Untitled(1)

January Wolves E-Mail Bantering

The last two weeks have been very difficult for Wolves fans. Tim and Mike vented about it through e-mail, made an all-time Wolves novelty roster, Mike admitted he owns Troy Hudson's rap album, and they generally made themselves more upset talking about the state of the team. These are their stories.

Mike: I am not over the loss to Phoenix. As a  resident of the city, did you watch? I have one question, what is going on with the Suns? This is a team that was supposed to be tanking, and Jeff Hornacek has them all buying in and playing like a true playoff team that will not regress. They are like the Warriors of last season. Do the Wolves lose by 20 with Bledsoe in the lineup? Also, one thing that is driving me absolutely bonkers are some of the apologists who cover the team who are constantly pulling out the "give the Wolves some time" cliche'. NO MORE! This team doesn't need time, it needs better players. Look at the Suns! Massive turnover and a new coach. I find that "patience" deal incredibly disheartening, stale, and incorrect. I could go on for paragraphs, but anyone reading this probably starting skimming several sentences ago.

 
Tim: Yes I was able to catch most of the game the other night via satellite television. As you said, for a Wolves fan, that one does/SHOULD sting. Particularly with Bledsoe out. I am pretty certain the Bledsoe/Dragic pairing is statically one of the best backcourts in the Association. Little Patty Reusse says the wolves have no heart. I subscribe to your logic which is they have no talent. You and your elite basketball mind brought that fact clearly to the forefront with your recent blog post. We have skinny Love as an elite guy. Then Pek and KMart as above average, then 2 mediocre/average guys and then a whole host of Pu-Pu platter deluxe guys. We do not have nearly enough quality guard play, that's what it comes down to for me. Coming back to the Phoenix game. They have quality scoring PG play and Frye killed the Wolves from deep. Patience is certainly a virtue but to continue to wait on this mess of a squad is a fool's task. Anyway, what's the point of this team reaching its potential/making the playoffs? They would be destined for a pants at the ankles bare bottom spanking in the first round. This brings me to my greatest pet peeve of being a fan of Minnesota sports: we don't measure in championships; we accept and embrace making the playoffs as success. I can't fathom why people think waiting for that is worth the patience. 
 
MR: As for your comment on the playoffs being enough for any and all Minnesota sports, I really couldn't agree more.  I try to keep a decent handle on what the pulse of the fanbase is, and I would say it isn't all that great right now, nor was it over the summer. This is to be expected for now, but it was a little surprising over the summer. I think fans saw right through this short term experiment with little-to-no ceiling in this iteration of the Wolves, and I think that is why people never really got all that excited about the team. Furthermore, as far as I know, attendance isn't anything to write home about, but I can't tell whether that is due to interest, or the absolutely absurd price increase that occurred from the ticket office (my season ticket prices went up by 400%. No thanks).

  

But back to Phoenix. I was listening to Dan Barriero the other day and he made an astute comment that I think is an underscore to most of this. His comment was that the fans "romanticize" Ricky Rubio (the absolute perfect term, by the way) and often ignore or deflect  the fact that his shooting is so abysmal and the problems that causes not only for his confidence, but all over the court itself. It's one thing if Brewer is out there providing a defense spark, occasional average play, and not being a fine shooter, but when you put two offensive liabilities on the floor together, one of them being your point guard, it makes execution in the half court offense that much more of a challenge. Look no further than the final PnR play the Wolves ran against Phoenix where Rubio had zero passing lanes due to the Phoenix defense smartly not helping off the Pek screen. Ball game. What is the solution here? You can't give up on Ricky yet, right? One final thought on Ricky's offense, it concerns me that all of the talk is of his "jumpshot," when A) He shouldn't be taking those mid range pull-ups, EVER, anyways, and B) His main problem is finishing at the basket, particularly from the left side of the hoop. I want him practicing drives. Exclusively. Your thoughts?
 
TS: Certainly the Rubio project isn't completed yet. Hearteningly, a jump shot is fixable, it just takes time and a proper player development staffing (LACKING, LACKING, LACKING). But what I see a lot from Ricky is getting in too deep to the rim. He's not explosive enough to finish like Westbrook or Rose. He needs to take a page from Steve Nash. Develop all kinds of flips and floaters from 4-8 feet. If he can hit those consistently the D will respect him more. He also needs to entirely disregard the long twos. He's a 35% shooter from 3. If he can hit more like 38-40% and add that close in game I would consider it pretty good. As far as romanticizing Rubio you are spot-on. Minnesota fans lovvvvvveeee to have "their guys". They're complete homers. Look at the Vikings. It took one of the greatest seasons ever by Adrian, plus a defense that outperformed in 2012 to overcome the incredibly terrible Christian Ponder. The fans thought Ponder finally "got it". Hell no!! He was terrible and they won despite his incredible crappiness. 2013 proved what was plainly evident to any realistic fan. But it doesn't really matter because our protagonist, K-Love, may be dumping the Wolves come 2015…unless we trade him first in the summer of 2014. The clock is ticking…look into your crystal ball and tell me how it ends. 
 
MR: Yes, it does baffle me that you always read reports that Rubio is "working on his jumpshot." Surely that could just be me taking things too literal, but his #1 problem is finishing at the rim. He can hit the 3 at a decent clip. But against the Spurs, watching Tony Parker and how crafty he is at making shots inside and from mid-range off of screens. He is a remarkable player (most underrated of this generation?). But you watch him and it is easy to realize how far Ricky has to go offensively. I really am not sure he will ever get there, to be honest. But what expounds the problem in terms of court spacing is having Brewer out there as well, another minus shooter. I would consider Brewer's inclusion in the lineup to be a major part of Rubio's struggles. I like Brew when he makes a good play here and there, but otherwise I consider him to be a remarkably poor fit in this starting lineup. When you have two minus shooters on the perimeter for a motion team, it creates a dearth of problems, and thus the ripple effect.
 
It is obnoxious Adelman doesn't seem willing to adjust the lineup, either. Once Budinger has his minutes limit eliminated, I would really consider inserting him into the starting lineup. Brewer had a nice start to the year scoring in bunches in transition, but now that the leak out play has been scouted and all but eliminated, he really is back to the same old Brewer he always was when he was with the Wolves before: overrated defender and over gambler, terrible shooter, but somehow capable of occasional 5 minute scoring outbursts and high energy play. He seems to have a little bit of Barea in him in that regard. And in general, he, much like Rubio and Shved, needs to be permanently banned from shooting mid range shots off of the dribble. I honestly would estimate those three convert about 5-10% of those possessions per game, if that. If you consider maybe 5-10% of our possessions each game might be used in such a low percentage way, it makes it even worse. As for Love leaving, my response is getting long winded, but I still think he stays here, and if he leaves he will not go to the Lakers or the Knicks. I really don't want to talk about it. It is the most annoying NBA story right now, aside from TNT still showing every Lakers and Knicks game despite the fact that the teams are terrible.
 
TS: I have been a Tony Parker hater from the start. I truly, truly have. However, the guy is incredible and has won me over. I should have used him as the ideal example for Rubio. What an array of shots/moves/fakes Parker possesses. He is definitely in the running for most underrated player of his generation. Isn't it amazing that after all 20+ years of TWolves basketball that the best guard we ever had is probably a young Stephon Marbury (Starbury!! get your Starbury gear here: http://starbury.com, REBIRTH) I suppose it depends on your fondness for Sam Cassell (hilarious and awesome) or maybe Terrell Brandon (steady, steady, steady when not injured). 

This also gets me thinking… let's pick an all-time TWolves starting 5 and a sixth man that would represent the wolves if every team was to do the same. You pick the first player.
 
Regarding K Love's imminent departure, I think the Bulls can put together the best package with Boozer, Mirotic and 2 #1's (one is the Bobcats pick) coming back for KLove. I actually think that trade would help both teams assuming that Mirotic is the player people say he is. We are still so incredibly bad at SF. Sigh…
 
MR: That's why you have them add Jimmy Butler to the trade. I really hate talking about Love and his impending free agency because this season is depressing enough. It is the story of the day everywhere whenever it is a slow news day (otherwise known as JR Smith not doing anything ridiculous) and we are a year and a half away from The Event. Either way, I do not recall being this down on the Wolves in general in a long time. I could get by the rebuilding years, understood the injuries, but this year the Wolves are facing a much-more-viscous-than-ever expected Western Conference, and it is only going to get more viscous next year with New Orleans ready to run, and teams retooling in the biggest draft in 10 years while the Wolves sit and watch with no pick. If the Wolves finish 9th in the West (VERY likely) they will both not make the playoffs AND surrender their pick to Phoenix. No cap room or tradeable assets for upgrades, and a lot of bad players on the team, and a coach who I am really starting to have doubts about. I am very, very down on the Wolves right now. So let's go back to your all-time Wolves team idea because thinking about the current team negatively effects my mood.

 
How about we do a full roster?! This is tough because the Wolves have always had good big men/PG's and poor swing-men.
PG: Pre-nutso Marbury, Cassell, Brandon
SG: Sprewell, Martin
SF: Kirilenko, Wally
PF: Garnett, Love, Gugliotta
C: Pekovic, Rasho (am I missing someone here?)
 
And what All-Time Wolves team would be complete without an all-time novelty player 2nd team? Open to tweaks on both:
PG: Igor Rakocevic, Shane Heal
SG: Richie Frahm, Marko Jaric
SF: Bill Curley, Brian Cardinal, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Antoine Walker
PF: Reggie Slater, Mark Madsen, Oliver Miller
C: Mark Blount, Stojko Vrankovic, 
 
There are a lot of hysterical big men than have come and gone through Target Center. Tough roster to balance. Your thoughts?
 
TS: Pretty solid roster on both the teams. I would probably add Large Albus in over Gugliotta, but that's because without him and his tutorial on post moves, my own game would not be the same ("catch the ball, pump…jab….jab…pump, dribble, BUCKET!). Speaking of which, nice inclusion of Rasho ("Rasho's tips on free throws: practice, practice, practice). Amazing that Kirilenko, and thus far Martin, have played one year for the Wolves yet they are on the all-time wolves team, and really i don't think it is debatable. What miserable drafting/luck/Kaaaahhhhhnnnnn management. 

 
Some other names I toss out there for consideration on the comedy/notables team: Felton Spencer, JR Rider, Hollywood Robinson, Spud Webb, Christian Laettner, and perhaps Tyrone Corbin who's thunderous dunk during another meaningless Wolves blowout loss gave me the joy of hearing a young Kevin Harlan exclaim, "Tyrone Corbin down the lane with impunity!!!!!" Good stuff. More than anything, I think this team is lacking someone to spit the hottest rhymes. As the only known owner of Troy Hudson's debut album "un drafted" I am shocked he did not make the cut….explain yourself!!
 
MR: How could I forget Large Albus Jefferson and THud? I made that list quick and sometimes the answers are right in front of you. I think I am indeed one of 73 people who own an actual copy of T-Huds' Rap Album "Undrafted." Some good additions on your part and the Harlan years were indeed fantastic. We will close with this before it gets too long winded. After the loss to the Kings Wednesday, I am not sure what to really think anymore. The Wolves making the playoffs at this point will probably  have to be a matter of circumstance/default which is what you never want. This is also not sustainable because the Wolves a) have next to no assets to make a trade, and b) the Western Conference next year is going to be twice as brutal as it is this year in my opinion. Your outlook on the rest of the year?
 
TC: Well I just watched the Utah/Wolves games and I think that it serves as an accurate microcosm of how the rest of the year shall go. I think our first team is very solid even with Brewer and Rubio's substantial deficiencies. We can at minimum hang with good teams and trounce bad teams. However as you saw in the second quarter vs. Utah on Saturday, we have nothing resembling a second unit unless Pek/K Love are out there to anchor it and even then opposing defenses swarm them because they have no fear of any one outside of Buddy Budinger. I look for this team to finish 1-5 games above .500 and possibly snag the 8 seed.
 
MRI really hope you are right sir. They will have to start beating good teams to make it, and will have to go on a big run, winning 5-6+ in a row here to get back in the mix. They run the gauntlet this weekend. The Utah blowouts dug me out a bit of a mental Wolves hole for the time being. Time to turn it on. 
 

 

 

Quantcast