Can Kevin McHale Get the Timberwolves Looking Like the '80s Celtics?
Kevin Love loves Kevin McHale.
Love grew up watching old Celtics tapes with his father Stan.
He would study McHale's post moves, his passion, and his hustle.
Through learning from Kevin McHale, Kevin Love became the best prospect to ever come out of the state of Oregon.
Now, through the wacky world of the NBA, Love is learning hands-on from the Hall of Fame big man who was stuck in his VCR. Kevin McHale, who took over as head coach for Randy Wittman after a 4-15 star, has his team playing inspired basketball—despite four losses in four games.
Can McHale turn around the T-Wolves? Can he have them playing the type of ball his Boston Celtics played in the past?
Let's role play.
Kevin Love as Kevin McHale
Both Love and McHale are 6'10" below-the-rim players. Both succeed through hustle, chasing down offensive board and outworking their opponent.
While Love has about 50 pounds on McHale, he currently has much less of a post game. McHale would put it on opponents with hook shots (the lost big man art) and spin moves. Although McHale didn't have much elevation, he had great touch and feel around the rim.
Love has been heralded for his passing game—mostly for his ability to launch the ball 94 feet. In the NBA, he has not yet showcased his passing game, with a career high of three assists in one game.
The area where Love could out-shine McHale throughout his career is rebounds. McHale never posted a double-digit rebounding average; as a rookie Love is on-pace if he could play over 30 minutes per game.
Mike Miller as Larry Bird
Mike Miller is not Larry Bird, but if the T-Wolves are going to play like the Celtics he's going to have to do his best impression. Miller cannot score like Bird, but he is one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the NBA today. Minnesota needs to focus on their inside out game, get the ball into the post then get Miller in a location where he will have an open three.
Miller has developed into a solid rebounder and passer. Bird averaged 10 rebounds and six assists per game over the course of his career. If Miller can raise his game to seven rebounds and five assists, it should be enough the get the Timberwolves a few more victories.
Al Jefferson as Robert Parish
With 21.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game, Al Jefferson is posting some very similar numbers to the great Robert Parish. Jefferson is not as long as Parish, but any night of the week you can seem him spinning off a defender and finishing with a dunk that would make The Chief proud.
Jefferson has to be the stable force for the T-Wolves if they are going to turn their franchise around. At 6'10", he's not a great shot blocker, but he has long arms and is deceptively quick. Jefferson is one of the better-scoring big men in the NBA, and he will be the focal point of the Timberwolves' post game.
Randy Foye as Dennis Johnson
Foye and Johnson are big point guards (6'4") who are capable of average assist numbers and above-average scoring for their position. While Foye is a better shooter than Johnson, there is no doubt that D.J. was a better defender.
In Dennis Johnson's third year, he led the Seattle Supersonics to a championship. With Randy Foye in his third year, Minnesota fans can only pray that he blossoms into a D.J.-esque player.
Obviously, this T-Wolves cast has a long way to go. The Celtics also had Danny Ainge, Scott Wedmanm, Bill Walton, Jerry Sicting, and Rick Carlisle. The Timberwolves support with Rashad McCants, Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith, Sebastian Telfiar, and Corey Brewer.
Al Jefferson and Kevin Love have Hall of Fame potential. Mike Miller has verged on being an All-Star, while Randy Foye could be one in the future.
This Minnesota team is not as bad as their record and not as good as the '80s Celtics, but with Kevin McHale as their leader, maybe they could be somewhere in-between.
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