GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Picks 11/26

What a disappointing day today was, losing 2 bets within the last 10 seconds.

New Oklahoma(+7.5) at Seattle ($32.70/$30)
Memphis/Dallas Under 185.5 ($33/$30)
Detroit/Milwaukee Over 194.5 ($32.10/$30)

Yesterday: 2-3 -$12.22
YTD: 38-52-2 -$326.55

Friday, November 25, 2005

Picks 11/25

Houston/Memphis Under 174 ($33/$30)
Memphis(-5.5) over Houston ($21.20/$20)
Sacramento(-8.5) over Toronto ($21.20/$20)
Charlotte(+5.5) over Boston ($21/$20.18)
Charlotte(ML) over Boston ($20/$44)

Yesterday: 0-2 -$41
YTD: 36-49-2 -$314.33

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Last night's loss was so ridiculous it's just impossible for me to talk about it without getting pissed off. Much like the Wolves did in the 3rd quarter against the Wizards when we blew our huge lead, KG barely touched the ball on offense while the Wolves watched their 16-point lead get swallowed.

At one point, Jim Peterson commented that when things are going badly, maybe it would be a good idea to get the ball to KG. Like clockwork, they gave the ball to KG in the post, he made a nice move but missed the shot. Then it was 3 minutes before he even touched the ball on offense again.

In the past, the Wolves have generally run their offense through KG. You get him the ball and either let him take a shot or wait for the double team to come so he can get somebody else a good shot. When the Wolves had Cassell, he'd often just run around and create his own shot. However, without Cassell, the Wolves should be more focused on getting the ball to KG almost every time down the court. Let the defense get disrupted when they have to come double team and move the ball around to get a good shot.

I'm not really sure what Casey's ideas are here and why he seems to restrict this scheme to the third quarter. If you're just going to have KG run around the top of the key setting screens, we may as well rest him and put Maddog or someone else in there. Just watching the game, you got the feeling that we were running a scheme designed to get shots for anybody but KG. We're talking about a perennial MVP candidate who was 5th in the league in FG% coming into the game. We start the quarter off going 0-8 from the field with 5 turnovers and we're having Garnett run around the top of the key trying to set screens to get THud a 20-foot jumper??? WTF is that!?!?!

Today's bets

Cleveland(+3.5) at Indiana ($21/$20)
Cleveland(ML) at Indiana ($20/$28.40)

Yesterday:0-2 -$41.60
YTD: 36-47-2 -$273.33

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Trading KG?

There have been a lot of rumors going around lately about KG potentially being traded. The two most prominent ones have been:

KG and Wally to Knicks for Penny Hardaway and Antonio Davis


KG to Detroit for Rasheed Wallace and Darko Milicic

In order to understand more about the validity of these rumors, it's important to know how they were started. Up until last Thursday when KG did an interview with TNT in which he openly blamed Kevin McHale for everything that happened last year.

Obviously, once KG says these sorts of things, trade rumors are going to get started. Local sports writers are going to start getting an erection about the fact that KG might get traded and start fantasizing about ways for him to come to their team. These trade rumors could have been started by an overzealous sports writer, or they could might have been actual offers. It's very hard for me to speculate as to which is the case.

The potential trade to the Knicks is beyond ridiculous. The only plus side about the offer for the Wolves is that they would get rid of two long term contracts for ones that expire at the end of the season. This would clear the Wolves for a potential signing of a big free agent in the offseason and they would be able to start rebuilding from the ground up. The rather obvious downside is that the Wolves would lose their two best players for two players who are unlikely to contribute much of anything.

A more subtle downside to the deal (and the real reason that it would never happen) is that along with losing KG and Wally, the Wolves would also lose a large percentage of their fan base. Everybody in Minnesota would blame McHale for last season and he would be done after the season. In addition, the Wolves would lose a ridiculous amount of revenue for years to come.

This brings me to an important point about KG's comments. It basically prevents McHale from making any kind of deal involving KG that would be perceived as unfavorable to the Minnesota public. This is true even if the Wolves were able to get an enormous amount of young talent that would benefit us substantially in the future. In a sense, his comments will serve to block any sort of trade out of Minnesota.

Since McHale can't reasonably trade Garnett, this puts him on the spot. It seem almost inevitable that McHale will eventually be forced to resign or fired.

It's always been my belief that Garnett has wanted to make Minnesota his legacy. He wants to be the face of an organization that had little going for it before he came here. He could have asked for a trade when he was younger and the team was uncompetitive. He could have asked for a trade last season when everything was going to shit. But he didn't. He wants to take a team built around him and win an NBA championship. I think he'd feel it a bit cheapened if he went to a team that was already a contender and won a championship with them.

The Pistons trade seems a bit more reasonable, but I think they'd have to do a little bit better that Sheed and Darko. I think Garnett wouldn't mind being reunited with his former head coach. But as I said before, any trade of KG is going to have to be one that will be perceived by the public as being beneficial to the Timberwolves and this one wouldn't be.

Today's Bets

Washington(-2) at Orlando ($21/$20)
Denver(+10) at Detroit ($20.60/$20)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Courtside Times

I found this site a few weeks ago when I noticed that something I had written had shown up on there. I meant to put a link to it here, but I neglected to do so until just now.

It's an excellent site with many well written and insightful articles that are meant to cater to a more modern approach to thinking about the game.

I've actually meant to write a further response to the above, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. My quote only got one comment, but I think it's worth clarifying my stance.

It doesn'’t seem to me that man defense on the perimeter is particularly overrated, or at least overvalued, given that players such as Bowen and Hassell, weak offensively but known as strong perimter defenders (and Dan Rosenbaum'’s adjusted +/- rankings suggest that they'’re both top 10 at their position) make 3 and 4 million per (respectively), while the league'’s worst perimeter defender, Michael Redd, got at least two max offers this summer.

I don'’t think it's hard to argue that strong team defense is a good (although I guess not essential) quality for a basketball team to have and strong man defense makes help defense that much easier.

Another point made in this article was that an offense can simply "“ignore"” a strong perimeter defender. Would this not imply that a team has to ignore one of its offensive options? And does a team'’s perimeter defensive specialist not usually take on the other team's most dangerous perimeter scorer? So to simply ignore the defender would also mean that you ignore your top perimeter scorer.

Unless you have a very balanced offensive attack, I think it makes more sense to simply try to get your guy open, maybe by setting a screen, at which time either one defender'’s ability and willingness to fight through a screen or another perimter player'’s help D might make a huge difference.

I should first mention that of course a players defense is important. If Wally could play D like Hassell it would be a large asset for the Wolves. However, a player who's only strength is pereimeter defense can become almost completely useless to a team in certain situations, whereas a strong offensive player will remain an asset no matter what.

It's a strict matter of initiative. In basketball, the offense has all of it. The defense can do nothing but react to what the offense does. Period. You can scheme and plan for how to react to what the offense might do, but you can't ever force them to do anything.

The reason that good offensive players demand larger contracts (and rightfully so) is that thier skills are useful in more situations because of that initiative. A player like Trenton Hassell or Doug Christie is most valuable when playing against a player like Kobe Bryant who will take shots even when he shouldn't. In this case, the value of a good defender is largely because of the incorrect play of a selfish player who shoots when he shouldn't. Hence, that player is passing up better scoring opportunities elsewhere on the court to take the shots himself.

When a Trenton Hassell type is going against a team like the New Jersey Nets or Phoenix Suns who are spear-headed by strong passing guard, that players impact will be greatly reduced or even eliminated entirely if the player cannot also produce on the offensive end of the court. The point here is that becaue of the initiative, the guards will still generally get off good shots when they are available, but will also be able to pass up the bad shots and get the ball to a different player who may have a better scoring opportunity.

On the other hand, when a good offensive player is playing against a good defender, he will still get his good shots (again, because of initiative), although he will not get as many. However, if he plays correctly and passes the ball, he can do a large part towards getting his teammates good shots. Because the player is a strong offensive weapon, the strong defender is tied down to him and can't risk venturing too far away which will give the rest of the offense more opportunities for good shots elsewhere on the court.

On a mostly unrelated note

It's same shit different day for Sprewell, who said that being offered the veteran's minimum $1.1 million was "a slap in the face" and that he'd rather sit out the entire season than play for that. Can you believe this shit? Remember what happened to the last athlete that complained this much about money? He got cut from the Eagles.

No bets today

Yesterday: 2-1 +$19.20
YTD: 36-45-2 -$231.73

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Last night's game wasn't on local TV, but fortunately I have NBA league pass so I was able to watch it. The Thursday night game was on TNT so this makes two consecutive games I've gotten to watch without the Hanneman/Peterson crew.

I remember watching the Wolves back in high school and going into work and one of my co-workers, rather than asking about the result of the game, asked me how Harlan was. It was quite sad when he left, but you knew that a talent like that wasn't going to stay working a small market local broadcast. His work with Minnesota was something unparalleled in the world of sports broadcasting. I'm still a fan of him with TNT, but unfortunately they have him teamed with Doug "Points scored at the end of quarters are worth double" Collins.

Prior to this NBA season, my experience with NBA announcers had been rather lacking, but I've become exposed to quite a few since then. All in all, I think that NBA announcers are generally the highest quality (except perhaps hockey) in all of the four major sports. In hockey, the game moves so quickly that announcers don't really have time to embarrass themselves. The play-by-play announcers will pretty much go full speed until the play stops, the color commentator will explain exactly what happened during the brief breaks.

The worst of all sports is certainly the NFL. Most of the time, I'm content if the announcers can manage to make sense for half of the broadcast.

Baseball announcers tend to be somewhat traditional. Most of the time you'll get announcers who love to preach fundamentals like bunting and fielding and ignore most of the modern research the shows that these things might not be as important as people believed in the early 1900s.

Basketball announcers are similar to this, but are somewhat more modern. The target audience is generally younger, so they tend to pick announcers to cater towards that (except perhaps in the Wolves case).

When I was younger, I used to wonder why they couldn't find better people to announce these games, but I gave up this wonder some years ago when I was listening to a Twins radio broadcast. The Twins radio announcers tend to be more insightful than their TV announcers. At some point, it occurred to me that this was probably because the radio broadcast was targeted at a generally more intelligent audience.

The problem with having a highly intelligent and insightful broadcast team is that it wouldn't cater to an average fan. The average fan is generally a casual one with little theoretical knowledge about the game. Having a broadcast team that routinely went into higher levels of thinking about the game. A team like that would just end up sounding like Dennis Miller to everybody who was just bored and felt like turning on a basketball game. As a result, you tend to get announcers who will repeat the same cliches night in and night out.

Because of this, I've learned to deal with announcing not being up to par with what I would like it to be. But if I can't have intelligent, I'd like to at least settle for entertaining. Unlike many of the people I know, I'm actually quite a fan of the Twins broadcast team. Sure, Bert comes off as a moron sometimes, but he's usually funny while doing it. I also like the contrast of Dick's social conservatism and Bert's routine comments about getting drunk and Dick seems to do a much more animated play-by-play than most of the baseball announcers out there.

Being spoiled by Harlan for so many years, it's hard for anybody to come in and fill his shoes. However, I think the Wolves can do better. I think Peterson does an alright job. He adds some pretty good insight from time to time, but doesn't offer the comical relief of a Trent Tucker. Hanneman was pretty much a fill-in guy when he started, but has managed to keep the job for several years for some reason. He doesn't offer any sort of entertaining play-by-play and really doesn't offer any deep insight into the game. Sometimes, I even get the impression that he doesn't care or doesn't understand exactly what is happening on the court.

I've gotten to the point where I mostly just tune out what is being said and provide my own internal dialog which goes some thing like this:

For the love of God Thud, SLOW DOWN!!! YOU'RE GOING TO TURN OVER THE BALL!!! Ok, he got it past half court now don't huck up a three. Ok good, he dished it to Wally. Now whatever, you do, don't dribble Wally. I SAID NO!!! Alright, he dribbled it off a defenders foot, but Hassell managed to come up with it. Hassell dumps it to KG at the high post. Finally, somebody does something right without freaking me out. OK, here comes the triple team on KG as expected. KG passes it back out to Wally who dumps it back into Kandi at the low post. Well, I bet this possession ends in a Kandi hook shot. Oh, look at that! I was right. But look it's Maddog crashing the boards! Well, he didn't manage to get the ball, but he did manage to injure three of the opposing players and their coach, so we've got that going for us.

Today's Picks

Milwaukee/Utah Under 186 ($21.80/$20)
Warriors(-2.5) vs. New Jersey($20.80/$20)
NJ/GS Under 188 ($20.80/$20)

No Picks Today

No bets for today, will be back with some real content later.

Yesterday: 3-2 +$6.99
YTD: 34-44-2 -$250.93