The Timberwolves have made some impressionable roster moves for this upcoming season, and some not so impressionable.
The Timberwolves have added Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington, a pure point guard and a pure shooting guard. Both have a chance to be great for the Timberwolves.
The guard positions are wide open as of now, and as of late, Ricky Rubio coming to Minnesota is looking more possible every day.
Losing Foye and Miller revamped the Wolves by offering almost no depth for three-point shooting. It just so happens, that Ryan Gomes who led the Timberwolves in three-point shooting, is the only player left with legitimate NBA minutes that can actually shoot.
Although Randy Foye at times was insufficient (40% FG), he was the definition of a pure combo guard. Mike Miller was brought to the Timberwolves for one reason, and that was to shoot the ball, and he simply would not, ultimately resulting in a career low in points.
The Timberwolves also traded away Sebastian Telfair. An upcoming point guard who has his moments where he really looked like the NYC phenom that he was hyped up to be. But as hype happens as many times as bust, it appears he will always be "good" and not "great".
Craig Smith was a very valuable asset to the Timberwolves. He scored points in bunches, and will do great for the Clippers. Mark Madsen was somewhat of a captain of the locker room, and was a Timberwolves favorite. His impact off the court will be missed completely.
With that being said, the Timberwolves only have four players remaining from last year's roster that will actually have an impact. Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Ryan Gomes and Corey Brewer.
The Timberwolves added Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington and Ryan Hollins who will definitely make the main rotation. Ricky Rubio is very plausible as of late as well. With another 7-footer in Oleksiy Pecherov, and Darius Songaila who will get some minutes, I'm here to evaluate the player who will probably have the biggest impact on the Wolves. Except that he's not a player, he's the new head coach.
Kurt Rambis + (Player)=????
Kurt Rambis has always been known as a very scrappy player, an old school Shane Battier if you will, except more talented. He did the intangible things on and off the court, and was a solid defender.
Kurt Rambis had moderate success during the lockout season as a head coach, and was assigned defensive coordinator of the Lakers last season. Phil Jackson's right hand man has the resume to back up his so-called potential as a coach, but his biggest aspect of the game could be player development.
The Wolves players are excited to be coached by Kurt Rambis, and Rambis is excited to coach the Timberwolves. But one could question, what impact will Kurt Rambis have on the players individually?
We know that Kevin McHale taught Al Jefferson and Kevin Love great post up moves, to compliment their rebounding game. Because of that, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love have developed into upcoming great post players.
Now let's dig into Kurt Rambis and the players:
1. Al Jefferson: "I like his ideas and I like how excited he was," ... "He left a great job to come here and that meant a lot to me".
Do we see Al Jefferson playing some hardcore defense? One thing that Jefferson has been criticized for is his lackluster defense. The consensus for Kurt Rambis towards Al Jefferson is that he will have to be a better all around player, and the only real weakness that Al Jefferson has is his defense.
"Also looking at Al Jefferson, one of the best post-up players in the game today. When it comes down to playoff situations, when it comes down to once the fast break has broken down, you've got to be able to score. Getting the ball inside collapses a defense as well as anything can possibly do. He's going to have to be addressed. In every locker room that we oppose, one of the key conversations that they're going to have is how are they going to deal with Al".
2. Kevin Love: "You just think winner, you think leader. I think that's going to be great for our team and I think that he expressed that today that he wants to win. It's going to take a little bit of time. We have some youth on our team, obviously, with myself included. We're in a building process, but we're taking it seriously."
The consensus is that Kurt Rambis sees Kevin Love as a versatile player. A player that can run the fast break better than what he's given credit for, a great outlet passer and a player that can start hitting three-point shots. Kurt Rambis most likely will utilize Kevin Love's strengths and skillset in his mobility in the pick and roll, and getting Kevin Love in situations to shoot the ball a lot more.
"And Kevin Love and looking at his opportunity along with Al to rebound the basketball and initiate our break. And Kevin, along the lines of Wes Unseld, is basically a freak. I've never seen people who can outlet the ball as well as those two individuals can and I'm going to count on him to initiate our break in a lot of ways."
3. Ryan Gomes: The consensus for Ryan Gomes really has nothing to do with Kurt Rambis, but more about himself. Ryan Gomes is glad to have a coach, but the rumor is, is that Ryan Gomes has turned into a gym freak, and hasn't been out of the gym. He's been hitting the gym before David Kahn was named General Manager.
"Playing in the West, it takes 50 wins to get in," Gomes said. "We've won 24 and 22 games the last two years. That's half of what we need to get in. Over 164 games we've won 46. We have to get better. The only way we are going to do that is to take it on ourselves...We have to value the basketball, value each possession. We can't be, 'we'll get it back in the third' or 'we'll get it back in the fourth".
Don't you love Ryan Gomes? Sounds like a true Co-Captain.
4. Corey Brewer: Kurt Rambis has already stated that he will be utilizing Corey Brewer's skills. "And then you go right down the roster. Corey Brewer, seeing somebody with his length, his speed, his quickness. I envision him as a defensive stopper playing three positions. I can stick him on different people. When I need an individual shut down, I'm going to use Corey to be that individual".
Corey Brewer has the defensive side, but will he have the offensive side.
I've said it before, so i'll say it again, does Phil Jackson+Trevor Ariza= Kurt Rambis+Corey Brewer?
There's some similarities there as far as potential although it's just a thought.
5. Ricky Rubio: Rambis is keeping an open mind on the roster going forward, but admitted he projects Rubio as the eventual starter over Flynn. Does that say enough?
6. Jonny Flynn: See Ricky Rubio. Does Jonny Flynn want to take a role of backing up Rubio? Or does he demand a trade? Only time will tell.
7. Ryan Hollins: Ryan Hollins is a mystery right now, no interviews, no quotes, no nothing from Kurt Rambis. All we know is that it's going to be exciting to see him block a shot while Al Jefferson plays power forward for once. He should get at least 15-20 minutes on the floor.
More player to coach compatibilities coming during the preseason. But until then....
Thanks for reading!