Category: Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Ultimate Auction


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As a former Golden Gopher, I strive to be the best alumnus I can. In fact, I’m concurrently watching the Gopher football team as I write this post. Like that matters to anyone, the point is my support is unending for my alma-mater.

The Gary Tinsley Memorial Scholarship Fund, which honors the late Gopher linebacker by providing scholarships to undergraduates, has an online fundraiser going on called the Minnesota Ultimate Auction. You can visit it here.

Amongst all the other wonderful, mostly sports-related items up for bidding are a bunch of Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx memorabilia. Here’s a list of some of those items:

  • Three (3) game experience packages for the Timberwolves
  • Three (3) autographed Timberwolves basketballs (Kevin Love, Corey Brewer & Kevin Martin)
  • Lindsay Whalen autographed basketball
  • Maya Moore autographed basketball
  • Autographed picture of the the Lynx Olympians autographed by all three (Seimone Augustus, Moore & Whalen)
  •  Life-size Fathead wall mural of Ricky Rubio

Please, please, please check out all of the items up for bidding as part of the Minnesota Ultimate Auction and take part in the action. The money goes to a great, local cause in memory of the late Gary Tinsley.

There’s a Time and Place for Everything: This Was Neither


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You’ve probably heard by now that Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad was kicked out of the NBA’s rookie program for having a female visitor, as we’ll word it. Which I suppose is relieving to know that it’s not drugs or anything, but it’s still not allowed, and still gets you kicked out. For someone who has been as scrutinized as Shabazz has the last year or so, this was exactly the type of thing that he didn’t need.

It’s not that he had a woman in his room; he is a 20 year old, after all. It’s the fact that he broke a pretty simple rule to understand. I think the other ones are no drugs, no weapons, no fighting or leaving the toilet seat up. Okay, I might have made that last one up…

To his skeptics this is exactly what they were waiting for– Muhammad to do something that could be taken as a distraction. To those following the team, this is a welcome break in a relatively unexciting offseason (Kidding!) And for those who supported Muhammad and believed he had wised up, they’re frustrated.

From everything that I’ve read and watched on Muhammad, he’s not a bad person by any means. In a lot of ways he’s undergoing the same growth that all of is did at that age just on a much bigger platform where each indiscretion is amplified one hundred fold. But still, he broke a simple rule that wouldn’t be a big deal if he literally did it anywhere else but here. Lesson learned: even the small rules are important.

This is one of those things that doesn’t feel like a big deal, but is a big enough deal to be talking about. I mean, was it really worth the likely-inevitable fine coming and having to answer these questions up until training camp starts? Couldn’t you just wait? (Well, maybe not. I guess I don’t really know.) This is one of those things they talk about staying out of your own way since this is entirely preventable.

One way or the other Shabazz got an idea how the NBA works whether or not he stayed for the entire program. Which I think is actually a pretty clever dual, either way, lesson for the NBA to pass on to incoming players.

Timberwolves Schedule Highlights


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With all of the overhaul in the front office and on the roster this offseason, there is understandably much hype for the coming season. Despite the upgrades that Flip Saunders has made to the roster, Wolves fans learned last season that you need more than just talent: you need luck. Yes, damn your hard work and in-born talent– sometimes the only thing that matters in the end is not landing on your ankle wrong. It’s unfortunate but, hey, what can you do?

Anyway, the Timberwolves kick off the season on October 30th against the Orlando Magic at home, and then turn around to face Oklahoma City, when Kevin Martin faces off against his old team.

Conversely, the Utah Jazz come to Target Center on April 16th to close out the 2013-`14 regular season. I say “regular season” because I’m hoping they have a post-season. I’m not trying to jinx anything but I’d rather spend May covering the playoffs instead of researching draft prospects for a change. It’s been 10 years and year 25, I don’t think I’m asking too much here!

The Timberwolves have a tough stretch in December that includes playing in Oklahoma City on the first, at “home” against the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City on the fourth and the Heat make their lone appearance in Minneapolis on the seventh. And Dwight Howard will make his first appearances as a Houston Rocket at Target Center on February 10th and March 20th.

Kevin Garnett returns to Minnesota on November 22nd with the new-look Brooklyn Nets. This will also mark the return of former Timberwolf Andrei Kirilenko.

In February, Utah and the Timberwolves will play a home and away series on the 18th and the 20th. One can only assume the four days off will be because they are traveling by station wagon instead of flight.

As far as back-to-backs, the Timberwolves will play 20 total, including three in February alone. Hey, the All-Star break is for rest for a reason, right?

Ya know what? February sucks. Period. If being the month of the year that is also known as, “The Official Homestretch of Winter” wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves will also spend their longest time away from Target Center going to Utah, Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix and Denver in a stretch that lasts into March. Hey, at least they’ll have their longest homestand of the season (Four(Portland, Houston, Denver and Indiana) and winter is almost over.

One more thing before I go: who wants to go to the Bobcats game with me on January 10th? No one? Fine. I’ll go by myself.

What Happened in Vegas: They Lost (And Game Preview)


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This game was pretty forgettable as a whole. On the brightside they’re 0-2 against the D-League Select but 2-1 against everyone else. Really,  no one outside of Chris Johnson really stood out and was terrific at getting to the line again. Othyus Jeffers was pretty good still and so was John Holland, but no one else really stood out.

Robbie Hummel went 2-7. Welp.

Shabazz Muhammad shot 25 percent from the field tonight and some people are clamoring for his retirement. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t peak yesterday. Or at least I hope not. That wouldn’t be good.

Can we get more than four summer league games before holding a referendum on a player’s career?

No? Okayfinethenwhatever.

Really, you have to give the Select team some credit. They’re undefeated and beat the Timberwolves for the second time in five days, in part because they forced them into shooting 33.8 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from three. Despite also cutting back on their turnovers considerably, they still got beat on the glass, 47-38. Enabling the Select team to grab so many more defensive rebounds enabled them to prevent the Timberwolves getting any second chance points and also keeping them from building more momentum.

It may not have mattered if they had gotten more second chance opportunities given how the entire team struggled shooting, but it could have also given them some rhythm, which they desperately needed.

You Mean I Get a Preview, too? What Value!

Consequently, the Timberwolves will play the Portland Traiblazers team in the consolation bracket instead of the championship bracket. Which is a little unfortunate because it won’t start until 9:30pm central and I have no idea where it will air; NBA TV or ESPN 3 would be my guesses, though.

As for the Blazers, they lost again as well yesterday, this time to the Suns, giving them a 1-4 record. C.J. McCollum has starred for the Blazers with averages of 21 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game and 3.4 assists for the the rookie guard (His averages are much more impressive if you don’t look at this shooting efficiency.) The Blazers are full of players like McCollum who have nice averages, like Will Barton and Thomas Robinson, but have not reached those marks efficiently.

I will not be there for this one since I will be in the air during game time on my way back to Minneapolis, which is disappointing because this week has been a blast. But you can still follow me on Twitter anyway and use other Timberwolves people who will be in attendance and giving live updates.

 

Happening in Vegas: Timberwolves vs D-League Select Preview


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Well, it looks like our heroes have finally found that consistency in being able to play a complete game and not just three quarters after winning two straight games. It’s also no coincidence that Shabazz Muhammad played well as the Timberwolves rolled the Kings last night 92-54. From top-to-bottom the Wolves got valuable contributions from all over their roster.

The Timberwolves let their first game against the Select team get away from them as the D-League got off to an undefeated start. A big reason that game got away was the crazy amount of turnovers the Timberwolves committed that gave the Select team life after a slow start of their own, but they curbed them yesterday and won big time. The Select froncourt with be a source of contention for the Timberwolves given the production of Mickell Gladness and Darnell Jackson to this point. Additionally, Elijah Millsap, brother of Paul Millsap, is a 6-6 guard who is second on the team in scoring.

Tonight’s game is at 5:30pm and if they win they play the winner of Bobcats-Grizzlies at 5pm Saturday instead of the loser of Suns-Blazers on Friday at 7:30pm.

Once again, follow @DerekJamesNBA for live-tweets from media row and look for the recap following the game.

What Happened in Vegas: Something Bad to Sacramento


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Tonight’s game was a 38-point blowout in which the lead changed twice and the Kings never led by more than two as the Timberwolves coasted to a 92-54 point win. Of course this means that they now get to play the D-League select team tomorrow night at 7:30pm CST. And, um, transitional sentence! The Timberwolves had four players score in double figures, including Shabazz Muhammad who had 17 points on 6-10 shooting. Demetri McCamey also played well off the bench, as the Timberwolves’ second-leading scorer.

The Kings shot .299/.176/.550 on the night against the Timberwolves’ .538/.550/.647. Coupled with the Kings’ 20 turnovers, this put them at a further disadvantage. It got so bad that the Wolves led by 11, 26, 32 and 38 at the end of each quarter.

What else could I add…hmm…

Well, this is nothing, but Robbie Hummel tweaked his ankle in the third and went to the locker room, but returned shortly in full uniform. Hummel even said after the game that he was fine.

I guess that’ll do it for this wrap from Las Vegas. Look for more exclusive coverage from media row tomorrow!

Happening in Vegas: Oh, We’re Playing Again Today


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The tough thing about being in Las Vegas to cover summer league is that, for starter’s, you don’t know how long you’re going to have to cover a team, and secondly, after the preliminary games you don’t know when that team is playing. Fast forward to this morning and that’s exactly what happened to me when I awoke to the updated schedule. So, today is game day with the Timberwolves playing the Kings at 7pm CST. I highly doubt this will be televised, so I would recommend keeping Twitter close if you’d like to follow the game, though I’m sure it will re-air later on.

For going 1-2 in pool play the Timberwolves earned the 13th seed, which is second of all teams with the same record and differentiated by things like quarter-by-quarter scoring (You get points in the tournament for things like wins, obviously, but a half point for things like winning quarters, which the Wolves have; they’ve just blown a couple of late leads, which is somewhat advantageous.) The winner of this game will play the undefeated D-League Select team at 7:30 CST tomorrow evening.

The Select team was the team that also defeated the Timberwolves in their first game.

Ben McLemore is of course a player of interest for the Kings. However, before yesterday’s terrific perormance McLemore look lost; you could almost say he bough his game at a “Thrift Shop”…eh….eh? No? Okay then.

Ray McCallum has also looked good for the Kings. The guard has shot .444 percent through three games with averages of 14.3 points , 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

As for the Timberwolves, they will need better from Shabazz Muhammad after yesterday’s win despite their victory. It looked like one of those days where nothing you throw up goes in, so this could very well be a return to the Shabazz that we saw against the Suns on Saturday.

I’m also counting on a Robbie Hummel redemption game today, as well as more strong play by Chris Johnson.

Additionally, while the Timberwolves have done a good job forcing turnovers, they really need to curb their own turnover issues. Through three games they are averaging 23 turnovers per game, which is in credible; the team finished with 28 alone yesterday. If they hope to play more games, enabling them to give their prospects more reps to grow with, then they need to take care of the ball better. Minnesota has lost momentum in each of their last games by giving up a couple of turnovers where the other team turns them around for easy baskets, and suddenly that once dormant team has found new life. Even things like Solomon Jones having three illegal screens on Saturday count and matter. In fact, Jones averaging 3.0 turnovers per game in 13 minutes per game is a big part of the problem, but he’s also far from the only one.

This may sound like a lot of thought put into a summer league, but it’s actually important. It matters to the Timberwolves and their future to get their prospects the developmental reps and it matters to the fringe players who aren’t just trying to woo NBA teams, but also those that are trying to impress D-League and overseas scouts also in attendance. So for guys like Lorenzo Brown, Demetri McCamey and John Holland, these games are huge for them, so that makes them a little more interesting.

Anyway, Timberwolves-Kings at 7pm CST. You can always follow along as I live-tweet from Cox Pavilion from @DerekJamesNBA or check the site following the game for my recap.

What Happened in Vegas: Timberwolves-Heat Recap


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Evidently the third time is the charm as the Timberwolves finally earned a summer league victory with an 80-79 victory over the Miami Heat. Normally when you commit 28 turnovers you should have no business winning, but the Heat committed 20 of their own that, when combined with their subpar shooting, kept them from getting back into this game.

Shabazz Muhammad struggled shooting once again, going 3-10 from the field including a few missed hooks off of the basket. Shabazz clearly wants to be a dynamic inside-out player, but in order to do so he is going to have to convert those high percentage looks. Perhaps some that can be attributed to nerves or just typical ups and downs, but no matter what the Timberwolves will need him to hit those looks.

Gorgui Dieng looked better than yesterday, shooting 4-5 for six points and five rebounds. The Timberwolves still had a frustrating habit of leaving Dieng at the top of the key with the ball with no other player movement, leaving Dieng with two options that don’t play to his strengths: take the jumper or attempt to drive the rim. Typically these plays have ended in a turnover or a forced pass. It would’ve been nice to see more activity and communication in these sets because it seems like they stop running the play as soon as Dieng receives the ball. And I can promise that is not the play call.

Demetri McCamey (who played well yesterday) and John Holland started and gave meaningful contributions as the Wolves took the victory.

After a strong summer league to that point, Robbie Hummel struggled; shooting 1-5 and just three points, although he did manage to bring in seven rebounds.

After the Timberwolves nearly let a lead slip away last night but learned from their game last night by not letting their mistakes mount. For instance, if they committed a turnover they would turn around and force one or get a stop on the next possession– mitigating the consequences all together. Or they would miss a shot, but instead of getting frustrating they would go right back to the same player and the same spot to make it. It’s called having a short memory and not allowing the previous play to affect the future of the game. It’s a trait of team maturity, which feels weird to talk about while referring to a summer league game, but it can absolutely make the difference between a win and a loss as it did today.

This only matters if the members of this summer league team that will play next season for the Timberwovles carry this over to 2014. At the least, it’s encouraging, and will be needed given the various improvements many NBA teams have made, especially those in their own conference.

What’s Happening in Vegas: Miami Heat-Timberwolves Preview


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All right, Timberwolves fans. Today is the day you’ve been waiting for. Yes, finally, today is the day that you can watch your favorite team on NBA TV at 3pm CST as they take on the Miami Heat (3-2). Like the Timberwolves, the Heat are coming off of a close loss on Sunday night to the Hawks. However, they’re not the ones coming off of a back-to-back– that’s the Timberwolves.

As for names to watch on the Heat Myck Kabongo was a draft pick in last month’s draft. You may also recognize forward Jarvis Varnando from such things as garbage time. Other than that, Anthony Marshall has played well at times, too.

The Timberwolves will be hoping to see Shabazz Muhammad strike that perfect balance between attacker and facilitator. Gorgui Dieng will look to have a better game than he did yesterday and it would be nice to see Chris Johnson utilized in ways that get him more involved in the offense. Demetri McCamey played well, which was fun, but the Timberwolves will be looking to see more from Lorenzo Brown and Brandon Paul continue to make their case to hang around.

You cannot forget about Robbie Hummel, either. He’s been by far the team’s most steady and productive player this summer league season, and you would love to see him continue to succeed in the hopes of hanging around with the Timberwolves next season.

Well it’s almost that time: time to get ready to head down to COX Pavilion to get ready for today’s tilt. Be sure to follow the @howlintwolf account or my account (@DerekJamesNBA) on Twitter as I’ll be live-tweeting from media row.

Timberwolves Lose to Suns at Buzzer; Hummel Continues to Impress


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The main story of the Timberwolves’ 91-89 point loss isn’t their inability to finish off their opponent or the fact that they gave away an incredible lead in the fourth quarter. No, the important thing is the individual development of the important pieces the Timberwolves have an investment in into players that can help the team in any capacity.

While Shabazz struggled after the first quarter shooting the ball, he showed a willingness to pass that people were concerned wasn’t there. If he can carry this willingness into the regular season, in addition to refining his shot selection, he could make a valuable fourth or fifth option for the team.

Robbie Hummel continued to be awesome, posting 18 points on 7 rebounds in his typical high-energy fashion. If there was a way the Timberwolves could wedge him on the roster I would be just fine with that.

Chris Johnson played an okay game with 3 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, but did have 6 fouls in 25 minutes of court time. It was not a good night for Gorgui Dieng.

The surprise of the night was Demetri McCamey with 13 points on 5-7 shooting off of the bench. If there was a title for summer league hero, McCamey would fit the bill tonight.

Otherwise, the Wolves went 19-34 from the line, so Marcus Morris’ three pointer should be irrelevant anyways. It’s almost impossible to win shooting 55.9 percent from the line. Ya know, committing 21 turnovers is still a problem. All of these things caused the game to have that slipping away feeling late. Timberwolves forward Robbie Hummel confirmed as much after the game, saying, “You can feel it. It’s one of those things where you have to keep grinding it out and for awhile we did. They got it down to 10 and we pushed it back to 14-15 and they just kept coming and we weren’t able to switch it. But hopefully it’s something we can learn from.”

At any rate, the Timberwolves will return to action tomorrow at Cox Pavilion against the Miami Heat on a game that will be aired on NBA TV.