We at TWolvesBlog partook in a Q&A with excellent Philly Sixers blog Depressed Fan, to preview tonight’s tilt at Target Center between your 13 and 40 TWolves, and the currently 7th place in the Eastern Conference Sixers, sitting at 25 wins and 28 losses. Both teams are playing (and the Wolves traveling) following a back-to-back from last night. The Wolves fell to the Indiana Pacers, while the Sixers took down the Spurs at home. Do the Wolves have a chance tonight? Can we make it 3 wins out of the past 4 games? Come hang out and chat with us about it (and more!), in the Wolves-Sixers game thread in the TWolves Blog Forums!
Before we glean some insight from Depressed Fan regarding players such as Elton Brand (a potential pre-draft trade with the Wolves???) and Andre Iggy; as well as thoughts on the future of the TWolves, and tonight’s game… first let’s find out a little something about everyone’s former T-Wolves pre-draft wishlist #1 pick, Evan Turner:
TWolvesBlog: Evan Turner Lightning round:
1. Is he going to be a stud?
Depressed Fan: Stud? I’m not sure. I think he’s going to be a very versatile player, on both ends of the floor, but I’m not really seeing a number one scoring option in him. I think he’ll probably good or very good, but probably not great.
2. What does he do really well? really poorly?
DF: Poorly is pretty easy, his jumper isn’t there yet, especially from distance. His mid-range game has come a long way, but his form is just ugly on long jumpers. Even Doug Collins said he needs to rework his jumper over the summer. Rebounding is probably the biggest strength of his game. He’s an excellent rebounder, he has a really good handle, he’s a good passer. He’s also taken great care of the ball. His game has looked a lot like Iguodala’s recently, minus the elite athleticism, but with a bit better touch on his jumper and better one-on-one moves.
3. In retrospect would you have wanted to make a trade with the Wolves? (to dump Elton Brand’s salary as well, pre-draft.)
DF: No. Brand has been great and if I was going to trade down, I wouldn’t have dropped lower than #3. I wanted Derrick Favors, wanted no part of DeMarcus Cousins (still don’t) and I think Turner’s a much better prospect than Wes Johnson. At the time, I probably would’ve considered it, but in retrospect, Brand has been great this season. There are much worse contracts out there, no matter what ESPN tells you.
4. Did you want to make a trade with the Wolves at the time?
DF: I never really thought it was a legit option, but probably not for the reasons listed above. For me, it was a three-man draft and it would’ve taken something unbelievable to get me to trade down out of the top three.
Please click “Read More” to continue reading the in-depth and insightful discussion with Depressed Fan…
TWB: Has the team missed Dalembert?
DF: Yup. Doug Collins has really worked a miracle in making this Sixers team a good defensive squad, considering the absolute garbage he’s had to work with at the center position on that end of the floor. Hawes is truly pathetic on most nights, maybe average when he’s playing at his best, and there’s no option behind him. The Sixers basically try to give a hard foul to protect the hoop because they don’t have a legit shotblocker on the back line. I think they’d be one of the best defensive teams in the league if they had Dalembert in the middle. The ironic thing is that they miss Dalembert on the offensive end, as well. Holiday and Iguodala are both very good at setting bigs up for easy dunks and lobs on the pick-and-roll, dives to the hoop, and in transition. Dalembert was great at catching and finishing those. This year, those easy points are all completely gone. Hawes jumps like his feet are nailed to the floor. When he does roll and make a catch, he’s so afraid of contact he throws up these low-percentage hooks that have like a 30% chance of finding the bottom of the net. It really hurts them to not have an athletic big who can take advantage of the versatile perimeter players.
TWB: How the Turner/IGGY/Young 3 way shaking out?
DF: Fine, so far. Turner’s minutes and role have grown. Thad has really blossomed in his role as a change-of-pace four off the bench, and Iguodala is basically dominating games since being given more playmaking responsibilities on the offensive end.
TWB: Is Elton Brand finally useful? What is your bitterness level on him?
DF: I’m not really bitter about him. He was never dogging it. Freak injury his first year in Philly, then a terrible coach who really had no clue how to use him last season. This year, he’s really been an animal. The rebounding numbers are slightly lower than where you’d like to see them from a PF, especially a PF who plays a decent chunk of his minutes at the five, but he’s easily been their most consistent player. He’s still not worth the contract, but he’s at least approaching that level. Look around the league and you’ll find a ton of guys who are worse values than Brand. He’s the team’s MVP if the season ended today.
TWB: You are right in the thick of things for the 6-8 playoff spots. How do you see that playing out, and do you like the Sixers chances to make the post-season this year?
DF: I like their chances to make the post season, I don’t think that’s really in doubt at this point. It’s probably going to depend on whether there are any moves made at the trade deadline (by the Sixers or one of the other teams in the mix for 6,7,8). If the rosters don’t change drastically, I think they have a decent chance to catch the Knicks, otherwise, 7th is probably about right.
TWB: Is Iggy embracing his role as the veteran leader on the squad? Would you like to keep him around, despite the fact that he’s not an alpha star, has a pretty large contract, and the fact that it appears the Sixers are in a rebuilding mode of sorts?
DF: I’m fine with trading him if they can get a young big man who has a legitimate shot at either reaching his level, or surpassing it. Short of that, though, there’s no way they’re going to replace his production with the money if they move him, and moving him isn’t suddenly going to make this team bad enough to have a decent shot at winning the lottery. There’s really no benefit unless you’re getting a legit building block to go along with Holiday, Turner et al. It’s also worth noting that Iguodala is grossly underrated, probably by Sixers fans more than anyone. He’s having a marvelous season as a playmaker, rebounder, efficient scorer and most importantly, as the best wing defender in the league. If he isn’t on first team All Defense this year, something is wrong.
TWB: Is there any hope for the TWolves? Will we ever be good again? What needs to be done (besides winning multiple draft lotteries)?
DF: Well, Rubio probably has to come over and then you’d probably have to find really solid defenders to play the 2, 3 and 5 positions. Kevin Love is amazing, and from what I hear, Rubio has a chance to be special, but neither one of them is even a passable defender. If you’re going to build your team around them, you need three guys who can cover for them on the defensive end and knock down shots. It’s not hopeless, by any means. There’s cap space opening up. But it will be hopeless if you can’t entice Rubio to defect and Lose to re-sign.
TWB: What do the Sixers need to do against the TWolves to emerge victorious tonight, and vice-versa? Also, a game prediction?
DF: Somehow, limit Love (and the rest of the T-Wolves) on the offensive glass (which is a problem for the Sixers, from time to time). Predicting this one is going to be tough. The Sixers played at home last night, and they’ve got a long flight. It’s their fourth game in five nights. As a Sixers fans, you see this one on the schedule after a really tough stretch of games and say you have to have it, but I’m not super-confident. I’ll go Sixers 97, T-Wolves 93.
Again, make sure to check out the very excellent Depressed Fan for his take on all things Philadelphia 76’ers. Also, check out his site for TWolvesBlog’s responses to our side of the Q&A for the Wolves-Philly game tonight!