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Robbie Hummel is Back with the Timberwolves



Robbie Hummel has returned to the Timberwolves on a 1 year, $880,000 deal. This may not be particularly earth-shattering news, but other than the Draft, it’s the only transaction the team has made in awhile. I broke down Hummel (and evaluated the roster as it stands right now over at A Wolf Among Wolves:

“Hummel’s value is found in his versatility (he started a game in place of Kevin Martin, for instance, and can also play both forward spots) and his potential as a spot-up shooter. Notice I said “potential” – well over half (97 of 177) of Hummel’s shot attempts in 2013-14 were spot-up jumpers and only 36% of them found the bottom of the net. He was solid above the break (making 44% of those attempts) but struggled hitting the coveted corner shot (26%). Despite the mixed results, the coaching staff and fellow players voiced the opinion that Hummel should keep firing away when he got looks, a testament to what he must have shown in practice.”

Read the full thing here.

Your Annotated Smartphone Bathroom Reader

Daryl Morey


“The Diss”, an NBA blog run by Jacob Greenberg and Kevin Draper, is one of my favorite on the web. Greenberg does a regular column called “Your Annotated Smartphone Bathroom Reader”, in which he describes (and links to) his favorite recent basketball writing… and my recent Daryl Morey piece for Hardwood Paroxysm made the cut!

An excerpt of what Jacob had to say:

“Bohl asserts that Morey has failed at his ability to manage his own image, and in many ways, temper his own aura. Boh feels that the core that Morey assembled this summer could probably past mustard in the West. However, “if the mission fails, it’ll be clear to everyone why it did, and there will be no shortage of those reveling in their demise,” he writes. “Such is the price of being run by a genius, and being called one; failures are amplified, and constant success is expected. The rough weekends are remembered. The good ones are not.” Lots of fine pieces have been written about Morey over the past few days, but this one was my favorite.”

It was an honor being mentioned – check out the full “Diss” piece right here.

Two Critiques of Daryl Morey

Morey 2


Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey is one of the most polarizing executives in the NBA. He had a rough weekend – he let a good player walk away and got nothing in return (Chandler Parsons) and couldn’t convince Chris Bosh to walk away from the Miami Heat. This has set off a new wave of Morey-hate, which I explored over at Hardwood Paroxysm:

“Those who are leery of (or downright resistant to) the important role analytics plays in how the game is understood and evaluated love to hate the Rockets. But to criticize Daryl Morey isn’t necessarily rooted in an antiquated, pre-SportVU mindset. Even front offices run by people with analytics backgrounds would admit their numbers inform decisions rather than make them. The degree to which analytics holds sway for franchise decision-makers is what varies from city to city, rather than whether they’re utilized or not. Morey and the Houston Rockets may be skewed toward their analytic approach, but they aren’t robots. They must, at some level, consider the human element.

Whether they consider that human element enough is where one criticism of Morey’s approach can really take shape.”

Check out the full thing right here.

Shakespeare and Love

ShakespeareInLove (1)


Recently, I discussed the phenomenon of revisionist history and breakup coping mechanisms as they pertain to Kevin Love, all through the lens of William Shakespeare:

“In Shakespearean tragedies, ill-fated romances almost always conclude with the gruesome, if eloquently narrated, death of one or both the characters involved. Thankfully, the tumultuous partnership between Kevin Love and the Timberwolves isn’t so dire; he’s merely leaving for employment in another city, and possibly soon. The conclusion to Minnesota’s Love affair resembles the second type of breakup, the slow kind, quibbles bubbling to the surface every now and again, the atrophy taking its toll until Flip can no longer bear it and Kevin is sent packing.”

Check it out over at A Wolf Among Wolves.

The Decision 2.0: Lebrocalypse Now

LeBronDecisionOver at Hardwood Paroxysm, the entire crew is taking turns waxing poetic about The Decision 2.0, the impending free agency of Lebron James. My contribution centered around everything that will be different this time around. An excerpt:

“There will still be hot takes. There will still be morons on social media. There will even be former players who mutter “tisk, tisk, I never would’ve done that” should LeBron actually pull off the formation of another superteam, whether it’s in Miami or not. All of that happened in 2010. The difference is, this time around, the majority of people will be rolling their eyes at such things, rather than nodding in agreement.”

Read the full thing right here.

Timberwolves Select LaVine, Pass on Hood, Harris, Payne


With the 13th overall pick in the NBA Draft, the Timberwolves selected Zach LaVine, guard, UCLA.

His reaction led plenty of people to overreact (myself included) because we couldn’t really tell if LaVine was expressing frustration or relief at the prospect of heading to Minnesota. At 6’6, 181 pounds, LaVine averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 44/38/69 shooting splits in 24 minutes per game for the Bruins in 2013-14. He’s an athletic specimen who can finish in transition, but lacks polish and will be a bit of a project.

His DraftExpress video:

It’s impossible to say if this was a good pick or a bad one, and while it surprised many in the media when it was announced (myself included), there had been leaks that LaVine had been promised by Flip Saunders during his workout that if he was available when the Wolves’ turn came at 13. Despite the rumors, I am still shocked that Saunders passed on more pro ready prospects such as Gary Harris, Adreian Payne or Rodney Hood. Harris seemed like the ideal two-way player Flip claimed he was after, Payne is a stretch four who could have contributed immediately, and Hood’s smooth midrange jumper seems suited for Saunders’ offense.

At any rate, LaVine’s the pick, and unless an unforeseen trade comes around, he’ll be the Wolves’ top haul from the loaded 2014 Draft class.

Randy Wittman Debate

Randy Wittman


Last week at Hardwood Paroxysm, Jordan White and I debated whether former Timberwolf coach Randy Wittman deserved the three year extension he received from the Washington Wizards. The owner of the worst record in NBA history among coaches with 400 or more games of experience, Wittman underwhelmed in the nation’s capital before a late-season surge into the (albeit weak) Eastern Conference playoffs, where they upset the Chicago Bulls in the first round.

Read the whole thing over at HP.

Flip Saunders and Kevin Love are in a Staring Contest

2013 NBA Draft Lottery


Kevin Love took a little trip to the #CityofChamps this weekend (Boston), which turned up the heat on the Minnesota front office. I wrote about the difficult position Flip Saunders has found himself in over at A Wolf Among Wolves -

“It’s easy to view the Summer of Love from the outside and wax rhapsodic about what the Wolves ought to do, or what they should get back in a trade. It’d be much different to be inside the luxury suites, offices and long-distance phone calls where the actual business is done. Few people have jobs where a singular moment will define their entire tenure, and to most people, such a thing sounds like a frightening proposition. But that’s what Saunders faces, right now, and the franchise is in a holding pattern until it’s done.”

Read the rest right here.

Roster Review: Kevin Martin



The Wolves’ enigmatic shooting guard was the focus of my latest roster review over at A Wolf Among Wolves, and the result was a post that was much more stats-heavy than anything I usually write.

Martin derives much of his offensive value from his ability to shoot threes and get to the foul line. While he did get to the line at a higher clip than either of his previous two seasons, his free throw attempts per-36 in 2013-14 (5.6) were still well below his career rate (7.0). And despite the fact that he made 39% of his threes, he attempted those at a lower rate as well (4.9 tries per-36, his lowest output since 2009-10). Instead, he took a lot of contested midrange jumpers, often out of isolation sets; among players who tried at least 350 midrange shots, only Josh Smith made them at a lower clip than Martin’s 35.9%.

Read the full thing here.

Apocalypse, Now?

Kevin-Love (1)


Yesterday I summarized the latest Kevin Love news for A Wolf Among Wolves:

“Jon Krawczynski’s afternoon post for the Associated Press affirmed that Flip Saunders and Glen Taylor would consider trading the superstar forward “if the right deal comes along,” a shift from their previous public stance. Krawczynski also reported (via Twitter) that “Love and his reps have NOT asked for a trade or told Wolves he definitely will not re-sign.” However, Wojnarowski updated his story in the late afternoon and stated that Love’s representatives at Excel Sports were, in fact, pushing the Wolves’ front office to “find a trade acceptable to them before the beginning of summer free agency in July – preferably by the June 26 NBA draft.” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein chimed in as well, stating that Golden State and Chicago were two potential destinations that intrigue Love. Finally, this morning, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune provided quotes from Glen Taylor, who acknowledged the shift in the team’s philosophy, but remained hopeful that the team could find a way to entice him to stick around.”

I compared the current environment around the team to my favorite scene from the iconic Vietnam movie “Apocalypse Now”:

“The look on Roach’s face when he says, “yeah,” the fact that he doesn’t elaborate, doesn’t need to elaborate, is one of the most powerful moments in the film. Willard is far up the river, deep inside the horror, darkness and pandemonium of war. Roach knows who’s in charge. No one’s in charge. Every one’s in charge. For the rest of his journey, nothing about the normal protocol of battle applies, and information will be hard to come by. Which is right where we are.”

Read the full thing right here.