Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 31, 2010

Game #76: Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves

Tonight it’s the Wolves. Tomorrow, infamy exponentially squared.

In case you’re wondering, this is in fact one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. (My favorite is probably Tangled up in Blue.) Partly the reason the Jimi Hendrix cover is my favorite song period is because it surpassed a mighty original. When you surpass an incredibly well written song with incredible music, it’s an incredible song. There’s a reason some consider Jimi’s cover to be the best of all time. That’s essentially the reason why.

Basically, the Wolves need a win. Badly. The last time they won was in Miami on February 23rd.

******

The Wolves really suck, and there has been an argument that they are actually a worse team than the Nets. (I would say they have much worse ownership (now), a bad collection of players who don’t fit together well, and a head coach running a system that doesn’t actually suit the talent of players that are currently part of the roster. Also, Kurt Rambis probably shouldn’t start Jonny Flynn over Ramon Sessions because Flynn was a high pick in the draft.)

When you look at why the Wolves suck, there are a lot of real issues that it comes down to. Not having Ricky Rubio is a problem (assuming he’s a solution), Jonny Flynn probably is not as good as his 6th pick suggests (don’t laugh; the Kings would have taken Flynn had Tyreke Evans not been there), Kevin Love for all his ups & downs comes off the bench despite ostensible evidence he’s the best player on the Wolves, and Al Jefferson may be the worst player to ever lead a team in NBA history.

If somebody asked me what I’d do with the Wolves, I’d sigh and point out that quality ownership is a start to putting a quality product on the court. Glen Taylor simply doesn’t understand how the NBA works, and doesn’t trust any of his basketball men to help him understand. If somebody doesn’t allow you to do your job (Taylor essentially made it a priority that any GM coming on would want to build around Jefferson), you can’t exactly do it. Lo & behold, the Wolves suck. They have a coach in Kurt Rambis who runs a system (the trianngle), that could work I suppose, if he had the right players run it. The thing is Tim Floyd was plagued by the same issues in Chicago with young players who had more talent than the one’s in Minnesota. Elton Brand and Ron Artest to name a few. (I’m not the biggest fan of either guy, but Al Jefferson makes Elton Brand look like a truly elite player in the history of the game. That is not a good thing in case you’re wondering.)

As far as fixes if I had control? Oh boy…..Where do I start. One, I would implore Rambis to run a system that his players could actually run to supplement the triangle sets they run now. Two, I would make it a priority that the best players played. Ramon Sessions is the best PG in Minny right now; until Jonny Flynn improves as a player or a better player than Sessions is brought in to play the PG or that lead G spot, play Sessions. The best players play. It’s really that simple. Three, I wouldn’t sell my fanbase on the prospect of using cap space this summer when so many other teams have better assets AND more money than the Wolves. I would be selling my team on the fact that the Wolves have 4 picks in the top 32 and that the rebuilding will continue. Of course, the Wolves fanbase is pointing out as I write this that the Wolves have done such a piss-poor job of handling the players and picking them that you could have every pick in the draft and they would probably still screw it up.

The truth is, that it’s really somewhere in between–sort of. Wolves management is a big problem, but whether David Kahn is the biggest problem is something that I could be convinced otherwise. Some people have a feel for talent and Kahn may very well have. In the span of 2 months he managed to draft Rubio, Flynn and sign Sessions to a deal that Milwaukee chose to not match. (Good call by John Hammond–Milwaukee’s GM–btw.)

If I were the Wolves I’d take Derrick Favors, Stanley Robinson, Jarvis Varnado and who knows what else on that team. The Wolves have no swingmen on that team, and the fact that I just suggested 3 guys who would be playing up front (only Robinson is really a guy who can play on the perimeter) suggests that the Wolves just really need help everywhere. You have to take the players who can help you the most, ignore the players that are mistakes (hello Ryan Hollins!) and work with the pieces you are given until you can improve your roster.

One real issue though is the Wolves are so poorly put together that they might end up losing a quality 1st round pick to the Clippers at some point. Since the Wolves signed Marko Jaric, they gave up a 1st round pick in that deal to the Clipjoint but it was so heavily protected that it hasn’t mattered. The funny thing is that they gave up a 1st round pick for Marko Jaric. (Yes Mr Adriana Lima.) Even though Kevin McHale is not stupid or a dummy on NBA matters, he is not fit to run a NBA team. He has a feel for quality talent but no clue as to how you are able to put together rosters or coaching staffs. (This is an area where the Wolves deserve some credit. Kurt Rambis brought in his coaching staff without, I’m assuming, much interference.) But, really, Glen Taylor is the ultimate problem. He is the worm in the Wolves apple.

Even if the Wolves end up with Evan Turner, who would solve more than a few of their problems, I doubt it would do anything more than be a band-aid. And Turner is a special player.

******

Hopefully I’ve made my point. For all you people who complain about how Paul Westphal’s rotations are awful, there was a line made by someone at Canis Hoopus that pretty much summed it up: “We expected an awful team and this group has exceeded that expectation.”

If you want to say that this team doesn’t have talent, or isn’t willing to integrate it appropriately, fine. I heartily disagree with you. When you have a flawed team guess what: It still has flaws no matter how many ways you scheme or demand otherwise. Flaws are flawed. It’s the nature of the beast.

Anyway, I expect the Wolves may win tonight because the Kings played last night in Indy and the Wolves haven’t played in a few days.

The Wolves are a fast team with awful offensive & defensive efficiency. The Kings are a bad offensive & defensive team who play at a fast pace. The thing is, though, every dog has it’s day. I suspect, sort of like 6 days ago against NJ, this Doggy Wolf will have it’s day.

Oh well, it’s just 1 game. Young teams suck on the road. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) If you also wish to laugh, read Hoopus’ resident laureate Maynholup for some good laughs.

Game is at 5pm PST, TV is CSNCA and Radio is 1140. Enjoy!

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Responses

  1. Great music, great post, what’s not to like?

    Agree with you completely on the rotations….why Kevin Love is on the bench while Ryan Hollins gets playing time is…truly baffling.

    & it’s obvious that the triangle is not working with the skill set that the minnie-haw-haws have. I’m not a coach, but if it were me I’d mix in some simple motion offense that these players could get; definitely use Kevin Love’s great passing to facilitate the offense and try to pin Rubio down on when he’s coming to Minnie.

    Tho’ even if Rubio were to live up to the hype;(& I’m not convinced on that either) he is not “the answer” for this club, but it could be a start.Of what?heck if I know, but the smart draft picks you’ve outlined would certainly help.

    Problem is, I don’t see Rubio wanting to live in the frozen north, or his family either. My hunch(only a hunch) is that Rubio & his agents will try to keep the Wolves & their contractual obligations at arm’s length until they figure out a way to get out of the contract entirely, but that’s just a hunch…you have a lot of knowledge in this area & could probably fill that out more than me…

    Meanwhile, I hope the Kings got some rest last night & they get the win…why?because, simply, I would like it so & I tire of hearing about “tanking” simply for the lottery balls…too boring.

    • Yeah the tanking thing I’m going to tackle here in the next few days.

      As far as Rubio, it’s pretty simple: The Wolves have Rubio’s rights to play in the NBA and ultimately THEY (the Wolves) determine whether Rubio plays in the NBA. Rubio & his representation can do whatever they want, but I doubt any team makes a play that convinces the Wolves to give up his rights. Either, Rubio comes over to the Wolves, or he doesn’t. I doubt David Kahn will simply give up the rights to Rubio just because Rubio doesn’t necessarily want to come today. What does that say to the other players on your roster if you let Rubio & his representation punk you like that? It’s not like Minny is that attractive for NBA players……

      I won’t be surprised if the Kings continue to lose as I write this. They’re down 9 at half. (Argh.)


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