The season starts tonight for the Timberwolves. As part of that, this will be a defining year for Ricky Rubio.
His contract is up at the end of the year and he has already rejected a 4 year $48m offer. For the other positions they have:
Center: Pekovic and Deng – both above average centers in the league
PF: Thad Young – an above average PF in the league
SF: Andrew Wiggins – predicted to be the next Tracy McGrady
SG: Kevin Martin – pretty good
Ricky is supposedly the leader of that group. Looking at that lineup, if they don’t do well, it’s probably his fault and his inability to impact games. If they do well, it’s likely because he has a great season. As Rubio goes, so do the Wolves.
They way I figure this goes is one of two directions:
Direction ONE: the Wolves do well, i.e. approach 35 wins and compete for a playoff spot. In this scenario, I think they pony up and pay Rubio more money
Direction TWO: the Wolves are a lottery team. In this scenario, they don’t resign Ricky and draft a point guard in the lottery.
I’m excited for the NBA season to start. On Monday night the Twolves had their first pre-season game and it looks like Andrew Wiggins could be the real deal. A summary of his performance from the blog post:
Andrew Wiggins. There is obviously a player here. He led the team in minutes (32) and points (18). He took some poor 20 footers and wound up shooting 4-11 overall, but got to the line 10 times and made both of his threes. He also blocked 3 shots and grabbed 3 offensive boards. There is obviously stuff to work on, including getting stronger around the rim and ball handling, but there was a lot to like.
There’s also a good YouTube video of his action here:
As we do every year, we place a friendly bet in the office for the season. This year it’s between Niraj and Ian. Here is how our teams are projected to do:
Timberwolves: Projected 26.5 games won
Nuggets: Projected 35.5 games won
Pistons: Projected 35.5 games won
The bet we’re making with each other is whichever teams performs the worst relative to their projected win count, the loser buys the winners a lunch of their choice at Rio Grande. Now, let’s get it started!
There’s been lots of talk about Ricky Rubio and all the he could potentially bring to the twolves. And while i think he’s pretty special, I’m also very excited about Johnny Flynn. What happened on draft day is that the the Timberwolves had ranked Flynn as #1 on their board of people they thought they could get (above Curry). Somehow Rubio dropped to the number 5 spot so they felt they had to choose him. Then with the number 6 they were faced with the option of choosing someone they believed was worse to fill the shooting guard spot or choose the best guy remaining which was Jonny Flynn. At least that is the explanation that the GM provided.
I was skeptical but i just watched this video (below) of Flynn’s summer league play and he looks fan-fricking-tastic. I’m very excited to see what he can do with KLove, Big Al and rest of the squad.
Also, i want to touch on the fact that Mad Dog Madsen was traded to the Clippers. While not the best player in the league i think he’s done a great job of communicating with the public. His blog is good read and he’s clearly a very smart dude (from Stanford). He’s missing Minnesota and I’ll miss him too.
Another good quote from The Sports Guy. He had an email exchange with Macolm Gladwell and the subject of music and basketball came up. The Sports Guys responds:
We had lunch a few weeks ago and discussed the parallels between music and basketball. The structure is fundamentally the same: You have a lead singer (the NBA alpha dog, like LeBron or Kobe), the lead guitarist (the sidekick, like Pippen or McHale), the drummer (an unsung third wheel, like Parish or Worthy), the bassist (a solid, reliable and ultimately disposable role player: like Byron Scott or Anderson Varejao); and then everyone else (the other rotation guys). Bands can go different ways just like successful basketball teams. McCartney and Lennon were two geniuses who ultimately needed one another (like Young Magic and Older Kareem, or Shaq and Young Kobe), whereas MJ and LeBron were more like Sting or Springsteen (someone who could carry the band by themselves). And if you want to drag hip-hop or rap into it, the best parallel would obviously be Jordan’s post-baseball Bulls: MJ was Chuck D, Pippen was Terminator X, and there is no effing doubt that Rodman was Flavor Flav.
It’s a great read if you’re into the NBA and what’s happening right now. I like The Sports Guy’s take about Lebron. This is a great time to be a viewer as Lebron is doing what Michael Jordan did in the early 90’s. He’s just destroying people and making it great to watch. Plus, there’s a Spinal Tap refernce in there. How could it be a bad article then. It reads:
As the 2009 postseason rolls on, the King has become its most compelling story, not just because of his insane numbers, that Jordan-like hunger in his eyes, even the fact that he’s still on cruise control to some degree. (Note: I would compare
him to Nigel Tufnel’s amp. He alternated between “9” and “10” in the regular season, and he’s been at 10 in the playoffs, but I can’t shake the feeling that he has an “11” in store for Kobe and the Finals. An extra decibel level, if you will. In my lifetime, Jordan could go to 11. So could Bird. Shaq and Kobe could get there together, but not apart. And really, that’s it. Even Magic could get to 10 3/4 but never quite 11. It’s a whole other ball game: You aren’t just beating teams, you’re destroying their will. You never know when you’ll see another 11. I’m just glad we’re here. End of tangent.) But his relationship with his teammates continues to fascinate me; because of his character and the spirit of the players that surround him, it’s like watching a more animated/funny/bombastic version of Duncan’s Spurs, or even last season’s Boston team. I really get a kick out of them. Only LeBron and Magic could foster a climate like that just by being themselves.
I would like to call to attention a post written today about my new favorite player in the NBA. Let me ask you this question:
if you take:
Every rookie who has ever played in the NBA since 1946 …
Weed out everyone who played less than twenty minutes per game …
And sort them by who gets the highest percentage of total rebounds while on the court …
Which rookies over the past 100 years do you think would be in that list? I’ll give you a hint: 2 of the top 10 are rookies this year. At number 9 you have Greg Oden. He’s ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Another 2008-2009 rookie, however, is currently third all time. He’s ahead of Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Oakley, Buck Williams, and Bill Walton (trailing only Clifford Ray and Larry Smith, who were three years older in their rookie years than the guy I’m talking about). It’s, of course, Kevin Love.
It’s strange considering:
Kevin Love’s total rebounding percentage is greater than his age, which just about never happens. He’s only 20, but he grabs 21.3 percent of the rebounds while he’s on the court. He’s also smaller and less athletic than a lot of the players he’s competing against for those loose balls. And he’s best known as a passer
Whatever it is, it’s amazing to see Love haul in offensive board after offensive board. Even more amazing to think that he’s only 20. The article is good as it describes his mentality when playing. Check it out and Go Kevin Love and Go T-Wolves!