Turnovers Hurt; Wolves 82 vs Jazz 91 in Summer League Game 3

KAT dishes an amazing assist vs the Jazz

KAT dishes an amazing assist vs the Jazz

(Yes, it’s late and I hope this is a great way to fill in the gaps in
Wolves summer action.)

After watching game 3, I wanted to share my thoughts on games from
Vegas. Here’s main impressions and how they impact the upcoming 2015-
2016 NBA season.

Immediately, the announcers made it clear the Wolves are on the rise.
They pointed out it’s been 10 years of under .500 ball for Minnesota
and noted that should change with the recent additions.

O Strong!
The #SummerLeague is built to determine who fills out your roster. It
gives NBA teams a chance to give solid time to players who need
development and who may or may not be NBA ready. For Summer Wolves
guard Othyus Jeffers, this is another chance to show Minnesota he is
ready. Jeffers, or simply “0” (I was told that was his nickname when I
saw him play live in Des Moines with the Energy) joined the Wolves two
seasons ago (last year he played in the Philippine Basketball
In his return to the Wolves, he’s shows aggressiveness and hustle. I
don’t see him bringing the ball up the court, but his drive and effort
can give him a spot on the roster. Last year’s Wolves needed guards
and I see an opportunity for him.
O’s dilemma might be foul shots. During the first half of this game vs
the Jazz, O missed both foul shots (can’t call ’em free throws when
you miss ’em). The roster will be interesting to see develop. This
summer the foundation is set and roster spots will be hard to get for
some. I think O could make it and if not, he’s an injury away from
returning. He’s definitely shown me he’s on the cusp.

Towns Flying Around
In yet another game, Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) was chasing the ball. He was on the floor and hustling. When the season starts in October, I
hope the Wolves will let the Lexus Club members know to watch out!
Those seated in the first row will receive a visit from KAT.
A telling play was at the end of the game. With time expiring, Towns
asked for the ball. Lorenzo Brown drove to the hoop and was blocked.
The game is basically over, but Towns did NOT give up. He chased down
the ball and got a shot. It did not go in, but he took a shot. That’s
the hustle I love! That experience will pay off in the future.

Wiggins Layup!
Yes, there are two Wiggins’ in Vegas. Andrew Wiggins sat courtside
with Zach LaVine, General Manager Milt Newton and owner Glen Taylor & family while Nick Wiggins joined the Wolves wearing #6 and joined the Wolves’ summer roster. The first points of Wiggins’ Minnesota
thanks to Lorezno Brown. He, too, showed drive and made good on his
opportunity. I’m certain his bro was proud.

Payne Trying the Deep Ball
Adreian Payne banked one in & hit front rim on another. Has he done enough to start next season? Probably not, but he’s shown improvement, looked solid (against summer ballers), and has enough on tape to look create a summer to fall workout program.

Jones’ Passing Promise and D to Learn
Tyus Jones will be fun to watch on offense. His game shows the passing
flashes that will only develop as he gets to know his teammates. He
does chase on D and I know that the Wolves and Jones will be working
on that all summer into the fall. Jones will learn how to defend in
the NBA. It’s not easy to make the jump up a level. Summer League is
up one level and the NBA is another level.

Brown Belongs
Lorenzo Brown showed he’s the #1 guard on the Summer team. He looked
comfortable bringing the ball up the court and was a solid assist-man.
Simply said Brown belongs.

Okafor vs Towns
I’ve spent a lot of time on NBA TV and overheard an interesting
conversation about KAT. During the Bulls versus Phoenix broadcast,
ex-Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas was announcing and talking about his
thoughts on whom he’d choose #1 overall. He admitted knowing Jahlil
Okafor‘s family, then said he understood the Wolves’ choice because of
how their pick would need to fit with LaVine and Wiggins. He liked
Towns, but said that Okafor’s talents make him an 8- to 10-year-All-
Star barring injury. That’s high praise. Only time will tell, but I
can’t imagine not having Towns in a Wolves jersey.

Next, Summer League Game 4.

Wolves’ Shot is Off vs Bulls in #SummerLeague Game 2 (71-84)


Reggie is enthralled with John

Reggie is enthralled with John

Tonight the Bulls simply shot better & boarded better (32% shooting by
MN). The ball movement wasn’t the same for the Wolves. The shot
wasn’t dropping, especially for Zach LaVine until a couple threes in the
mid-4th (even his last shot after the buzzer hit rim & bounced out).
But, this isn’t about wins or losses, so let’s talk about the individual performances.

Watch Out!
It’s clear to me after two Summer League games that if you’re a
Timberwolves player, you’d better keep your head on the swivel and
drive to the hoop. Again tonight Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) was passing the ball well including an over the head, no-look style pass. I saw it yesterday and wondered if this was a trend or not. It is! So between Ricky Rubio and Towns, watch out! #BallsComing!

KAT Hustle
Karl-Anthony Towns will hustle. He was chasing down ball last night
and tonight he did it again. During the 1st quarter he chased a ball
that the didn’t have to chase. My worry was that he’d crash into the
seats. He did not. He is working hard and really does hustle. Be ready
for that effort to translate into blocks. He is fun to watch.#KATlikeMoves

One Hand is Plenty
Watch KAT closely. On one play, he got his arm in there to tap up a
rebound. Now, it did not go in, but I was surprised he even got to it.
I love to see that and I predict that you will see it again and one of
those plays will be an #SCTop10. He finds the ball.

Jones Most Improved
In the NCAAs, Tyus Jones earned the Most Outstanding Player. He got his first taste of the NBA last night. Tonight, he started and he played
much better. He took charges, stole the ball, and had great assists.
Most of the time, he seemed to bring the ball up to LaVine. He also
had a couple #And1 drives. He seems to love the ‘oop and I know Target
Center will love him for that. He looked most improved from game 1 to
game 2. Be ready for skyball starting in the Fall. #EyesOnTheRise

More Payne
#33 Adreian Payne brought it again. Especially early, he was looking solid again and he’s also on the receiving end of the great passes by KAT and Jones. He almost seems energized by what’s going on with this club. Announcer Reggie Miller liked him and harkened back to his days at Michigan State. He’s hitting threes in Vegas which is going to make him tough to manage if he keeps it going on.

Loving John Malkovich
The upside of watching the Summer League on NBATV tonight was the
amazing conversation between Reggie Miller and John Malkovich. Reggie was enthralled. Surprise, surprise! John is a huge hoops fan. He
explained he was at last night’s games to watch Willie Cauley-Stein
(of the Sacramento Kings). Watching Reggie and John talk hoops was
amazing. John spoke well and with dramatic pauses. Reggie didn’t mind
for a moment. In fact, John asked Reggie a question. He wanted to know
what he thought of Jonathan Simmons (Spurs). Reggie was impressed.

That’s my take. What did you see?

Wolves Impressive vs ‘Hometown’ Lakers in Vegas


It’s interesting to watch pro-Laker, I mean, NBA TV’s Summer League broadcast. The crowd in Las Vegas was not surprisingly pro-Laker.
Reggie Miller was also pro-Laker. But even in that, you listen to the commentators and you get a point of view on the Wolves that you won’t hear in Minnesota.

After watching the game, here’s my thoughts on the 81-68 Summer League game win on 10 July, 2015 versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

For Towns, he looked solid.
Biggest surprise? Easily Payne who looked solid. His deeper jumper dropped (though he should refrain on 3s with this squad).

Passing Improved!
The Wolves’ passing will be dramatically improved. Surprisingly, it won’t be Jones. Towns will be a major reason. Towns had a couple sweet passes during the game and you will see that only improve as he learns where and how his teammates like the ball. He will make everyone better and in this Summer League, he found different guys.

Reggie Miller reminded those listening that it will “look very nice” for Coach Flip Saunders.

D Up!
It didn’t take long to see Towns is a defensive addition. On one play he chased the Laker to the three-point line and contested the shot. As soon as the shot went up, he turned around and moved to collect the rebound. That was impressive! I expect we shall see that often in

LaVine at Point?
When Tyus was snagged from Cleveland, I was thinking that ended LaVine as a point guard. I’d love for him to use his skills to become a Corey Brewer style threat in the NBA. He did play point tonight and I’m hoping to see less and less of that as he’s better receiving the ball and using his athleticism.

Sam Mitchell pointed out the biggest upside on this squad, when he let NBA TV announcers know that the Wolves can attack teams in different ways.

For Wolves fans, the greatest part was the 4th quarter. Minnesota put LA away handily and showed good passing in the win. This was a great follow up to an amazing scrimmage at Target Center just two days ago.

Season’s Over – Thunder Rock Timberwolves 138-113

Admit it, this made you laugh too. (Photo credit: William Bennett Barry on WelcomeToLoudCity.com)

Admit it, this made you laugh too. (Photo credit: William Bennett Barry on WelcomeToLoudCity.com)


The end of the 2014/15 NBA regular season is now official for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finish the year with a (largely pathetic) 16-66 record.  As you likely know, the Oklahoma City Thunder entered the game with a chance to make the playoffs as the 8th seed with a victory and a little help down in New Orleans.

There wasn’t much doubt going into the evening with the plethora of injuries the Timberwolves have amounted over the past few weeks and months, along with a strong desire to have the most ping pong balls in the NBA lottery.  The 16 wins on the season equates to the third worst record in the team’s history.  You’ll find a bullet point list of things to consider for the Wolves’ offseason below.

The Thunder … well, they have Russell Westbrook.  Without Kevin Durant, the Thunder have struggled to hold onto a playoff spot and will retool in the offseason.  The Pelicans took care of the Spurs Wednesday night and will take the 8 seed in the Western Conference.

The Pups starting lineup consisted of Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Adreian Payne, and Arinze Onuaku.  Interesting stat/number from this season – Wiggins is only one of ten players to start all 82 games this season.  That number is extraordinarily low and concerning.  “Hello reduced NBA game schedule!”

OKC opened up with Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters, Enes Kanter, and Steven Adams.

The Thunder got off to an 8-0 start and the game was essentially decided at that point, despite several attempts by the Wolves to make it a closer contest.  At the end of the 1st quarter, the Thunder held a 47-29 advantage.  You read that correctly.  Westbrook had 23 points at the end of the first 12 minutes.  Did I mention this game was over when the score was 8-0?

Let’s just run through the score at the end of each quarter:

  • Halftime: Thunder 76 – Wolves 54
  • End of 3rd: Thunder 106 – Wolves 85
  • End of game: Thunder 138 – Wolves 113

Rather than say anything else about the season ending loss, here are a number of thoughts on this franchise as it heads into another playoff-less offseason.  We’ll look to cover some of this in a lot more detail at the appropriate time.

  • I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I truly believe that Andrew Wiggins isn’t getting enough credit for his rookie season.  His month to month averages improved as the season progressed, he played in all 82 games, and he never hit the rookie wall.  That’s un-freaking-believable!
  • Flip Saunders must get off of the sideline as Head Coach.  Sorry Flip, but you have to get out of the way of your own self.
  • I hope to see Ricky Rubio and Kevin Garnett on the court, fully healthy, next season for this team.  I don’t expect early 2000’s KG by any stretch, but their combined passion for basketball would be glorious.
  • Speaking of Rubio, we are on the border of hitting the dreaded “injury plagued” rumor with him.  If he can’t stay healthy next season, this franchise is in a lot of trouble.  A lot.
  • While Karl-Anthony Towns (or Jahlil Okafor) is heavily preferred, even without either player on next year’s roster, the Wolves need to find a new home for Nikola Pekovic.  That isn’t going to be easy.
  • The Wolves would also be better served to find a new home for Kevin Martin.

That’s it for this season’s game recaps folks.  What are your thoughts on the forthcoming offseason?  Where are, or should, the focus be put on the court, on the sideline, and/or in the front office?  Let us know in the comments below.


Tank You Very Much; Wolves Win by Losing

Ricky Rubio, hours after ankle surgery, watches the Wolves on his laptop. (Via Rubio' Twitter handle - @RickyRubio9)

Ricky Rubio, hours after ankle surgery, watches the Wolves on his laptop. (Via Rubio’ Twitter handle – @RickyRubio9)

The Wolves out-tanked the Knicks.

As sad as that might be, it’s a quite impressive feat, really. The Knicks were a team that began their tanking efforts from the very start, and never relented until the very end. GM Phil Jackson and Coach Derek Fisher tried everything: trading away key starters for scraps, resting Carmelo Anthony and Jose Calderon after the All-Star Break, starting players like Alexey Shved, Travis Wear, and Jason Smith, but it was all for naught.

Who do they have to thank for their spoiled efforts? The pesky Minnesota Timberwolves, of course. President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders, along with Coach Flip Saunders, saw the Knicks horrid roster, and decided the Wolves could outdo them in all facets. After early injuries to Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin made any thoughts of playoff aspirations a thing of the past, Flip went all-in. He traded contributors Mo Williams, Corey Brewer, and Thaddeus Young for draft picks and players that had few positive contributions this season, signed no names to 10-day contracts, and, most impressively, kept insisting on starting Zach LaVine at point guard.

It took 81 games to accomplish their goal, but the Wolves are now 1 loss from assuring themselves the worst record in the league, and the guaranteed top-4 pick that comes with it.

Coming into yesterday, the Wolves were tied with the Knicks, and would need a loss, coupled with another miracle win from the Knicks to have a chance at sole possession of best of the worst.

The Wolves held up their end of the bargain, although it took until the 4th quarter for the Pelicans to pull away from Minnesota. Only a few things, from the game are worth mentioning. One of them came from Andrew Wiggins, who nearly started a war with Turkey due to his dunk over Omer Asik.

Wiggins wasn’t done settling diplomatic feuds on the court. In the fourth quarter, he attempted another posterizer, this time over French big man Alexis Ajinca. He ended up missing it by inches, but look where he takes off from!

Yeah, that would’ve been better than his first dunk. Still, it might be the most impressive missed dunk I’ve ever seen.

Even with Wiggins monster dunks, the Wolves fell 100-88. Minnesota actually ended the game with only 6 healthy players, as Justin Hamilton and Chase Budinger picked up injuries during the game. Per league rules, the Wolves are going to need 8 healthy players for the season finale Wednesday, and Flip is looking for eager volunteers to suit up.

So with the Wolves losing, all they would need is a Knicks win. Thankfully, that’s exactly what they got, as the Knicks, with a combined 77 points from retired pirate Langston Galloway, average joe Jason Smith, “not the good” Tim Hardaway, and man-bun connoisseur Lou Amundson, prevailed in a 112-108 victory over a Hawks team resting most of their starters.

Knicks fans, who had been dead set on finishing in last for months, were FURIOUS, and nothing is funnier than angry Knicks fans.

The following images are #NSFW (Not safe for work).

It gets funnier.

For this fans sake, I hope the Knicks lose on Wednesday.

At least the sound of this fan vomiting will be more pleasant than hearing Knicks owner James Dolan try and sing.

Godspeed, Knicks, and tank you very much.


How About Some Anagrams?


(Photo via Rock Wildner/NBA Getty Images)

(Photo via Rock Wildner/NBA Getty Images)

The Wolves lost again. SHOCKER, I know. They were demolished on defense by Omri Casspi and Derrick Williams, which is sad. The whole game was sad, really. In fact, you could probably use something to cheer you up.

With that in mind, here are some anagrams for each of the 25 Wolves players to appear this season. Some are hilarious, some are mediocre, but all of them will take your mind off the Wolves terrible play.

Miroslav Raduljica

Jocular Maid Rivals

Sean Kilpatrick

A Stickier Plank

Kirk is Placenta

Irk, Satanic Kelp

Karate Lick Nips

Knit Lice Parkas

Anal Spit-Kicker

Chase Budinger

Herb Guidance

A Inbreed Chugs

Justin Hamilton

Lit Human Joints

No Lush Tit In Jam

Arinze Onuaku

A azure oak nun

Lorenzo Brown

Zero Blown Ron

Adreian Payne

A Pee In A Randy

Kevin Martin

Invert A Mink

Venti Arm Ink

Andrew Wiggins

Wandering Swig

We Dig Warnings

A Swinging Drew

Gnawed Wirings

Corey Brewer

Cry, bee-rower

Rye Beer Crow

Glenn Robinson

Long Boners Inn

No Inborn Glens

Gorgui Dieng

I’d Urge Going

Goring Guide

Zach LaVine

A Zilch Vane

Robbie Hummel

Helium Bomber

Humor Me, Bible

Anthony Bennett

Ban Thy Neon Tent

Nth Ebony Tenant

Gary Neal

Nag Relay

Grey Anal

Angry Ale

Troy Daniels

Solitary End

Oral Density

Oral Destiny

I Dearly Snot

Reality Nods

Shabazz Muhammad

A Dam Sham, Ham Buzz

Mama Had Buzz Sham

Mo Williams

Will Is Ammo

Thaddeus Young

Unsteady Dough

Dude, So Naughty

Day Use Dong Hut

Kevin Garnett

Tin Keg Tavern

Knitten Grave

Vet Ring Taken

Ronny Turiaf

Urinary Font

Furry Nation

Ricky Rubio

I, Your Brick

Nikola Pekovic

Pa, Kick No Olive

Flip Saunders

Painful Dress

I Slap Refunds

Dual Serf Nips

Magic Dust Over Timberwolves, 97-84

Andrew Wiggins and Elfrid Payton (Getty Images)

Andrew Wiggins and Elfrid Payton (Getty Images)

Ahead of the final west coast road trip of their season, the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the Orlando Magic in Minneapolis Friday night.  As has been the case over the past few weeks, Flip Saunders was forced to throw out another starting lineup, going with Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Adreian Payne, and Justin Hamilton.  This may not be the exact number, but I count 54,328 different starting lineups this season for the Pups.

An almost equally struggling Magic squad (22-53 coming into Friday night) started with Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, and Dewayne Dedmon.  The Magic have underachieved this year and fired Jacque Vaughn last month.  This is their new head coach (James Borrego) …

Put your hands up if you are excited to coach the Orlando Magic!!  (Associated Press)

Put your hands up if you are excited to coach the Orlando Magic!! (Associated Press)

You may notice that I’m stalling in actually writing about Friday night’s game …

The Magic opened the game strong, quickly opening up a double digit lead.  They shot 60% in the opening quarter, compared to the Wolves’ 35%.  The Wolves’ starting backcourt shot a combined 1-7 from the field for 3 points.  Not ideal.  At the end of the 1st quarter, the Magic held a 29-23 lead.

Tobias Harris scored the first 8 points for the Magic in the second quarter, as they reopened a double digit lead in the early minutes of the quarter.  After cutting the Magic lead down to six with just a few minutes to play in the half, the Wolves started getting sloppy (again) with the basketball and managed to give back any traction they made.  At the half, the Magic held a 52-42 advantage.

Halftime highlights:

  • Wolves held a huge advantage at the free throw line, going 14-16 from the line, while the Magic were only 6-10.
  • However, the Wolves were 0-8 from 3PT range.
  • Chase Budinger had a nice half with 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in 17 minutes.

The Magic and Wolves went back and forth throughout the 3rd quarter.  Every time the Wolves made a small run to cut the lead down to six points, the Magic found a way to increase their lead back to 10+ points.  The Wolves cut the lead to four points but the Magic came back yet again and took a 72-65 lead into the final quarter.

After more back and forth, Tobias Harris drilled two three point FG’s from basically the same spot on the floor, pushing the Magic lead to 86-74.  In the end, the Magic walk out of the Target Center with a 97-84 victory over the Timberwolves.

A few notes from the game:

  • The Magic out-rebound the Wolves 53-30 on the night, including a 20-3 advantage on the offensive boards.
  • The teams combined for 39 turnovers.
  • Wiggins led the Wolves with a somewhat quiet 22 points.
  • LaVine finished the game with a box score of 10/5/5, but his performance was significantly worse than those numbers.  Sorry, they were.