured the risk vs reward ratio is not in my favor.

2) Yes, that is correct.  However, I don’t believe they did it to “support us.”  If you recall, Kevin McHale blames “Bloggers” for influencing League Coaching Personal decisions. Rather, I am under the assumption that they let myself (and a few other bloggers such as SG, Neil & Rob, CanisHoopus) privy to the early photos and an “insider” conference call between the Wolves, the NBA, and Adidas; as they wanted as much exposure for the unveiling of the new uniforms as they could possibly get.  I assume they know that some blogs are as popular (or cough cough more so cough cough) than their official Timberwolves.com website, and knew we would all post about the conference call and the new pictures. Good idea by the Wolves for once.

3) Is this a trick question?  Are you hoping trying to get me to say Gomes?  Well… I’m on to you!  It will never happen!  He’s here for life!  You got that?  For. Life.

But really, besides Gomes they all have reasons as for why they can go:

- Miller: Way overpaid, forgot how/when to shoot a basketball, I don’t see him being an integral part of our future, at least in terms of rebuilding.
- Carney: Does not appear to be an integral part of our rebuilding efforts, contract is already paid by Philly the rest of this season, and he’s a free agent, so there are no salary ramifications to simply let him walk.  I like his dunks lately though, they tickle my tummy.
- Gomes: No discernable weaknesses.
- Telfair: After Gomes, he is my next “keeper” of the five from your list.  I really like what he’s been doing when McHale actually gives him the minutes to play.  He’s more of a “pure PG” than Randy Foye, and sucks much less than Kevin Ollie.  He’s still young and has loads of potential.  On top of all that, he’s got a very reasonable contract and I see no reason as to why we’d want to get rid of him at this point.  If he can improve his FG% by five percent or so, he could become one of the better PG’s in the league.
- Smith: As I’ve said before, he’s by far the most redundant player on our team.  We just don’t have room to play him 20+ minutes per game at power forward; when we’ve already got Big Al and need to at least try developing Kevin Love.  Besides that, he’s (another) undersized PF that can’t play defense. He has a cheap contract and only one more year remaining on his contract, so I would think he could be decent trade bait for someone out there.

Therefore, after my incredibly insightful and in-depth analysis, and if it were up to me, Craig “Rhino Virus” Smith would be sent packing.  Well… actually, I’d try to trade him.  I wouldn’t just cut him.  Smith + crappy future second round draft picks to the Bulls for Jo No.  I’d be down with that.

cwmailbag.jpgHi CW!

There is a lot of hate expressed toward our team nowadays. Hate is turning to apathy and fans are turning away in droves. This saddens me.
Is this really the players fault? Is it more than coincidence that virtually every single one of them is playing below their expectations?  On top of that we are playing well below our expectations as a team. Don’t you think most of our problems are more deep seated than having the wrong players? I believe the long history of bad choices and bad management and bad coaching has created within us a legacy of losing. Do you think if we focused our anger away from the players and onto the ownership, management and coaching we would enjoy our Timberwolves a bit more?

- Mmaland

CW: Congrats Mmaland, your level headed and completely rationale submission lands you the heralded “Emailbagger of the Month” award.  Not only is your question insightful in its simplicity, but you already did a pretty good job answering it for me as well.  All that leaves for me is to point out how accurate your last question was, and slap the handy dandy award trophy next to your question.

But, to actually do my job and answer this, “No” it’s probably not the players fault.  At least, not entirely.  When they execute poorly on the court (and there is a lot of it), that’s some their fault and some coaching.  But you are wise, and I entirely believe that we should focus our anger away from the players as it probably would make watching games much more enjoyable.  If this applies to anyone on Twolvesblog, it is me especially.  I probably take too much out on Foye (playing better lately), Smith (I still think is redundant), and McCants (completely deserves it, I would like to add.)  I sometimes feel like a beaten dog, as we’ve been going through this as fans for so very long.  It’s hard to change my Negative Nancy ways.  The nice thing is, as you suggested, I don’t really need to change that much; but rather focus it on the Front Office instead.  Now that is something I can do.

Three questions:

1. Will Kevin Love be labeled a bust? What criteria do you use to know how long to wait before rendering a proclamation?
2. What are your thoughts on next year’s draft? Who do you like? What pick will we get? And, most importantly, who does McHale like because that’s all that really matters when making a pick!
3. Do you really think McHale will no longer be involved with the Wolves next year? Will he ever leave?

Thanks,

- Chris

CW: Hey Chris, thanks for the questions.  Let’s get right to them:

1) Hard to tell.  I know that I already made an epic forum post stating how much of a “bust” Love is/will be/is destined to be… but even I will admit that I was probably overreacting a bit.  With that said we should probably wait out his rookie contract until we can know FOR SURE as to whether or not he truly is a “bust.”  What I can say is that if he becomes known as just a “rebounder” who puts up decent, but not great, rebounding stats and not much else; then he will be an unequivocal “bust.”  We need more than just rebounding from our co-highest lottery pick ever.

2) Its still early, but I am loving me some James Harden.  Being that Ricky Rubio has apparently pulled out of the draft, I think he best fits our need.  He’s a legit NBA SG (aka he has the size), who can take it to the hoop and is uber athletic.  I could see him drawing fouls with regularity in the NBA and scoring 20+ ppg.  If we somehow get a top 2 pick, we should come away with Harden or Blake Griffin.  I don’t personally want Griffin, but his talent is hard to ignore and he’s probably one of the best 2 or 3 players in the draft.  The probably is that he’s yet another undersized PF.  If we took Griffin we’d have to trade him, Big Al, or Love.  There’s no way we can play the three of them (and Craig Smith) enough minutes to be effective.

As for what pick we get, I will go out on a limb and assume we don’t win the lottery.  Hopefully if we are lucky we can get in the 5-6-7 range based on record, but we’ll probably beat a bunch of crappy tanking teams late in the season to end up 11th, and lose our pick to the Clippers.  That of course, would be devastating to this franchise and the few remaining fans.

Without a doubt, here is Kevin McHale’s draft board.  You can pretty much bank on us ending up with one or more of these players:

- Tyler Hansbrough
- Chase Budinger
- Conner Atchley
- Luke Harangody
- Random white lanky Euro

3) This is probably the best chance that us Wolves fans have of him finally leaving the organization.  Sadly, it does sound like Taylor wants him to become our coach “for the long haul.”  As our coach, if he has a winning percentage of even just .400 or so, he’ll probably be able to come back and coach next season if he wants to.  It’s depressing, and to be on the safe side, I think we should just all assume that he’s here for life.  That way if/when he finally does leave, it will be cause for a raucous celebration.

Who’s more stupider?  You after 20+ beers or Rashad McCants?

- (Name Withheld)

CW: HAHAHAHAHA!

CW,

1.  I’ll pose to you the question I’ve been asking myself for a month now… it’s been getting harder and harder to answer.  Why should I take time out of a busy schedule to watch this team when they are on TV?  Any answer that lauds the game of basketball is invalid because I can always watch countless other games involving better players and better teams.

2.  Is Ryan Gomes helping this team?

- Pants

CW: Love the dual questions… that shows your enthusiasm, dedication, and gogetteritveeness (I just made that word up.) 

1) Honestly, I don’t blame you (or anyone else) that is frustrated with the Wolves right now.  Granted, they are on a three game winning streak, but that doesn’t excuse the putrid first quarter of the season.  The Wolves looked flatter than America’s Next Top Model under Coach DimWittman.  I am not entirely sure yet if the improved play is because our team is truly better, or because we have hit possibly the easiest stretch of our schedule this season.  I would lean towards the latter, and I fully expect there will be a plethora more of blown leads and inexcusable play down the stretch.  I guess if you are a diehard NBA fan like myself, you’ll probably keep watching the Wolves out of stupidity hope for a better tomorrow.  Honestly, I don’t know why I watch… but I just do.  Other than the Celtics (pre-KG!), I’ve never had a “favorite” NBA team other than the Wolves.  They will always be “my team” and that’s probably why I personally keep watching.  But, anyone that has made it this far through the lean years deserves to be commended at the very least.  I will not blame you for not watching all our games these days.  Sometimes, they don’t even deserve to have people watching.  It can be that bad at times.

2) If I wasn’t so lazy busy and actually answered this question a week ago, I would be inclined to say that “NO” he wasn’t helping our team.  But, like last year, he was off to a slow start this season and is now back to his “Barometer” status!  But really, I think that part of the problem is that there are such high expectations, when really he is an ideal player for a solid veteran team like Boston or San Antonio.  I think Gomes would excel in that type of role where he isn’t ask to lead, yet can utilitize his talents as a “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  He doesn’t make mistakes and plays solid defense.   The problem on the Wolves is that everyone else plays such tuuuuuurrrible defense, that it’s almost impossible for his above average D to get noticed; because there are so many other mistakes he has to make up for. 

With all that said, he’s been playing great lately, averaging almost 20 points a game over the past five.  He’s rebounding and playing heady defense.  I also believe that is he overall our best two-way player on the team, when you factor in all facets of the game.  Yes, Jefferson and probably Foye are probably both better purely at offense, but they both play horrendous defense.

Why is Adonal Foyle not in the running for MVP? We all are in agreement that he is the best player ever.

- Zorgon, Blueblitz.net

CW: Good question.  Somehow his name is improbably being left off the ballot.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why that would be…

Hey how are you?

Hope your xmas n everything rocked! Glad Mad Dog
finally played tho they yanked him way to early n hey he was doing
good..

questions:
A. If somehow we could trade big al n smith for say Parker would you do
it?
B. who would you pick as the new coach?
C. You enjoying my dimwit story

- Maddog_04

CW: Hey Maddog, I’m fine, thanks for asking.  I hope all is well with you too, and that the shoints haven’t completely driven you to the depths of despair (yet.)  I agree with you that I truly do think Madsen can help our team.  It’s a shame that he doesn’t play at all.  He hustles and is a big body that can play center for limited minutes (at least on defense.)  Sadly, it appears that Brian “The Custodian” Cardinal has now taken over his token white guy role.  Maybe McFale is showcasing BC for a trade or something…

A) Do you mean for Tony Parker?  More importantly, would the Spurs do it?  He is one of their core pieces and a leader on that team.  I don’t see the Spurs making that trade.  BUT, if they would… I’d consider it.  It would open up more minutes for Love and get us one of the best young PG’s in the league.

B) JEFFFFF VANNNNN GUNDYYYYYYYY (To the tune of “Annnnnything is possssssssible”)

C) Dude, it’s awesome.  Seriously.  You’ve got me cracking up every time you add to it.  For any of you first timers, here is what he’s talking about: The DimWittman Story.

Hey CW –

I’m gonna give you 3 questions, feel free to answer any or all of them:

1.  What are your thoughts on the top teams in the league this season?  How many true contenders are there and who are they?  Is Cleveland legit?  Are the Lakers the favorite?  Can our Celtics do it all again this year?  Who else can emerge to contender status?

2.  If you were coach of the Wolves, what would you do differently?  Philosophies, playing time, rotations, etc…let’s hear it.

3.  What NBA players have you become a bigger fan of this year?  Any fantasy steals?  Any role/bench players that you love to watch now?  Any unintentional comedy champions?

- Bonk

CW: Nice mix of questions.  Hopefully my answers are more enjoyable than the Wolves-Bucks game I’m currently monitoring online.  For anyone that cares, Bonk just called me from the game due to the podding of SILENT ABABU.  His yelps warm my heart.  Thanks for that!

1) I still think it’s a little early in the season, but things are finally starting to take form.  If you would have asked me this a few weeks ago, my answer would have been “Celtics and Lakers, hands down.”  Now, due to the recent Celtics swoon and some SICK play by LeBron, you have to add a few more teams to the mix.  Here are CW’s current NBA Power Rankings:

1)  Lakers  2)  Cavs (LeBron is the best player on the planet, and they can STILL add $20 million worth of a star player(s) before the trade deadline.)  3)  Celtics (Lost 6 out of their last 8… egads!)  4) SA Spurs (healthy)  5)  Orlando Magic (Don’t sleep on them.)

Cleveland is definitely legit, as they might not lose a game at home all season long.  That doesn’t bode well for you and our bet, lol.  At this point I would have to say that “Yes”, LA is the favorite.  Kobe is on a mission and Bynum is healthy.  In the end I think it will come down to two things for LA: 1) Does Odom adapt and accept his role as the 6th man? and 2) Can Pau Gasol not play like a Euro-sissy?  In other words, they need better defense from Gasol.  But having a healthy Bynum back will really help the situation.

I think the Celtics can repeat, as they certainly are good enough.  However, something is seriously wrong right now and they better get their act(s) together.  They need to add a piece or two to the bench as well.  Not having PJ Brown and Posey really hurts.

2) Oh man, that’s a great open-ended question.  I could probably write a novel on it, but would anyone really want that?  Anyways, if I was just the coach (sadly not the GM, because that would ROCK), I’d do a few things.  Ideally, I’d love to focus defense and defensive intensity on every possession.  As we all saw last year with the Celtics (and Spurs of the past), defense does indeed win championships.  Unfortunatley, I don’t think the Wolves have the personnel to amp up their defense.  Namely, Al, Foye, McCants, Miller, Smith, and Love all suck on that end of the court.  And we can’t hardly just dump all those players.  Therefore, I think the best philosophy is to increase the pace as much as possible (that means playing Telfair at the point at least 30 minutes a game, if not more), and bomb threes at an alarming rate.  Assuming Miller and Foye can hit threes with consistency, and along with Gomes, we have some solid three point shooters on this squad.  If we can’t stop anyone, we might as well outshoot them.  I think that’s our best chance.  I’d just try to open up the offense as much as possible and let the players play.  This also means NOT dumping it down to Al on every possession, as he doesn’t know how to pass anyways.  Between Al and Love, we should be able to clean up a ton of offensive rebounds, and they can get their points that way.

Assuming no changes to our lineup, my rotation would be something like PG: Telfair (35+ minutes per game), SG: Foye (30+ minutes per game, with a few at backup PG), SF: Gomes (30 minutes per game), PF: Love (30 minutes per game), C: Big Al (35+ minutes per game.)  Miller would be the 6th man and I’d tell him to shoot as much as humanely possible.  There would be no lack of shots for him coming in with the second unit.  My other top backups would be Brewer (if healthy), Carney (in Brewer’s stead), Smith, and Madsen.  Cardinal could play if we were winning or losing by 15+.  McCants, Booth, and Collins would never, ever play.

To make a long story short, focus on defense.  But since this probably isn’t possible with our team… run and gun baby.  Increase the pace and see what happens.  7 Seconds Or Less, make it happen Minnesota Tundra style.

3) What players have I “become a bigger fan of this year?” Let’s see… I’ve become a huge fan of Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes Gomes our very own Sebastian Telfair.  I really like what he’s been doing lately for the Wolves.  I’m glad he’s finally starting to come through, as I’ve had faith in him ever since we acquired him.  I honestly think I’d also answer LeBron.  I mean, like everyone, I’ve always “liked” LeBron.  How could you not?  But now I am really appreciating his all-around utter dominance, and the ways in which he has been completely pwning every facet of the game.  He’s clearly the best player on the planet.  Assuming he stays healthy, when all is said and done, I think he’ll go down as one of the Top 5 best all-around NBA players ever.  I’ve always liked Brandon Roy and Shaq, but I love what they are doing this year.  Roy is stepping up his game to near-MVP levels, and Shaq is revitalizing his career.  Both are awesome things to see.  And of course I have to mention my Celtics boys, Rondo and Powe.  Love those guys.

I wish I was more in the mindset to analyze some solid fantasy steals, but man, it’s late and I’ve been trying to pound out the last few questions to this mailbag.  Coincidentally, the last two questions I had to answer were also the longest.  Stupid me.  So anyways, I went to the league home for our Western Conference Only Auction Keeper Fantasy NBA Team and was going to check out all our rosters.  But then I realized… WHY would I tell everyone my fantasy steals/sleepers/studs?!?!  That would be really dumb of me.  So sorry, I can’t answer this segment of the question right now.

Of course there are a bunch bench/role players that I love to watch/observe. I know you’ve got a ton too, but here’s my list in no particular order:

Joakim “I promise I’m a team player” Noah, Trevor “STUD” Ariza, Spencer “Damn we shoulda drafted him” Hawes, Greg “Don’t call me Sam Bowie” Oden, Everyone on the Celtics bench including Brian “Man Boobs” Scalabrine, Matt “It’s my red hair that makes me look this white” Bonner, Travis “Lamar Odom Jr. and I mean this in a good way” Outlaw, Trenton “I need no nickname” Hassell, AC, Antoine “Better known as The Toine or maybe Buffet Man” Walker, Marko “Gigalo” Jaric, Paul “My heart is 7 feet tall” Millsap, Meeeeeeeeeeeki Moore, Ricky “Azzle” Avis, Adam “Porn Stache” Morrison, Thad “Pogostick” Young, and of course Stephen “He’s not a bench or role player but dang I love him” Jackson.  Apologies to anyone I left out while trying to think of players off the top of my head.

As for “Unintentional Comedy Champions”, we all know that the top two undisputed kings of UC are Sam Cassell and Stephon Marbury.  And soon they will be on the same team.  Gulp.

CW,

1. Lets hear your move by move idea for how to fix the Wolves. Make it realistic, (i.e the brass will unlikely move Miller or Big Al any time soon). Address the 4 picks and Carney/McCants futures.

2. You are stuck on an island, who do you have with you, Kevin McHale, Stojko Vrankovic, or Brian Cardinal? Why?

- WallyWorld

CW: Thanks WW, appreciate the questions.  I don’t want to make it seem like I’m slacking, but in the interest of getting this mailbag out in a timely matter, I’m going to copy and paste my response to your first question.  I did a Wolves interview a few weeks back for NBA Outsider from MVN, and one of the questions was almost exactly like your first one.  (You can read the full interview here.)  I think my response is extremely applicable to what you asked.  However, I do disagree with you about trading Miller.  I’ve said that ever since we traded for him I didn’t think he was an integral part of our future or rebuilding efforts, and he’s been playing like crap this year.  I could see him being moved at the trading deadline if the price is right.  Here was my response:

First off, I promise to put in more than the 20 hours per week that McHale was working during his tenure.  Secondly, the biggest need for this team is another star to go with Al Jefferson.  Mayo could have been that guy, but its water under the bridge now. Anyways, from what I’ve seen, I’m not so sure that Jefferson is capable of being the “Alpha Star” that can lead a team to a championship.  With that in mind, we need to pair another star alongside him.  I think it’s obvious that the said player would ideally be a perimeter guard, or perhaps a penetrating point guard in the mold of CP3 or Derrick Rose.  The problem is that acquiring such players is much easier said then done.  So assuming we don’t win the lottery anytime soon, I’d get on the phone.  Actually, before I did that, I’d fire the entire coaching staff and start over from scratch.  In my dream world I’d bring in Jeff Van Gundy and allow him to handpick his entire coaching staff, and allow him to give full input on any players he wants to keep (if any… ha.)

After the coaching staff is in place, then I get on the phones.  I call up every team and see what they’ve got available.  No BSing with them, just get down and dirty.  No one on the Wolves would be untouchable, including Big Al.  Granted, I wouldn’t trade him away on a whim, but if the right deal came along…

The focus of the phone calls would be to trade some of the plethora of first round picks we’ve got coming our way in the next two drafts, along with our expiring contracts and redundant pieces like Craig Smith and McCants.  Mike Miller is a prime trade candidate because he has a sizable contract, doesn’t fit into our future, and could still help a contender with his outside shooting (assuming he like, actually starts taking shots.)  Ideally, we could consolidate a few picks and/or players/expiring contracts for a top lottery pick to nab someone like Harden.  I would be hesitant to bring in talent that hurts our cap position because the Wolves are set up to have some nice salary space in a few years (assuming they don’t blow it before I get hired.)  If there is a deal that’s “too good to be true” for young, yet expensive talent like Chris Kaman or Gerald Wallace, I’d think long and hard about making that deal.  The reason being is that I don’t see any of the prime free agents actually wanting to sign with the TWolves.

If we can’t swing any trades for a star, then I’d look at bringing in some cheap young talent that fills holes.  Specifically talking about a Center, Point Guard, and athletic defensive minded Small Forward.  I think Joakim Noah would be a perfect center to go alongside Big Al, especially since he has fallen out of favor with the Bulls.  I would imagine he could be had for relatively cheap.  Getting a starting caliber stud PG is slightly more difficult, but I’d look for someone young and in the mold of Rondo/Westbrook/Jameer Nelson/DJ Augustine/Rose/etc.  Gerald Wallace and Kaman would be great fits as our Center and athletic defensive minded SF, but like I said, they have somewhat sizable contracts.  A Trevor Ariza, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez, and/or Sergio Garcia could all be nice possible additions.

And then if none of this can possibly get worked out, I pray like hell to the basketball lottery gods as we tank away the rest of the season.

Lastly, under no circumstances would I re-sign McCants after this season is over.


In regards to Carney, it’s hard to tell.  The nice thing is that we aren’t paying his salary this year and he’s a free agent.  Before McHale took over, I would have said that he can just walk and I wouldn’t have had a problem with it.  Now, he’s been playing better defense lately and has shown some tremendous athleticism.  I guess if we have a roster spot and IF he’ll sign very cheap… I’d consider keeping him around.  I still think there is some unrealized potential with him.

About our draft picks, I think we need to do our best to “consolidate our assets.”  By that I mean we should try to trade up for as high a pick as possible.  We just don’t have roster spots to bring in four MORE rookies next season.  Our team is already young enough.  If we are indeed stuck with the picks due to lack of trades available, I guess we have to make the most of them.  Ideally, Thabeet would slip and we could hopefully nab Lawson somewhere in there too.  It’s kind of hard to tell at this point in the season because it’s so early and we don’t even know everyone that is going to declare for the draft yet.

2) That’s easy.  Kevin McHale.  Why?  Because I hate him the most of those three, and if worst came to worst, I could use his body for subsistence once we ran out of food on the island.  Don’t tell him I said this.


Why do the Twolves suck so much wang?  Are we ever going to win more than 35 games again?  I don’t even dream of playoffs because it makes me want to jump.  I only watch this team because I’m a loser just like our Front Office and all our stupid crappy players.  Please, tell me there is more to live for?  Dear GOD PLEASE???????

- Depressed in ‘Sota

CW: What are you talking about!?!?  We’ve won 5 in a row!  Playoffs, baby!  We can build on this!!!

As always, a big thanks to everyone that participated and sent in questions and/or comments, I couldn’t do it without you all.  You can leave additional comments below if you so desire.

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

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

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