Monday, July 1, 2013

Twins/Gophers/Wolves Pre-July 4th Round-Up

Before the Super-long holiday weekend when everyone disappears for five days, I figured I should do a quick round-up of the three Minnesota sports teams I know about and touch on the biggest story right now.  See, I know (and love) both Gopher Hoops and the Twins, and I'm pretty knowledgeable about the Wolves and the NBA.  I watch the Vikings every Sunday and play fantasy football, but I don't really cover them because I don't consider myself an expert unlike the others I mentioned.  See, unlike some local folks who actually get paid around here, I stick to what I know so I don't end up saying things like whenever Paul Allen and Paul Charchian get together to talk baseball.  Actually that'd be a pretty sweet live blog each week.  I might quit my job and do just that.  Soon I'll be richer than astronauts.  

-  Most importantly, and keep in mind we're still very early in the rumor stage here, but Rich Pitino may already have the wheels turning in a big way on some very good recruits for 2014.  First, there was this:

For those who don't know, the Tweeter is Isaiah Whitehead, a 6-4 shooting guard out of Brooklyn who ranks as the #10 SG and #35 overall player by ESPN.  He has offers from Minnesota, Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, St. John's, Syracuse, and UCLA.  The re-Tweeter is Ja'Quan Newton, a 6-2 point guard from Philly who ranks as the #13 PG and #67 overall.  He holds offers from Georgetown, Miami, Minnesota, Oregon State, Rutgers, St. Joe's, Syracuse, Temple, Xavier, and Villanova.

If you notice, the only two schools to have offered both are Minnesota and Syracuse.  That would probably be enough to spazz everybody out (myself included), but next came this tweet:

From recruiting expert Jerry Meyer who has gotten 13 of 14 commits for 2014 correct, and if you click on the link you'd see he had updated his predictions page to forecast Whitehead and Newton heading to Minnesota.

To add a little more fuel to the fire, Newton and Gopher target Reid Travis were on the Celtics together at the NBPA Top 100 Camp (no, I have no idea what this is) this year, and Newton then sent Travis this tweet

Does this mean the Gophers should be expected a trio of big-time commits soon?  Yes of course.

-  In the most anticipated arrival of a Twins' pitcher since Les Straker, Kyle Gibson made his debut on Saturday and was inevitably called Gibby by Gardenhire.  He was also pretty solid, going 6 innings and allowing 8 hits, no walks, 2 runs, and striking out 5 while picking up the win which we all know is the real key to evaluating a pitcher so way to go Gibby.  It's super exciting for all us Twins fans because we've been hearing about Gibson forever, he truly has #1-#2 stuff which looks even more better when your team is full of #4 guys, and he struck out five which is actually more than any other Twin on the staff averages in nine innings so yeah and stuff.

Just remember, one start does not a career make.  Using Game Score, Gibson's debut was on par with Liam Hendriks and Pat Mahomes when they made their first starts, and we know how that turned out (ok Hendriks isn't done yet, probably, but the train isn't currently pointed towards Cooperstown or even Decentville.  Actually the best debut by a Twins pitcher since 1970 belongs to Anthony Swarzak in 2009 when he went seven innings and allowed just 5 hits and zero runs.  Do I think Gibson will go the way of Hendriks or Mahomes or Swarzak?  No, not at all.  He put up a good game and has the pedigree and scouting reports behind him that none of those other guys did.  Then again, so did Rick Ankiel, Ben McDonald, and a whole mess of Met's prospects.  This year alone Cardinals stud prospect Michael Wacha pitched a gem his first time out, then got bombed the next time and is back in the minors.  Dan Straily had an awesome debut for the A's last season, but has jumped back and forth from the rotation and AAA since.

Ok, now I'm just depressing myself and realizing I'm preparing myself for disappointment because being a fan of Minnesota sports means being disappointed.  Let's just agree to stop now.

-  When the T-Wolves chose Shabazz Muhammad I wrote on the Twitter, "Yes! Shabazz!" and I was immediately and almost completely savaged (JB of Late Night Hoops was one of the few who agreed with me).  Frankly I was stunned people would hate the pick.  Who else are you going to take at 14?  The afro dude?  There wasn't a single other player available who was remotely interesting.  And looking at the draft there were only a handful of guys with the potential to be all-stars some day:  Bennett, Oladipo, Porter, McLemore, Caldwell-Pope, Carter-Williams (if he learns to shoot), Shabazz (with the right coach), and maybe Shane Larkin.  Once Pope went at 8 the entire draft was in shambles already, trading back and getting a possible future star in Muhammad and an immediate defensive presence in Dieng was a great move.  Seriously, who would you have taken at 14?  If it's anybody other than Shabazz you're really dumb, FYI.

Oh, I get it, you wanted them to keep Burke.  I get it, I really do.  I mean he's so smooth out there.  He looks like he's moving at half speed but is just as fast as everybody else, and he's just got such a good head for the game he's mentally a step ahead.  I know there are some questions about his athleticism and his jump shot, but he's battle tested in the best conference in the land, I'm sure he'll be fine in the NBA.  That's what you're telling yourself, right?  That's what you think?  Well guess what?  Guess who else that describes?


Hello exactly.  You could have written the exact same thing about Turner before he was drafted #2 overall by the Sixers three years ago and he's been bust city.  He's been so bad Philly tried to trade him to Phoenix before the draft for the Suns late 1st rounder AND THEY WERE DENIED even though the Suns wing players right now are Jared Dudley, Wes Johnson, P.J. Tucker, and Shannon Brown.  Oh my!  Burke is such a sure thing that a team in desperate need of a PG, the Pistons whose current PGs are Jose Calderon and Brandon Knight and Knight is so bad they're moving him to the 2 next year, who also had a significant home town angle with him chose a shooting guard over him instead.

I'm sorry, but when Caldwell-Pope was taken (over Burke) by the Pistons the Wolves' draft was all fucked up.  Literally the only acceptable answer to the question, "what could have better than what the Wolves did" was "draft C.J. McCollum."  I don't like him as an NBAer and Flip has come out and said that he and the team viewed McCollum as a point guard so they weren't all that interested but I can see where somebody would think he could be a Steph Curry type with less gay.  That's your only answer.  If you have a different one feel free to leave it in the comments but just know that chances are you're a pretty big moron.

- Lastly, Joe Coleman announced he's transferring to St. Mary's.  Other than the Gaels total reliance on the three and commitment to defense it's a perfect marriage.

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