Tagged: Anthony Randolph

Wolf Track: Kevin Love's status upgraded


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Via ESPN:

Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love has been upgraded to questionable for Minnesota’s game against Boston after improvement in his strained left groin.

Love participated in a light practice Saturday after missing Minnesota’s last two games. The Timberwolves host the Celtics on Sunday, and Love said if he wakes up feeling good he’ll “probably try to give it a go.” He said most of the pain is gone, but the muscle is still tight.

Love was hurt on March 16 against Utah. He played in two more games, but left in the second quarter against Sacramento last Sunday and missed games this week against Dallas and Oklahoma City.

In Love’s absence, newly acquired Anthony Randolph totaled 55 points and 26 rebounds in the last two games.

That last line just about sums it all up. Is it wrong to question the Wolves’ ability and winning chances without their superstar in the lineup? Maybe the Big Al vs. K-Love debate was a bit more heated than we all originally thought, because there’s something about this team with Anthony Randolph in that makes Kahn’s vision a bit more believable

A complete 180; Wolves win 116-105


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Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Randolph (15) Is
Just for tonight, Randolph fulfilled his potential

The 180 I’m referring to doesn’t just relate to the result. Tonight’s tilt offered a number of different aspects that the Wolves were unable to pull off last night against the Lakers.

Let’s start with Kevin Love. Against the Lakers’ heavy-hitting frontline, Love had a tough time getting anything going inside. Sure the refs ate their whistles a lot of the time, but they did indeed match his intensity and hustle — he couldn’t make shots either — which is required to do against such a beastly presence inside. It’s pretty adamant that the Pistons lack the depth inside to contain such a large mass of manliness and tonight only proved that. Chalk up yet another 20-20 for Senor Amor, as he was the driving force to tonight’s victory.

Another reason for tonight’s complete 180 comes from the point guard play. Last night, neither Luke Ridnour or Jonny Flynn came to play; they looked flat and just out there in the emotion of the game. Tonight, they made plays, simply put. Ridnour was firing the ball at a perfect clip, going 5-of-5 from the field for 15 points. He only dished out one assist, but that’s where Flynn comes in. If I told you that Flynn had 14 assists and only two turnovers, would you believe me? If I would’ve told you this 1-2 months ago, would you have tried to hunt me down with a vengeance? Flynn played one of the best games I’ve ever seen in his young career. And although some may think he still looks like a blind squirrel out there, he looks more comfortable in the offense and understands that his role isn’t to score; it’s to set teammates up and make the best decision possible. He did that tonight.

Along with Flynn’s exquisite play, the reserves made a complete turnaround. Anthony Randolph, Lazar Hayward and Anthony Tolliver stepped into their roles and commanded this game. In the second quarter, Randolph took matters into his own hands, charging the lane and drawing all sorts of contact. His defense is still suspect but when you nearly put up a 20-10 line off the bench, who cares? Especially in the flow of this type of game. What I particularly love about Randolph’s game is his aggressiveness. He attacks loose balls and then puts that thing on the floor and flies down court like some quick-handling guard. If his jumper starts to develop and he doesn’t look so bewildered on defense, we could’ve pulled off the trade of the century.

With Flynn and Randolph anchoring the reserve squad, Tolliver and Hayward both fit in well. They both played to the flow of the game and never showed any real weakness, or ever tried to force anything to happen. They sat back, let Flynn and Randolph work their games and were there if all else broke down.

Nearly everything was different about this game. Nearly. It’s obvious that our very own Michael Beasley is seriously struggling. He’s reminding me an awful lot of a black hole; whenever the ball swings his way, no one should count on getting it back. Usually the remedy to a cold shooting touch would be putting yourself in better positions to make high-percentage shots. Instead, Beasley’s been fixing to settle for off-balanced jumpers from beyond the arc. Even when he attacks the hoop it hasn’t looked nearly as smooth as it was earlier this year. There’s no doubt that the man has some maturing to do but there’s also no doubt that he needs to produce at a more efficient rate if he indeed is the scoring threat we thought he was.

This was a big win. Road wins are damn-near impossible to come by, so this was a real treat. (Quick side note: The Detroit Pistons are nearly a more forsaken team than the Wolves. Outside of Greg Monroe and possible Rodney Stuckey, this team has no real core to ride into a new era. A disgruntled Rip Hamilton, an injury-riddled Tayshaun Prince and a severely overweight Charlie Villanueva are no where close to an answer in D-Town. It’s truly a shame that the city, and it’s sports teams, are crumbling before our eyes.)

Next up is

The singular move… Literally


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David Kahn, the laughing stock he’s been of the NBA during his reign as GM here in Minny, has a plan — or is it had a plan? When he arrived about two years ago, so beautifully gracing our presence, he announced that the Wolves would no longer dwell in the NBA’s basement for much longer. He vowed that in 24 months this team would be turned around, well on its way to the Playoffs.

It’s safe to say that no one’s perfect. Neither is Kahn’s plan. Let’s be honest with ourselves: nothing ever goes according to plan.

But what I’ve taken away from the latest trade deadline to come and go without so much of a single “Ah ha!”move, it’s that Kahn’s plan has taken a turn for the worse. Or else he really does have something cooking and no one’s allowed to see magic happen behind the steam.

Kahn’s been preaching the “singular move” for quite some time now. Last season the Wolves teased with the idea of picking up a much-needed superstar to man one of the wing positions. Andre Iguodala was a relevant trend at the time and arguably a great fit here in Minny. This season, rumors flew about of the Wolves finally achieving some sort of stability at the point guard position. Whether that meant moving Jonny Flynn and simplifying matters for the future or making that risky move and reach for a big name such as Steve Nash, we figured something would’ve happened on one of the most exciting days of the year for a guy like me.

So what happened?

The past two trade deadlines have something eerily in common: They were both busts. Plain and simple. Kahn failed to nail down that singular move to turn the franchise around as promised before. Whether he just refused to work the phones like some desperate telemarketer working for pennies on the dollar or teams just really weren’t interested in our young assets — I highly doubt that — the deadline came and passed without the slightest ounce of progress towards the future — No offense, Anthony Randolph.

Some might view the Brewer-Randolph/Curry trade as a complete bust. We gave up a fan favorite for two demoralizing human beings that have never been happy in the NBA. Curry has been nothing but an obliterate slob who refuses to lose weight and Randolph still has not found a place to call home where he can hone in on his outstanding skills and make something of his NBA career. But you could also spin the trade with “a glass half full” approach. Randolph has the talents to become a Lamar Odom-like player, who could prove to be vital on a title run as we’ve seen in recent years with the Lakers’ success. Sure, we gave up a lovable character in Corey Brewer, but let’s face it: he was never going to learn how to shoot or dribble effectively, and even his strength of being a defensive wizard never panned out — he was a tremendous on-ball defender but took way too many gambles going for steals and loose balls.

No matter which side you decide to take, we can all agree this wasn’t Kahn intended on being that singular move, you know, the one we were looking for. But why didn’t it happen to us? We saw the deadline turn the OKC Thunder into legit NBA title contenders instead of the Lakers’ punching bag. We saw the Portland Trail Blazers turn their unfortunate injury-riddled situation into one of the most physical defenses the Western Conference will ever see in the Playoffs — if they get there, of course. Even the Eastern Conference was awarded with two of the West’s ultimate superstars, who are likely to go on and lead their respective squads into Championship contenders.

Other teams left the deadline basking in the fact that they found a new hope or a fresh start. The Wolves left the deadline literally at the same place they began.

Fans should be angry. Fans should be disappointed. Not angry or disappointed in the fact that the big, singular wasn’t made but that no singular move was made to make our team better immediately. Randolph is good, don’t get me wrong, but like I said, he’s a project — a big one at that. I’m talking well beyond the one trade made over two days ago. From the buzz of things that I gauged on today’s Twitter feed and the flurry of ESPN reports, the Wolves had opportunities to make a move, something, anything. Nothing happened and so that’s why fans should be bummed out and deflated of all hope. Kahn had the opportunity to make one simple thing happen and elevate this desperate fanbase’s morale but it just didn’t happen. We were all let down for the second time under his command and there may not be any reason to forgive him for that.

What’s left to hope for?

Kahn’s plan isn’t worth jumping ship quite yet though. Even after bashing the man for his questionable calls and dormant manner at today’s deadline, he still has a chance to redeem himself. Only one chance that is.

With a new CBA in the works and tons of assets to handle, including a sure lottery pick — potentially top 3 — this team has some leverage. But as we’ve seen before, it’s a matter of being able to utilize that leverage and create a better situation on the court in 2011-2012.

The best reasoning I could muster up on why the Wolves didn’t make their move today is because they’re the team lurking in the shadows just waiting for the moment to pounce. The new CBA could crack down on the higher payroll teams more than we think, and who will be ready to welcome that “overpaid” All-Star from their team? The Wolves.

Hope also comes in the form of this magical being from Spain. The name’s Ricky Rubio. The game could very well stabilize a position the Wolves have never had properly filled for more than three years tops at a time. If indeed the magician from Barcelona makes his way to the frozen tundra, it’d be a whole new ball game. Whether or not he can be relied upon as the savior of this God-forsaken franchise remains to be unseen, but he’s easily our brightest glimmer of hope of having any success in the next year or two.

All hope is just a game of cat and mouse for now. The talk of the new CBA is just speculation at this point — A lockout is looming, for God’s sake. Perhaps it’s arranged in such a way it gives larger markets even more power than they have now, which leaves the Wolves in an even darker place. And the actual coming of Rubio is completely out of anyone and everyone’s hands except his own.

The only solid hope fan’s can insert their faith into is Kevin Love and potentially Michael Beasley. Without these two, this season, no, this franchise would be nowhere. We wouldn’t have to root for a double-double every night so Love can break some record. We wouldn’t have Beasley’s antics to sit back and enjoy as well as his raw potential of becoming one of the league’s most lethal scorers. Things would truly be in disarray without these two. They’re easily the building blocks for the future no matter what Kahn makes happen this summer and beyond.

All we can hope for is stability from those two. Everything else is as good a guess as yours. I advise not placing any wagers on the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves, especially with what could go down this summer.

Goodbye, Mr. Brewer; Hello, Mr. Randolph


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Anthony Randolph is coming to town

As you all know by now, the Wolves became the third wheel in last night’s mega Melo-deal, which sent superstar Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks in exchange for every last bit of New York’s young, upcoming talent. The kicker, also known as the Wolves’ involvement, of the whole deal is having to say goodbye to the dearest Corey Brewer. He may not have been the most entertaining or productive players on the court, but the once longest-tenured Wolf had a way of energizing the crowd with his kamikaze-like style and stout defense.

Now, as you sob harshly into your palms over the loss of Brewer, consider what we got in return. First off, in order to facilitate the deal with the Knicks, the Wolves had to endure Eddy Curry’s obese contract — and body. It’s more than likely that he will just be bought out, thus justifying the $3 mil New York sent our way in the deal as well. Clearly this deal was made, and based, on David Kahn’s peculiar fixation on Anthony Randolph. Although picking another one of D’Antoni’s bench pieces may not be that peculiar at all. Randolph was a lottery pick back in 2008 — selected 14th by the Golden State Warriors. He has the physical talents to become a Lamar Odom-like player in the right system — which is exactly why I feel Kahn and Kurt Rambis fell in love with him. He has an aggressive instinct on the defensive end with a special ability to block shots to boot. His offensive game needs refining, but his outstanding ability to handle the basketball with a 7-foot-3 wingspan is impressive. He really is a young Lamar Odom with a stronger emphasis on the defensive end.

The real downfall to Randolph’s game is his shooting ability. Odom has the special gift of being able to hit open three’s and possesses an above-average mid-range jumper as well. Randolph’s arsenal of shots is severely limited, giving the Wolves a lesser chance of seeing production on offense out of him.

John Hollinger offers a little commentary as well as a grade for the Wolves on their part of the Melo-deal (Insider):

Minnesota: B+

I like Brewer, but I’d trade him for Randolph in a heartbeat. Brewer is a solid role player who plays great defense but can’t shoot or dribble. That type of player has his uses, but that’s all Brewer will ever be. Helpful, yes, but fungible too.

Randolph has a lower floor but a much higher ceiling. He can’t shoot, he weighs 11 pounds and he’s a head case. On the other hand, he has rare shot-blocking talent, handles the ball unusually well for a player of his size, and is an elite athlete. He’s a potential game-changer at the defensive end and, if the light bulb ever comes on, he’s going to provide a very potent complement to Kevin Love’s skills in the Minnesota frontcourt.

The price of that trade was just swallowing Curry’s expiring contract, but because of the difference in salary between Brewer and Randolph and the $3 million coming from New York, it’s pretty much a wash financially. Basically it amounts to a free talent upgrade for Minnesota just for loaning out their cap space to get the Nuggets under the luxury tax.

You have to give credit to everything Hollinger says. Aside from his opinion of doing this deal in a heartbeat — I’m sure Kahn had to think twice on this one, maybe even thrice! — Hollinger hits some good points. As much as we all love Brewer, the reality of his situation was that he’ll never be the offensively sound player a serious contender needs. And although I am convinced he’ll be a tremendous role player for a winning squad, his game just didn’t coincide with Kahn and Rambis’ vision. Randolph, on the other hand, comes in with the skills to thrive in the triangle offense. And with his aggressive demeanor on defense, he could just be exactly what the Wolves need to improve on defense.

But where I really see this move going downhill is when you put all the pieces together. Some analysts, such as Hollinger, believe Randolph could be the perfect spouse next to Kevin Love on the floor. He’s big, athletic and extremely active on the defensive end. But what about offense? Sure, Brewer never succeeded much on offense either, but picturing a lumbering Love next to another fundamentally weak post player in Randolph could spell disaster for our offense. I wouldn’t be surprised if our offense finds itself in drastic lulls even with the starters in. Now, if Randolph somehow magically finds a shooting stroke up to par with that of Odom’s, that’s a different story entirely because then Randolph could space the floor accordingly and give Love more room to bash underneath for rebounds. But as of now, he doesn’t have it and I can foresee some weaknesses on the offensive side with those two in the ballgame.

Ultimately what I think this trade does is show that Kahn has faith in this team. For the past week Kahn has said that the major pieces are already in place — Love, Beasley, Rubio (If he ever gets here, that is) — and that just a few more tweaks should be enough. This week Kahn personally called out Beasley saying he needs to have a giant end to the season. Same goes for Love, despite his All-Star efforts of the first half of the season. Randolph isn’t going to change games but his presence is going to force guys like Beasley, Love and Darko to step up and produce like they should be. Because as we know it, this team is capable of bigger and better things. You can’t lose as many close games as they have without having competitive, professional athletes who care about their job. Now it’s just time to start pushing harder and desiring more. It’s all about heart and determination now, and although Brewer looked like he possessed it more than anyone on the court, Randolph could very well have a resurrection period — similar to Darko’s — and prove himself to be the player both Kahn and Rambis believe he can be.

Overall: It was a good trade for the Wolves and Nuggets, while the Knicks now have some work to do. Three teams already have shown it takes a big 3 to win in the East, so two superstars could very well not be enough to hoist them to the top. But although I’m happy to see an active and aggressive front office from our Wolves, who are desperately crying for help, it’s bittersweet to see Corey go and you can’t help but wish the best for him in his future endeavors.

Wolf Track: Wolves net Randolph, Curry for Brewer


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New York finally got their man. And so did the Wolves. As a part of the mega Melo deal, New York and Denver will be switching all types of players for one another and the Wolves added Randolph, the guy they’ve wanted all along, to the team.

ESPN reported the news earlier tonight but I just had to get the basics out to you tonight. I promise there will be plenty of commentary posted tomorrow as well as a commemorative article on the one and only Corey Brewer. He’ll be missed dearly.

The pot's beginning to boil


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The trade deadline is nearing and only rumors and speculation swirl around the forefront. To no surprise, the deadline’s headliner is the unknown soon-to-be destination of Carmelo Anthony and which teams — if any others — will actually be involved in the mega deal that could potentially be the start of another big three forming on the East coast somewhere.

According to reports from All-Star weekend, Melo is still not interested in signing an extension with the New Jersey Nets. Chris Broussard and Marc Stein believe that the Knicks are still the front-runner to land the NBA superstar.

From reports in the past few weeks, it’s been rumored that this is where our Puppies fit in. In order to actually facilitate salary cap numbers to make a deal for Melo, the Knicks need a third party to come along and take on Eddy Curry’s fat contract — and body?With a surplus of cap space and nothing to lose, who better than the Wolves to get involved? This is where the blurred confines of this deal begin to fade even more.

The Wolves have been interested in the athletic and highly talented Anthony Randolph for quite some time, and now it seems inevitable that they end up getting him before the deadline in whichever trade actually takes shape (There have been rumors that if it doesn’t get done through the Melo deal, the Knicks will deal him to the Wolves straight up.) Randolph is an under-utilized post player with some seriously special skills. He can play either the 4 or 5 and would come in and make an immediate impact on defense. The offensive side could be a different story, which makes you contemplate whether he and Love — both average post players at best with a limited repertoire of moves down low — would actually coincide as beautifully as others make it out to be.

In order to obtain this bundle of potential, the Wolves will actually have to give something of value as well as take on Curry’s contract. The proposed value being exported is really where no details have been clear at any point in time. Some reports have us sending just Corey Brewer. Some say just a first-rounder — either the Utah or Memphis pick — is the price. Even some reports have us sending both in the deal.

In my personal opinion, Randolph’s case is awfully similar to Darko’s last season. A talented but clueless big man who never quite caught the eye of Mike D’antoni and his high-octane, offensive driven style of play. Both players remind me a lot like that kid on the school ground that neither team captain wants, so he ends up being picked last and never gets to play anyways. Where I’m going with this? Last year, we sent Brian Cardinal to the Knicks in exchange for Darko’s potential; a legitimate trade that counts as sending nothing-for-something. This year, we’re surrendering much more than just a garbage-time player. Although the late first-rounder may not be worth that much, Corey Brewer has quickly established himself as one of the better defenders in the league this year. His freakishly long limbs and endless energy physically wear down his opponents to the point of exhaustion — we’ve seen it from some of the league’s best already this year.

This trade, if both Brewer and a first-rounder are involved, are a classic example of David Kahn failing to make anything of our current resources while sending away a fan-favorite in Brewer. The TWolves Blog has something to say about this:

This is another example of Kahn’s continued demonstrated incompetence and a very questionable use of resources. Consider the perceived value and opportunity costs given up by the Wolves: 1) Worst case scenario: Brewer, a starting player on our team, a first round pick, or both. Decent value as it is and certainly more than enough value for an 11th man on a Knicks team, However, 2) We are renting all of our cap space in favor of a potentially better deal until the offseason, a time when our cap room will be in the $6-$7 million range, potentially less with the Randolph addition.  All of this so New York can: 3. Move an albatross deal that will free up enough cash so they can acquire Carmelo Anthony and 2 former Wolves point guards, one of which was a NBA Finals MVP, thus solidifyng their future and essentially making Donnie Walsh’s Knicks rebuild a staunch success. If this doesn’t get any Wolves fans left on team-Kahn to fold, then I will start to rudely question sanity.

It just doesn’t make much sense for the Wolves to be apart of any deal involving Brewer. Period.

As the week moves along, more and more details will develop. But don’t fooled! Rumors are never true until they come to fruition, so my warning to you all is not to get your panties in a bunch when you hear petty rumors about Steve Nash or Andre Iquodala here and there. Just let it all play out and we’ll converse on Thursday when the deadline passes.