I'm sorry but that's INSANE. Brett Brown is a very good coach, plus he got that team to play hard and surprisingly well during some periods when the talent was ... uh, what's the word? NONEXISTENT. Even now, when the talent is great, let's not forget that he had several major trades thrust on him midseason. If it were fantasy basketball, that would be one thing, but he has to actually get real people who are undergoing major life changes to play (well) together, even as his roster is more talented at the top but probably not as deep.
Late-season games are crazy: full-blown tanking, stat-chasing, experimentation. Some examples:
Atlanta gave up 149 points in regulation to Orlando!
The very talented but mostly unproductive Croatian wing Mario Hezonja followed up two DNP-CDs for the Knicks with a two-game stretch in which he averaged 22.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 8 apg, and 1.5 spg, shooting better than 50% from the floor.
Memphis rolled out with the starting five of Delon Wright (who had a triple double!), Tyler Dorsey, Justin Holiday, Bruno Caboclo, and Ivan Rabb.
Phoenix's inconsistent and somewhat disappointing young prospect Josh Jackson put up 29 shots with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton both sitting out.
Alex Caruso, who has been quietly solid for LAL as a backup wing, had 32 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists against LAC.
Late-season games are crazy: full-blown tanking, stat-chasing, experimentation.
I hope that it doesn't decide seeding, but it probably will. LAC, OKC, and SAS are separated by 1 game. Obviously, they all want to avoid the 8th seed. Unfortunately, for the Spurs, the results of LAC @ GSW, OKC vs HOU, and OKC @ MIL may all be jeopardized.
SJS - No question about it. It's a lot of games and it takes a toll over the course of a season. There was a time management and ownership had the power to ensure players' compliance, but the players have taken much, much more power in the past couple decades. Plus, the teams are smarter about protecting their investments, which are disproportionately higher and higher.
Frankly I think fan interest would go way up if we had something like a 50-60 game season. But the reality is, the money they make on that wouldn't go up; it would go down quite a bit. So the owners are unlikely to go for it--certainly not anything near that dramatic.
The best product, though (I think) would be something like Christmas Day as the season's kickoff. Training camps begin after Thanksgiving. Less competition with football, shorter season, fewer games. I'd also cut the first two rounds of the playoffs back down to 5-game series, with only the conference and league finals as 7-game series.
Seriously, I think he has been remarkable with what has been a very flawed team put in some bad situations lately. First, he lost three generational players within a few years in Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili. We all know what happens to most teams when anything close to that happens: Cleveland, Chicago, we remember what happened to them when they lost stars over the years.
San Antonio brought in some imperfect fits, admittedly: Rudy Gay, Lamarcus Aldridge with Pau Gasol, etc. But somehow Pop made it work.
Kawhi obviously behaved petulantly, and that should have torpedoed the team. Instead San Antonio made it work and Pop helped Derozan--someone long considered a very imperfect player, an inefficient, non 3-pt shooting scorer who didn't impact winning--improve dramatically as the focal point of the offense, averaging 6.1 apg!
Then this season they lose their possibly star-in-waiting point guard, Dejounte Murray, even as they had just made the tough decision to fully turn over the keys to him as Parker left. Then they lose talented rookie Lonnie Walker. (Those two could be one of the best backcourts in the league in three or four years.)
Bryn Forbes has been a starter basically all year. The Spurs are in the playoffs again. Just remarkable!
As the season concludes, I'm curious how you all feel about the state of your home/favorite franchises. I don't mean just a reflection on how they did this season, but rather in the big picture, looking at their immediate past, their present, their immediate and mid-term futures. I believe we've got at least PHI and NYK represented here (plus MIN). Anyone else, we welcome your thoughts too!
This offseason is important for Minnesota. The franchise has to decide whether to retain GM Scott Layden, whether to make interim head coach Ryan Saunders the permanent head coach, and how to handle what looks like inevitable roster turnover. As of now, next year's roster looks like this:
Point Guard: Jeff Teague (player option on $19 million)
Center: Karl Anthony Towns ($27.3 million); Gorgui Dieng ($16.2 million)
Restricted Free Agent: Tyus Jones ($3.6 Qualifying Offer)
Unrestricted Free Agents: Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Luol Deng, Jeryd Bayless, Anthony Tolliver, as well as the more fringe players such as Mitch Creek, CJ Williams, James Nunally.
What jumps out on the roster immediately is the point guard situation. We could lose all three of our current point guards, or theoretically (but unlikely) we could retain all three. Jeff Teague, sadly, is the most likely to return because after his poor season, he's unlikely to get $19 million or more anywhere else. However, he also might be fed up with this franchise, as he was brought in by Thibs and a whole different roster (Jimmy Butler-led). Feelings are very mixed on him around here, especially since he came in to replace the very popular (but also divisive) Ricky Rubio. He averaged only 12 ppg, he shot only 42% and 33 3pt%, and for as decent if unspectacular a scorer as he is, he didn't really look to assert himself much this year. With a PER just slightly above the definitional average of 15, he was almost definitionally average.
Tyus Jones is of course local and beloved. But while he also has proven himself to be a really good backup PG with a great assist-to-turnover ratio (6.4!) and a knack for leadership in key moments, he also has been pretty mediocre as the starter in 20 games (11 ppg, 7 apg, 45 FG%, 35 3pt%). If a team like Phoenix or Orlando envisions him as a potential starter and offers him $8, $10, $12 million a year, what does Minnesota do? (Especially if it is waiting on a Teague decision.)
Derrick Rose is an unrestricted free agent who came here on a minimum contract. He had an amazing year splitting between backup point guard and shooting guard, as well as spot starter mostly at shooting guard: 18 ppg, 4 apg, and a vastly improved 3-point shot at 37%. But if I'm not mistaken, we have to use cap space to re-sign him because he was on a short deal (as opposed to the Bird rights where you can spend anything to retain your own players). And considering our cap situation, I'm guessing we won't have much or any. I'd guess he's gone.
The other big story on the roster is Andrew Wiggins, a statistically competent and occasionally brilliant player who far too often isn't even noticeable on the court. Six-foot-eight, envisioned as a modern day Scottie Pippen as he was preparing for the draft, he has not only not become that versatile two-way player, he's not even a consistent one-way player. Oh, and he has a max ($25 million) contract that runs through '22-'23.
The next-worst contract is for a player I've actually really appreciated (while admitting he was overpaid), Gorgui Dieng. He's a good backup center and serviceable power forward in some matchups. He tries. He defends pretty well in the post. He sets screens. He can score in the post or from 10-15 feet on jumpers from the elbow and baseline. But $16 million!
As far as developmental players, Josh Okogie is the one who jumps out. He runs, he jumps, he dives, and he has the athleticism to make that kind of effort really be a net positive even with his shaky jumpshot. He has become a fan favorite with his infectious energy. It was especially valuable (he says in transition) when Robert Covington was healthy.
Covington was for me one of the most valuable Timberwolves I can recall. He was the glue guy who also produced statistically. Even when he didn't shoot well (though he usually did, especially with 37 3pt%), he mattered: in a win over Chicago, he might have been the game MVP despite shooting 1-18 because he racked up 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, and an assist while playing great defense. He was just inspiring, the anti-Wiggins. But alas, he's been out all of 2019, playing his last game on New Year's Eve.
Karl Anthony Towns has really stepped up since the Butler trade, and especially since the All-Star break. He is the franchise player. He has to improve defensively, but he is a monster. We need to build this roster around him, and he needs to help us win games.
Outside shooting and defense (especially on outside shooters) are in the big picture what we need to see improvement. The question will be how we can use our limited money to find that: trades, free agents, the draft, or whatever. And with a questionable history from our owner and unsettled front office and coaching staff, that might not be easy. We need to see it resolved sooner than later and get a competent team with a solid plan in place.
If we won the lottery and got the #1 pick ... I'd trade down to #2 or #3, draft PG Ja Morant, and pick up another player or more picks for my trouble. We don't need a Zion Williamson when we have a sure-thing, current post superstar in KAT. But more likely we're going to be picking very late in the lottery, where there are some serviceable prospects but probably no sure things. Point guards especially don't seem apparent around there in this weak PG draft.
The team is going to want to make the playoffs next year: it has two max players entering their theoretical primes. But it's the Timberwolves. I'm nervous.
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Apr 6, 2019 19:03:13 GMT
Going into this season, I thought "The Process", begun by Sam Hinkie and carried on by Bryan Colangelo and now Elton Brand, would take at least another year or two to come to its ultimate fruition. Obviously Brand and the 76ers' management team felt the same way - and weren't happy about that projection. They wanted to win now!
I had come to the conclusion that the Sixers were NOT going to win a championship with The Big Two - Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons - and just a strong supporting cast. Yes, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, JJ Redick, and maybe (nobody really knew) Markelle Fultz were solid, borderline all-stars, but not quite good enough. How about instead of a Big Two, a Big Three? Don't most championship teams have three "stars"? I thought so, and I approved of the Jimmy Butler trade. While the Sixers still weren't favorites to win it all, they were at least in the conversation, and that was good enough for me.
I really didn't digest this new Sixers team with Butler and the other acquisitions, or even make playoff predictions, when they acquired Tobias Harris. OK, you wanna give me another all-star and make it The Big Four? Sure, I'll take it! Now, the Sixers aren't only in the conversation, but they are legitimate contenders to win a championship.
"The Process" didn't really end the way I expected or maybe would've liked, but I'm not complaining either. It's a mixed bag, the bench is questionable, and now the coach is under fire. I know I sound a little negative, but I'm really not. I just need some more time to get to know this team. There has been so much turnover that I really don't know all of the players strengths and weaknesses yet. Some of the key players have been taking games off due to "load management" which further complicates things. Is this really a great TEAM? I guess we'll find out. Because of all of the players changing jerseys, it does provide kind of an "excuse" if the season does end with a disappointment. Well, they didn't have enough time to gel some will say. And there's probably some truth to that. I think The Sixers will get to Round Two of the playoffs. After that, all bets are off. I would love for this team, including the present "Big Four", to stay intact. So that will make for a very interesting off-season, no matter how they finish this year.
lonelysummer: Shoot, i gave up on new music in the 90's.
Sept 18, 2021 2:18:38 GMT
Kapitan: Anyone want to kick off the next year's music to discuss? Pick anything except 1976, 1963, 1989, 2002, or 2010.
Sept 18, 2021 11:22:42 GMT
Kapitan: If not, I'll post a new one later today.
Sept 18, 2021 11:25:26 GMT
jk: Sounds good to me, Cap'n.
Sept 18, 2021 11:50:32 GMT
carllove: If you want to pick one today, I can do one Monday. Gotta start getting ready to power wash my deck this morning! Did get my thoughts in on 2010 this morning. Rough year!
Sept 18, 2021 13:04:24 GMT
carllove: Actually Kapitan, my husband is still sleeping, so I will choose a year this morning. It will be 1972.
Sept 18, 2021 13:14:07 GMT
B.E.: '63-72 - not just the best years for the Beach Boys but for popular music.
Sept 18, 2021 13:25:18 GMT
Kapitan: Great year for music!
Sept 18, 2021 14:34:33 GMT