Opiniones de foreros Wolves recogidos en RealGM
Last month I debuted a series of Pre-Draft Summits over on RealGM’s NFL page as each of the league’s teams prepared for the annual rookie draft. I posed a set of questions, similar to the ones asked on our NFL boards, to each of the NBA’s fourteen lottery team forums as we prepare to begin our up-to-the-minute, expert 2008 NBA Draft coverage. The following responses were compiled from our Minnesota forum, the people who know the Wolves better than some of the players themselves.
The Minnesota Timberwolves:
2007-08 Record: 22-60
Difference From 2006-07: 10 Fewer Wins
Chance Of Landing #1 Pick: 13.8%
Restricted Free Agents: Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith, Chris Richard, Kirk Snyder, Sebastian Telfair
Unrestricted Free Agents: Michael Doleac.
1. What could the team have done different to make the playoffs?
kandiking: Have made the Allen Iverson trade last year, and therefore never have dealt Kevin Garnett to Boston.
deeney0: Reset the clock to 2004, and undo the three years of mistakes leading up to the KG trade.
shrink: With KG, Minnesota was a threat to make the playoffs every year, but injuries (Terrell Brandon, Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell) and egotistical flame-outs (Stephon Marbury, Cassell) seemed to keep the Wolves from getting past the first round. The fans love Garnett, but a trade was due. We’re happy with Al Jefferson, and several of the former Celtics played better than expected, but I don't think we had illusions about making the playoffs in 2008.
Steve_Holiday: Even with KG, this team was not making the playoffs.
PaintPatrol: There is nothing we could have done to make the playoffs this year.
TrentTuckerForever: 2008 was a rebuilding year. There was no way the Wolves could have made the playoffs in the West.
Devilzsidewalk: Maybe having traded young players and draft picks for veterans. Of course that'd be a totally stupid idea, unless you're getting Chris Paul or something.
revprodeji: The token answer would be "don’t trade KG and get vets", but I disagree. I think the best chance this team would have had to make the playoffs this year would have been to have had a healthy Randy Foye all year and have a healthy Theo Ratliff playing 20 minutes a night next to Al. Also making the Gerald Green/Kirk Snyder trade earlier and establishing a solid rotation.
2. Where were the team’s biggest strengths?
kandiking: Low-post offense and offensive rebounding. I’m pretty sure that's about it.
deeney0: Scoring in the paint.
shrink: Jefferson, and the fact that the players are young enough to develop.
Steve_Holiday: Power forward and ‘pride’. This team could have been a lot worse. They pulled out some big wins and elected not to tank at the end of the season.
PaintPatrol: Big Al.
TrentTuckerForever: Our paint play against smaller teams. Jefferson and Gomes are not true fives and fours, respectively, but their ability to play the power spots effectively against smaller teams bodes well for the Wolves, especially in a league that's getting smaller all the time.
Devilzsidewalk: Offensive rebounding and our play in the paint.
revprodeji: Jefferson is the token answer. I would add the physical play of our guards. Foye is very strong, Rashad McCants is very strong. Those guys can be physically powerful. I think we also have a young deep core of guys that are smart and hustle.
3. Who had a surprisingly effective season?
kandiking: Jefferson, Telfair, Snyder and Gomes
deeney0: I think Al exceeded everyone's expectations. Foye also had a very strong end of March/April and returned to form faster than I anticipated.
shrink: Jefferson was even better than advertised and Gomes was always solid using poise, smarts and hustle, but I was most surprised by Telfair. I expected nothing out of him at all.
Steve_Holiday: Jefferson exceeded expectations and Telfair may not be with the team next year, but he definitely showed he belongs in the league somewhere. Foye rallied back from injury nicely as well.
PaintPatrol: Telfair really surprised me as a distributor.
TrentTuckerForever: Telfair. He's too small and doesn't shoot well enough (at this point) to be a starter, but he looks like a solid rotation guy. The Wolves should bring him back.
Devilzsidewalk: Big Al. He played to his full potential. He even showed some life on defense the last quarter of the season or so, hopefully something he continues to build on.
revprodeji: Jefferson was as good as we hoped. Otherwise, Foye gave us good hope towards the end of the year.
4. Who had a surprisingly ineffective season?
kandiking: McCants and Green.
deeney0: McCants' season was a failure in my eyes. He failed to make any of the changes that needed to be made in order to take his game to the next level. He's nothing more than a scorer off the bench at this point. Green was an absolute failure as well.
shrink: Corey Brewer showed flashes in other areas of his game, but he couldn't find his shot all season. Conversely, McCants averaged about 15 points on 40+% three-point shooting off the bench, but made several defensive mistakes.
Steve_Holiday: I remember talking myself into Brewer last year, but he's still incredibly raw. Although I agree that Rashad and Gerald were ineffective, neither came as a surprise to me.
PaintPatrol: Foye, only because of his injury.
TrentTuckerForever: McCants. I really thought he'd take his game to the next level this year, being the team's only outside threat. Instead he feuded with the coaching staff and played spotty defense (and that's being kind).
Devilzsidewalk: Telfair. Can't shoot, can't finish, and can't play defense. Let’s re-sign him!
revprodeji: I knew Brewer's offensive game would take some time, but I did not expect his confidence to take such a big hit. I think he will have a good, long career, but he needs a good summer.
5. How confident are you in the front office heading into the offseason?
kandiking: Judging by history, I’m not very confident in McHale. But judging from the KG trade, I’m hopeful that we can turn some expiring contracts into something useful.
deeney0: I think they're going to screw up and pay Gomes too much. Some of McHale’s quotes are downright scary; he thinks this team is far closer to contending in the West than it actually is.
shrink: Very confident. As a trader, McHale got the best KG deal out there in Al Jefferson, made three deals to remove the longer contracts of Mike James, Trenton Hassell and Mark Blount, and he was able to get a first-rounder from Miami for that garbage?
As for drafting, McHale plucked Craig Smith from the second round two years ago, and I like to point out that while it’s too early to expect All-Star appearances from McCants, Foye and Brewer, all of McHale's previous lottery picks became All-Stars.
Steve_Holiday: Although McHale’s mistakes have been well-documented, I don't believe he is as horrible as everyone makes him out to be. That said, after the KG disaster, I really don't think he should be general manager of this team. Post-KG, McHale has been like George W. Bush's second term in office: an injustice we are all resigned to accept.
PaintPatrol: I’m not very confident. I have a feeling they will overpay our free agents, but hopefully management learned their lesson.
TrentTuckerForever: Tough one to answer. I really think the Wolves will end up with the third pick in a two-player draft. It reminds me of the Shaq/Mourning draft where the Wolves (despite having the worst record in the league the previous season) ended up with the third pick (Christian Laettner).
Am I confident that McHale wouldn't choose a Laettner (Brook Lopez, anyone) this season? I think he and the Wolves’ brain trust would recognize that the Wolves backcourt needs are greater than their frontcourt needs right now, and the best talent available in our range is in the backcourt. However, McHale is the guy who put this franchise in the position where we had to trade KG in the first place. We'll have to see.
Devilzsidewalk: I’m 50% confident. I don’t think they make aggressive plays for needed players like Chris Duhon and DeSagana Diop out of their fear of the luxury tax. They also have a truly unparalleled ability to draft a solid player at best, bust at worst, when there are difference-makers available. Examples: Szczerbiak instead of Shawn Marion, Brewer instead of Nick Young, Foye instead of Brandon Roy, Ndudi Ebi instead of Josh Howard and William Avery instead of anybody else.
revprodeji: McHale is not as bad as many think. He has had horrible luck (injuries/death/disgruntled) and a lack of draft picks. This year there are some big choices to make, but I think the draft is idiot proof (top-six is anyway) and as long as we are responsible with our re-signing, I feel we could improve.
6. What are the team’s biggest needs in the draft?
kandiking: A defensive center and a defensive point guard that can distribute.
deeney0: This team desperately needs a true scoring threat on the wing, and a player who isn't a total liability when it comes to other aspects of the game.
shrink: A defensive-oriented center, but we have only one spot nailed down – power forward. We'll take the best available player.
Steve_Holiday: A defensive center or a true point guard. An all-star player at any position, really.
PaintPatrol: A defensive center that can hit a 10-15' shot would be ideal, and a wing that brings it on both ends of the floor.
TrentTuckerForever: Like most bad teams, the fastest way to make the Wolves relevant again would be to add a true point guard. Derrick Rose paired with Jefferson and whatever the Wolves could get in trade for Foye would be a .500 team. But we'll have to see how the lottery balls bounce...I personally don't think they’ll fall well enough for us to get Rose.
Devilzsidewalk: Position-wise, a center would fit in the nicest. Skill-wise, the Wolves need defense, defensive rebounding, perimeter shooting, frontcourt athleticism and size.
revprodeji: We need a defensive big to play next to Al. We also need a backcourt/swing guy to compliment Foye and Brewer.
7. Assuming the lottery plays out true, who would you like your team to select?
kandiking: With the third pick, I’d choose Brook Lopez.
deeney0: No question, OJ Mayo.
shrink: Mayo won the Wolves Mock Draft, and I agree with the pick. I like a backcourt of he and Foye, but I'd be willing to listen to offers for the pick as well.
TrentTuckerForever: Mayo would be a terrific fit next to Foye. Although I think Brewer's future is at the two (where his length gives opposing guards fits), Mayo has definite NBA talent. If Rose, Beasley and Mayo are all off the board, I think the Wolves should trade down and go for a project big like Anthony Randolph or DeAndre Jordan.
Devilzsidewalk: Lopez. He gives the team a center, rebounding, better interior defense and another scoring punch.
revprodeji: If we get the third pick we should grab Mayo, but Lopez is right behind him at the fourth.