I really started loving the NBA when we were in 2nd grade a few years before we met each other. That was the first year I remember really playing basketball. It was my second year of organized ball and the first year I cared. I got basketball shoes and I loved the sport. I’d watch NBA stuff on the weekend and when NBA Inside Stuff (third grade) I was hooked. The Bulls were my team. MJ was a god. The first year I started playing ball was 1988 (first grade) and the first year I really loved it was 1989 (second grade) and that’s also when our cub scout pack went to a Wolves game at the Dome. I loved it so much my Dad took me to half a dozen more games that year (no clue how my parents afforded this one with me being 7 and my brother being 2 I have to imagine there was next to no money to spare already). I was hooked. Pooh Richardson was my man. Doug West eventually but the Wolves weren’t great so I still loved the Bulls. Since everyone already loved MJ and I thought he was a god also I was for some reason drawn to Pippen.
I always felt like Pippen played insane defense and I always felt like that was my jam. I never had a portion of time playing basketball where I figured out scoring lots of points. I just was never good at working a defense. I mean honestly I was never that good. But defensively I always felt stronger. Since Pip was always outscored by MJ I was drawn to him.
Then the Wolves drafted KG. Before KG I was so-so on the Wolves. I’d go to games every year but I didn’t really care if they were winning. KG changed that, I wanted them to build a contender around him. I started watched and learning about the pieces around him. The college season mattered. The draft was important. Understanding the process of finding gems in college mattered. I started trying to understrand why guys were killers in college and got killed in the pros.
My basketball IQ started expanding and I was understanding the game at a different level. I started to see patterns within the league (nothing brand new just started seeing the stuff that lifers have been living with). There are eras. There are windows. The game evolves constantly. If the big man is valuable today, understand going to figure out how to make non-bigs valuable. Its just constant evolution that is tied to the greater development cycles.
I’m a fan of the NBA but its really through the lens of the Wolves.
Here are the Wolves in 2018 going into the season. They’ve got as much talent as they have in over a decade. You could make arguments this is their most talented team ever. The ceiling in high. It feels like the whole thing could implode or just fail to leave the pad. The KAT/Butler/Wiggins combo is sick if they are all on the same page and clicking. I don’t think we have seen that yet. I don’t think they are trying to get there either. Butler doesn’t appear to think Wiggins/KAT have the internal drive to be winners. Wiggins doesn’t seem to think there is friction. KAT clearly doesn’t like Butler big-timing him. It seems to be adding layers and levels of difficulty to the game to be fighting within your own team.
When you go around and read the various season previews for the Wolves there is a large swath of variance. The Wolves could be the #2 seed behind the Warriors or they could be in the #10 spot looking for ping-pong balls.
I’m not as worried about the record. I don’t honestly think anyone beats the Warriors this year unless they are wrecked by injury. Or if there is some unforseen infighting between their stars.
The Wolves need to be judged and growth. Where is KAT arguably today in the NBA at the 5 position? What developments will he make this year? Can he become the scariest low-post scoring threat in the league? Will there still be 15-20 games this season where he’s a no-show or non-factor on the offensive end? Does defense matter to KAT?
Wiggins what are you? Wiggins are you a good stats, bad team monster? Wiggins are you just a monster? Wiggins will you show-up for more than 70 games this year? Wiggins can take over a game. Its happened way too infrequently but it can happen. Can we see that wiggins this year. The one that just decides this game is shut-down in the first five minutes of the fourth. Again this has only happened a few times in his career to this point. Or is it going to be the defer to the crowd Wiggins again?
Butler is the person everyone wants to talk about. I don’t care about Butler. Butler is going to be good where he plays this year and I think for 2-3 more years. Should the Wolves resign him this next summer if given the chance? Yes. Should the Wolves trade him for $0.60 on the dollar yesterday? Yes. Butler can change games for either team. Butler appears to be as much of an issue in the locker room as he is on the court. Do I think the Wolves should’ve moved Butler this summer? Yes. Do I think Thibs things he can change Butler’s mind and get him to resign in Sota for max money next summer? Yes. Do I think Butler lives up to a 5-year max contract next summer? No. I think Butler’s game won’t age gracefully. I think Butler will see a precipitous drop-off in his defensive skills. Butler’s outside game isn’t strong enough to lose a step. The gravity will be lost. Butler will still be a good starter for 5 more years. Max level player? Nah. The Wolves will be hitting their peak in 3-5 years. KAT/Wiggins are young. We can’t forget that today. Lining their windows of success up with the rest of the team makes a lot of sense. The win-now approach when you have GSW in the league as they are currently constructed is foolish. Plan and play the long-game. Look at what LBJ is doing in LA. He’s building. He’s not constructing overnight.
The Wolves have rookies too. Where will Thibs work them into the rotation? Will Thibs develop anyone? Does Thibs care about 2-4 years out? Or is it this year or bust?
Glen Taylor saved the Wolves. That’s one of those statements that always has to be said about Glen Taylor. Past that Glen Taylor has been pretty awful for the Wolves. As long as Glen is calling the shots we are going to see odd stuff like this Thibs drama this summer. I’m game for Glen selling the team or stepping down and letting someone else in the family run the show. I don’t think that’ll happen but its probably time.
John and Jeff banter their way through current feelings with the coming season. There are more questions than answers. What are fans supposed to do? Just call each other semi-regularly, record it and put it out as a podcast. That’s our plan at least.
When you install the new Gutenberg editor this page is generated for you. I’m keeping it around just so I can go back and play with it. Nothing special really.
The look of the editor is a game changer. It has a clean aesthetic that hasn’t been WP for as long as I can remember.
Getting used to blocks might take me a few days.
Wish I had kept on this development cycle so I wouldn’t have posted stuff this week before upgrading/changing the editor.
I can’t wait to put together a post.
I don’t expect this to drive more traffic to my site on its own (also don’t care about traffic) but I think my ability to make more dynamic content will probably catch a few more eyeballs.
Here ends my initial thoughts
Of Mountains & Printing Presses
The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.
What you are reading now is a text block, the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…
… like this one, which is right aligned.
Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.
A Picture is worth a Thousand Words
Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.
Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.
The Inserter Tool
Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.
Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:
Text & Headings
Images & Videos
Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
And Lists like this one of course 🙂
A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:
The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.
Matt Mullenweg, 2017
The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.
Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.
You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.
If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:
Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.
The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.
Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:
You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:
Code is Poetry
The WordPress community
If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.
I’m about as far from a journalist as possible. I’m a Wolves fan. Periodically, I enjoy writing about the Wolves. I like to throw stats into my pieces and I like to drop links. Its still just a glorified fan-post on my own site. With that in mind here are my current thoughts on the coming season…
Things constantly change yet so much still feels the same is just an annoying thing to hear or say. What’s different with the Wolves materially going into 2019-20? A few tweaks on the roster to a playoff team. The core is intact. What’s the outlook? More Timberwolves than ever before.
The roster changes are minor. Cole is out, Bjelly is out, J-Cross is out, MGH (is probably gone but I’ve seen this reported two ways), Brown, Brooks, and Shabazz (already gone last year). The ins are Keita Bates-Diop, Josh Okogie, Anthony Tolliver, and Jared Terrell (on a two-way).
I am honestly excited about Keita. I don’t think he’s a star but I think he’s a legit NBA player and getting him in the second round is great. Okogie needs to hit as well otherwise there is legit no wing depth.
The basketball stuff aside this roster is tenuous at best right now. You have one guy in Wiggins locked up on a max deal and the way FA has played out this year and last he wasn’t getting that sort of offer on the open market. Wiggins play hasn’t been max-contract level. Wiggins is still on a max deal so there is that for the Wolves. Then the Wolves moved Zach Lavine for Jimmy. At the time in a vacuum it seemed like a solid play. Jimmy loves Thibs, Thibs coaches the Wolves, Jimmy is an upgrade to Zach, the Wolves should be better. The Wolves made the playoffs so that was better. Making the playoffs is one thing, winning a championship is another. The NBA is in this odd world of super-teams right now. Payrolls are large enough that three max or near max guys can land on the same team. The Wolves are an example of a team with three max or near max guys in Wiggins, Jimmy and Karl. If we are able to retain all three we’ll have three max guys. The remaining roster will be rookie deals, anyone left before the max deals were gifted and minor signings. That core of max guys maxes out in the second round at best unless Karl and Wiggins show major growth. At the root the Wolves “super” team has a shelf-life and a ceiling short of a championship. Karl needs to be resigned this summer or he’s a RFA next summer (which is fine) and Jimmy needs to be resigned (won’t happen) or he’s a FA next summer. This coming year is the last year of this run. Unless there are a lot of injuries in Golden State and Houston the Wolves aren’t anywhere near the top team in the west or the NBA in the coming year. There is still time for Karl and Wiggins to grow but that is in 2-4 years. Wiggins seems to have a ceiling of microwave scorer that has to be a 3rd options at best on a winning team and honestly his player type doesn’t tend to end up on title teams. I’m open to suggestions or comparisons but I’m not seeing it right now. Karl might evolve into a true unicorn and push the Wolves single-handedly into greatness. Right now the vibe seems to be that he isn’t putting in the work to get that done.
All of that is too basketball for how I feel right now. The NBA is in a cycle. The Golden State Warriors (GSW) are good, fair or not they are good. They are going to be good for at least one more year and essentially as long as they can keep this core together. The bargain basement deals they got their stars on has been covered extensively. The bottom line is GSW is so far and ahead better than most teams that you need to set your horizon-line relative to theirs’. Trading Zach for Jimmy might not have been a win-now move. It might have been a culture-defining move to get some guys in the locker-room that could motivate the younger dudes to perform. Jimmy was on a two-year contract and was a wasting asset. The Wolves acquired him with 2-years left on his deal and at the time of the trade they should have known they would be able to offer him an extension that would be below the market-value the following summer. Jimmy could sign for $110 million or wait till next summer and sign for something reportedly closer to $190 million. Jimmy has already signed one deal for $90 million, meaning he is generationally wealthy. That’s money most of us will never understand. While walking from $110 million feels insane on the surface what’s the worst case scenario for him? He gets injured again and is only able to sign for $20 million next summer? I mean he’s already made a boat-load of cash. The Wolves either feel real good about him resigning with them as a FA or they need to move him for whatever they can get. That is crazy to say. They aren’t winning this next year unless GSW falls apart at the seams. That’s possible, but then we still aren’t better than Houston, Boston and probably four or five other teams. The Wolves don’t shoot threes. Wiggins and Butler aren’t outside shooters, that’s just not part of their profile. Thibs isn’t a coach that creates outside shots via his offense either. If Wiggins and Jimmy had clean looks maybe. The way that 3-pointers are currently valued in the NBA the Wolves system starts behind the eight-ball.
Now, we have four things going against us this coming year.
Wiggins deal isn’t great
GSW are better than us
Jimmy is in a walk-year
We don’t play the modern game
Let’s add these three points as well.
Can Thibs still coach
Thibs appears to not be able to handle POBO and coach roles
We don’t have a modern 4
Where does that put a Wolves fan? This roster should be pushing for one of the bottom 4 playoff spots. If we are healthy all year maybe even higher. Regular season basketball is a different beast than the playoffs and we can scrap past a lot of teams in the regular season trading 2-pointers for missed 3-pointers or so it seemed last year. We aren’t currently set-up to contend in the playoffs without major improvements from KAT/Wiggins. Butler is in a walk-year. Taj isn’t a legit modern 4. Towns needs to sign his max extension. Wiggins needs to improve a lot to be worth his max deal. Thibs might not be able to transition the team into the modern game. The roster isn’t flexible once Kat signs because we’ll have Wiggins and Dieng on big deals paired with Teague and Butler having player options. There just isn’t a lot the Wolves can plan to do next summer with the current roster. This hasn’t even broached the current roster construction as not really meshing well.
What do we do? Blow it up doesn’t seem to be a legit option. You’d take 30-cents on the dollar for Wiggins. You probably won’t get even value for Butler. Teague and Dieng might not actually be tradeable. Taj doesn’t bring anything back worth having till closer to the deadline.
Right now I think you package Butler for an outside shooter you aren’t going to get Gordon Hayward but that should be the type of player you shoot to get. Think about it Hayward just by being on the roster stretches the floor for the Wolves even if Thibs doesn’t want too. It creates space for Wiggins and KAT. Hayward is in year 2 of a 4 year deal. Hayward for Butler doesn’t work straight up. You’d have to pay someone like Sacramento to take Dieng. (SEE TRADE HERE) There is no real good reason I can come up with that Sacramento would do this unless someone is giving them picks. It’d probably have to be the Wolves but maybe it makes sense for Boston. I mean this would give Boston a team that would easily be the best in the East but they are probably already the best in the East and they wouldn’t have to worry about resigning Kyrie and Butler. Like I said this is the type of deal the Wolves should look at, moving Butler for an outside shooter.
Then we have to hope that Thibs magically becomes the right coach. Then we have to draft a 4 next year unless they trade Jimmy for a 4 but who? K-Love is name that’ll get hyped but he’s in a walk-year too. K-Love doesn’t work with Wiggins and KAT one or the other.
Going into this season I think the Wolves max output is 3-seed and bounced in the conference finals. The realistic output is fighting for the final playoff spot. The season is still a few weeks out. I think the drafted pieces get actually more interesting if we flip Jimmy for a new asset or set of assets.
Lots has happened since John and I did a pod. Lots has stayed the same too. Thibs is still playing too few guys in the regular rotation. We aren’t sure who our best point guard is presently and we aren’t sure what the ceiling for this team is as currently constructed.
The Wolves are 29-17 coming off a bad loss to Orlando. Before that, they ripped off five in a row at home. The Wolves still have picked up some losses they shouldn’t have and last night at Orlando is why they won’t get to by 59 number from before the season started and also why low 50s might be tough.
Quick thoughts on the Orlando game:
Wolves only lost the 4th quarter
Teague and Wiggins were the only starters with a negative net-rating. Wiggs looked flat all game. Teague just doesn’t make sense to me. I haven’t watched him in previous season outside of games against the Wolves. Man, he’s not consistent. The bench had awful net ratings too, with the exception of Bjelica. Bjelly got ejected for a 2nd technical after he almost got his head taken off by Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is going to get multiple games off this one. I imagine Bjelly doesn’t miss any more time.
Orlando has some weak net ratings on the starting five outside of Biyombo and Fournier. Biyombo had 5 blocks. He got a few homer calls from the refs and Sota did a bad job of stretching him. He had a good game. Fournier torched us. A career high is always a tough one to handle. 32 points on 12 of 22 from the field (6 of 12 from 3-point).
After the game Buckets said it was a good loss because it’ll wake the team up. Come on man do we need to get woke? Let’s play hard everytime the ball gets rolled out.
The trade deadline is looming but All-Star announcements happen first. Everyone is dropping who they think should be on the team. The Wolves should have two All-Stars in Butler and KAT. KAT might be on the bubble because he had a weak start to the season. Butler didn’t take over the team till 15 games ago so he might not be a starter but he’s a lock to be in the game.
More to come soon but we had to just start the juices flowing!
In this episode, we get into a lot of stuff. Its been a while since we’ve recorded. I (Jeff) have been fighting off a sinus infection and a cough that would’ve made me even more unlistenable. John’s just been a busy man cause he has a social life. The main points are below.
Lack of wing depth
Frustrations with Thibs
Awards (All of the awards go John’s pick then Jeff’s pick)
I really love basketball but if we are being straight my first love was baseball. It always will be too. I never got past 6’4″ and slow so beyond rec-ball I had no bball future. I was looking for some Wolves pix over on Getty. I always see these sweet Getty Image shots on people’s sites and I’m like okay fam how are you covering the cost of those photos? Like for real. Last night Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster of a game. It’s going to be out-shinned nationally by Embiid and possibly even Porzingis. I didn’t watch Embiid until the 3rd quarter and he owned the Lakers. The Lakers can’t match-up against Embiid, KAT or the Zinger. Maybe we need to look at these three guys performance against like opponents to really see how they shake out. Even then the team aspect changes things so I’m not sure. KAT balled last night and he won’t get much of any love. In honor of him deserving love and me finding out about Getting Images embed policy here’s KAT throwing out the first pitch at a Twins game.
The picture is from September 20, 2015 so its dated but whatevs. Look how KAT keeps the ball hidden. Now think about a 7’+ dude with a wing-span far greater than that keeping that fastball or slider grip hidden from you this well. By the time he releases that it’s on you. Dudes got long enough limbs that we probably need to figure out if the ball reaches its peak velo or if it’s still accelerating.
Think about that framed by Sota spotting the Spurs 6 in the first. Only to hide that release to the last possible moment and bang bring the pain in the 2nd to the tune of 20 points. It took about four minutes into the second and the Wolves never looked back.
Wolves versus the Spurs box score via Basketball-reference
The box score is a nice representation of the game. Wolves were finding themselves in the first. Coming out hot. This is the second time the Wolves have faced the Spurs, having lost the season opener in San Antonio. Still, I found myself saying who the hell are these guys on the Spurs bench. I had to look up Bryn Forbes. Dude didn’t do much of anything but so far this year I think I’d like to see him as our wing depth over Bazz. I just like how Pop finds dudes that he nurtures along on his bench for a season or two that then end up being contributors. Patty Mills and Kyle Anderson are the current guys I’m thinking of in this vein but just look through Spurs rosters for the past 15 years. Every year you’ll find a guy that you just shake your head at saying “huh only the spurs man.” (When I mumble to myself about other sports teams its always in the disrespectful lower-case sense. I never capitalize that shit when I’m hate mumbling.) The Spurs go to that bench and pull ahead on the Wolves. No real surprise cause they are the Spurs and the Wolves have lost 18 straight to them going into last night. The Spurs push it out to eight points early in the 2nd. As you can see on the ESPN game summary below the Spurs fall off a cliff shortly thereafter.
Wolves V Spurs ESPN Game Summary
That game flow there is okay but it’s not large enough for my liking. It also doesn’t appear to show the game correctly. Below is the win probability for the game and it shows the general vibe from the game a little better in my opinion.
ESPN Win Probability
The ESPN tool has nice hover over effects. I’ve linked to the site so go check it out. The ESPN game summary is a lot better than it used to be. Its still ESPN and its not really the best mobile experience. I guess I don’t really know I just use BR or Score on my phone. They both have some BS ads but nowhere nearly as frustrating as ESPN. BR Mag is solid so I like that app for that alone. As it shows the Wolves got the lead and never really were in real trouble of losing the game.
As soon as the Wolves jump on the Spurs in the second its over. Part of this second quarter butt-whipping goes to the four straight pick and roll possessions with KAT and Tyus Jones. Jace Fredrick broke that shit down completely below.
Finally cause I can’t help but put graphics in this one let’s get to the old fav PopCornMachine’s game flow. For me, this is still the way to go.
PopCornMachine Game Flow
The flow of what players are on the court is just beauty in motion. Hockey subs are fine at half-time. Pop is a genius, having forgotten or mentally overwritten more about basketball than I’ve absorbed. (Lame trope used) I’ve got to question going +7 (Pau was held over briefly and that unit was +2 with Pau so really +9) in the 3rd then Pop yanks that unit and the fresh five give up an 8-0 run. That’s the sort of things you can easily with the PopCornMachine flows.
Don’t kid yourself Kwahi wasn’t in the game. When he’s back and in the game-flow, this is a different team. The guys on the end of the bench I mentioned before, well they are shooters. When you’ve got LMA and Kwahi you don’t have to try to figure out some smoke and mirrors bs with Pau and LMA. Let’s hope Kwahi heals up fast and is back to 100%.
The Wolves won this one to end the streak. KAT played really well. Posting an offensive rating of 125 and a defensive rating of 94 for the baller +31 net rating. Wiggins was sort of so-so for me and the ratings coming in at -8. (Offensive 101 and defensive 109) Buckets brought the d for the most part but forgot his offense in Chicago. Buckets had a respectable defensive rating of 93 but that offensive rating was a hugely questionable 68. Without Buckets the other four starters averaged an offensive rating of 115.5. When you bring Buckets into the conversation they fall down to 106. That’s what 2 for 13 will do for you. The counting numbers weren’t great 6pt, 5rb, 5 ast, 3stl, 1blk and 1 tov with a +/- of +6. That’s role-player level. All of the starters played 30+ minutes (hey man Taj play 30:05 soi ts accurate) and this wasn’t helped by Gorgui missing his 3rd straight with a sprained finger. Soaking up the extra minutes Bjelly nabbed 11 pts on 5 for 9 shooting. On top of that, he had a plus 34 net rating which is baller! Bazz hooped tonight. Just nine points but the offensive rating comes in at 176 backed by a 90% true shooting percentage. The defensive rating at 108 feels like so-so but that still nets out to a 68. Yeah, I did the math right yo net rating of 68.
Wrapping the gamer part of this one up the Wolves ended the 18-game losing streak. They had a great all-around defensive game. The bench showed up for the Wolves even though they were thin. Tyus and KAT had it going on the pick-and-roll. Bazz was a monster. Buckets get a mulligan.
Before my thoughts on my 59 game projection here is a quick picture of Embiid followed by one of the Zinger. Since those dudes had good nights too.
The Wolves are 9-5. At this point in my 59 win prediction, I had us at 10-4. Right now I had us on quite the win-streak. Counting the Spurs win I had us on a 9 game win-streak, so that means we need to win the next eight games. Who’s on the docket? Dallas, Detriot, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Phoenix, Washington, and New Orleans. Looking at those we need to exact revenge on Detroit and Phoenix. We have at Charlotte and at New Orleans so those might be dicey too. The realistic take on these next 8 we should go 6-2. For me to hang my hat on this crazy big number we need to go 8-0. #AllEyesNorth Baby!
I had a dentist appointment. Everyone knows what to do when it comes to brushing your teeth. You brush in the morning and at night. You should probably also brushing after lunch. That doesn’t account for flossing, dental visits, fluoride, your tongue or your gums either. On the surface its easy. Just brush in the morning and night. Keep it simple and you can be pretty solid but then you start working in all of this other stuff. Damn it can get complicated quickly and all of a sudden you aren’t getting that AM/PM brushing in regularly.
KAT’s rookie year his defense appeared to be solid. He was buoyed by KG and running a pretty straight-forward Sam Mitchell system. In year two for KAT (year one with Thibs) it was thought KAT would take a huge step forward defensively. Rubio played great individual defense. Wiggins and Lavine were hot-garbage. KG wasn’t there. Thibs has a very complicated system. KAT stepped backward last year. The stats for defense that are publically available don’t speak to the eye-test. KAT’s advanced stats are below. You can see year two had a slight decrease in defensive stats. Year three things have really fallen off.
NBA.COM’s Advanced Stats for Karl-Anthony Towns
KAT is the cornerstone of choice for long-term success per the NBA GM Survey for the past two years. What do we need to see for him to be this team’s actual cornerstone? Defense-baby-defense is what the Wolves need. Right now KAT comes in tied at 74th for defensive rating per 100 possessions via BR. Let’s watch this over the course of the year but I think KAT has the ability to get there.
I think a lot of what KAT’s issues can be traced down too are team play. KAT tries to over-compensate. If the wing-defense breaks-down KAT tries to just up an make a play to wipe out the mistake. Then KAT hangs any defensive failings on himself. KAT doesn’t let himself just follow the simple plans for AM/PM tooth brushing to try to add more wrinkles to his hygiene game that he hasn’t yet mastered. Butler and Taj are getting the overall team defense into a better spot. I think its just a matter of time that the overall defense gets better. Right now the team stats are blown out of proportions by the Indy/Detroit/GSW games. Those three losses were by a total 68 points or roughly 23 points per game. That can’t help a team/players defensive ratings. The small sample-size situation isn’t helping us right now but on a by-weekly basis I’ll pull these stats up to see what’s happing. Right now we are sitting at 13.4% of the season so those three blow-out losses are throwing things off.
The Wolves matched up with the Warriors on Wednesday night. Its been a few days. What are the thoughts now?
Wolves match-up poorly 1-6 with the Warriors
Teague v Steph I mean come on
Klay v Wiggs that’s a little more difficult. Wiggs can get a good looking 2 on Klay more than likely and he’s shown an ability to make tough 2’s too. Klay is going to eat him on the offensive side of the ball unless Wiggs brings his pale to work. Wiggs just isn’t shooting well enough outside to really gain a clear advantage here. So that’s at worst a push and at best a slight edge Wolves.
Butler v KD I mean I’m a Wolves fan but I can’t give this one to Butler. Maybe I can talk myself into a similar situation to the Klay v Wiggs competition going to KD here.
Green V Taj I mean come on man. Taj is playing really well to start the season but Green’s got him here.
KAT v Zaza this one is the worst on the board. I mean come on man. KAT kills Zaza so bad that it bleeds over to one of the other match-ups to equal out the starting 5 a little more
Iggy v Jamal dude in their primes it’d have been a competition but now nah. Iggy still can run circles around Jamal on both sides of the court.
Going into this game we had one clear match-up advantage at KAT. Cool. The Warriors knew this so they funneled the defense to compensate. The Wolves didn’t appear to have a plan to attack this. KAT didn’t hurt us. The defense was collapsing on him. We didn’t really play the perimeter game enough. It just didn’t seem we had a new or different wrinkle even though GSW did.
3’s weren’t falling for Sota all night. 5 for 24 on the night. Works from the perspective of that’s how many 3’s we should be taking as a baseline but come on man only 5 makes. Look at that we took one corner 3.
Wolves v Golden State shot chart from ESPN
The Wolves just need to look at the long-term chess match. We lost this first match-up. At some point in time, we have to look at ourselves as competition for GS in a 7-game series. What do we have to do to steal one on the road? What do we have to lock-down home games?
I think on the road we have to bring the defensive intensity that was there in the first two-quarters of this game. GS took our punch. Then they came out in the 3rd with two adjustments. Changing the initial option to force the Wolves to guard the ball-handler with Teague/Wiggs. This allowed for bad switches or for the over-corrections that saw Butler switch ahead. It just wasn’t a great look and then boom Klay is open or faced up on Teague and the 3’s reigned.
Losing the 3rd that poorly made the 4th essentially garbage time.
We lost the first go. Now we need to look this game over and game-plan for future match-ups.