GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I took a little trip out to the bar the other night to watch the Wolves on a big screen. Despite the fact that I've lost a lot of my enthusiasm for the team, I continue to watch almost all of their games (I may not be able to watch tonight's). So we sat down and before you knew it, we were down 19-5 and we were giving up threes left and right. Normally, I would have been pissed off, but luckily for me I was drinking beer and eating chicken wings so I barely even noticed. Is it just me, or does beer just taste better when taken in conjunction with spicy chicken wings?

At this point, I had all but conceded the game. Sure it was the first quarter, but there's nothing that Kevin McHale would be able to do to make THud a good perimeter defender. I just assumed the barrage of three-pointers would continue and we'd lose by 30.

Then, the unthinkable happened. The Wolves stepped it up and started playing like a championship team. Their defense was intense. They outrebounded the Nets 52-41. They got 7 blocks and 6 steals. They held the Nets to only 31% shooting from the field.

Maybe it was the beer or maybe it was the noxious fumes from the chicken wings, but I became elated. How long have I waited to see the Wolves look like the dominant team they were supposed to be?

Apparently, McHale's been preaching nothing but defense since he took over. His basic MO seems to be "Who gives a shit about offense? We got KG, so we'll find ways to score. We need to get it done on defense." Well, his defense did wonders on Tuesday night.

It wasn't until later that night when the effects from the beer and chicken wings had subsided that reality set in.

We were playing the Nets.

But it wasn't like we were really playing a full team, it was more like we were playing the Cartermercerkidds, since they were the only ones who seemed to show up--nobody else on the team had more than 3 points. We're supposed to beat the shit out of a team like that. Still, it's been so long, and we haven't done that to anybody in a long, long time. I'll give McHale the credit for putting together a good game plan, but we've still got a long way to go to respectability.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Twolves, Trading, and Chad Ford

I think the house pretty much nailed the poll questions except for:

#7 There is exactly 0% chance Phil Jackson coaches the T-wolves.
#8 Less than 1% of basketball fans picked the Sonics to win the division - I'd tell you to look it up, but I don't need to here, ;).

Okay, now on to Chad Ford. My feelings for him can be summed up in three letters and one symbol:


I don't get ESPN insider mainly *because* Chad Ford is their featured NBA writer. He routinely just makes stuff up completely and/or gives analysis that really doesn't make *any* sense. In my opinion he's worse than Peter Vescey (who would reportedly come up with trades minutes before TNT or ESPN or whomever switched to him on TV, half the time the numbers didn't even work out).

First, I don't buy for a second that the T-Wolves are thinking of making that trade with the JailBlazers. You're trading one major headcase (Spree) for TWO major headcases (Darius 'I had potential' Miles and Ruben 'the original rapist' Patterson). Besides, then they'd have all sorts of SF/PF skinny forward types who do the same thing: KG, Rahim, Miles. They don't need a much crappier version of KG, they need some muscle and/or tenacious point guard and/or anyone who doesn't play KG's positions similarly.

As for claiming KG might ask for a trade - Chad is completely fishing. Sure, he *might*, but I *might* be coaching the T-Wolves this time next year for all we know. What I *do* know is that KG has had opportunities to ask for trades repeatedly but time and time again has stuck with the T-Wolves b/c he wants to *be* a franchise. This is why he didn't demand a trade when he was drafted (like Vince 'I'm a HUGE bitch' Carter) and why he's taken a HUGE paycut to bring in help. This is also why it's not only okay for him to have say over the team, but he *must* have say over the team.

Toey brings up some good ideas about trading. The problem is that Van Exel and/or Rahim do not complement KG and Wally (the two most unmovable T-Wolves, and the two I'd also try to keep together believe it or not). I *still* like my trade for Marbury better as he's got many more tools than Van Exel. I also think Marbury would benefit greatly from sharing point duties with KG -- Van Exel had a chance in Dallas to sort of do this and couldn't while playing with Nash. Van Exel played well but basically just chunked the ball up towards the rim and caught fire in the playoffs.

Now, there was a trade I almost posted that would have Pierce go to the T-wolves. The biggest problem is that Boston has been playing too well and likely won't want to go into full-on rebuild mode. Anyway, this is what the trade would look like:

Jiri Welsch
23.7 million

24.5 million

Boston would get a ton of cap space and keep their young nucleous intact since doesn't mesh well with Pierce -- see Sports Guy for pertinent analysis:

Sg's Boston Analysis 1
Sg's Boston Analysis 2

The Twolves get Pierce who would be the perfect fit with KG in my opinion. Both like to set up half court and work the offense in a two man game. Pierce needs emotional spark and leadership (which Antoine Walker supplied in spades, as well as bricked 3s) while KG needs a 4th quarter clutch monster. And Lafrentz may have an albatross contract but there simply aren't good centers in the league and he can rebound and shoot the three (spread the floor for Pierce/KG and help on the boards, which KG needs *desperately*).

I would have liked to see Flip stay to coach the resulting team as I think he's also be a good fit for it and calming influence on Pierce.

As for the T-wolves making the playoffs this year, I think it's quite doubtful. It hinges on how 'sore KG's knee really is since there's no way to know publicly how nagging it's been. If it's solid soon, then I think the T-wolves have a 50/50 chance. However, I think there is more to his sore knee than he is willing to admit and the T-wolves actual chances are closer to 40/60. Here's to the 40%!!

Monday, February 14, 2005

What Did You Expect?

Did you actually expect that having McHale at the helm would instantly chance our team? Did you expect that somehow, it would help us beat a team like the Bulls?

Somewhere--deep down--I kinda did.

Instead it's just the same shit on a different day. There was a Sports Nation Poll over at that asked some pretty good questions. I figure I'd take a look at it and answer the questions more in depth. (my answers in bold)

1) Did Flip Saunders get a raw deal?


He lost complete control of the team and if it looked like there was a core nucleus that would be around for a while, it might have been right to fire him. However, the team is going to get revamped heavily in the offseason and Flip did a good job building the team up last time, I have no reason to doubt he would do it again. Did I mention none of this was his fault?

2) Who is most to blame for the Timberwolves' recent slide?

59.6%Latrell Sprewell
20.9%Sam Cassell
6.0%Flip Saunders

He's become a cancer. Spree and Sam started this season off on the wrong foot with thier complaints about not getting extensions, then didn't back up all their talk that they deserved big contracts by performing. I blame Spree heavily for everything that's happened to the Wolves this year. I hope nobody signs him next year.

3) Will the Minnesota Timberwolves rebound and make the playoffs this season?


I doubt it. Kevin McHale is not the answer. If I were to give a percentage, I'd say 40%.

4) Where will Saunders land?

12.2%A college team

Who can really give a good answer to a question like this? I pretty much just guessed. I could seen him doing a really good job with a young team like the Lakers and turning them into a solid team like the Wolves. The big question would be whether or not he could deal with Kobe's super-ego.

Based on what happened with the Wolves this season, I'd say the Knicks are probably not as good a fit. He'll be somewhere in the NBA though, I can pretty much guarantee that.

5) How will Kevin McHale fare as a head coach?

63.1%He'll finish season with above .500 record
32.5%He'll struggle mightily
4.4%He'll make Red Auerbach proud

There was no "He'll basically do as well as Flip did" answer, so I went with the closest thing. He may boost performance slightly, but he won't make a major difference.

6) It has been reported that Cassell and Sprewell questioned the extra freedom that Saunders gave Kevin Garnett. What is your reaction?

70.7%KG deserves it. He was the only guy playing 100 percent.
19.3%I can see both sides.
10.0%It's wrong to treat one player better than another. It's a team.

Sam and Spree, would you guys please shut the hell up and just play?

7) What are the chances of Phil Jackson becoming the next Timberwolves head coach?

47.9%Doubt it
19.9%No way
5.0%Very good

I don't know how these rumors get started so quickly. I could see Phil being a decent coach for the Timberwolves. However, if we get a bunch of new younger players, I don't think it would be ideal. Phil tends to take solid veteran teams and turn them into championship teams. He would have done great with last year's team. They'd have a perfect three for running the triangle offense. I don't know if he'd have the patience to deal with what the Wolves will have to do though.

Toey also said something about Larry Brown. I think he would be a better choice, but I would be surprised to see him here as well. I think he'd opt for retirement rather than take a job here.

8) Who was your preseason pick to win the Northwest Division?


6.8% said Seattle? Damn there are a lot of liars around. Nobody had a reason to pick anybody other than Minnesota unless they were heavily biased. If you didn't choose the Wolves for some reason, the Nuggets were the next obvious choice. Nobody else looked like they'd even have a chance. I'll probably write a division in review thing later this week.

9) If the Timberwolves can squeeze out a playoff spot, how far will they advance?

58.7%Lose first round
28.6%Second round
6.5%Conference finals
5.7%Win NBA championship
0.6%Lose NBA Finals

If we do manage to make the playoffs, we have a major problem because we'll likely be the 8-seed. This means the Spurs and instant death. 7- or 6-seed are no picnic either. If the Wolves somehow can jump way up the ladder to the 5-seed, I'd pick them to go far. Not only would they get a much weaker opponent in the first-round, it would mean that we had won a ton of games and were playing exteremely well.