On the merits of the T-Wolves’ increased use of the Pick-and-Roll:
After Monday’s morning shootaround Popovich talked at some length about his impressions of Rubio and the retooled Wolves lineup.
“There are a lot of changes, not just Ricky Rubio,” Popovich said. “But you can see a lot of good.”
Especially when it comes to the relatively pared-down Wolves offense late in games.
“It’s basketball,” he said. “We all run the pick-and-roll. John [Stockton] and Karl [Malone] ran the pick-and-roll [in Utah] for a gazillion years. It was pretty simple, but it depends on who’s doing it. And [Rubio] is very good at it. No reason to make something complicated if someone is great at doing something simple.”
On the improvement of Kevin Love:
“He’s more confident than ever. In the past he wondered, ‘Should I shoot this shot or not?’ Now he knows. He knows he’s a stud. He’s out there to win and to kick … ”
Well, you can finish the rest.
“He’s a complete pro at this point who knows he’s one of the best players in the league,” Popovich said.
On the coaching ability of Rick Adelman:
“Rick has, in many ways, been under the radar for a long time,” Popovich said. “He’s always one of the first people owners want to hire, but he always manages to stay in the background, because he’s that kind of guy. But he probably did a better job than anybody in the league for two, three, four years in Houston with all the injuries they had. I’m not sure anybody figured that out.”
On the recent direction of so-called ‘American culture’:
“These guys, they travel around the world,” Popovich said of international players such as Rubio and Ginobili. “They’re more cultured than we are. Everyone acts like Americans are the ones … we have sort of an arrogance about us. Like we’re the cultured ones? Are you serious?
”Have you watched TV lately? Have you seen what Americans do? How many languages do you speak? And you wonder how they’re going to adjust to our culture? I hope they avoid it and keep their own!“
Classic stuff, on several fronts, from one of the very best coaches in the history of the NBA.
Don Nelson has been in town all week prepping for his interview with the Wolves on Sunday.
OK, so maybe he arrived here from Hawaii early this week to spend some time with his daughter, a schoolteacher, and his grandkids in Minnetonka.
Point is, he’s here in town and next on a list that started with Terry Porter on Monday, Mike Woodson on Tuesday and continues with Bernie Bickerstaff today and Rick Adelman on Saturday.
There might be one or two others after that.
1. David Kahn actually knows what he’s doing, as the GM for Minnesota;
2. The REAL goal for this franchise is to make gradual and consistent progress building towards an upper echelon team in the Western Conference over an extended period of years.
If Rick Adelman has legitimate interest in the T-wolves job, then, he is by far the best fit for this team, since their present roster is chalk full of talented young players in need of constructive direction by a highly successful, veteran, head coach with a track record of being able to communicate effectively with them.
According to recently published reports, the Toronto Raptors are either:
A. Actively in the running to acquire Derrick Williams [SF-PF], via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves [who currently hold the rights to the No. 2 [overall] Selection in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery], in exchange for DeMar DeRozan [OG-SF];
Which of these different reports is, in fact, accurate is of little consequence to yours truly.
What is pertinent, however, is whether or not an authentic “top notch” GM in the NBA would actually make this deal, on behalf of the Toronto Raptors, if the Timberwolves’ GM [i.e. David Kahn] is, in fact, willing to go for it.
Derrick Williams is 20 years of age, 6-7, 248 and plays the game like this:
DeMar DeRozan is 22 years of age [as of August], 6-7, 220 and plays the game like this:
According to this corner:
1. Jerry West, RC Buford, Pat Riley, Danny Ainge, Joe Dumars, and Mitch Kupchak are in the small group of ‘top notch’ GMs in the NBA today;
2. Demar DeRozan is similar to Vince Carter [OG-SF, 6-6, 220], while Derrick Williams is similar to Paul Pierce [SF, 6-7, 235]; and,
3. The correct answer to this poll question is an unequivocal,
It is fair to wonder if NBA teams could shut down Love if they had to. Did Phil Jackson fret last night about Love leading the Wolves to victory? Probably not. But who else would they game plan for? Right now, Love is a really good player on a really bad team. Consider he has scored less than 15 points only nine times and has snared less than 15 rebounds just 15 times during his 47 game double-double streak. All of his monster performances have only resulted in 10 wins for Minnesota during the streak.
There is no doubt Love’s defense must improve. Heck, he was benched Opening Night in favor of Anthony Tolliver. He may never be a stopper, but who knows what would happen if he is surrounded by great defenders? If Love can convince David Stern to adapt the old Iowa high school girls’ rules of three players on offense and three players on defense, he may become one of the most productive players in history.
With no help around him and no reason for teams to spend days crafting ways to stop him, it is hard to know just how great Love is. Basketball fans should eagerly wait to see Love’s performance when he plays with competent teammates. Whether this is in Minnesota or another city remains to be seen. Until then, NBA fans should just launch League Pass Broadband and marvel as one of the game’s most productive big men wreaks havoc on NBA nerd’s spreadsheets.
Unfortunately, Hoopdata is having a problem with the upload of comments from those who happen to operate their own blog.
You’ve correctly identified the main problem with K-Love, i.e. his decidedly mediocre defense.
Although he is a solid enough offensive player, he is very limited defensively, as an under-sized #4/PF, and is poor in any defensive switch situation, in defensive transition [in general], as a shot-blocker [in any help scenario] and when asked to check a Big with good-to-very-good length and strength.
Despite his at-times astronomical “production numbers”, K-Love is still an average Big Man, when you consider all 3 main phases of the game [i.e. Offense, Defense and Rebounding].
PS. K-Love is, however, a terrific “Back-up Big Man”, who excels in specific situational match-ups, and is someone I would be more than happy to have on a team I happen to coach in the NBA, in this type of capacity. Unfortunately … and, much like it was for the great Wes Unseld/C, back in the 1970’s:
… it is going to be very difficult for any team that K-Love plays for, as a “Starting Big,” to win an NBA Championship … more than one time only.
what you see above is the comment – directed to fellow-commentor, “Crow” – that yours truly would have normally left there, in response to the piece of work authored by Mr. Scribbins.
Hopefully, the good folks at Hoopdata are able to fix their comment problem, in the not-too-distant future.
“Lots of talk about All-Star reserves. I’ll leave most of the battling to others. However, I’ll say this: Among those on the bubble, Kevin Love is the guy who, to me, simply must make it. Rebounding matters.”
It would be fair [and accurate] to say that no other “so-called” NBA expert at-work today actually values The Art & Science of Rebounding more than yours truly.
LEGEND: W – Wins; L – Losses; Win% – Winning Percentage; PDR – Points Differential Ranking; PAR – Points Allowed Ranking; RDR – Rebounding Differential Ranking; QR – Quality Rating [i.e. PDR + PAR + RDR = QR]; QIR – Quality Index Ranking [i.e. QR/#1-30]; * – Clinched playoff position.
there are now 10 teams left with a legitimate opportunity to win this year’s league championship … none of which are the Mavericks [W2], Suns [W3], Nuggets [W4], Celtics [E4], Bucks [E6] or Bulls [E8], according to the recent history of the NBA.