This is the Timberwolves year. I know, I know, last year was supposed to be their year. But this time they mean it for real...I think. And of course when I say this is their year, I don't mean contending for a championship. Rather, just making the playoffs. The past few seasons have been rough, and now I feel they've earned the right to be the sacrificial lambs to the Lakers or the Thunder in the first round. How does that saying go? Give a room full of monkeys a bunch of typewriters and enough time, and they'll eventually produce Shakespeare. Welp, it appears King Kahn has tinkered and toyed with his roster enough that the T-wolves actually look decent on paper. Also, in his fiddling I think he's managed to make the Timberwolves even whiter than before. If he hadn't offered Nic Batum that disgustingly large contract I might have even thrown up the race card.

Pictured: Timberwolves war room on draft night 

Minnesota did a fine job of taking out the trash. The most notable departure was that of Michael Beasley. Under all those tattoos lies a pretty decent player. 19.5 pts and 7.2 rbs for his career. But the past few years he's gotten the reputation as a chucker. And after drafting Derrick Williams it was only a matter of time before Beas would find himself on his third team in his young professional career. The other piece of human garbage that was flung to the curb was Wesley Johnson. I honestly have no clue why he's employed as a professional athlete in the National Basketball Association. Wesley Johnson can't shoot, pass, dribble, rebound, defend, catch, hustle, or set screens. The only thing he excels at is looking like one of those coffee aliens from Men in Black.

Ready or not Phoenix. Here we come!!!

Even if Brandon Roy misses the entire season with injury, the T-wolves still benefit from addition by subtraction. Speaking of which, Mr. Roy has unretired and is now playing for the team that originally drafted him. Let’s see if I've got this...David Kahn drafted Brandon Roy and then traded him when he was healthy. Now he's signed him back but only this time Roy's knees are a loose shoe string away from shattering into a thousand pieces. Roy will also join Andrei Kirilenko in making his return following a brief hiatus. AK-47 spent the last season in mother Russia where he presumably spent hours in the bathroom grooming his lesbian hairdo.

 Gotta hand it to Russia. Not too many countries would be cool with men and women playing on the same team. 

If the Timberwolves are to make the playoffs, they'll need two things. One being strong play from Nikola Pekovic and also, for Ricky Rubio to pick up where he left off last season. For those keeping score, you will notice that I didn't mention Kevin Love. That was not a mistake. For you see...Kevin Wesley Love is overrated. I know that last statement probably sent many readers into a tizzy, but it’s true. Yes, yes, I get it. He scores a bunch of points and grabs a bunch of rebounds. I'm not saying Kevin Love sucks, I'm just saying he has the same impact on a team as say...Monta Ellis. He's David Lee with sprinkles on top. Last season Love was 23rd among power forwards in field goal percentage (.448). That’s a hair above Al Harrington. Also, with 2.3 turnovers per contest, Love is near the bottom of all power forwards narrowly edging out Demarcus Cousins. But the biggest issue I have with Love is the fact that he has never even sniffed the playoffs. Lets follow this timeline shall we...

June 2008-Kevin Love is drafted and the Timberwolves continue to suck
December 2011-Ricky Rubio joins the team and the Timberwolves look like a playoff contender
March 2012-Ricky Rubio gets hurt
March 2012-Kevin Love and the Timberwolves go right back to being terrible

 I don't expect him to single handedly win a championship. However plenty of stars have managed to drag their teams into the post season despite a serious lack of talent on the roster. Just ask Lebron, Kobe, CP3, Wade, Dirk, Dwight, Bosh, Nash, Aldridge, and Garnett. And like I said, Love hasn’t even SNIFFED the postseason. If the T-wolves make the playoffs it won't because Kevin Love racked up 50 double doubles, it'll be because Ricky Rubio orchestrated the offense and dodged the injury bug.

Only nine rebounds?...NNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Love the war room and K. Love photo/caption combos.Hilarious!

I want to like K. Love. He seems (not that I know him) to be cool with good personal style as person, plays hard, boxes out/incredible rebounder etc, but does not seem to contribute very much to winning.

Blogger kazam92 said...
I'm actually a big time Beasley apologist/defender, but you got his career stats all wrong. that 19-7 year I believe was from the 2010-2011 season alone when the Wolves were feces.

But great read. T-Wolves did a lot of addition by subtraction, then got significantly whiter.

Blogger Paul Putz said...
The Beasley stats were his per-36-minutes stats, instead of his per game stats.

I agree with your assessment on Love...I don't think he can ever be the best guy on a contending team. His ceiling is as the second-best player on a great team (or the best player on a bad team).

Blogger Jason said...
You guys are right about Beasley's career numbers. They're actually 15.1 and 5.6. He's an even bigger let down than I had previously thought.

Blogger kazam92 said...
Per 36. That makes a lot more sense. My b.

Anonymous Mike said...
Enjoyed the article but disagree on K-Love. You cite his mediocre field goal percentage, and it's true, .448 is low, particularly for a big. But when you look at his true shooting percentage, which factors in his strong 3 point shooting and 8.4 free throw attempts per contest, he comes in at 10th among players 6'9" or taller having played 1500 minutes this season, per basketball reference. Putting love ahead of big names including LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and even Dirk.

As for his lack of "winningness", I don't think you can blame Love so much as the atrocious moves made by the Wolves front office (trading for Beasley, drafting Wesley Johnson, signing Darko "manna from heaven" Milicic), as well as questionable coaching from former coach Keith Rambis in 2010-11. Not to mention the wolves are in a much tougher conference with stiff competition even for fringe playoff spots.

Remember, Kevin Garnett's Timberwolves went years without a postseason appearance, does this make Garnett overrated, or a non-winner?

Kevin Love is a one of a kind player, either the best or second best rebounder in the league with a killer three point shot and a clever passer to boot. If the Wolves succeed next season it will be because of his fantastic play, and maybe then he will receive the universal recognition he deserves.

Again, enjoyed the article, just wanted to inject my opinion.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Actually K Garnett made the playoffs every season of his career except his rookie season.

Blogger Jason said...
Thanks for your input Mike.

I however have to keep my stance on Kevin Love for now. His numbers are impressive, but I simply cannot overlook the fact that the T-wolves have been at the bottom of the conference every year. Maybe if they finished in 9th or 10th place I wouldn't be so hard on him. As for Garnett, its true that the last three seasons in Minnesota, he failed to make the playoffs, but he gets a pass from me because he had previously been there seven years straight. Not to mention the fact that they made the postseason in his second year.

Love, by all accounts is a pretty nice guy (Well, maybe Scola and his face would disagree) He'll probably continue to break records for both rebounding and scoring. But util I see him lead the Timberwolves somewhere other than the lottery, he will continue to be overrated in my book.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man, there is some terrible fact manipulation.

Love's FG%? really? He's top 10 PF in terms of TS efficiency.

Then you have team falling apart with Rubio's injury - you may want to check that half of the rotation players went down simultaneously with him. Pekovic damaged his both ankles, and though he came back, he was hobbling around on two bad legs carrying 300 pound for the rest of the season. Barea got injured, then Ridnour got injured, then Love got injured and their somewhat decent 25-39 W-L column went to trash with 1-11 finish. They played The Backcourt Of Doom with Barea, Webster and Wes Johnson and also had Beasley and Anthony Randolph getting massive minutes for god's sake.

Anonymous JJ said...
I think Kevin Love has great individual talent, but not as much intangible leadership qualities. At least, that's the vibe I get. That might be why his team doesn't do that great. I agree Rubio has more potential to lead the Timberpups into playoffs, so that they can be annihilated to our delight. White vs the league. Can't wait to see how they do. Should be fun.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Yeah, I'm going to go with Mike on the Kevin Love issue. The Pups have had absolutely awful rosters the last few years. Love's advanced stats the last two years have been excellent, and I am a believer in advanced stats. If you're expecting a Hall of Famer, yeah, you're disappointed.

And I think the KG comparison is unfair. First, KG is a hall of famer, ad that was always apparent. Second, KG's teams didn't suck as much as Love's teams have.

As for the Rubio thing, when Rubio went down, Love was headlining a roster of near Zombies. Two guys can make a franchise of Zombies look decent. One guy CANNOT, and Garnett never did, actually.

So yeah, I think that Love is very good, and coupled with Rubio will make a first round stack for a contender. The two guys together with a decent cast could contend, but I find it impossible to imagine MPLS putting together a good roster. Just ain't happening.

Love should leave; he could be a great missing piece on a contender, and doubtlessly somebody could rob the Pups blind in a trade. It would be Pau to the Lakers 2.0!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm anon # 1 above.

I like K. Love, but here are some of the negatives I see:
1)He has a high usage rate. The team has not been winning with this high usage rate. Since he has a high usage rate, he has not proven that he can be effective with a low usage rate (though that is typically easier) either.

2)he throws great outlet passes, but I don't think he really makes others around him better.

3)Not a great defender or paint protector. He gets a ton of defensive rebounds, which is an important part of defense, but he is bad in the other areas. There is evidence that for bigs defense matters more than offense (the opposite is true for wing players). The big men on winning teams are almost always really good defenders. Sometimes they are also proficient offensively.

Until he either takes the team to the playoffs, becomes the second best player on a good team, or starts looking good on defense, I'll be limited in my praise.

Anonymous JJ said...
I know we joke about the whiteness of Timberwolves, but this is starting get ridiculous...

Blogger Wormboy said...
People forget what a nightmare of a defensive assignment Love is. Dominant bigs that can shoot from the perimeter can wreck the defensive schemes of opposing teams. Think of what Arvydas Sabonis did to Shaq. Sabonis could knock down those jumpers, so had to be honered by Shaq, who was usually camping in the lane (and never being called for 3, 4, 5, 6 and more seconds.) That opened up the floor for the Blazers in that classic series against the Lakers.

The problem is that there's nobody on the bawful Poops roster to take advantage of that. That's one reason they experienced such a spike when Rubio was active; they finally had a player who could take advantage of space.

The one thing I'd like from Love is a better set of post moves. He's done such a great job developing a shooting game, and that kills big defenders forced to honor him. But he has the strength to do it near the rim if he can develop better footwork. He's unstoppable if he does that, and he's already very good on D.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your point about Love's developing a more refined post-game. That would add to his efficiency, and he already is a very good player offensively.

I'm not sure I understand the statement that he is very good on D (besides the D boards) though. To me, he looks like a bad defender. If there are stats to back up the idea that he is a good defender, I would love to see them (I admit to not having looked at them, and basing my opinion on the "eye test"). I wonder if I might be stereotyping him since he isn't "athletic" or "long", seems fairly "slow" and does not get blocks. But right now, I don't see the D other than the rebounding. Does anyone have stats on Love's D?

Blogger Wormboy said...
My bad. I shouldn't have put the "very" in front of good. Love's rebounding in excellent, but defensive work in general not special.

Anonymous nico said...
Not to defend Kahn (he absolutely doesn't deserve it), but I think McHale was still in charge of the Wolves when thez drafted Roy.
Anyway, great post, as usual.

Blogger Wormboy said...

Rasheed Wallace to the Knicks? Didn't his being out of shape cost the Celtics a championship in ***2010***? Wait, you really want to sign a guy who was so fat he cost his team a championship THREE SEASONS EARLIER? And he hasn't played since? (For those of you not paying attention, the answer is no.)

Dude, that's some epic Bawful. But it gets even better! You see, 'Sheed would be only the 4th oldest player on the Knicks roster. Yes, you read that correctly. The sack of gravy formerly known as Rasheed Wallace would be called "junior" during practices.

James Dolan: he is who we thought he was.

Or is he? Maybe Dolan has something up his sleeve. Maybe he knows he can never be a contender with Melo, so he going to go for the Zombie Celebrity team. You know, New York loves name recognition almost as much as LA! (Not really)

Or another plan: I think he's going to cut these guys up and build a Frankenstein NBA star. There must be enough cartilage among them to make one solid payer. Right? Right? Bueller?

Blogger Dan B. said...
Important news: I now get NBA TV. So now you won't have to hear me bitch about it whenever I post stuff all season long. Thanks, Insight/Time Warner! (It feels really weird saying "thanks" to them considering how often they screw me over still...)

As far as the Timberwolves go, at the very least they should be an entertaining team to watch. And it's hard to really judge Kevin Love's true level of talent and ability to contribute to winning when he's never really been surrounded by any notable talent.

Wormboy -- "I think he's going to cut these guys up and build a Frankenstein NBA star. There must be enough cartilage among them to make one solid payer. Right? Right? Bueller?" Damn. I think you figured it out!

Anonymous zyzz said...
whats basketbawful doing these days?

Blogger miami said...
They performed The Backcourt Of Disaster with Barea, Webster and Wes Jackson and also had Beasley and Anthony Randolph getting large moments for the lord's benefit.
Miam Kia

Blogger ira haze said...
That reply made the most sense with the most truth. K-Love is absolutely NOT overrated, it's upsurd to say that. He's still underrated in fact this article proves it! That there's any doubt in any basketball fans head that he's elite is testament to him playing on a lot of poorly coached horrible teams. You can't compare the supporting cast on any Lakers team EVER to the trash the wolves have had in Kevin's first 4 years. Look for that to change dramatically this year. K Love will be the best player on a very good deep playoff team. Although AK47 will probably be the most valuable I.m.O.