All Things 2019-2020 Minnesota Timberwolves In-Season Thread

BleedGopher

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STrib: The new OG: James Johnson takes over elder statesman role with Wolves

There was so much to talk about, write about, for fans to cheer about, that it almost went unnoticed.

After all, in a streak-busting offensive explosion that was the Timberwolves' victory Saturday at Target Center, you had the best of old and new. Career night for Jordan McLaughlin, Karl-Anthony Towns one assist away from a triple double, Malik Beasley shooting the lights out.

But then, off the bench: James Johnson.

Johnson, who turns 33 on Feb. 20, is easily the oldest member of the new-look Wolves. He's one of a slew of new faces to make their debut Saturday after he was acquired from Miami as part of a multiple-team trade that sent Gorgui Dieng to Memphis.

"It was weird to get called 'OG,'" Johnson said after the game. "In our locker room [in Miami] that was UD."

UD as in 39-year-old Udonis Haslem.

In his first game in a Wolves uniform, Johnson — a 6-7, 240-pounder as comfortable in a mixed martial arts bout as he is on a basketball court — scored 15 points, hit six of nine shots (including two of three three-pointers), with three rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in the 142-115 rout of the Clippers.


Howl Wolves!!
 

Dean S

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It is about time the Wolves had a heartbeat. I have been waiting for this for two decades. I am excited.
 

jamiche

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Four things stand out about Russell:

1. Five years ago he came into Williams and absolutely torched the gophers.
2. That same season tOSU was playing deep in the NCAA tournament and during the game I watched Russell played just about the most "I don't give a sh#t defense" I had ever seen. I was really surprised to see that kind of defense in such a big game.
3. During his rookie year with the Lakers Russell secretly recorded his roommate, Nick Young, talking about cheating on his fiancé. He released the tape.
4. The three franchises that had him got rid of him.

Nonetheless, Russell can shoot the basketball. If the wolves are going to put up fifty 3's a game, Russell might as well throw some of them up there. It doesn't hurt that he's KAT's buddy.

I'm actually more interested in Beasley, the other Denver player. Spellman and the two picks this year. The wolves are really going to regret losing both picks next year. It's supposed to be a strong draft.
 

dpodoll68

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Four things stand out about Russell:

1. Five years ago he came into Williams and absolutely torched the gophers.
2. That same season tOSU was playing deep in the NCAA tournament and during the game I watched Russell played just about the most "I don't give a sh#t defense" I had ever seen. I was really surprised to see that kind of defense in such a big game.
3. During his rookie year with the Lakers Russell secretly recorded his roommate, Nick Young, talking about cheating on his fiancé. He released the tape.
4. The three franchises that had him got rid of him.

Nonetheless, Russell can shoot the basketball. If the wolves are going to put up fifty 3's a game, Russell might as well throw some of them up there. It doesn't hurt that he's KAT's buddy.

I'm actually more interested in Beasley, the other Denver player. Spellman and the two picks this year. The wolves are really going to regret losing both picks next year. It's supposed to be a strong draft.
To offer some context specifically on your point 4 above - the Lakers gave up on him too quickly (he had just turned 21) and actually got a very solid asset back in Kyle Kuzma. The Nets were never going to re-sign him with the intent of keeping him when they had Durant and Irving coming their way. And the Warriors had somewhat of a perfect storm in that they knew Klay Thompson would be out for a year, and they could acquire him to eat up minutes on a bad team with the intent always being to flip him for assets for the cost of a half-season's pay.

Ideally, a guy wouldn't be on his 4th team at age 23, but he has been subject to a weird set of circumstances, and frankly I think career journeys like his may become more the norm in the modern NBA where the star players hold so much leverage.
 

jamiche

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To offer some context specifically on your point 4 above - the Lakers gave up on him too quickly (he had just turned 21) and actually got a very solid asset back in Kyle Kuzma. The Nets were never going to re-sign him with the intent of keeping him when they had Durant and Irving coming their way. And the Warriors had somewhat of a perfect storm in that they knew Klay Thompson would be out for a year, and they could acquire him to eat up minutes on a bad team with the intent always being to flip him for assets for the cost of a half-season's pay.

Ideally, a guy wouldn't be on his 4th team at age 23, but he has been subject to a weird set of circumstances, and frankly I think career journeys like his may become more the norm in the modern NBA where the star players hold so much leverage.
The Lakers couldn't wait to unload him. Kuzma is an ok player. He's not starting.
I can see your point about the Nets although I'm not sure the Warriors signed him to flip him because it's not easy to move players who are on max deals unless they are legit max players like Anthony Davis.

I think Russell is a definite offensive upgrade, but he's not a program changer.
 

JimmyJamesMD

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Not sure what the deal was with Spellman but so far at least, your Beasley call was dead on. :giggle:

"Malik Beasley set Target Center ablaze as he launched — and connected — on one triple after another in Minnesota’s stunning 142-115 blowout of the Los Angeles Clippers in the first game featuring these new-look Wolves.

The flame thrower acquired this week from Denver scored 23 points on the strength of seven triples to go with 10 rebounds, good for his first double-double.

The highlight of it all came late in the second quarter, when he scorched one of the supposed NBA title favorites for 11 points in a span of 78 seconds.

“I was in the zone. I couldn’t see anybody or hear anybody, and it just felt good,” Beasley said.

When was the last time the Wolves had anyone capable of that kind of offensive output?

So much of the talk the past two days centered on the acquisition of Russell — a 2019 all-star and Minnesota’s new point guard of the future. The moves to get Beasley, James Johnson, Juancho Hernangomez and others almost became footnote.."


My prediction might end up only being 50% right. Some article, which i cant find now, stated that Rosas really liked the players coming from denver, but not the ones from GS (spellman and evans). They were throw ins for GSW tax implications.
 

Iceland12

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My prediction might end up only being 50% right. Some article, which i cant find now, stated that Rosas really liked the players coming from denver, but not the ones from GS (spellman and evans). They were throw ins for GSW tax implications.
That could be right, though hope it ends-up a "100%" deal. Wolves do seem to have plenty of guy's around Spellman's height on the roster now. Looking at his numbers seems that they could give him a shot, but as I mentioned before, can't remember having seen him play.

Who really knows. The Russell I watched on the Lakers? Thought he would be "ok" at best. The Russell from the past two seasons? 22.5 points and 6.6 assists a game? Even if he isn't Jason Kidd or Rubio on defense, those offensive numbers are better than the Wolves have gotten from their PG in..forever? Fine with having him on the team.
 

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The Athletic posted their weekly NBA Rankings. 30 teams in all. Here's just one of them. ;)

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (Previously 28th), 16-35 (-3.1 net rating)

Ope! The Timberwolves got their man in trading for D’Angelo Russell. After all that posturing through weeks and months of trade negotiations, they held firm and the Golden State Warriors ended up blinking. They wanted to get under the luxury tax threshold, more than they wanted to squeeze extra picks out of the Wolves, which is understandable. That 2021 pick they received could still be a top 5 pick, even though it’s top 3. But for the Wolves, they finally have their guy to put next to Karl-Anthony Towns. There are no more excuses, until the next excuses pop up. KAT and Russell will need to lead this Wolves team and do it properly. There’s plenty of time to dissect how that works or doesn’t work once they get on the court together. Also, Malik Beasley as a sneaky pickup in that four-team deal and may be the biggest win for the Wolves this week.

Beasley showed a bit of what he can do in his first game for Minnesota. He dropped 3-pointer after 3-pointer. He showed why he’s someone Denver hated to let go. He’s a flat-out great shooter and he might be an even better athlete. He’ll put up some pretty impressive performances over the next couple of months. It will lead him into restricted free agency, and the Wolves will be forced to either pay him big or match a big offer sheet. But make no mistake, the Wolves are going to do what it takes to keep him in Minneapolis long-term. They still need to flesh out this roster and fill it with competent role players. Gersson Rosas has his work cut out for him bringing these guys to Minnesota. But they believe Beasley can be their
third-best player for a long time. Others around the league don’t think it’s crazy either. Great pickup.
 

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Anunoby had a career-high 25 points, a career-high 12 rebounds, almost a career high with three assists and spent time checking everyone from guards to centres as the Raptors ran their franchise-record winning streak to 15 games by pulling away for a 137-126 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Anunoby wasn’t the sole reason the Raptors won — Pascal Siakam poured in 34 points, Kyle Lowry had 27 and 11 assists — but his addition to the usual Raptors offence more than made up for the absence of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who got the start for Ibaka, had a season-high 21 points, Fred VanVleet added 16 and the Raptors won easily despite getting next to no production from a very good bench.

The starters had all but 14 of Toronto’s points, and four of them had more than 20.

The game was all over the place and terribly sloppy at times, as can happen less than a week from the much-anticipated all-star break.

The Raptors made their first eight shots in the first quarter, but committed 15 turnovers in the opening half and trailed 75-74 at the break. They committed just two turnovers in the entire third quarter and were up 12 going into the fourth.


 

jamiche

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I watched most of the game and it was nice to see some threes go in. Toronto. Plays. Basketball. Tough, smart, athletic, talented, unselfish and set up perfectly in terms of style and depth for the playoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if they repeat. The wolves are obviously a better offensive team. They move the ball, have some flow and are finally interesting to watch. They are even worse defensively. They will need to score 130-140 to win games.
 

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Instead of Muhammad and Dieng, Flip could have drafted Giannis and Gobert. Think of the defense we could play with those two.
 

tikited

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Instead of Muhammad and Dieng, Flip could have drafted Giannis and Gobert. Think of the defense we could play with those two.
True but a lot of other teams can say the same thing. That is why I don't worry about next years pick being traded...they would have most likely screwed it up.
 

Iceland12

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True but a lot of other teams can say the same thing. That is why I don't worry about next years pick being traded...they would have most likely screwed it up.
13 other teams could have drafted Giannis and 26 teams could have drafted Gobert. A whole lot of busts and/or guys that never lived up to their draft position in that draft.

That said the Wolves propensity to draft guys that are "in betweeners" or who can "learn to shoot" in the pros is very irritating indeed.

 
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Iceland12

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They held out until after the Trade Deadline

On Tuesday, the Wolves were finally ready to make their season ticket renewal pitch to their most loyal customers — longstanding and often long-suffering season ticket holders. In an aggressive plan released to the general public Wednesday, the Wolves offered three key pieces to fans who either renewed existing tickets or bought new ones for the 2020-21 season:

*50% off all food, beverage and retail purchases at Target Center, including alcohol, for the next two seasons.

*The flexibility to exchange tickets for games they can’t use for ones they can use later.

*And a pledge to not raise ticket prices next year and the year after.

The Wolves will offer about 1,000 lower-level season tickets at $23 per game (less than $1,000 per season) with upper level seats starting at $16. The 50% discount on food, drink and retail purchases (available while using the Timberwolves app, on which money can be loaded) is extremely rare in major pro sports.

 

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What ice said! I would never buy season tickets to the wolves mostly because I really just don't enjoy the NBA very much compared to college bball but I am really impressed with their season ticket offer. I think I read no price increases for 2 seasons, 50% off basically everything including alcohol (! which is amazing), and if you can't attend a game you have the option to exchange the tickets for a future game. Something the loons did while at TCF which was awesome.

That's a pretty amazing offer if you have had Twolves tickets or are thinking about getting them.
 

tikited

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What ice said! I would never buy season tickets to the wolves mostly because I really just don't enjoy the NBA very much compared to college bball but I am really impressed with their season ticket offer. I think I read no price increases for 2 seasons, 50% off basically everything including alcohol (! which is amazing), and if you can't attend a game you have the option to exchange the tickets for a future game. Something the loons did while at TCF which was awesome.

That's a pretty amazing offer if you have had Twolves tickets or are thinking about getting them.
I don't do full season tickets anymore but still do a 10 game deal (ends up being 12 by the end of it). I don't get any of the really good stuff listed, but the ticket freeze on prices is a nice touch for people like me.
 

bottlebass

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I don't do full season tickets anymore but still do a 10 game deal (ends up being 12 by the end of it). I don't get any of the really good stuff listed, but the ticket freeze on prices is a nice touch for people like me.
That's too bad they won't reward you with like a 25% of concessions or something at least
 

BleedGopher

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Sid: Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor still believes in coach Ryan Saunders' ability

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that at no point during the difficult start to this season — which included a 5-27 streak before the trade deadline — did he consider firing coach Ryan Saunders, who is in the first year of his contract as the youngest coach (33) in the NBA.

“No, no, no, he is hired,” Taylor said. “A young guy and he is going to get better as time goes on and we just have to give him that time.”

The Wolves struggled as mightily as they have in franchise history during the first half of the season, but you have to give credit to Taylor, Saunders and President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas for evaluating the roster and then making as many moves as necessary to acquire the best personnel for Saunders’ style of play.

Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, said the new players should be a better fit for Saunders.

“[Saunders] is excited about this change that now he has guys that can play the kind of basketball he wants,” Taylor said. “He is really a believer in the three-point shot, moving the ball fast, and getting up and down the court. He needed some players that were better three-point shooters than what we had previously.”

The Wolves added not only All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell to the lineup but also guards Malik Beasley and Jacob Evans, guard/forwards Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe and forwards Juancho Hernangomez, James Johnson, Jarred Vanderbilt and Omari Spellman.

Taylor said he appreciates how Rosas kept him in the loop about the kind of roster he wanted from when Taylor hired him in May 2019.

“[Rosas and I] have talked about this since he came and so it isn’t a last-minute thing with him,” Taylor said. “We talk quite often and he tells me what his goals are, what the opportunities are, so when we really get down to the trade, I know everything already about it and he just calls up as kind of a last-minute thing and says, ‘OK, we can go ahead now. You’ve OK’d this, but I want to check one last time.’

“It isn’t so much at the end. This year it was planning way beforehand of what our opportunities may be.”


Howl Wolves!!
 

jamiche

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I watched most of the game last night, mostly out of curiosity. Mostly it was the same old, same old. Mostly clank city from behind the line. Mostly indifferent defense, which is ok when the other team plays indifferent defense in the first half, but not ok when the other team gets serious in the second half. Russell is kind of fun because he can do some things that no pg has done around here since Marbury. His act will grow old because he's super casual with the basketball and his defense consists of waiting around to take the ball up the court after a made basket. He's on his fourth NBA team, which means no coach is going to change that.

Besides Russell, Beasley is the new player who is closest to a difference maker.

Somebody tweeted after the game in reference to the wolves: "Why can't we have nice things?" I kind of feel that way.
 

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Good news? They had a 66 point 1st Half and only committed 11 turnovers the entire game! Bad news? A 42 point 2nd Half and as mentioned above they couldn't shoot worth a damn. The Timberwolves shot 30.2 percent in the second half.

Timberwolves surrender big lead as Karl-Anthony Towns out with wrist injury

Once Karl-Anthony Towns was declared out for the Timberwolves’ game against Charlotte on Wednesday night, Minnesota’s starting lineup was left with one player who was with the team before Feb. 5: Josh Okogie.

The remaining starters — D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and James Johnson — had played a total of seven games in a Wolves uniform.

Wednesday’s 115-108 loss showed Minnesota still has much work to do with its new-look lineup.
The Wolves led by as many as 18 points before a second-half collapse to lose for the 15th time in 16 games.

“There’s going to be a lot of adjustment,” Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said. “There really is. With anything, change is hard, and when you have a wholesale change where it’s almost a new roster, these guys are going to do anything they can to speed up the process. As players and coaches and as an organization, we’ll do that, but the game experience at times there were a couple times where there were miscommunications.

“We talk about defense, but offensively, it’s learning each other, too.”

Russell had 26 points and 11 assists in his Target Center debut for Minnesota, and Beasley hit five 3-pointers on his way to 28 points. Hernangomez added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Naz Reid had 12 points off the bench..


 
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stocker08

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Just about anybody in the top 10 would be useful for this sh!tty team.
I don't follow NBA Draft mocks all that close. But it sounds like it's a weak draft and the drops off after the first five or so.

What we need to do is keep losing. Getting that Wiseman kid from Memphis would be great. At 7'1"....he would be a perfect fit with KAT.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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I don't follow NBA Draft mocks all that close. But it sounds like it's a weak draft and the drops off after the first five or so.

What we need to do is keep losing. Getting that Wiseman kid from Memphis would be great. At 7'1"....he would be a perfect fit with KAT.
Two bigs are not necessary in today's NBA. They need another wing who can shoot/play d. Unfortunately there isn't much of that in this draft.
 

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I would love an athletic 4 who can defend and rebound. If that doesn't happen, they could use a small forward.
 
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