July 10th, 2014
bellebasketball

Wolves Open Scrimmage

I went to the Timberwolves scrimmage last night. I haven’t given much thought to the Wolves this off-season. Last night was a nice reminder of what there is to look forward to: our youth.

Zach LaVine looked good. He’s quick, he’s athletic and can jump out of the gym. If there is one word to describe him at this point, it’s potential. I would love to see him settle in to a shooting guard role with the Wolves. (Side note: our fast break game is going to be real nice.)

Shabazz looks better. He looks healthier and he showed off his ability to switch gears (read: turn up). Shabazz has the ability to play a key role for the Wolves this year, my guess - as a sixth man.

Glenn Robinson III seems to be a more calculated player. I enjoy watching Robinson play defense. I am hopeful that he will make the final roster (sayonara, Alexey). Alexey by the way looks like he doesn’t even like basketball.

It was a fun atmosphere and a treat to watch.

As I mentioned, I haven’t given much thought to the Wolves this off-season. This free agency has been a daunting storyline to follow. My only hope is that when we trade Kevin Love we receive a veteran in return. Our youth is exciting and holds much promise, but we need someone on the court to help mold and lead our team.


Go Wolves.

P.S. -

February 6th, 2014
bellebasketball

LoveHate Thing

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Love you then they hate you then they love you again. Hate you then they love you then they hate you again”

This could ring more true then my feelings for Kevin Love.  Just when empathy kicks in, and I feel sorry for this gifted athlete, my reason knocks with the question, why? But is it reason knocking? Oh Love, Love is so complicated. I wish I knew how I felt about you.

You see, I started writing a blog post about Love after the LAC game on December 22, 2013. “It’s finally happened,” I wrote, “I feel bad for Kevin Love.”  But similar to this post, I got flustered halfway in and scratched the idea of writing about Love. Writing has always helped me to sort out my feelings, but not when it comes to Love. I’m twisted over you.  Oh my, am I writing a Love letter? Shoot. Welp, here it goes:

I didn’t like Love at first. In fact, I thought he was overrated - I didn’t see potential in that 2008-2009 season. I missed KG, and the Wolves as a whole were a mess. (Note: I still miss KG.) As Love harnessed his agility and strength, my heart grew fonder. I was convinced of his talent, and confident in a future. When the Wolves took steps to surround Love with quality athletes and coaches, I lushed over the possibilities. My heart raced, “Baby I see you working hard, I want to let you know I’m proud, let you know that I admire what you do.” He took steps to reassure us of his capability and justified being the fifth overall pick.

Love was on track to become the Wolves designated player in 2011 but was not offered a max contract. Love had dedicated himself to the game and Kahn didn’t understand his worth, he didn’t take the time to make it work - leading to, what may turn out to be, an irreconcilable relationship. I felt sorry that the Wolves hadn’t honored Love’s commitment to himself, the team and the game with a max contract.  We should have done all that we could’ve to show you, Kevin, how super you are.

Last season was really when my roller-coaster of emotions arose. Love had become consistent but also distant. You could feel the disappointment and tension between Love and the management of the Wolves. You could feel Love disconnecting himself from the team and from Minnesota. My heart ached over his neglect. I never thought that lovin’ you would hurt, “how you gonna act like that?” I thought. It took me long enough to appreciate Love that when I had finally come around, it was too late, and I was overcome with sadness. On top of it all, Love would only play 18 games due to injury.

With Love sidelined and openly irritated with the Wolves front office, I became bitter. I watched the team I adore trudge and stumble through a season that had once held so much promise. I was ready to watch Love leave. Love was like fire & ice, I wanted him gone. It was over.

This season has been equally as draining. One night I can feel the reasons why I fell in love in the first place, other nights it’s more difficult. I had all but given up on my feelings for you, Love, but I keep letting you back in, how can I explain myself? As painful as this thing has been, I just can’t be with no one else. I want you, Love, to be our designated player. Said I want you, I want you. I want to see you continue to grow with the Wolves. I wanna stop playing all these silly little games you and me play.

I get it, Kevin. You’re from California, you played for UCLA. You want to play for the Lakers. I really, really get it. But we need you. How could our front office think that we could ever be better without you? I’ll go half crazy if you choose to leave. But before we make an offer you won’t refuse, I need to know you love us too. Will you ever be able to love Minnesota the way that we love you?

I’m not sure of what to do it’s a catch 22. I want you to be happy, but I want you to stay. Kevin, I’ve watched you grow, watched you change. I always knew, one day, you would outgrow our relationship. I know you’re going to leave me.

So for now, remember old times - just you and me, we use to ball out, just you and mefor old time sake, keep the memories, hold ‘em tight baby, hold ‘em tight, and know that I will always love you.

Always,
Jennifer

February 4th, 2014
bellebasketball

Current State of the NBA

I am frustrated with the NBA. Gary Payton nailed it in an interview from January 11, 2014 at Oregon State: No defense. It’s true. And defense wins games. When the Wolves play good defense, they win games. When they are quick and competitive without the ball, they win games. Defense is underrated in today’s NBA and it really bums me out. Payton also addressed the issue of “touch fouls.” Players are discouraged from being aggressive as refs are quick to blow the whistle. (Note: I was going to insert Too Short’s “Blow The Whistle,” but I was able to refrain for the sake of, well, nevermind.)  The two go hand in hand.

Toughness is no longer an attribute on the list of qualities for NBA athletes (leading to the lack of defense). Elite players are able to put up insane numbers because no one can touch them without being called for a foul. This was an issue for the Wolves earlier in the season when Kevin Love was fouled by Shawn Marion in the December 30th loss to the Mavericks. Rick Adelman voiced his opinion on the no-call and on Kevin’s stardom in saying, “I wonder what that would have been if [Dirk] Nowitzki, LeBron James, all the top players in the league — a guy reaches on a last-second shot like that, instead of challenging it. Maybe they don’t understand that Kevin is one of the top five players in this league. You make that call. But they didn’t.” So, what would happen if Corey Brewer had taken that shot? If Alexey Shved had taken that shot? Would the NBA have even looked at the call after the fact? Did it only change because Kevin Love is an All-Star? Yes. 

Elite players are scorers. They are not defenders. I’ll go as far to say that elite players don’t need to learn to be good defenders because they are protected by the refs and allowed to excel offensively.

What happens if Gary Payton becomes a coach in the NBA? Lord knows I’d love to see that (also because I think we’d see a lot more E-40.) But can he, or any other coach for that matter, transition the to focus back to defense? To bring back intensity when the ball is not yours?

Players these days are - like - friends with players on other teams. Sure, be friendly, get to know each other, appreciate your similarities, but please, celebrate your differences - indulge in the competition. You are your team. Rivalries are not nearly as present as they were in the 90’s. You don’t eat ice cream with the enemy. You play defense. If defense comes back, the rivalries will ignite. Why do I hate the Pacers? They play defense. What would I love to see the Wolves focus on? Defense.

I’m frustrated with the NBA and I hope to soon see the revival of rivalries and defense.

November 13th, 2013
bellebasketball

Timberwolves Killin’ ‘Em

The Minnesota Timberwolves are off to a 5 - 3 start (ooh kill ‘em).  


Our three losses come to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.  All were winnable games, two we didn’t come to play and the other was Kevin Love’s bad.  

The Timberwolves have been a pleasant surprise this season.  Long overdue, the Wolves are off to one of their best seasons yet.  Kevin Love is putting up monster numbers and the addition of Kevin Martin has made an immediate impact.  Corey Brewer is a million times better than he was during his first stint with the Wolves.  Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic have refined their strengths and worked on their weakness.  

Our bench, on the other hand, is miles away from being where we need them to be.  The health of our front five has never been more critical.  

SHVED:
With the season barely underway, I have been most disappointed with Alexey Shved.  I had hopes that he would return more composed, more focused.  I took to Shved quickly last year, his ability to take risks on the court, however last year they seemed more calculated.  He has been, (sigh), unimpressive thus far.

WILLIAMS:
Derrick Williams is still struggling with consistency.  In his debut against the Thunder, he played his role and was successful in Adelman’s offense.  I hope to see more of that. I’m not sure why I’m rooting for this kid, maybe it’s because everyone else isn’t.  He’s my new Wes Johnson (except, arguably, has more potential).  He’s young.  He’s athletic.  True, maybe the Timberwolves are not the best fit for him and his style, either way, there’s got to be something our staff sees in him having put in the time, effort and money we have, hoping for improvement and success.  

BAREA:
J.J., you still crazy.  It is when J.J. has the ball that I am the most emotional.  I don’t even know how to feel.  His presence is so mysterious; I become smothered by anxiety.  

CUNNINGHAM:
Who are you Dante Cunningham?  I’m still so confused.  Can someone tell me his strengths and weaknesses? 

TURIAF:
Turiaf is, I think, my favorite member of the Wolves.  Bringing experience and positive energy to our team, Turiaf has filled the much needed role of veteran Wolf.  I can’t wait until he is healthy and  back on the court.

DIENG:
I am really happy that we drafted Gorgui.  I think he will be successful.  His quiet demeanor is refreshing in an industry of egoism.  Turiaf going down, though upsetting, is a blessing for Dieng (and sort of for the team).  Being able to get clock in these early games will allow him to adjust to the NBA and be successful later on should injuries with Pek and Turiaf persist.  If the Timberwolves staff can harness his defensive abilities and improve his offensive game, Deing will be a force in this league.  

BUDINGER:
White man with bad knees who can shoot.  I hope we get him back sooner than later, knowing his shot can make a difference, but longevity is clearly an issue.

HUMMEL:
White man with bad knees who can kind of shoot.  I hate Purdue.  Go Gophers. 

SHABAZZ:
Time will tell with this young buck.  I’m not convinced by his performances thus far, but then again, we’re 8 games in to 80.  I think he has a good group of guys around him, and a coaching staff that is willing to put in the work.

PRICE:
Who?

I’m looking forward to tonight’s rematch against the Cavs. 

Go Wolves. 

November 2nd, 2013
bellebasketball

NBA Inside Stuff 2013

NBA Inside Stuff is back, hosted by the one and only Grant Hill.  I couldn’t be more excited.  Grant Hill was an excellent choice to succeed Ahmad Rashad.   A star of his day, he is tempered and put together.  His name alone sends one into a blur of nostalgia, like the show itself.  

In the first episode, airing today on NBAtv, Hill goes one-on-one with The Kid, Kevin Garnett (clip below).  I’m looking forward to an exciting season on the court and with Inside Stuff.  

Go Wolves. 

A thoughtful & feminine commentary of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and other NBA happenings.

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