GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Come on Pete, Give Preseason Some Respect

While it's true that win/loss record in preseason doesn't really mean much, I do feel that you can learn something about a team from watching their games, especially the latter ones.

Tonight's game between the T'wolves and the Pistons had all the excitement of a regular season game (except the finish). The Wolves were up by 15 with about 8 minutes left, when KG left and all the scrubs went in. At this point, I couldn't care whether or not they won, although I did want to see some of the players like Wally and Kandi do well.

The game started out about as horribly as I could have imagined. The Pistons looked like a team that deserved to be world champions while the Wolves couldn't seem to get a bucket or even a board. I started thinking about last years slow start, and thinking that we might not quite have the chemistry we need yet, and how I needed to start bracing myself for a similar start this year. Then slowly, the T'wolves kept their poise (the sign of an experienced and well coached team) and quietly began the slaughter.

Ok, so it is only preseason and I might be getting ahead of myself a little, but what I saw tonight was a very good sign of what was to come. Both teams played their starters all the way into the 4th and the Pistons played them until Zoidberg hit the dagger. For your convenience, I've composed several lists of my impressions.

The Good

KG - Yes, you knew he would be on the list. He was the only thing holding the game together for the wolves in the first quarter. Every year I watch him play and think "Damn, he couldn't possibly be any better". Then every year, he goes and proves me wrong.

THud - Yes, we knew he could score and he showed us that again in the third quarter when he almost single handedly out scored the Pistons, but did you know he could also pass? He made some fantastic dishes during the second quarter tonight and although people didn't always finish for him, he got them some nice looks. The Wolves really missed him last year and if both he and Cassell can stay healthy, they will have a fantastic duo at the one spot.

Eddie Griffin - The boy has always been able to play, but has had some troubles in the past. Tonight, he did it all. He hit threes, grabbed boards, and played hardcore D. He seems like the exact kind of player that would really flourish under Flip and working next to the Ticket.

The Bad

Wally - It's a pretty good sign when the worst thing you can find to say about a team is Wally's 12 point performance. And to be fair to him, he seemed to pick it up as the game went on. Still, his weak defense showed again and he still doesn't seem to be able to do anything while moving. Watching him, I get the impression that he wants to be better than he's physically capable of being. In order for him to succeed in this league, he needs to accept the fact that he's a pure jump shooter and go with it. That's what he did several years ago in his all-star season, and as soon as he gets back to it, he'll become a solid (but not great) player again.

Kandi - I don't even know what to think of him any more. As Pete mentioned, preseason can be a showcase of talent for the hopefuls. Try telling this to Kandi! He was wandering around out there lookin' all sleepy like he always does, picking up 5 fouls in 17 minutes. He redeemed himself at the end a bit by making a clutch hook shot and one. He is just baffling to watch sometimes. Most NBA players would be stars or even superstars with his level of talent, but he just mopes about. Please Kandi, start caring.

The Questions

Sam and Spree - Neither of them played tonight, and they're both complaining about contracts. I really do hope we sign them, but I know Glen Taylor and company won't make the mistake of giving them way more than they deserve. This is especially true with Sprewell. He's getting up there in years and wants a big contract before the season even starts. It makes sense that he'd want it now, since if he gets injured, it might be impossible for him to get a contract from anyone. As for Cassell, he's still got two years to go on his, so I don't know what his deal is.

Trading Wally - Trade rumors have been circulating about Wally for years now, so any time somebody says something, I basically ignore it. The announcers made a big deal about it tonight though, so I would expect that his time it holds a bit more water. I would think it would be a good move for the Wolves to trade him. We just resigned Hassell to a multi-year deal and they play the same position. Hassell is clearly the better defensive player, but Wally offers a bit more on offense. However, Hassell already does a pretty good job on offense of what I said Wally should do above, and I'm not convinced he's that much of a downgrade.

KG's Knee - It's hurt, apparently. Couldn't tell from watching though. However, I'm always nervous about knee injuries, since I've suffered through a rather major one. A sore knee could be a strained ligament or torn cartilage, either of which could present serious issues. I'm not too worried yet, but there's a whole lot riding on that knee.

Happy Basketball New Year!