Timberpups Weekly Preview 2014 – Week 13

Happier times for the Wolves 'big three' (Jim Mone/Associated Press).

Happier times for the Wolves ‘big three’ (Jim Mone/Associated Press).

Setting the stage:

First, let me clarify a technicality.  Due to the cancellation of the game in Mexico City against the San Antonio Spurs, the number of each game is off by one game, relative to adding up the wins and losses for the Wolves to this point in the season.  When we get to the Spurs game on April 8th, we will be calling that “Game 20”.  Please just agree that this is “fair”.  Why?  Because I want to leverage this week’s preview as a place to rant about how the Wolves are looking “halfway through the season”.  Let’s pretend that we aren’t 49% of the way there and are at 50%.  Sound good?  Thanks!

This past week included two bad losses to the Kings and Raptors.  The Wolves salvaged the week with a blowout victory against the Jazz on Saturday, but remain below .500 for the season – 19-21, now sitting in the 11th position of the Western Conference.  The team is 3.5 games behind Phoenix for the 8 seed in the Conference, with the Grizzlies and Nuggets also ahead of them.  Let’s agree that this is an underperforming group right now, despite the few injuries that the team has endured. [Read more…]

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…]

Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz, 2/13/13

Photo Credit. UtahPhotojournalism.com

Photo Credit. UtahPhotojournalism.com

Setting the stage:

The All Star break is upon us as the Wolves take on the Jazz Wednesday night before the extended layoff.  The Pups were able to hold on Monday night to defeat the Cavs in Cleveland to improve their record to 19-30.  The Jazz come into Wednesday’s game off of a win Tuesday night at home against the reigning conference champions, the OKC Thunder.  The win moved Utah’s record to 29-24 on the season.

Earlier this season, the Pups took it on the chin in Utah, getting blown out by the Jazz 106-84.  The Jazz front line dominated the Wolves in that game, and that was when the Wolves were playing with Kirilenko, Love, and Pekovic in the starting lineup.  Since that meeting in early January, the Wolves have essentially fallen out of the playoff picture, while the Jazz remain in the hunt, fighting with the Rockets and others for the last two seeds in the Western Conference.

Player to watch:

Alec Burks – Curveball alert!  Burks is the player to watch because I would like him to be on the Timberwolves roster by the time the trading deadline comes and goes.  The 6’6 swingman has not progressed in his second year in the league, still struggling to get minutes on the Jazz.  He is shooting under 40% from the field, but is shooting 34% from 3PT range, which would put him near the top of the Wolves roster.

Match-up to watch:

Nikola Pekovic vs. Al Jefferson.  The matchup in the middle is clearly the most appealing coming into Wednesday’s game.  Jefferson leads the Jazz in scoring and rebounding this season.  However, his name has popped up in trade rumors, given the crowded frontcourt the Jazz possess.  During his time with the Wolves, Big Al showcased his offensive repertoire on a nightly basis and it will be important for Pek to night bite on too many of the fakes and to stay out of foul trouble.

Predictions:

I would normally take the Wolves in this game given the Jazz are coming off a game Tuesday night and now travelling to Minnesota.  I think (see: hope) this game will be a lot closer and the Wolves can steal it, but I’ll go on record and say the Jazz are able to pull this off.  (In other words, the Wolves are a lock!)

Final score prediction: Twolves 98, Jazz 102

Three stars of the game predictions:

  1. Paul Millsap
  2. Gordon Hayward
  3. Ricky Rubio

Let’s go Wolves!