If you have any basic knowledge about basketball or the NBA and I were to tell you that a certain team had the No. 4 pick in last year's draft, a small forward that averages nearly 20 points and a power forward that's putting up numbers we haven't seen in a number of years, you might think that team is trying to make a playoff run considering you never seeing their record.
In the Minnesota Timberwolves case, this isn't true. Their season has been plagued with incompetent coaching, horrific management decisions, an unmotivated fanbase (well deserved), crappy on-court play, and their marketing, while being the best part about the franchise, has quite frankly been barking up the wrong tree.
The many times we have heard David Kahn say things about being long and athletic, he didn't say anything about the team having no starting point guards, and when the slogan comes out, "United We Run," I've yet to see back-to-back fastbreaks that will get me out of my seat.
The front office of the Timberwolves have a few things going for them. They have Kevin Love, the double-double king, Michael Beasley, who is showing flashes of being a go to scorer, and Wes Johnson, who's resembling an athletic Joe Johnson minus the nice handles.
Of course their spanish sensation Ricky Rubio is still overseas, they are going to have a high pick next offseason, and there's cap room, so that's always a good thing right?
Well not exactly.
In the Timberwolves' case, they have had six picks in the last three years. One is a rookie, one is overseas, and they only have one, maybe two, legitimite NBA starters on a good team.
They have had cap room for the last year, and they have yet to capitalize on a really good move during the trade deadline. In other words, the Minnesota Timberwolves' have assets they don't properly use, and that is a serious problem for a team in rebuilding mode.
In all seriousness, as a Wolves fan, Ricky Rubio and/or the next year's draft prospect (Kyle Irving) are the only things keeping me from hopping on the Thunder's bandwagon.
Either that or fire the head coach for an immediate move, but that's another story. Thinking of a Ricky Rubio backcourt with Wes Johnson could be immensely impressive, if he actually comes over. A Dwight Howard- Kevin Love tandem would be a championship contender with the right point guard, but it's unrealistic.
It's becoming more and more obvious that if the front office is here to stay for another year, then the Wolves trio of Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson and Kevin Love have some work to do to make the Wolves relevant again (listen up Rubio).
It's sad that fans have to depend on the players they have to make the incredible leaps and hope the head coach will start to comprehend exactly what he is doing, but there's a first time for everything.
If Wolves fans haven't started to see the upside to Wes after these last few games, then they haven't seen a player who can be a huge cornerstone going forward. He gave Kobe Bryant a ton of problems last game, and if Kobe wasn't blowing the whistle himself, Wes had his number the whole night.
Wes as of late has been playing great 2-way ball, and not only has he been extremely confident in his shooting and playmaking, but he's a much better defensive player than he's given credit for.
He has the size (6'8''), wingspan (7'1''), quickness, agility and vertical leap to be an All-Star in the NBA. He does, however, need to work on his ball handling and his killer instinct.
"I think he has started to see that he has the potential to become as a player," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "We're asking him to do more things, in terms of handling the ball, attacking the basket, being a passer off his driving opportunities."
Kobe Bryant had this to say after schooling his student of the game.
"He's improved his game a lot since even the start of the season," Bryant said. "He's worked on his jumper, he trusts it. The next step for him is ball-handling, where he can start creating his own shot from the perimeter and just handling and getting around guys. The sky's the limit for him because he athletically has all the tools."
If there is a long term solution on the wing, Wes Johnson could be one of them if he keeps this up. Wolves fans are praying that the various articles are true about Wes Johnson training with Kobe Bryant during the offseason. If he works on his ball handling skills, the sky is quite the limit for him.
For the Timberwolves, they need Wes to step up even more next year, as a critical step in their development is having multiple 2-way players. Wes Johnson has the most potential for that on the Timberwolves.
I just watch a lot of Timberwolves games, and then I watch Michael Beasley and say, "this guy could be really good."
I know sometimes I worry a lot of the NBA analysts are right, and Beasley isn't focused or dialed in as well as he could be. The Beasley that scored 25 points consistently had killer instinct, got to the rim and took whatever you gave him. The Beasley we have saw in the past month or so has been injured and unfocused.
If anyone thinks Beasley doesn't have the most offensive talent on the Wolves roster you are highly mistaken. Beasley has all the intangibles to be a dominant small forward on the offensive end, but defense is another thing.
He's 6'9'', has a well filled out frame and wingspan, and he's athletic enough to handle his own against many small forwards. But why this guy won't get in the post and bully people around, I have no earthly clue.
I watch Carmelo Anthony, and I see Beasley evolving into that kind of player. A bully in the post and smooth yet rugged on the perimeter.
Beasley already can shoot the ball from the 3-point line well, and he's only going to get better, but he's a volume scorer. Too many nights, Beasley goes 4-for-18 and 3-for-5 from the free throw line.
This cannot continue to happen for a player as gifted as Beasley is. He can get to the free throw line eight times on a bad night with no calls. Why he doesn't just boggles my mind.
He's a good shooter off the dribble, he can drive left or right and finish with either hand, he can finish an alley oop well and has shown flashes of being a playmaker when he's focused. All we need Beasley to do is POST UP!
Bang on small forwards, draw fouls, get to the free throw line, be a bully! He's gotten to the free throw line in double digits just twice this year. Carmelo Anthony? Sixteen times.
Focus is a problem for Beasley, cut down on the silly turnovers, drive into the lane, pump fake, draw fouls, etc. It's not all his fault though.
Beasley hasn't played on the perimeter like this before, he's seeing the best defenders, he isn't used to changing his shot this much, and there's game plans to stop him. He has the chance to be a game changer on the offensive end of the court. Hey, even Carmelo Anthony doesn't play defense.
Kevin Love is the man, period. I knew he would be good, I thought he would be an All-Star. Did I think he was good enough to score 40 points and grab 17 rebounds? No. Did I think a 30-30 game was possible?
Did I think nearly 50 double-doubles in a row was possible? 50 double-doubles before the All-Star break? How about 37 points on 13 shots? Absolutely an amazing player, he deserved to go to that All-Star game, and I don't care what anyone says.
Kevin Love gets to the free throw line (10 times in double digits), he shoots the 3-pointer over 40 percent, he's gotten better posting up, he rebounds at a ridiculous rate, and it's crazy to think this guy could really get better?
He's only 22 years old? Are you insane? What could this guy do next to a healthy Andrew Bynum (my pick and fillers for the Wolves to trade Rubio if they get Kyle Irving) or Dwight Howard? I shudder to think.
What can I say that this guy does wrong though? Well he's the leader of this team, when he has the energy going, the whole team has it going. When he's pumping his chest, pointing out to the crowd and voicing his frustration, the home crowd loves it and the energy is contagious.
He needs to have this intensity every night. His defensive slides, help defense, and quickness all need to compliment his defensive awareness. To his credit, he does a ton on the court as it is, and it would probably kill him to do much more.
A competent center next to Love, or the Darko that dominated Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan would be ideal. How about Anthony Randolph gaining like 40 pounds?
Love, keep doing your thing, average 16 rebounds next year, and shoot 50 percent from the 3-point line, that's all we ask of you! Oh yeah, sign that nice contract, don't go to California on us, we love you here,no pun intended.
It starts with the Timberwolves core now and Ricky Rubio. Can they turn it around? As in, are they going to be in the playoffs next season? Are they going to win nine-to-10 of their last 20 games?
Are they going to keep showing progress? Are they going to defend homecourt? Will Kurt Rambis be fired? Will David Kahn actually make a chess move? Lot's of questions, we need answers.
Thanks for reading!