Standings - Northwest Division
|Shved's new haircut = speed.|
Our Wolves are winning early in the year with a combination of solid defense, timely runs and the benefit of playing mostly crappy teams. While Orlando, Brooklyn, Toronto and Sacramento isn't a murderers row, there are 8 new Timberwolves playing significant minutes that were not on the team last year. This is a testament to how well Rick Adelman can coach. I've seen a dozen different lineups, often with 5 non-starters in together; and yet they still play solid basketball. The one thing that has gotten out of hand at times is the turnovers. For some, like Shved, I'll chalk it up to nerves and for others I'll chalk it up to growing pains as they learn the offense and each other. Shved can play, by the way. Another nice scoop up for our guy KAHN.
Some tough games are on the horizon: Friday vs Indiana, Saturday @Chicago and Monday @Dallas. They could easily drop all three of those games against 3 likely playoff-bound squads. In fact, over the next 15 games only 5 look like cupcakes. My hope was and remains that we are no worse than a few games under .500 by the time Love returns and the smashing begins.
So the real point of this blog is what do we do with Derrick Williams. Williams was a much-hyped #2 overall pick that is now entering his second year after a lackluster rookie season. As I speculated in my old blog he doesn't have the quickness/athleticism/whatever to play a lot of minutes at the 3. (I wanted Enes Kanter, the jury is still out there as well) He's more suited to be a bit of a stretch four that is scrappy under the basket. Andrei Kirilenko was clearly brought in because Williams didn't cut it in his first season and now he has an uphill battle for big minutes. The Kevin Love rawr knuckle-pushups! injury has opened about a month of games where he can get minutes and show that he deserves some serious rotation time with this team. So far what has happened is he's had one good game (his last one) and a bunch of duds. In fact, toolsy everyman Dante Cunningham has played more down the stretch and has looked the smarter (for sure) and better player.
Williams is clearly pressing and forcing the issue now, which is bad. He knows he has to make an impression and he has the pee pants because of it. As I've mentioned before, Kahn seems unafraid to have a quick hook for player that don't contribute even if they were a Kahn draft pick. Is there a team that would want Williams for much at this point? He's still just 21 years old. Or is it better, to sit on him and wait. The unthinkable could happen and Love could bolt...and Kirilenko has just a two year deal and is no spring chicken. And I don't expect Dante Cunningham to continue to be Scottie Pippen.
Teams/Deals that might be of interest:
Atlanta Hawks - Josh Smith could be out the door after this season, so the Hawks might look to add someone to fill that gap. The Wolves likely wouldn't get Smith in a deal as he'll be a max guy and is unlikely to sign with MN. However, they could be a partner in a 3 team deal and possibly get back a protected first round pick and one of Atlanta's 3 point chuckers: Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow or John Jenkins. I like Jenkins a lot, but he was their #23 pick, so it may be a tough row to hoe...unless perhaps a guy like Barea or Ridnour goes to ATL as well. Hey, they have some value, right? Maybe?
Indiana Pacers - Similarly, the Pacers are on the last year of a deal with David West, who is making $10MM. Although he's pretty good, he's older and not worth a huge new contract, imo. They do have Hansbrough and rookie Miles Plumlee though, so perhaps they wouldn't be interested. Lance Stephenson is a physical 2 that I like...so I'd try for him and a first round pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Just kidding, there's no room there. How crazy is it that they have Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III waiting in the wings? I still don't like losing Harden, but they sure can reload.
Orlando Magic - The Magic have a ton of picks following the D12 deal. How about one of the picks and JJ Redick who expires after this year. Keep the white-out going? Glen Davis looks solid there, but D-Will would definitely get a chance at serious minutes.
Philly 76ers - Are they ready to give up on Evan Turner? Do we even want Evan Turner? I like Thad Young too, but not for 9MM over the next 4 years. I'd take Dorell Wright and a pick too I think.
That's about all I got. It's not pretty. I don't see a lot of teams with room to take the gamble on giving Williams a lot of minutes, including the Wolves. We may be stuck with him, so let's hope he has a huge month! *sealbarks*
|Your reward for making it to the end.|
Mini-Preview of Gophers/IllinininininiIllinois is terrible. Like a diaper dumpster fire terrible. They have no wins in conference play, but the Gophers have just the lone Purdue ass-stomping. All of our white speed receivers are out for the game it sounds like. (Engel, Barker) Gray is still gimpy too. So it might be B-Green, Rabe, Lncln Plsk and who knows who else?
That being said, they still should win. Illinois can't stop anyone and Phil-dawg is damn near a veteran footballer at this point. He'll probably run it 150 times and the Gophers will win 12-7.