This year’s All-Star Weekend has very little to do with this season’s Timberwolves roster and that’s unfortunate for a number of reasons. I will only mention this in the beginning and then move on to more positive thoughts and highlights from the weekend. The Pups don’t have anyone playing in Sunday’s All-Star Game due to the injuries Kevin Love has suffered. Also worth noting is that second year pro Derrick Williams couldn’t do enough to get into the Rising Stars game despite Love’s injury.
OK, that’s enough of a recap of how bad things have gone for the Wolves this season. Let’s concentrate on the positives – Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved were asked to participate in the Rising Stars game. Ricky was a late addition to the game given his turnaround over the past few weeks, his global appeal, and the fact that his flair is absolutely perfect for this weekend.
The glass-half-full view allows us to also gloat that David Kahn signed Alexey Shved this past offseason and he has been nothing short of solid for the Pups thus far this season. At the break Alexey is averaging 10.5 ppg and 4.4 apg. While his shooting percentages have tailed off, he has been a little bit of a savior for the team given all of the injuries they have had to absorb.
Here are a few highlights Rubio’s performance in Friday night’s Rising Stars game:
- Despite being a late entry into the game itself, they put Rubio in the starting lineup.
- Early and often, Rubio looked to drop dimes to the rest of Team Chuck. In the first few minutes, Rubio’s passes were slightly off, broken up, or his teammates didn’t finish the play.
- However, things got rolling shortly thereafter. Towards the very end of the 1st half, this between the legs, no look pass to Bradley Beal happened; amazing!
- In just over 15 minutes of play, Rubio finished with 10 assists. Ironically, he was the only player on Team Chuck with a negative +/-, at -2. The highlights were worth it.
Beyond Kenneth Faried’s MVP performance and Kyrie Irving’s sick dribbling display late in the game, I’m not sure anyone else stole the show as much as Shved in the Rising Stars game. Here are some highlights:
- Shved was the first player to come into the game off either bench, likely in an effort to get him on the court with Rubio.
- Throughout the game, Shved showed off the entire package – slick passes, three point shooting, and a handful of athletic dunks; that included a nice reverse dunk off of a lob pass.
- At the very end of the game, there was a dunk-off and Faried gave the ball to Shved to try one more dunk. The dunk itself would have been spectacular … if it didn’t clang off the rim. Doh!
- In 18 minutes of play, Shved finished with 12 points and 4 assists.
- Great performance from Alexey, and it seemed to open up the eyes of the broadcast team (which I don’t know how I feel about that if watching basketball is your job…). In any case, Chris Webber provided the following, “I tell you what, I’m gonna be watching the Minnesota Timberwolves, baby”
Beyond the BBVA Rising Stars game, there were only a few more references, highlights, etc. that involved the Timberwolves.
Kevin Love was doing some promotional work for Sprint during the celebrity game earlier Friday night and said that his hand was feeling well and he was about a month away from returning. Hinted at hoping there were meaningful games left to play. (Nope)
There was very little Wolves-related content on Saturday night’s festivities, unless you want to count a few highlights from past performances. We saw clips of Love’s winning performance in the 2012 3PT contest over Durant. In the highlight montage for the Dunk Contest, you saw Isaiah Rider’s East Bay Funk Dunk as well as one of Gerald Green’s dunks. For those that don’t remember, Green won the contest in ’07 as a Boston Celtic and finished second to Dwight Howard (ugh) in ’08 as a Timberwolf. The NBA production team showed one of Green’s dunks from his ’08 performance.
Admittedly, I had to skip live coverage of the All-Star Game on Sunday to play the role of a husband. (Kidding …) In flipping through the DVR after seeing the final 10 minutes or so, there was virtually nothing Wolves related, excluding a commercial for NBATickets.com that starred Al Horford of the Hawks and our own Ricky Rubio.
(Unrelated to the Wolves, if you enjoy basketball history, please do yourself a favor and watch NBA TV’s Mr. Russell’s House Monday night. Bill Russell’s interviews are always top-notch.)