The Memphis Grizzlies are in Minnesota tonight to take on the Timberwolves, as the two teams involved in the most talked about draft night trade from last summer meet for the third and final time this season. If you want the lowdown on the team from the land of 10,000 Lakes, there are a fewoptionsto look to, but I rank T’Wolves Blogamong the very best. We were fortunate enough to get College Wolf to answer our questions and ask a few of his own, which you can see here.
3SoB: Since Al Jefferson went down (my sincerest condolences), the Timberwolves have only managed to win one game. Over that same time period, the Grizzlies have only won two games. Any advice for a fellow fan who realizes that this season is an exercise in futility?
CW: First off, thank you sir. I would say you dont know how hard its been without Big Al, but amazingly, Grizz fans have endured even more losing than the Wolves the past few years. Secondly, I was hoping you would advise me as to the best way to keep my sanity. Im not sure whats worse: losing your franchise player to season ending injury and being completely, utterly inept, or NOT losing your franchise player(s) and still being nearly as inept. What a perplexing conundrum we find ourselves mired in. On the bright side, you guys have some young studs in Mayo, Gasol, and possibly Rudy Gay, although this season has been somewhat of a letdown from him. Also, Conley Jr. has been playing well lately and could blossom alongside Mayo? Lastly, dont ask me why, but Ive always loved Hakim Warrick. You have no idea how disappointed I was when he wasnt included in the Love-Mayo trade. Hell, you could have kept Mike Miller and given us Warrick + salary filler and I would have been ecstatic!
3SoB: We are now in Month #5 of the O.J. Mayo vs. Kevin Love evaluation. Are fans in Minnesota still as perplexed about that draft night trade as they were when it happened?
CW: I am not sure what you will think about this answer, but I would say that judging by the media and online forums, most fans are NOT perplexed by the trade at all. In fact, I would happen to guess that most Wolves fans think that we completely fleeced the Grizzlies in that trade.* I personally am no longer perplexed by the trade. I guess I understand why our Front Office made the deal. At any time did I agree with it? No, not at all.
* This is in no way, shape, or form the opinion of College Wolf.
3SoB: Kevin McHale (Player) > Kevin McHale (Head Coach) > Kevin McHale (GM). Agree or disagree?
CW: Here, let me fix this for you:
Kevin McHale (GM) < Kevin McHale (Head Coach) < Kevin McHale (Player) < Kevin McHale (Unemployed and NOWHERE near our organization in any capacity whatsoever.)
3SoB: The T’Wolves made a deadline day deal with Sacramento, acquiring Shelden Williams and Bobby Brown in return for sending out Rashad McCants. Some saw this as a good move for both clubs, as McCants hadn’t seen much playing time since McHale took over as coach anyways. Was it a good move for the future or was it simply addition by subtraction?
CW: It was amazingly awesome addition by subtraction. I dont care if McCants averages 25 points per game for the Crapramento Kings the rest of this season, Ive wanted him gone for years now. (Technically I never wanted us to draft him in the first place, but thats another story.) The guy was a cancer and by no means a team player in any facet of the game. When I say that if I were running things, I simply would have cut him, Im not lying. I didnt even care if we got anything back in trade, its just nice to not have him aggravating us Wolves fans any longer. On top of that, he is a free agent after this season. Last summer I was having nightmares and waking up in cold sweats imagining the Wolves signing him to the inevitable 6 year, $48 million dollar extension. On the court and from what weve seen so far, Bobby Brown is basically the second coming of McCants (minus the attitude), and Sheldon Williams is fat and completely sucks; but at least we get to see Candace Parker at the games now!
3SoB: As stated earlier, this team is looking squarely at ping pong balls once again. What do you expect from this team in the offseason? What players would you like them to target in the draft, free agency or via trade?
CW: I wish I could give you a more solid and legitimate answer to this question, because it is a good one. However, the injuries to Big Al and Corey Brewer change everything. In essence what has happened is that this season is a wash and the entire rebuilding effort gets pushed back a year. The reason being that we have no idea what the health and physical abilities of Big Al and Brewer will be like next season when they return from their ACL tears. Will Jefferson regain his near-All Star form? Can we build around him or do we need to switch up The Plan (I refuse to call it The Blueprint.) Will Brewer build upon the glimpses that he was showing before his injury, and transform into an actual NBA quality player? We just cant know right now, and that makes the draft much more difficult, and free agency pretty much a non-factor at this point. Even if we wanted to be a player in free agency, our roster is stacked with guaranteed contracts AND it looks like we will have FOUR first round draft picks in the upcoming draft. All this sounds like it would require far too much finangling for our Front Office to execute actually landing even more players on top of what weve already got for next season. Also, I dont think any free agents would come to Minnesota anyways.
With that said, I think in the draft we clearly have to take the BPA (Best Player Available), because we are going to win less than 25 games again this season. Our squad clearly needs all the help it can get. Unfortunately, one of the best players in the draft (Blake Griffin) happens to play the only position in which the Wolves have an excessive amount of talent and depth. So, thats a real bummer. But I still believe wed have to take him if we had the #1 pick. I would find it hard to believe that we wouldnt be able to pull off some sort of favorable trade by moving one of Big Al, Love, or Griffin. The rest of my Top five would probably shake out like this: Griffin, Ricky Rubio (Assuming he enters the draft. The Wolves so desperately need a franchise PG. He could be the guy), James Harden (Legit NBA caliber starting SG. Has sneaky athleticism and can get to the hole. Yet another facet the Wolves lack), Jeff Teague (We need a PG so bad), and then Hasheem Thabeet, I guess. Im still NOT sold on Thabeet by any means, but we need a defensive minded, shot blocking seven footer to play next to Al/Love in the worst way imaginable. If I have to see anymore Jason Collins-esque play at center I might go certifiably insane.
In regards to trading, I would only look at moves that improve the financial flexibility/situation of the team. Granted, with the shape of the economy and the NBA financial situation (aka NOT GOOD), I highly doubt well see any trade offers like that anyways. I know its a cop out, but like I said, we really dont know what well have next year with Al and Brewer (not to mention the rest of our mis-cast roster.)
Word association (first thing that pops into your head):
Kevin McHale: The Seven Circles of Hell.
Randy Foye: Looks like Mr. Potato Head.
Kevin Love: Can’t get those jiggly fatty arms out of my head.
Sebastian Telfair: Serviceable.
Mike Miller: Shoot the #%)$ing ball!
Brian Cardinal: Would make a good janitor someday.