"Once the core around Love solidifies, we'll have a better view of how the basketball world sees him: a solid All-Star caliber big man, or one of the very best players in the NBA. Based on box scores, he should have been in the MVP conversation -- not the pole position or finalist club, but conversation -- last season. He's improved, and the Wolves will be better, and so he will like belong in the conversation again. Will he get there? Will we someday question the belief that Rose is the 2008 Draft's best player? As of now, it sure looks like it." From Tom Ziller at SBNation
"It’s basketball," Popovich said. "We all run pick and roll. John (Stockton) and Karl (Malone) ran pick and roll the same way for a jillion years. It’s pretty simple. It depends on who’s doing it and (Rubio) is very good at it, so there’s no sense making something complicated if somebody’s great at doing something simple."Pop’s ultimate compliment: Rubio’s entry into NBA just like Ginobili’s Mike Monroe - Spurs Nation
It's fair to question Rubio's talent for scoring; I, too, remain concerned that he's lost some of his ability (and confidence) to make shots and get buckets. But there is no way to question his ability to move the ball, push the pace and make astounding assists. Rubio is the definition of a point guard, as he can make people better by getting them the ball in position to make the easiest basket possible. Of all the players I watched on tape this week, I enjoyed watching him the most. And we should consider this: In the new NBA, where players feel emboldened more than ever to pick their team without considering only salary, Rubio will be a magnet for free agents.NBA Rookie Watch by David Thorpe ESPN (Insider) (Rubio is #6 in his rookie rankings after not being ranked pre-season, Derrick Williams is #9)
ESPN's (Insider) Chris Palmer predicts the Minnesota Timberwolves as his 5th breakout team. His brash prediction of breakout success puts the Wolves record at 16-50, which, you guessed it, is the exact same record the Wolves had last season after 66 games. Some Breakout season. Where does the 4 letter find these brilliant people?
"We've talked about people staying within their strengths. If you keep making the same mistakes over and over, well, you probably shouldn't be doing that."Rick Adelman
Shocker in Sacto: Kings GM Geoff Petrie releases statement saying contract of F Chuck Hayes has been voided after he failed the physical.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 19, 2011
Shocker in Sacto: Kings GM Geoff Petrie releases statement saying contract of F Chuck Hayes has been voided after he failed the physical.
From Tom Haberstroh at ESPN.com (Insider) 1. Wizards Loves John Wall and the cap space and thinks they will contend for the playoffs as soon as this season. 2. Hornets Loves Eric Gordon and two top 10 picks in a loaded draft. 3. Raptors Loves Jonas Valanciunas and a high lottery pick in 2012. 4. Kings Likes Evans, Cousins, Thornton and cap space while acknowledging Evans and Cousins are wild cards. 5. Jazz No real firm opinions except he thinks Jefferson, Milsap and Harris will all be shipped out for more youth. Wolves, Bobcats, Cavs and Pistons considered but didn't make the cut.
Every competent coach seems to have one. A place to punish those who don't listen. A place to make an example out of a malcontent. A place to relegate someone management thinks can play, but...
Would have been nice if we would have drafted him instead of Wes or traded Jonny for #10 and selected him. What could have been...
"NBA commissioner David Stern has killed the New Orleans Hornets’ trade of Chris Paul after several owners complained about the league-owned team dealing the All-Star point guard to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Some owners pushed Stern to demand the trade be nullified, and the Hornets be made to keep Paul on the roster for the foreseeable future, sources said. A chorus of owners were irate with the belief that the five-month lockout had happened largely to stop big-market teams from leveraging small-market teams for star players pending free agency." Link to article by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports
The Wolves have mild interest in Shane Battier, who even at 33 would be an upgrade defensively. President of basketball operations David Kahn says not to expect much activity from them. However, a source with close to the team said it will deal Michael Beasley, who was arrested for marijuana possession this summer. Despite his character questions, he's talented enough to bring a steady veteran in a trade. The expected development of Williams makes Beasley even more expendable.Chris Palmer at ESPN (Insider)
I thought this was a great read on how the next two weeks is the Clippers best chance to turn assets in to transformational players. A few Wolves related nuggets are peppered into the article regarding (1) the Clippers using our draft pick as an asset and (2) Kevin Love being the closest to a can’t-miss franchise-changer on both ends of the court being avaiable in the next 5 years after Howard, Paul, and Williams find new homes.
The research team pored over a ton of data, ran countless simulations and looked at how many points certain combinations of skills created. Some of the conclusions are obvious to the basketball fan: Offensive ball-handling and offensive scoring have positive synergies. Likewise, offensive ball-handling has a positive synergy with offensive rebounding because, as the paper explains, "[O]ffensive ballhandling helps a team convert possessions into shot attempts, and offensive rebounding increases the number of possessions over which the ballhandler can protect the ball." In other words, give Chris Paul teammates who can score and others who can generate more possessions on the offensive glass, and his team will thrive. But offensive ball-handling has a negative synergy with itself. It's not that having a couple of guys who can capablly handle the ball is a bad thing, but your team simply won't be able to extract the full value of those skills because there's only one basketball on the court. If Ball-handling stud A has possession of the ball, by definition Ball-handling stud B doesn't -- and that minimizes his best skill.True Hoop
Wages of Wins gives a breakdown of necessary disposable income to support the 5 major sports franchises (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS) and uses actual income figures in metropolitan areas to look at which areas deserve an NBA franchise. With Minnesota being a market it thinks the NBA should leave due to its $39.4 Billion deficit in franchise support capability, it's interesting to note that using their formula, an NBA team and an NFL team require nearly identical amounts of disposable income support from a host city. In fact, subtracting either the Wolves, Wild or Vikings from the local sports scene puts the state in a stable sports equilibrium. As a Wolves fan, is it right to root for the L.A. VIkings?
This guy is the model NBA franchise player. Okalahoma is about as sexy of a location as Minnesota, yet Durant isn't playing beach volleyball on the coast, or writing diaries for Grantlad; instead, he's hanging out with college students in Stillwater.
"It's not worth it. Get a deal done," former Dallas Stars forward Bill Guerin said during a phone call last week. There was not a single NHL player during the Great Lockout of 2004-05 who was a bigger proponent of the union's fight than this man. No one believed in the cause more than Guerin, and to hear him admit this is a bit stunning. "I learned a big lesson: It's not a partnership. It's their league, and you are going to play when they want," he said. Today, Guerin has hindsight and his experience serves as a giant caution to any player who thinks losing a game, much less an entire season, to this lockout is a good idea. His message is simple: Get what you can; start playing; you are not going to win what you think.Mac Engel: Bill Guerin to NBA players: It's not worth it
I didn’t really understand the value of those numbers at that point, even though Wally Walker [a longtime Seattle executive] was really pushing us to embrace it. But being from the old school of coaching, I didn’t really know what to do with all of it. And in Minnesota, we just didn’t have anything like that. But in Dallas, Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban have embraced analytical numbers, and they have been so valuable to us in terms of what lineups we put on the floor. And I know Toronto already has guys in place who do this. This is the new wave in the NBA.Article by Tom Habertroh at Truehoop quoting Dwayne Casey on his use of statistics as a caoch.
"Not sure I quite believe this yet, but Minnesota is apparently telling NBA teams that they are taking Enes Kanter #2 over Derrick Williams." Draft Express via Twitter
On Tuesday, we were about 99 percent sure that Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams would be the first two players off the board on Thursday night. Scratch that. Late Tuesday night, sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves were strongly considering taking Enes Kanter with the No. 2 pick. Kanter, they believe, is a better fit than Williams right now.Chad Ford at ESPN.com via Truehoop
If it gets interesting at No. 4 -- and it does -- it could get really interesting at No. 5. Sources said Toronto president Bryan Colangelo is all-in on the team's new defensive-minded approach, and he is considering taking Biyombo there despite the widely held belief that the athletic defender/rebounder/shot-blocker would go lower. The Raptors, of course, just hired Dallas assistant and defensive specialist Dwane Casey as their coach and are clearly looking to improve significantly on that end of the floor. Colangelo has considered moving back to take Biyombo as well. Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard and Czech Republic forward Jan Vesely remain possibilities for Toronto, but it sounds as if the love affair is with Biyombo. This comes as a surprise in light of Biyombo's recent workout at Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, where he was even worse than expected on the offensive end and appeared to have hurt his stock.
I'm told that if the prospect Milwaukee covets (I suspect Valanciunas) isn't available at 10, they will trade the pick to Houston for 14+23.Draft Express via Twitter
As Minnesota continues search for high-level player in exchange for No. 2 pick, source says T-Wolves made offer for Lakers C Andrew Bynum.Sam Amick via Twitter
Valanciunas update: Sources say buyout agreement close, however, buyout won't allow Valanciunas to play in NBA next season.Chad Ford via Twitter
NBADraft.net released it's Mock Draft 4.0 today, and with it, brings many surprises to the table. First surprise starts immediately at the top of the draft where they have the Cavs selecting K...
Many Spanish teams run complicated offensive sets, full of multiple screens and off-ball actions, yet Biyombo pings from spot to spot as if he's part of a choreographed dance routine. It's the kind of instant recognition required in the NBA to defend great offenses, but is rarely seen in rookies. Biyombo's learning curve in this area will be small. Of course, everyone wants to see him block shots, and he will do that in the NBA. Because he's good at getting good defensive position, he's frequently in the right place to make a play on the shooter. To get a paint bucket on him will require a strong lift and finish, because he eats up anything soft. If within three years he anchors a team that is a top 10 defensive unit, I will not be surprised. This is not some skinny kid who's going to get pushed around. His strength and activity help him on the glass as well. He's a hungry rebounder who flows to the ball well.Exploring Bismack Biyombo's Upside by David Thorpe on ESPN.com (Insider)
Of the assets the Wolves have, the No. 2 pick -- in effect, the chance to draft Derrick Williams -- is the prize. A number of teams have shown interest in trading up, including the Cavs, Jazz, Wizards, Warriors, Suns, Rockets, Pacers, Sixers, Grizzlies, Celtics and Lakers. What would it take for Minnesota to move the pick? If the Lakers offered Pau Gasol, if the Warriors offered Monta Ellis, if the Jazz offered Derrick Favors, if the Wizards offered JaVale McGee or even if the Cavs offered Anderson Varejao along with Cleveland's No. 4 pick, the Wolves would seriously have to consider trading the pick.Chad Ford from ESPN
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