Archive for the ‘Minnesota Timberwolves’ Category

Midway through the third quarter of the Timberwolves’ big win in Dallas, Nikola Pekovic went down after rolling his left ankle on a poltergeist. Initially, I was confused because I thought it was impossible for a man made completely of granite to be injured, but when a replay was shown, you could clearly see an ankle turning while hearing everyone in Minnesota groaning at the exact same time.

As it turns out, my instincts were correct — it is actually impossible to hurt Nikola Pekovic. From the Star Tribune:

“I know,” Pekovic said of the fright he put into his teammates and fans watching back home when he went down in a painful heap. “I’m just glad it’s not bad. I didn’t hurt nothing, just a lot of pain. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”

Lest you think that “just a lot of pain” is an admission that Pekovic is indeed hurt — and the “I didn’t hurt nothing” doesn’t convince you — perhaps you will consider another quote he uttered post-ankle roll while assessing his mortality.

“I don’t use crutches,” Pekovic said as he limped along. “I’m fine without them.”

You see? Not only did he not hurt nothing, he also doesn’t need crutches because his ankle tendons are actually muscles that just need some extra flexing. Yes, he can feel pain, but that’s only so that he can relate to other humans. It’s called a tragic flaw. Alta Vista it.

Now I know you are probably thinking that Pekovic missed significant time thanks to bone spurs in his ankle last season, but even that doesn’t count since it’s actually his bones being so strong that they started growing extra bones. If that’s not the definition of a superhuman, I don’t know what is.

Adjusting to the NBA is hard for all rookies, let alone a guy like Alexey Shved who has to learn a new language in addition to figuring out how to play basketball a bunch of super tall, super fast guys. That’s why he’s lucky to have great veterans who have traveled that same path like Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirlenko around to advise him on important things like cutting his ponytail.

From Fox Sports North:

“You think because of that we win?” Pekovic asked. “Me and AK, we make him to cut his hair. Now he look like a man.”

To be fair, the Timberwolves were 1-1 while Alexey Shved was doing his best Lou Amundson impression. So Shved looking like some random dude who probably drives a Camaro (read: “a man”) but could be from anywhere isn’t the only reason they won. But the young Russian did have the best game of his NBA career last night, pouring in all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s comeback win, so his hair advisory committee may be on to something. At the very least, he has to be more aerodynamic with less hair.

There’s one glaring problem with this plan though. Now that some of the Timberwolves’ foreign contingent has forced their newest member to cut his locks this early in the season, where do they go from here? It seems like they already used their greatest motivational tactic just a week in to the season, since there’s no way that Shved trimming his boring hair when it grows out won’t have nearly the same effect on his game. Maybe convincing him to shave his goatee is the next step. It’s not much hair, but people grow so attached to their facial hair, I can see it having a positive effect. Just wait until after the All-Star break to give it a shot.

Just be warned, Timberwolves, that people have made Alexey Shved cut his hair before, only to renege on such a request when they realize that his hair gives him his basketball powers. Tricky stuff, forcing another man to cut his hair. Be careful what you wish for.

(via Tee Wolves)

Remember when Kevin Love broke his hand and it was sad because we all want to see the Timberwolves be good this year? And then, very soon after, we all found out he broke it doing knuckle push-ups, like he was training for a “Rocky” fight and it was kind of one of those #SMH kind of situations? So weird. Who does knuckle push-ups in 2012? Probably not even Sylvester Stallone.

But it really did happen that way, at least if you’re buying what Kevin Love is selling. And why wouldn’t you? It’s not like he has that dastardly mustache anymore, so he should be trustworthy. From the AP:

“I’ve heard everything,” Love said. “But this isn’t TMZ. This isn’t People Magazine. I think most people are just looking for a story. For me, I know what happened. I’m not trying to get around it. I’m not trying to lie. That’s just what happened.”

Love spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since his injury, which he described as “pretty much a freak accident” during a pre-practice workout with his personal trainer at his home on Oct. 17. He said he felt the swelling immediately, tried to perform another weight-bearing exercise and then rushed to see the team’s athletic trainer before being sent to the hospital for X-rays that revealed two broken bones.

“I do different series of push-ups all the time. My hand just gave on me,” Love said, “and it just broke.”

The suggestion was made to Love that if he was seriously trying to cover up some bad or embarrassing behavior he would’ve created a more believable tale.

“I would have done some crazy story, the way my mind works. But I can’t even think of anything better right now,” Love said, wearing a white cast on his arm with a freshly shaved head that’s part of a breast cancer fundraiser with NFL star Larry Fitzgerald.

He makes a good point — if you were making up a story about why you broke your hand, why would you pick “doing knuckle push-ups” as your cover? Unless you are an action star from the 1980s, people are going to laugh. At this point, it’s just cool jocks in high school and Jean-Claude Van Damme who still do knuckle push-ups. Kevin Love is right. It makes for a terribly embarrassing cover-up.

But on the other broken hand, why is Kevin Love doing knuckle push-ups? I guess they theoretically build more strength in your wrists and chest than regular push-ups, but I’m also guessing that Kevin Love is doing a whole bunch of other stuff to build that strength. Not to mention, it seems like he’s got the strength game on lockdown anyways. They just seem kind of unnecessary when your hands are your livelihood.

Then again, doing knuckle push-ups is a pretty tough guy thing to do. Between that, the shaved head and the rebounding, he might just be the next Dennis Rodman. At least when it comes to bad action movies.

Join me as I count down my predictions of the regular season finishes for the 2012-13 NBA season, at a rate of three teams per day. Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.

18. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks announced that Dirk had surgery on his knee today, which will keep him out of action for about six weeks and probably lead to the Mavs missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000. They’ve had one hell of a run of success, but this team is unlikely to crack the top eight in the West with the big German sitting out the first month of the season..

Dirk’s absence will hurt them on the offensive end, and they’re almost certain to take a step back defensively now that Chris Kaman will take over the starting center role. Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi split the majority of the Mavericks’ minutes at center last season, and while nobody would confuse either of them with Tyson Chandler, they’re still significantly better defenders than Kaman. It will very interesting to see how Mark Cuban responds to missing the playoffs with this aging, declining roster.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves
Knuckle pushups, Kevin? Really? Even with Ricky Rubio expected to miss the first month-and-a-half of this season rehabbing his knee injury, I had the T-Wolves as a lock for the playoffs before Love apparently forgot that there’s only one Kevin in this league that knows how to do knuckle pushups without busting up his hand.

Unfortunately, the injuries to their star players have overshadowed the Timberwolves’ flashy signings of Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy this off-season, not to mention the emergence of Nikola Pekovic as an offensive force around the rim — he was the only starter in the league to grab more offensive than defensive rebounds. There is some real talent on this roster, but they need to get and stay healthy if Minnesota’s eight-year playoff drought is going to end.

16. New York Knicks
Not only do the Knicks have four of the six oldest players in the NBA (Kurt Thomas, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace) but their expected 13-man rotation will make them the oldest team in NBA history. Now, I get that experience is a good thing, but when four of your players are at least 38 years old, wear and tear has to be a concern. Then when you take into account the injury histories of some of their “younger” players like Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, it begins to seem like this team is held together with duct tape and wishes.

Even if they get lucky with their health, I continue to have concerns about how the Knicks’ offense can function effectively with both Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire on the court. While their Offensive Rating put them at 17th in the league last season, they finished seventh in that category in 2010-11 with Raymond Felton running the point. Not coincidentally, they’ve brought Felton back to try to reclaim that glory.

While I’m not particularly bullish on this team, I feel like they have the biggest distance between their ceiling and floor of any NBA team this season. If they’re healthy and everything falls into place, I could see them finishing as high as third in the Eastern Conference. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they crashed right out of the playoff picture in a mess of sprained ankles and broken dreams. Either way, I’ll enjoy watching the more grizzled Knicks playing with their shorts pulled up around their chests.

Previously in the countdown: 30-28 | 27-25 | 24-22 | 21-19

How do you sleep at night?

I’m not asking because I think you did something terrible and I can’t believe you can live with yourself. (But I do know what you did and it’s disgusting.) I’m just curious what kind of sleeper you are — the posture, how quickly you fall asleep, the number of hours, what you wear, your blanket situation — and I want you to break it down in the comments.

And maybe you think it’s weird that I am asking, but basically I just want to know if you are better at sleeping than Kevin Love. Because Kevin Love might not be that good at sleeping. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Kevin Love’s going to need a bigger bed.

The Timberwolves’ two-time All-Star along with starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko missed Saturday’s preseason return to Target Center — an 82-75 victory over the Chicago Bulls — because of a suddenly sore right elbow.

Love didn’t bang it or hyperextend it while playing only the first quarter Friday in Indianapolis. No, he instead slept with his right arm extended off his bed all night Friday and when he awoke Saturday morning, he said he could barely lift a basketball.

“I couldn’t shoot it 10 feet,” he said. [...]

Love, however, had no strength in that arm. Maybe he needs to get a bed like the one Jefferson, his former teammate, recently ordered in Salt Lake City: A 10-foot-by-12-foot one that cost more than $23,000.

“My bed’s big enough,” Love said. “Just a fluke thing. I’m pretty sure it’s just a 24-hour deal.”

So basically, Kevin Love had a dead arm from sleeping, putting him in the same league as famous hurt-in-bed athletes such as Derrick Rose, Glenallen Hill and Sammy Sosa (cool beds work from a bunch of Chicago athletes). But since it happened in the preseason, it’s not a big deal. Just get that arm in place and have a nice night’s sleep and it’s fine. No need to worry.

The worry, however, comes from the way Kevin Love was sleeping. From his description, it sounds like he was in the Yearner position. According to a BBC study, 13 percent of people sleep like that, so Kevin Love is not alone. The problem is what the Yearner means and how it relates to Kevin Love’s place within the organization. From the BBC:

The yearner (13%): People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it.

Well, that certainly sounds like Kevin Love. He definitely has an open nature (the reigning Mr. Jokes of Minnesota) but he is also suspicious and cynical (“If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen”). And since those two things are true, everything else must be too. That means the Timberwolves need to make the playoffs if they’re going to keep Kevin Love happy. He’ll give them a year, as Yearners are “slow to make up their minds,” but that also means the Wolves basically have this season to make Kevin Love happy or else he’s going to decide to leave and will then be “unlikely ever to change it.”

Of course, these omens of doom are based solely on the mystical studies of sleep postures, so take it with a buckwheat hull that fell out of your special pillow you bought from an infomercial. As long as Kevin Love keeps his arms under control when he’s sleeping, everything else should be fine. I’m not sure how he feels about swaddling, but that’s something to consider. Anything to keep Kevin Love happy.

(via SLAM)

HAPPY
Ricky Rubio running like he’s never run before, whilst recovering from a serious knee injury. Ricky’s a good-natured fellow, but I’m not sure anyone’s nature has ever been this good. Look at that grin. So happy.

SAD
Awwwww, Jerome Jordan and Jarrid Famous (ironic) at Media Day, being very lonely while no one wants to talk to them. Here they are, dressed in tank tops and shorts in an air conditioned room to be introduced as Grizzlies, but all the camera crews just want to talk to whoever is in the corner. Even worse Red Polo Shirt Guy has to go and lean on Jordan’s table since he’s running out of room to get close to who he really wants to talk to. Quite the insult.

The NBA is a very emotional place, filled with highs and lows. What goes up, must come down. Happy and sad. Be nice to each other.

And it goes by the codename of “Slowy McPumpfakes.”

From Fox Sports North:

Recently retired center Brad Miller made an appearance at camp on Wednesday, working closely with Nikola Pekovic and the other big men. He’ll be with the team through camp, Adelman said, though he couldn’t resist getting in a joke about the player he coached for so many years. He’s probably lost, the coach joked, or perhaps he’s just looking for a place to hunt. [...]

“He’s such a smart player, and with the group we have, a lot of stuff that we’re doing is what we did a lot in the past,” Adelman said. “He’s really smart about that. I just thought he could help some of the big guys and make them understand what they have to look for.”

Well, it sure looks like the Timberwolves are going to lead the league in backdoor passes thrown. And also probably backdoor passes completed, though I’ll admit that’s not necessarily a guarantee. I’m also guessing they’ll be near the top of the NBA in camouflage, big men time spent at the top of the key and headbands.

So basically, all the important stuff. Cautiously updating my T-Wolves prediction from “squeak in to the playoffs” to “likely NBA champions.”