Putting Timberwolves thru the NBA Trade Machine

Putting Timberwolves thru the Trade Machine & this is one of the more appealing deals to be had ... I think

Putting Timberwolves thru the Trade Machine & this is one of the more appealing deals to be had … I think

The Timberwolves came into the 2013/14 season with high expectations, or at the very least, expectations of being a playoff team in a loaded Western Conference.  After a hot start, the team has cooled down some and is floating around what I like to call the Mason-Dixon Line, i.e. playing around .500 ball.  The schedule has done the team no favors, but that is completely out of the team’s control.  What we do know from the first third of the season is that the team is lacking in the depth department.  Coach Adelman is relying too heavily on his starters and a seven/eight man rotation is going to pay unkind dividends come March and April.

With that train of thought in mind, I took a look around the league and played with the NBA Trade Machine to find a few potential deals that might make sense for the Wolves and its trade partner.  I am considering the following players untouchable: Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kevin Love, and Nikola Pekovic.  While I don’t think Corey Brewer is a chip that would be dangled out there, I also wouldn’t consider him untouchable.  These trades are largely built with the thought of improving our depth and are not blockbuster deals. [Read more...]

A Philadelphia 76ers Roundtable, Hosted by Timberpups

So, I don’t know much about the Philadelphia 76ers. Is Allen Iverson still there? (Kidding)

But really, I don’t know much of anything about the Sixers.

Here’s a few bits.

  • Head Coach is Brett Brown
  • Record is 7-15
  • Royce White, Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe were all Sixers at some point before the season, but are no longer — clearly Philly doesn’t like Minnesota Natives. So this one is personal, right?

Alright. That’s what I know. Anyway, to provide you guys with a little more (a lot more) in depth knowledge about tonight’s opponent — I’ve brought in the experts.

First, introductions.

My name is Jovan Alford and I am a senior communication major at La Salle University specializing in mass media and journalism. I am also the owner/editor in charge of totalsportslive.com, a site a part of the Broad Spectrum Sports network. My site covers Philly collegiate and pro sports and also national sports. I’ve been covering the Sixers for about two years now and you can find my work at totalsportslive.com.

Hi! My name is Emily Gruver and I am the Co-Editor of The Sixer Sense (Part of Sports Illustrated’s Fansided Network). I’m a huge Philadelphia sports fan. You can find my work at The Sixer Sense, That Ball’s Outta Here, and Hoops Habit.

O’Connor didn’t bother reading the ENTIRE EMAIL, but I had a chance to meet him over the weekend — he was in Minneapolis for business. After chatting with Sean during the Wolves-Heat game last Saturday, which was the most expensive loss I think either of us has payed for, I found that it really is true — people from Philly only talk about Philly, that’s it. (No disrespect intended, that’s what happened — he’ll tell ya) ALRIGHT HERE’S WHAT HIS TWITTER SAYS: “I write words on the internet, primarily at Liberty Ballers (Part of the SB Nation Blog Network)and occasionally at other places.”

Now, the good stuff.

1. Before we get into any talk about tonight’s game, and not to kick anybody in the dirt, but; how bad are the Sixers? Does it reach beyond player personnel and go up the front office ladder? 
Alford: The Sixers are bad. The sad part is as Philadelphia fans we expected them to be bad because once you trade away your all-star point guard in Jrue Holiday that automatically means you are going to have a couple of loses under your bag. I think this is all apart of Sam Hinkie’s plan to blow it up and bring in the players that he wants to fit the team.
Gruver: The Sixers are really struggling right now. With a 7-15 record, they are continuing to lose to teams that they are capable of beating. I think the main reason for this is injuries, mainly with Michael Carter-Williams recent absence for a few games now. I think it’s also the fact that they just don’t have enough talent to compete with these other teams. It’s really just these little things that are costing them these losses; injuries, turnovers, missed free-throws, and defense.
O’Connor: Well, even while they’re better than expected, the Sixers still have lost more than 2/3rds of their games. They haven’t won a game in regulation since November 8th, over a month ago. And it’s totally by design. 
2. Sixers and “tanking” are often associated, that’s what they’re doing — right? What is the best long-term result that could -possibly- come from this season for the Sixers?
Alford: I don’t think that the Sixers are tanking. The players don’t even like the word “tanking” it offends them. The best long-term result that could come from this season is hopefully you can find out who you want to bring back for the long term with head coach Brett Brown. You also want the players to be students of the game and learn how to play the game the right way. Also long term, they will eventually get back Nerlens Noel and possibly you will have two top ten picks so you can keep on building from there.
Gruver: The Sixers are in an odd situation because I actually do believe they don’t want to tank, but are continuing to just fall short. From listening to head coach Brett Brown, as well as the players, I’m actually getting the feeling that they want nothing to do with tanking, especially in the beginning of the season when they were creating miraculous comebacks.
O’Connor: “Tanking” doesn’t have a single, set definition. Some people take “tanking” to mean the intentional losing of games by the players put out on the court, either via holding people out with phantom injuries or an intentional lack of effort. This isn’t happening – the Sixers try really hard every game, and that’s part of Sam Hinkie’s vision. However, they are certainly not built to win games – which to me constitutes tanking by the organization. “Rebuilding” just sugarcoats the intentions.
The best case scenario from this year: vets play well enough to establish trade value, get swapped for future assets, MCW and Noel develop into all-star or borderline all-star caliber players, and the Sixers still end up with the worst record and the best chances for the number one overall pick and a guaranteed top 4 selection.
3. Have you thought of any trade scenarios involving Spencer Hawes, Thad Young or Evan Turner?(These can be as a pair or individuals)  If so what are they? And are you for or against them and why? 
Alford: I haven’t really thought of any trade scenarios myself but one trade scenario that I think we all have probably heard is Thad Young to the Houston Rockets for Omer Asik. I am not a big fan of this trade because nothing about Asik’s game gets me excited. The Sixers already have a big man sitting on the bench in Nerlens Noel so it would be no point. Trading a player like Thaddeus Young would be devastating to this team because he is the heart and soul. If you watch him play he is always hustling diving your balls and taking charges. Plus he is a great guy on and off the court.
Gruver: I haven’t thought of any myself, but I know of the report in which the Houston Rockets would trade Omer Asik in return for Thaddeus Young. Spencer Hawes hasn’t really been in many trade rumors here, and the Evan Turner trade rumors have surprisingly died off.

If it’s the right deal and the Sixers would get something reasonable in return, then I’m for it, but at this point, I don’t see the point in trading away any of them because I feel as though they can be solid pieces for the future.
O’Connor: I’m for trading all of them. Hawes and Turner are free agents at the end of the season – both could potentially help current playoff teams at the low, low cost of a late first round pick, and neither will be cheap or valuable enough to retain at the current market rate. Young makes more sense as a long-term piece, but he’s only guaranteed to be under team control for this year and next. I find it likely that he will opt out after next season, at which point it’ll be costly in years and dollars to retain him. He also should bring back a solid return in a trade.
As for individual deals, Young for Omer Asik has been bandied about quite a bit. I’m a fan if it’s part of a bigger move to eventually move Asik’s contract. Meanwhile, I’m a fan of pretty much any scenario that nets a first round pick for either Hawes or Turner, no matter what team really. But if I had to pick individual teams for them to move to, I’d say Hawes would fit well as a Clipper, while Turner could be useful in Atlanta.
4. No Michael Carter-Williams (<- Caution, there’s self-promotion in there) tonight means we’ll see Lorenzo Brown, right? He was one of the Wolves final cuts prior to the season, do you have any thoughts on his play?
Alford: You can probably expect to see some Lorenzo Brown tonight but more of Tony Wroten Jr. I think Brown has been adequate since he has joined the Sixers. I think he is better than Darius Morris, who the Sixers released earlier this season. In the last three games he is averaging 13.3 minutes per game. That is good, that means Brett Brown has him apart of this rotation and hopefully he can stick around for the entire season.
Gruver: Lorenzo Brown has been OK. He has only played 9 games so far this season and averaging just 7.7 minutes per game so I haven’t seen too much from him. He has just been a guy who will give you a few points and assists a game, but nothing special.
O’Connor:Brown doesn’t wow me in any way, but really that doesn’t matter. Sam Hinkie has brought in players to compete, and he’s lauded Brown for being a hard worker. The Sixers have him playing as a combo guard, but to me his shooting and/or passing (preferably both) need to improve to be a legitimate rotation player. At least he’s not Darius Morris, though.
5. Lastly, is there any way the Sixers beat the Wolves tonight? If so, how? If not, what scares you about this Wolves team. (Feel free to rant a bit here about anything really)
Alford: The only way this Sixers team beats the Wolves if they come out and play like they did to begin the season against the Heat and Bulls. They could sneak up on the Wolves tonight because Minnesota is coming off of a back to back. Those are the only two ways they win. But I think they won’t win because when you are going a team that has the likes of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, and Kevin Martin you are going to have to play solid defense. Rubio is a great passer, Love is a great passer and shooter, and Martin is a great shooter. The only person I can see defending Love is Thad Young because he is just as versatile. But Kevin Love has the ability to stretch the defense and he throws beautiful outlet passes. I also can forget about Pek who gets monster boards.That is a man in the paint and I hope the Sixers are ready to get punched in the mouth down low because if they aren’t it is going to be a long night tonight.
Gruver: I don’t see the Sixers defeating the Wolves tonight. First off, the Sixers are horrible on the road (1-8). What scares be the most about this Wolves team is that I’m afraid Kevin Love is going to completely go off and the Sixers won’t be able to defend him. Plus, the Wolves are 3rd overall in PPG, and 7th overall in both rebounds and assists per game. The Wolves just have the better talent and have Love and Nikola Pekovic who are dominating on the boards.
O’Connor: I suppose it’s possible that the Sixers could win but not likely by any stretch of the imagination.

Anyway, what scares me most about the Timberwolves is Nikola Pekovic. That was an easy answer! To be completely serious, though – the three-point shooting capabilities of Kevin Martin and Kevin Love. Though the game we attended in person had some of the worst shooting in the NBA this year, the Sixers are awfully charitable at giving up open three point opportunities. Having two guys that have the ball in their hands often that will fire away whenever open is a scary thought for a Sixers team that leaves people open entirely too often.
Welp. All of our guests today were fantastic. I don’t believe the Sixers can beat the Wolves, either — see weekly preview for further prediction. If you’re a fan of the Sixers or sports in Philly — give these guys a follow on twitter. If they were kind enough to answer my emails, they’re kind enough to befriend you guys.
Wolves-Sixers is tonight, 7:00PM CST — FSN North. 830 WCCO for Radio Goers.

Timberwolves Entertainment Network (T.E.N)

Today the Timberwolves launched the Timberwolves Entertainment Network, or T.E.N. Bob Stanke seemed to be behind this one, go figure.

 

Here’s what to expect. (This is from the site)

 

The T.E.N. will feature all the news and updates you are used to seeing on Timberwolves.com—including practice reports and GameDay coverage—but it will also be the home to all of our podcasts and video programming. That includes new shows like Shot Clock Violation and the Pixel Brothers Podcast as well as old favorites like Light Work with J.J. Barea and 5-on-5: Around the League. We’ll also take you behind the scenes with our All Access series, Beyond the Den with our community features and around Target Center with our Dancers and Kid Reporters content. This is an exciting time to be a Timberwolves fan, and you’ll have more access than ever with the Timberwolves Entertainment Network.

It seems as if the Wolves social media team has consolidated content from the team’s homepage into one, easy to access, network. I’m going to see what it looks like browsing on a mobile device, as well as on a desktop.

A solid visual that makes the page, and it's purpose, easy to remember.

A solid visual that makes the page, and it’s purpose, easy to remember.

 

On a desktop the page is organized neatly, making it very easy to navigate for any newcomers. The content is not only orgonized, it’s interactive — notice the poll questions to the right. Not only are the poll questions Timberwolves related (obviously) but they reach beyond basketball, fun for even the most casual of fans.

 

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The links on the left will bring you to videos and podcast that are features on the Timberwolves webpage. From the pages i explored these are mobile friendly pages and videos; a huge plus.

 

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In each channel, on both the desktop and mobile, there are sub categories making it easy to find whatever you’re looking for.  Here’s an example of what these look like on each browser.

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The site on a mobile browser is just as easy to navigate. There is no scrolling side to side to make images fit. This is also the case for video features, which is more than some other sites can say (won’t name names, but we’ve all had that problem. Here’s an example of the what the Wolves-Heat recap looks like on a mobile browser.

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The content accessible through T.E.N is the same quality stuff from Mark Remme, Kyle Ratke and the other members of the Wolves media team. Practice reports, recaps and everything that the Timberwolves promote through Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms is all located in one place.

The Timberwolves have one of the most interactive social media teams out there, so they’re always going to be improving. Stanke and the team have done an excellent job with T.E.N., maybe one day they’ll have provide access to some Timberwolves blogs (you know, like Timberpups) but that’s wishful thinking — for now.

The entire social media staff has done excellent work getting this done, this makes Timberwolves content -direct from the source- easy to find, peruse and interact with — IT’S FOR THE FANS.

Enjoy the Timberwolves Entertainment Network for yourself, whether it’s mobile or desktop browsing, HERE!!!

Timberpups Turkey Day Roundtable

David Sherman/Getty Images

David Sherman/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving Minnesota. In light of the holiday we at Timberpups brought together some bright Timberwolves minds to discuss a few key topics currently surrounding our favorite NBA franchise. Our first guest Kyle Ratke (@Kyle_Ratke) is a web editorial associate for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. Representing Howlin’ T-Wolf are Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA) and Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA), and writer for A Wolf Among Wolves Billy Bohl (@BreakTheHuddle) also joins us. Lastly, both myself (@glenhoops) and Zach Bennett (@ZacharyBD) decided to give it a go as well. Enjoy your turkey day Wolves fans!

1. What has been the nicest surprise so far for Minnesota?

Kyle: The biggest surprise so far is Robbie Hummel being implemented into the rotation after almost missing out on being on the team in Training Camp. His minutes could change with the addition of Mbah a Moute, but at least the Wolves know they have other guy on the bench they can depend on. And Adelman likes him. That’s a big factor, too. He plays the game right.

Derek: Being around .500? No, really. It sounds simple but after a decade of struggling, this is nice to see. Not only that, they’re number one in total assists, number two in total rebounds and third in points per game. And they’ve been an average defensive team, which has been a bit of a surprise so far. All of this has been really nice so far.

Tom: Ricky Rubio’s 3-point shooting. Rubio, who has been shooting extremely poorly overall (34 percent! How?!!) has been largely ignored behind the arc, which has enabled him to shoot 46 percent. Once again: 46 FREAKING PERCENT. That’s simultaneously so bad and so good, but the 3-point shooting has been a nice surprise.

Billy: Corey Brewer’s contributions on the offensive end. Everyone knew what he would bring to the table defensively – and he’s been every bit as good advertised – but he’s scoring at a career rate (14.4 points per game) and doing it efficiently (especially at the rim, where he’s shooting 62%). While Kevin Love gets (and deserves) credit for throwing beautiful outlet passes, Brewer has been the one leaking out at the right time and finishing in transition. Definitely a pleasant and unexpected surprise.

Zach: Kevin Martin’s production. I anticipated him being good, but this good? No, can’t say I envisioned it. Scoring over 20 points a game shooting over 40 percent from the field and the three-point line, not to mention his ability to get to the foul line, has been huge so far.

Alex: When the Wolves signed Kevin Martin, we knew that we were getting a very productive scorer who would immediately help improve the teams three-point shooting. What we did not expect, however, was for Kevin Love and Martin to become one of the most lethal scoring combos in the NBA. Martin, who operates perfectly in Rick Adelman’s corner offense, has been everything we expected and more while sporting around a 20 PER. Even after a rough three game span in which he shot a combined 17-49, he is still averaging 22.5 points per game while providing Ricky Rubio with a legitimate backcourt mate.

2. How big of an issue are Rubio’s scoring struggles and what can he do to improve his efficiency on the offensive end?

Kyle: It’s obviously something the Wolves would like to see improve a bit, but with offensive weapons like Love, Martin and Pekovic (and the return of Budinger), the Wolves don’t need him to score 15. His outside shot looked like it was developing in training camp and who knows, it still might. It’s very early. I always look at a guy like Jason Kidd and get encouraged on his advancements as a shooter. Granted, Rubio hopes to do that a bit earlier than Kidd did in his career. 

Derek: You know, with Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic, I’m not really worried about it. As I mentioned above, the Timberwolves aren’t having problems putting the ball through the hoop, so it’s not like he’s really hurting this team. It would be even better if he could knock that percentage up a few ticks, but he has the benefit of being able to gradually work towards that with the other scorers on this team. What could he do? Continue to work on his mechanics and build confidence as well as improving as a finisher at the rim. As others have said, he doesn’t have to improve by much and that incremental improvement is certainly realistic.

Tom: I kind of covered this above. I don’t know, can he fix the fact that he can’t score around the rim? Like at all? Maybe he should just keep camping out behind the 3-point line until he can figure out how to make a layup.

Billy: He needs to get better at finishing at inside, where he’s making less than 44% of his shots. He’s improved his three-point shooting considerably (43%) but he’s still a mess in the midrange game. I’d still argue he’s an efficient offensive player overall, just not an efficient shooter. Rubio is one of the best defensive point guards in the league, and when you consider his passing acumen, it more than compensates for the fact that his overall offensive game is still a work in progress.

Zach: His three-point shooting was runner-up for biggest surprise, almost. However, he’s still struggling inside-the-arc and especially around the rim. Rubio’s assist account for 20 of the Wolves points per game (According to StatVU) so his contributions there, and on defense, make him very potent. If he could drive and finish with the intent to score, i think he could elevate his game to another level offensively.

Alex: Even with all of the scoring this team has done, Rubio has struggled getting good shots and has conspicuously demonstrated his inability to hit mid-range jump shots at a reasonable rate. Opposing teams have focused on giving him an extra step when he comes off screens, baiting him to shoot. Rubio needs to either (a) dramatically improve his shooting off the dribble, or (b) recognize his struggles shooting the ball and take a more passive approach on the pick-and-roll. I do not believe that Ricky shooting too little will lose the Wolves games, but I do believe that him shooting too much could definitely put the team in increasingly tougher spots against top notch opponents.

3. What do you make of the acquisition of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and how will he fit into Rick Adelman’s rotation?

UCLA teammates Kevin Love and Luc Mbah a Moute reunite on Minnesota (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill).

UCLA teammates Kevin Love and Luc Mbah a Moute reunite on Minnesota (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill).

Kyle: Anytime you can get a good defender on the team, it’s a plus. D-Will had plenty of potential and I honestly think he’ll do good things in this league. With this team and Adelman’s offense, though, he just didn’t fit. Do you know who does fit? Mbah a Moute, a guy who can guard the 2, 3 and 4. I think he’ll be a big part of the rotation until Chase returns and then we’ll go from there. It will do wonders for Brewer, too. The guy has had to guard the toughest guys in the league. A break is needed. 

Derek: I’m a fan of the trade. Mbah a Moute will provide the Timberwolves with a player that fits Rick Adelman’s vision for the team more than Derrick Williams did. Adelman has praised Robbie Hummel, the player who takes minutes from Williams, for not doing anything that he can’t do, which is where Williams failed and Mbah a Moute succeeds. In addition to Corey Brewer, the Timberwolves will now have another perimeter defender. He’s no scorer, but you have to remember that Chase Budinger is returning from injury soon and will offset that.

Tom: He fits Adelman’s rotation by being a competent wing off the bench. Minnesota’s bench mob has been pretty mediocre, and although LRMAM is not a scorer and won’t help with any of the offensive woes, his defense is certainly above average and will probably range between good and very good against most second units. He also adds a certain amount of flexibility. His post defense is quite good, and the Wolves could be planning on using him to back up Kevin Love as well as Corey Brewer (and eventually, we hope, Chase Budinger).

Billy: I’m a sucker for defense and hustle guys, and that’s what Luc Mbah a Moute is, so I like it. The Wolves save money and acquire a useful rotation player in exchange for someone who couldn’t fit into the system (Derrick Williams). It’s a smart deal.

Zach: Many called for a change and they got one, I’m optimistic about Mbah a Moute and what he can bring defensively. This addition will be huge if the Wolves can make the postseason.

Alex: The news of the trade brought a very bittersweet feeling to me as I am happy that Derrick will be getting plenty of opportunities for a rebuilding team but it also signifies yet another failure by Wolves brass in drafting. I will not sit here and say that picking D-Will was a mistake because I think that I was one of the majority of NBA fans who dubbed him as the consensus number-2 overall pick after Kyrie Irving went to Cleveland. It simply was not a good fit for Derrick in Adelman’s offense and the team could not continue to wait on him to gain consistency in his game with Minnesota setting it’s sights on the postseason. With that being said, Mbah a Moute brings a tremendous defensive presence on the wing and in the interior and should do a nice job of keeping his opponents off the offensive glass, limiting second chance opportunities. A lineup  of Mbah a Moute, Love, and Pekovic should be one of the best rebounding frontcourts in the league.

4. What about this Timberwolves team are you most thankful for?

Kyle: Kevin Love. I think we are truly watching history unfold in front of us with him.

Derek: Kevin Love. It’s so great that we get to watch him play basketball at this level again. Basketball is definitely better with him than without him.

Tom: I’m most thankful that Nikola Pekovic has the pain threshold to sit through massive, violent tattoos because they entertain me to absolutely no end.

Billy: Health. I know Budinger and Turiaf are nicked up, but Love, Rubio and Pekovic have each appeared in every game thus far. After the past two seasons, I’m just thankful the Wolves have that much.

Zach: The ability to score points when shots are falling. It’s just so, so pretty! Adelman’s system running smoothly is a thing of beauty.

Alex: I am very thankful for the teams bill of good health (knock on wood) and hope that our core can stay intact all season long.

New Timberwolves Lights-Out Jerseys

The Timberwolves "Road Alternate" jersey!

The Timberwolves “Road Alternate” jersey!

Tonight’s game at the Target Center had a little bit of an extra bonus/surprise – the new Adidas Timberwolves Lights-Out jerseys with sleeves!  Our rookies, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng posted pictures of these over the past few days, hinting at their arrival:

 

(Click here for Gorgui Dieng’s Instagram post)

While you have likely seen several teams with the “sleeve jerseys” (we need a better nickname for these please) – The Timberwolves are the only team to don a black colored version.  The team will use these jerseys moving forward as their ‘road alternative’ during certain games throughout the season.  While the jerseys were being developed over the past year, several Wolves players had the ability to provide input on them.

Several teams have released pictures of their “sleeve jerseys” (I’m really begging someone to come up with a new name for these) to “mixed” reviews and feedback.  I tend to like them – particularly the Wolves’ black one here (and the Clippers powder blue version).  I’m glad to see that the Wolves also decided to include the 25 year, anniversary patch on them as well … see the posts from the players above for the patch, as they are not included in the images below.

What do you think of the new “sleeve jersey”, particularly the Wolves version?  Take a look at the images below for a few different shots/angles on the jersey.  For those interested, you can purchase them at WolvesProShop.com now!

 

Adidas Timberwolves Lights-Out Jersey 2 Adidas Timberwolves Lights-Out Jersey 3 Adidas Timberwolves Lights-Out Jersey 4 Adidas Timberwolves Lights-Out Jersey 5

Derrick Williams Traded For Luc Mbah a Moute, Pending Physical

During the second quarter of the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers, Derrick Williams -pending a physical- was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute.

It’s pronounced Luke, MMMM-BAH-EM-MOOT-AY, (that’s not professional, but you’ll get it soon enough)

Mbah a Moute is 27 years old and in his sixth NBA season. After spending five-years in Milwaukee with the Bucks, Mbah a Moute (WOW, THIS IS FUN TO SAY) was traded to the Kings for two-future second round picks.

He’s not very potent offensively, shooting less than 30 percent from three-point range and just under 50 percent from the field on his career. Though his field-goal percentage is deceptive, Mbah a Moute shoots 50 percent around the rim but less than 40 percent within’ the three-point-arc.

Just this morning Jonathon Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom published a piece on the swingman out of the Cameroon, who was beginning to appear in the starting lineup. Mbah a Moute started in five of nine games as a King. Sacramento’s head coach, Michael Malone, is in his first season at the helm and was warming up to having the tenacious defender in his starting-five.

 

“I wasn’t playing him a whole lot because he missed most of the preseason – six preseason games he was out,” Malone said. “He missed a lot of practice time, so once he put together a string of practices where (I could say) ‘Okay, I can see what you can do and you can do it and you can sustain that’, that gave me the confidence to put him out there and start playing him more.”

“He’s a guy that’s kind of made his name in the NBA as a defensive player,” Malone said.

He’s a hustle junkie, someone Rick Adelman is going to enjoy having very much.

@ZacharyBD grade the trade – how do you feel?

— Andy Whisney (@andywhisney) November 26, 2013

It’s somewhat saddening to see Williams depart without ever making a name for himself in Minnesota, but; this move benefits his development as an NBA player going forward. “D-Will” is going to see more playing time, in a system that isn’t Adelman’s (which he’s never been accustomed too) and the Kings are going to see this “Caged Lion,” released.

The Wolves will pay roughly two-million less over the next two seasons for Mbah a Moute, as opposed to Williams.

Mbah a Moute is a hustle junkie — he’s a perfect fit for this second unit. A lock-down defender who’s going to hustle every minute he’s on the floor, the only concern of mine is the pending physical. Not that I’m worried he’ll ‘fail’ the physical, but the fact he’s been somewhat plagued with injuries in his career.

Mbah a Moute has played all 82 games of the season only once, his rookie year, and any player that’s been injured in the past poses some -obvious- concern.

He was just beginning to gel in Sacramento and will start, another, new beginning as a member of the Timberwolves.

 

Welcome, Luc.

 

 

Recap: Wolves Drain Lakers, 113-90

Scattered about the web during, and before, the season — one phrase in particular lingers about the Minnesota Timberwolves fanbase; Wolves are Coming. Against the Los Angeles Lakers, under the lights and in front the sold out crowd of 19,000 at Staples Center, the Minnesota Timberwolves arrived on Sunday night.

The streak is over. Prior to last night, December 5th, 2005 was the last time the Wolves left Staples with a victory over the Lakers, they lost 22 consecutive games. Think about your life then, compare it to now. Yea — shocking. Because coaches and players are professionals it’s less likely that the streak continued because of failure to overcome a mental hurdle, however, this is Minnesota. Because pessimism and fatalism run rampant in the minds of Twins, Vikings, Wild and Wolves fans alike, the expectation of imminent failure and eventual disappointment lingers like gnats on the summer night of a beer-league softball game; will it be the Wolves that start to break the trend of negativity throughout the state? If something this monumental were to ever begin, the ball started rolling last night in L.A. It’s like the Lakers didn’t exist in the opening quarter.

Corey Brewer caught and finished an 85 foot outlet pass from Kevin Love.

Corey Brewer caught and finished an 85 foot outlet pass from Kevin Love.

 

Kevin Martin and Kevin Love ‘put on a clinic,’ as the cliche goes, shooting a combined 12 of 14 from the field, six of seven from downtown en route to scoring 34 of the team’s 47 points points in the first. Ricky Rubio, quietly (if it was possible for him to be low-key), assisted on seven baskets while snatching two rebounds and three steals. Rick Adelman and the Wolves offensive gameplan exposed Lakers’ center Chris Kaman, who was forced to defend Love on the perimeter, which isn’t easy, and K-Love had an easy time hitting 4 of 5 three-point attempts. K-Love, from the L.A. area, is outspoken whether it’s positive or negative and has been frank with his feelings since coming to Minnesota.

During the second quarter the bench continued it’s struggles and the Lakers outscored the Wolves 25-20, though many were still riding the high from the game’s first 12 minutes. Corey Brewer scored four, Nikola Pekovic had five, Martin added three and Love scored two as the J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved combined to score only four points; we’re left only to scratch our head and wait until the second-unit figured things out, it may not be until Chase Budinger returns.

The halftime lead was 67-48 and feelings of worry, unease and excitement continued to argue on the Twitter Machine. It’s as if nobody knows how to feel when the Wolves are beating the Lakers on the road. Love and Martin combined for 39 points including six more triples on nine attempts in addition to Brewer’s 10 points he obtained doing his usual thing in transition by the half. The Lakers made a push in the third behind the three-point shooting of Steve Blake. Again, the Wolves were outscored in a quarter, 23-28 and Blake converted three of four from downtown to continue fueling any pessimistic fire fearful of an eventual Minnesota Sports letdown. Dante Cunningham and Barea played just under four minutes each and the starting-five stayed on the floor, hinting at Adelman’s lack of confidence in anyone sitting to his left.

“We’re trying to establish ourselves, I don’t want to get our guys playing 45 minutes a night but I wanted to win” Adelman said after the game.

 

At the start of the final quarter his bench had only amounted to four, seemingly meaningless, points and the Wolves led 90-76. Blake and Jodie Meeks led the way for the Lakers, if there was a place to go, with 19 and 14 respectively. The crowd began to clear during the final quarter close to the eight minute mark, the show was over and it was time to head home. Rubio earned his second-career triple-double and took a seat shortly after, ending with a stat line of 12 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists and 5 steals — nobody gave a ‘quadruple double alert,’ though it had been mentioned throughout the second half. The Wolves defeated the Lakers, 113-90 in a 23 point, no-doubt, show-stopping performance under the lights and accolades hanging in the rafters at Staples — success that started in the state represented by the visitors.

It’s a franchise guy, potential MVP and league superstar like Love that needs to perform well in order to change the culture of a city and it’s fans. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s MVP last season, is an example of an athlete that optimists in the Twin Cities hold tight to in ‘turning perspective around,’ he’s not due to be a free-agent until 2018. Love’s situation, and dominance, isn’t proven to be the same as “All Day’s” yet, K-Love will be a free-agent in the summer of 2015 — fans of the Lakers twisted his performance last night into ‘The Audition” for his eventual arrival back to the City of Angels.

How long will Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love be the All-Star Tandem in Twin Cities?

How long will Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love be the All-Star Tandem in Twin Cities?

 

It’s about winning, period. Players, fans, coaches and even writers such as myself want to see local teams succeed whether it’s against or with the odds. Heading into last night the Wolves were the better team on paper, during the game they were on the court but Laker faithful and even some local skeptics refuse to accept one thing — the Wolves are here. They’ll play the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, 9:30 CST (Fox Sports North)

 

Zach.

 

 

(Photos are from the Minnesota Timberwolves website and may be found in the photo gallery)