Friday, May 04, 2007

Wolves offseason preview

Well, my Timberwolves had another disappointing season. I'm only thinking about it now after the Warriors smack-down of the #1 seed, Dallas. What a great series, really. Too bad the league feels the need to play everything on cable, to either a) force me to go to the bar or b) buy cable. What am I going to do with this "cable" when the season is over, anyway? I had a tough enough time quitting CSPAN once, I'm not going through that again.

Anyway, in no particular order, here's my take on the Wolves season and offseason:

1. Garnett is still the best player on any court, any given night. Period. Best player on the planet. Some say he's lost a step, but I think that's an effect of being on a losing team. Get into real playoff contention (not fighting over an 8-seed) and you'll see him transform into the MVP Garnett.

2. We have no point guard. None. Foye isn't a natural distribution guy, but he is a scorer. Davis is the closest thing we have to a PG on this roster. Yes, we have James, Troy, and Marko, but seriously...those guys showed us nothing last year, with the possible exception of Marko.

3. I am excited about our rookies coming back. Most players make their biggest improvement from the rookie year to the second year, and McCants really hasn't had a healthy offseason either. I'm looking for some leaps by Craig Smith, Foye, and Rashad.

4. In my heart of hearts, I've given up on McCants, actually. I'd take the guy playing one-on-one, but his shot selection is forced and he's disruptive to our offense, just like when Ricky used to march down and shoot a jumper with 20 seconds left on the shot clock. Foye is much more fluid and doesn't force things, which is why he's our combo/SG of the future.

5. We are hurting or going to hurt at a number of "positions". PG, C, and SF are looking bad at this stage (in that order). But we do have "skills": Marko and Davis can pass, Craig Smith can really hit the offensive glass, something I can't EVER remember us doing well at, Blount can shoot, Foye can slash and score, Trenton can still defend and take advantage of mismatches on the other end, and Troy can rap. Just kidding on that last one.

6. Flipside to #5: Craig Smith is too short to guard the C position, and too slow to guard the SF position. Marko can't play PG, neither can Davis. Blount can't defend or rebound. Foye can't distribute, Trenton is going to get less minutes due to the young guys, etc.

7. The Draft. Well, the good news - we get to keep our pick! Hopefully we'll give it back to the Clippers next year. Obviously I'd love to have Oden or Durant, but barring a miracle, we'll be picking seventh. Guys I do NOT want, either due to skill or not filling a hole on our roster: Brandan Wright, Joakim Noah, and Al Horford.

Guys I do want:

1. Corey Brewer - 6'8" SF. Yes, he doesn't have much offense, but he's a great defender and we're going to need that if Foye is going to shoulder the load offensively. If he's got the work ethic to improve, this would be a great pick, and would make up for drafting McCants instead of Granger 2 years ago.

2. Jeff Green - another 6'8" SF. A little more versatile than Brewer, but not a top-tier defensive guy. Good defense though. A really a good glue guy on that Georgetown team, and the Wolves need some glue. Not as comfortable as Green being a spot-up shooter, either. But would still be a good pick at #7.

3. Yi Jianlian - 7'0" PF. The only foreign player projected to go in the lottery. Plays the same position as KG. Youtube video splices in KG, which makes me think he belongs here. Not strong enough to take on physical players in the paint. Probably a good pick from a marketing perspective.

Of course, I like Hibbert and Conley as well, but I think Hibbert is a long-term project/bust (see: Patrick O'Bryant), and Conley would be a reach unless we traded a couple of spots down.

That's enough for now.

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