Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Timberwolves Ramblings

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Wholly crap Brandon Roy! Remember that one?[/caption]

Hi there, longtime no type!  It's been a while since I last wrote something prior to the LFL story I posted a couple days ago.  With that in mind, please excuse this Timberwolves mind spew, I haven't had an outlet through the busy holiday season to get all of this off my chest, so it kind of just all came out like beer out of a shaken can. 

Usually in a NBA season, you're shocked when your star player is not playing due to injury.  Even more shocked when two of your star players is out.  Not if you are a Timberwolves fan though, that is all old news 30 games into this season.  Ricky Rubio has touched the floor in 5 games for a total of 92 (slowly working back into shape) minutes.  Then there is freshly re-injured Kevin Love who has logged just 18 of the 30 games, many of those not at 100%.  This isn't rugby!  It's freaking pretty boy basketball!  Then there are the whole host of injured role players for the Wolves, a new one is out each night with varying ailments, some out longer like Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee and the guy brought in to add depth on a banged up team Josh Howard who is now no longer with the team after tearing his ACL.

If you're on the Wolves training staff and have been looking to build up your resume with great success cases, you're effed.

Yet, with all that said the rag-tag bunch of Wolves that take the court each night have somehow found themselves at .500 after 30 games with 52 to go.  Rubio is expected back tonight against the Atlanta Hawks, while Love looks to be out a few weeks with the re-fractured hand.

Maybe Rick Adelman is actually injuring the stars on purpose, we all remember he is the guy that led the Houston Rockets to respectability even without Yao and Tracy McGrady back in the day.  Dude is better sans stars.  Prior to Budinger's injury and Love's first return was probably when the Wolves were the most fun to watch.  A bunch of role players sharing the ball and winning.

The most amazing comparison for this year's Wolves is with the star-studded, and also oft-injured LA Lakers.  Like the Wolves the Lakers have had their share of injuries, and actually were dealt more bad injury news today that Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill are all out indefinitely with varying injuries.  Prior to this news, Steve Nash has only played in 9 of 33 games for the Lakers.  So the injury bug has certainly struck the Lakers as well and maybe the worst hit just today.  The shocking part is that even with Kobe Bryant's 30+ ppg this season, playing in all 33 games and Dwight Howard playing in all 33 up to now, the Lakers are 15-18, worse than the beat up, starless, Wolves!  Two of the best players in the league currently, playing all your games, and you're worse than the Wolves whose two stars combined haven't played in 30 games.  As a Wolves fan you have to realize, it could be a lot worse.

I am just as frustrated as many of you about the Wolves this year, they've let some games they should have won slip through their hands and straight up not shown up for other games.  Their record should actually be better, maybe that is being greedy, but for example when you're up double digits on a HORRIBLE Orlando team, you shouldn't lose that game and there have definitely been other examples.

Biggest bright spots of the season have been the Russians, Shved and AK.  Shved is looking like a SG that the Wolves can rely on for a while as their guy on the wing.  Lock up Budinger after he comes back and builds off to his great start this season and the Wolves have their wing spots as solid as they've ever been.  AK looks like he'll definitely be very useful through next season when his contract ends, the Wolves then will have to assess if he should stay longer term.  Either way, he has been a great free agent signing so far.  Pekovic is building off of his great year last year, only downfall to that is his great play means the price for the free agent to be at the end of the year continues to rise.  Possibly as high as a max offer from another team, something the Wolves may/likely won't match.

My personal biggest negative of the year so far, Derrick Williams.  My gripe isn't so much with Derrick, as in terms of actual games played and full off seasons he is still a rookie.  I'm more upset with Rick Adelman and the coaching staff.  Yes, the very same staff I applaud for keeping this beat up squad at .500.  I understand Derrick still has a lot of areas in which he can be a liability (defense, awareness, turnovers, getting his shots swatted into his face...etc.) but the kid has potential, it's undeniable.  Oh and remember that thing about Kevin Love being out for 12 of 30 games and limited in others, yeah well D-Will plays a lot of times at the same position and still isn't getting on the court consistently.  Not to mention AK-47 at times being out of the lineup as well.

Point is, Derrick Williams, no matter the circumstance and how limited the team is, isn't getting much playing time from head coach Rick Adelman.  That is disappointing to me, I've seen too many high draft picks come to the Wolves only to never reach a fraction of their expected potential and now seeing a #2 overall pick waste away on the bench and be thrown into trade rumors with role players, kind of pisses me off.  I get it, it happens all the time in the NBA, Darko and Beasley being examples from other teams that the Wolves then got for a fraction of their draft day value, but still...it pisses me off especially when the opportunity is there this year due to injuries for Derrick to get on the court and either learn and start to put the pieces together or fail miserably and end the talk of potential.  Growing or learning he is worthless, either to me is better than keeping the suspense of not knowing out there while his value decreases with every passing game in which Derrick is in his warm ups, and not on the court.

I still believe the Wolves can make the playoffs, I do believe a mid-season trade is not only very possible, but almost a lock to happen.  If Derrick Williams is involved (as he likely would be), I am fine with that, atleast then this potential he has is then being used for something more then keeping a seat warm.

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