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Tag:Rick Adelman
Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:49 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 3:29 pm
 

Quarterly Report Awards: LeBron leads MVP

James leads the pack of first-quarter MVP candidates (Getty Images)


This lockout-shortened NBA season is already a quarter over for most teams, stunningly. It has been a crazy whirlwind under the compacted schedule, and we're seeing older teams like the Mavericks, Lakers, and Celtics struggle through it. Meanwhile, deep, younger teams like the Nuggets and Sixers are thriving, and yet the same powers that were expected to be at the top are, even with Miami fallen off a bit. So to get a fix on where we are this season, we thought we'd hand out some awards, roundtable-style. 

1. Who's your MVP?

Royce Young: LeBron James. The Heat lost their first game without Dwyane Wade this weekend, but still, they're 5-1 without him and that's pretty much because LeBron is still the best player in the world.

Matt Moore: I don't want to say LeBron James, because it seems too obvious, but I'm going to say LeBron James, because it's so obvious. No one takes over those first 46 minutes like he does, and without them, you don't get to the time where he has so many question marks.

Ben Golliver: We’ve exhausted the ways to explain LeBron James’ individual brilliance in recent years, but the modifications that he’s made to his game – slashing his three-point attempts, improving his mid-range shot, getting to the free throw line more than he did last season – plus ridiculous numbers (29.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.1 blocks, 56.4 percent shooting) make this James’ best season to date. Give it to him so we don’t have to listen to arguments in 5-8 years about how many times he was snubbed, like we’re been hearing from droning Kobe Bryant fans since 2006.

2. If star power wasn't a factor, just straight out "who helps their team the most," who's your MVP?

Royce Young: Still LeBron. I think it became pretty obvious last season how valuable he is to a roster when the Cavs went from a contender to the longest losing streak in NBA history just with the subtraction of LeBron.

Matt Moore: I think it's a tie between Gerald Wallace and Andre Iguodala. Both of those guys do such a phenomenal job in every facet of the game for their teams, and the wins and losses often correspond to how they come out. They're so active with and without the ball and make so many plays for their teams, they have a ridiculous level of impact on their teams, even if James is a superior player.

Ben Golliver: James’ PER ranking is 8 full points above the nearest competition (35 to Bryant’s 27) and he’s carried the Heat in Dwyane Wade’s absence due to injury, so his claim to “helping his team most” to date is essentially indisputable.

3. Is ROY a two-man race already?

Royce Young: Not yet. Ricky Rubio is the first quarter ROY, and Kyrie Irving is right there with him, but don't count out Kemba Walker and even Brandon Knight, who had quietly been playing well in Detroit early on.

Matt Moore: Rubio is drawing comments from people who say he is unlike anything they've ever seen and Irving is statistically dominant in nearly every category. If there were an award for Rookie to wind up making the most impact on wins and losses, I'd go with Kawhi Leonard, who will be making life very unhappy for some team in the playoffs.

Ben Golliver: We’ve definitely got the Ricky Rubio vs. Kyrie Irving two-headed monster that we expected, but the twist is that both the Timberwolves (11th in West) and the Cavaliers (9th in East) are fringe-y playoff teams rather than conference basement dwellers. Team performance could easily be the deciding factor.

4. If James Harden was starting like he should, who would be your sixth man of the year?

Royce Young: It's a close race between Al Harrington and Lou Williams. Both impact their teams greatly when they step onto the floor.

Matt Moore: Al Harrington. Harrington's ability to score anywhere on the floor combined with his active defense make him the prime candidate and it's not close.

Ben Golliver: Mo Williams of the Clippers has dealt with some injuries but has put up 14.5 points and 3.9 assists while shooting the ball extremely well (53.8 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from deep) during the season’s first month.

5. Who wins "worst coaching performance?"

Royce Young: Paul Westphal. Getting fired kind of seals your fate by default, doesn't it? But Westphal, who is a good basketball mind, just couldn't connect with his young team and lost them. That's not doing a good job.

Matt Moore: It pains me to say this because I think he's limited by his roster and will work out in the long-run for the Pistons, but Lawrence Frank has disappointed. Signing veterans with limite upside and impact isn't his fault, but relying on them is. The pieces are there for the Pistons to come together, but it simply hasn't so far this year.

Ben Golliver: I’ll give it to Flip Saunders of the Washington Wizards, if only because he was blown off so blatantly by referee Danny Crawford during this argument. He should have already been fired.

6. If we were giving an award for "strategic adjustment" by a team, who wins?

Royce Young: Rick Adelman has done the best job of any coach so far this season. The Wolves are finally organized offensively and he smartly managed the Rubio starting situation. He gave him time to ease in and made the move to start him before it became a nagging issue that was a constant topic of discussion.

Matt Moore: I'm going with Doug Collins' use of his bench. Deploying them as units and then integrating based on what's working in-game has been genius. Honorable mention to George Karl's two-point-guard lineup.

Ben Golliver: Completely disregarding defense was getting played out, so props to Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks for switching it up and completely disregarding offense.

7. Who has the best defense in the league, team and player?

Royce Young: The Bulls have easily been the best defense. Teams are having trouble cracking 80 on them for crying out loud. At home, they've held four teams to under 70. Best player, I'm giving credit to Andre Iguodala who had been terrific defending the perimeter so far this year.

Matt Moore: Chicago has the best team defense, but the Sixers' more basic, very stable set is a strong candidate as well. Dwight's the obvious pick, but with the Magic's overall defense not as hot, how about the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan? A block machine. He still overreaches on help at times, but overall he's been nearly dominant down low.

Ben Golliver: I think we’re at the same place we were last year: Chicago has proven itself to be the NBA’s best defense while Magic center Dwight Howard (16.1 rebounds, 2.3 blocks per game) is in a category all his own when it comes to individual accomplishments and impact.

Andre Iguodala has helped the Sixers to a surprisingly strong start. (Getty Images)
8. What wins "best storyline" for you?

Royce Young: The 76ers and Pacers quiet rise to contendership. Both teams don't really have any starpower and might not be able to sustain this success through the year, but they're playing well right now and positioning for a high seed in the East.

Matt Moore: The Knicks, Celtics, and Lakers falling apart like a flan in a cupboard. Nothing is more scinitllating that star-studded teams in big markets collapsing.

Ben Golliver: The Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz being so much better than the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets, the teams who made blockbuster moves for Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams at least year’s deadline.

9. Best free agent signing, first-quarter?

Royce Young: David West. He's given the Pacers exactly what they needed. An extra scoring option and someone to rely upon late in games for a big basket.

Matt Moore: Marc Gasol. Cheap out as he was re-signed, but Gasol has been even better than last year and looks like the franchise center he's being paid to be. Memphis made out huge with that deal.

Ben Golliver: Among the teams with the top records in the league, the Pacers adding David West – solidifying them as a likely top-4 team in the East – and the Clippers nabbing the amnestied Chauncey Billups – giving them a foul-drawing machine and a stand-in replacement when Chris Paul gets injured, both merit acknowledgement.

10. Who is the best team in the league?

Royce Young: Chicago. The Bulls are a bit boring -- especially when Derrick Rose doesn't play -- but you can't ignore how they're just hammering on people right now. Scoring against Chicago is a full on chore and with Luol Deng playing great, Carlos Boozer looking better and of course having Rose ready to carry the load when needed, the Bulls appear to have the total package.

Matt Moore: The Miami Heat. I know what the records say. I know how good Chicago and the Thunder have looked. But the Heat at their best are a better team than they were last year. OKC doesn't look as good, and Chicago is the same. Look me in the eye and tell me you're confident either of those teams can knock off the Heat if it's best vs. best. Chicago or OKC can both win the championship this season. The Heat are still the best team.

Ben Golliver: The Bulls are No. 2 in defense, No. 6 on offense and No. 1 in rebounding; their closest competition, the Thunder, are ranked No. 5, No. 14 and No. 16 in those categories. So far, this one isn’t as close as the records might indicate. I think Orlando – riding Howard and their point generating machine of an offense -- is a strong dark horse.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Why isn't Ricky Rubio starting?

Posted by Royce Young



So Ricky Rubio is living up the the hype he carried around with him before the draft in 2009. He's a passing savant, a true genius with the ball in his hands. He sees the floor like he uses a superpower to pick out a cutting teammate. He puts passes right on the money, finds space and even has shown a little more offense than expected.

And yet, he still finds himself behind Luke Ridnour on the depth chart. Understandable. We're only nine games into the season and there was no telling that Rubio would be this NBA ready. You didn't want to just throw him to the wolves (get it? you get it) and let him learn on the fly. Minnesota wanted to develop him, make sure the game wasn't too fast for him and bring him along slowly. No need to rush.

But, then again, Rubio has been, well, awesome. And while yes, it's just nine games, those nine games haven proven that a) Ricky Rubio is better than Luke Ridnour and b) Rubio is obviously the point guard of the future for the team. So considering those two factors and also that the Wolves aren't risking a playoff spot by handing the keys entirely to Rubio, it's time to start asking: Why is he not starting?

Probably because his defense is still bad, right? I mean, that's what pretty much everyone wanted to fall back on while critiquing the young Spaniard. Sure he's flashy, but NBA point guards will tear him apart.

So, have they? Through the Wolves nine games, Rubio has taken on opposing point guards like Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving and John Wall and has a matchup with MVP Derrick Rose Tuesday night. A pretty good batch of talent to measure himself against. Granted, Luke Ridnour is technically the starter and Rubio gets quite a bit of second quarter minutes when a second unit is on the floor, but note that Rubio has played virtually every entire fourth quarter, which means he has seen probably more time on the opposite starting point than Ridnour.

How'd he do? Westbrook scored 28 on 10-21 shooting but turned it over seven times. Jennings went for 24 and seven assists. Parker had just 11 points on 3-11 shooting. Irving scored 14 on 12 shots and had seven turns. And Wall was just 3-10 from the floor with four turnovers.

The lesson: Rubio isn't getting dominated by any stretch. He's holding his own, and in some cases, playing pretty good defense. For instance, in Minnesota's opener against the Thunder, Rubio did a great job staying in front of an attacking Westbrook, taking a critical charge late in the fourth quarter. He moved his feet, kept position and didn't reach. He leads the Wolves in steals with 1.3 a game (15 in the league among point guards) and has shown excellent passing lane instincts. You can be a great player without playing great defense. Steve Nash has always been a pretty mild defender, but does a serviceable enough job to not make it a glaring issue. And that's what Rubio's doing. He's not going to be a stopper by any means, but he's not getting abused.

And when you can make plays on the other end, it often doesn't matter either way. Rubio changes the way the Wolves play. Their best lineup in terms of plus-minus includes him, and it's not close.

Now, Rick Adelman knows basketball and his team a whole lot better than I do. He knows what he's doing. But you can be sure he's trying to figure out when the right time to make the transition is. Maybe it's that David Kahn wants to build up Ridnour's trade value and then deal the veteran to make a natural hole for Rubio. Maybe the idea is since Derrick Williams can't start because Michael Beasley (or Wayne Ellington) is in front of him that it's better to keep Rubio and Williams playing together in the second unit because that's the future of the Wolves. Maybe it's just because Adelman doesn't see Rubio as ready.

But if that last one was the case, Rubio wouldn't have played every single minute of every single fourth quarter so far this season. He hasn't come out those last 12 minutes yet. Adelman clearly trusts him with crunch-time and clearly thinks he can handle those important minutes. Adelman likes to use Ridnour and Rubio together a lot in the fourth, but the point is, Rubio is getting starter minutes for the most part, especially in terms of the quality of the minutes. So he's getting the necessary experience.

It's clear though that the future of the Wolves rests in Rubio's hands as their starting point guard. He wasn't drafted and didn't finally come over from Spain to back up Luke Ridnour. It's about timing. It might happen after the All-Star break or trade deadline or it might not happen until next season.

Point is, Rubio's ready for it. Why delay it? He's proven he can handle the responsibility of driving the Wolves car, he can defend well enough and is the future. It's not a question of if he'll ever start, it's just a matter of when, and how soon.
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 12:56 pm
 

Report: Kevin Love has not been offered extension

By Matt Moore

Take this one with a grain of salt, but the New York Post's Peter Vescey is reporting that Kevin Love has not received an extension offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and should he not receive one in the next 12 days, prior to January 15th, the All-Star rebound machine will not be signing one, and instead be heavily examining signing his qualifying offer this summer to make him a free agent in 2013. 

The Timberwolves and Love have always had a contentious relationship. General Manager David Kahn was very lukewarm on the UCLA forward even when he flashed considerable abilities at both ends of the floor his rookie season. He struggled to get minutes under Kurt Rambis before finally bucking off the chains when he simply became too good to keep down. But Kahn has always maintained that Love is a part of the Timberwolves' future and he's not going anywhere. Why are we skeptical of this?

Because it's incomprehensible.

The Timberwolves-are-a-joke meme is almost dead. Drafting Ricky Rubio looks genius, regardless of the Jonny Flynn pick. He's honestly miles ahead of the pack for rookie of the year after the first week and he's not even starting. Derrick Williams looks good. Darko Milicic is serviceable. This team has been assembled as decently as it can be, considering the near-accidental way it has. Rick Adelman was the best hire they could have made and it's already paid off. Love is an All-Star. He's always said he just wants to win. Rookies never get away from their teams on the first contract if they have any value. The guaranteed money and extra year is just too big. 

And yet.

So we'll wait, and see just how insane this Timberwolves group is. But if history, common sense, and recent trends are any factor, even if you believe the Timberwolves are still a joke, not even they could make this punchline into reality.
Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:58 am
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Posted on: December 31, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Wolves G Lee out 6 weeks after knee surgery

Posted by Ben Gollivermalcolm-lee

One Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard -- Ricky Rubio -- has gone about lighting up the league. Another is headed for a month and a half of street clothes and rehabilitation.

StarTribune.com reportsthat Timberwolves rookie guard Malcolm Lee had surgery on his left knee and could be sidelined for six weeks.
Wolves rookie guard Malcolm Lee underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus ligament in his left knee Friday and could miss as much as six weeks. His knee grew sore as training camp progressed. He has surgery to repair the meniscus on the same knee after the college season last March, but this surgery is not related to that one, the team said.

"It's unfortunate for him, but better to get it fixed than wait," coach Rick Adelman said. "He had played very well. We were very pleased with him. We would not have hesitated to play him."

Lee, 21, is a favorite of Timberwolves management and was a target during the 2011 NBA Draft. Minnesota acquired Lee, a UCLA product, in a draft day trade with the Chicago Bulls, who selected him in the second round with the No. 43 pick overall.

With guard Martell Webster out indefinitely because of a recurring back injury, there are some minutes available for Lee, who provides a bigger backcourt option than Rubio or free agent acquisition J.J. Barea. Starting point guard (for now) Luke Ridnour, Rubio, forward Wesley Johnson and guard Wayne Ellington will complete the backcourt rotation until Lee's return.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 10:03 am
 

Report: Wolves close to deal for Barea

By Matt Moore 

The Dallas Mavericks will look nothing this season like the team that took the floor at the beginning of last season, nor the one that took the floor for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Tyson Chandler has signed with the Knicks. Caron Butler has signed with the Clippers. And now it appears J.J. Barea will be gone as well. 

NBA.com reports that Barea has received a four-year, $19 million offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves

This deal is right on the cusp between being great value and slightly overpaid. Barea lacks size (obviously) and athleticism. But he's 27, still in his prime, and has an incredible ability to not only manage the offense effectively, but score in bursts using savvy and quickness.

It's easy to pull out the old Timberwolves point guard jokes, but considering their actual situation, with Luke Ridnour being their only other primary viable point. Barea can work in small lineups at the two-guard spot (or extremely big ones if the frontcourt is loaded). He's versatile and plays within the system. He should work extremely well under Rick Adelman.

For the Mavericks, the fans don't even get to enjoy one night of seeing the team that knocked off the Heat to bring the Mavericks their first ring. And the team will be very different when it takes the floor on Christmas against the Heat. The Mavericks won the title and decided to go in a different direction. Immediately.

It should be noted that the deal for Barea is actually less than the Timberwolves paid for Darko Milicic. So they're learning.  
Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:00 am
 

EOB Roundtable: Lockout Winners and Losers



By Matt Moore


Matt Moore:So who, individually is winning and losing the lockout? My brief list. 
Winners: David West, Greg Oden (rehab). Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash (age). Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade (image). 
Losers: Rookies (obv.). DeAndre Jordan ($$$$$). 
Royce Young: Derek Fisher. I think he's increased his image as the statesman of the NBA. I don't know how good a job he's really doing, but he always comes across as measured, professional and calm. The guy's in the twilight of his NBA career, but his performance as president of the union is going to net him a pretty sweet gig after he retires, I think. Front office exec? Coach? The next Billy Hunter? I could see basically anything for Fisher. 

Ben Golliver: I hate to say it but I think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are big winners here. No one entered the offseason with more motivation to bring their A-game to the 2011-2012 season after that jenga collapse in the Finals. As the lockout dragged on, the usual motivating factors for the average player disappeared. Watching these guys workout, play in exhibition games, etc. it's clear they will be ready to go from day one. They will blitz some people hard out of the gate and should stack up enough victories early to get the rest they wanted before last year's playoffs. Same thing, to a lesser extent, goes for Kevin Durant, who has just been a maniac.

Of the younger guys, I like what John Wall and Brandon Jennings did to increase their exposure. Whether that counts for anything long-term is anyone's guess. Both elevated their profile for sure. I still like what Deron Williams and Ty Lawson did, accepting the challenge of a different lifestyle and continuing to play in competitive leagues. Williams took a significantly bigger risk, but as long as he comes home without injury he will be a winner in my eyes. Zigging when everyone zags deserves some kudos. Props to Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas and the other rookies that went back to school. We get on people for jumping too early but never give the round of applause for guys who get back on the diploma track.

They are bigger picture winners.

Eddy Curry is the biggest loser of the lockout and, really, of life. Scratching from exhibition games is really the bottom of the barrel. Same thing goes for Michael Beasley and Matt Barnes and their idiotic antics. Nobody needs any of that. Beasley caught a break when Rick Adelman got hired. He is about to get a great coach. Let's see if he embraces or squelches this opportunity. Take a guess at which is more likely. 
Matt Moore: I'd argue Deron's a loser. He made the money but admitted it's been hard on the family and they're not winning and the attendance is terrible. As the biggest star to go he was under pressure to convert that opportunity into success. Making the money, which is always dicey overseas, doesn't make up for the other problems and the lack of impact. 

Ben Golliver: If it was that bad he would have left. He's said its brought his family closer together and has been a one-in-a-lifetime experience. I think we can take him at his word about that.

Royce Young:I definitely agree with that, Matt. Deron messed up, in my mind. The Besiktas deal really didn't turn out to be all that lucrative and instead of pimping his profile here in the charity pro-am games, he's toiling away in Turkey in front of half empty arenas. What's so great about that?  If it was just intended to be a family vacation, good for him, but I don't know why you can't just go to Turkey. Why sign to play for Besiktas? He got less than other superstars because he signed so early and I don't think he's really gained a whole lot out of it otherwise. 

Matt Moore: Also, if we're talking bigger picture winners, no player is a winner because they lost a bazillion dollars between negotiations and lost paychecks.

Ben Golliver: Name one player who made more money playing basketball during the lockout than Deron Williams.

Royce Young: I don't think that's the point though. He didn't make all that much in relative terms, plus hasn't benefitted as much as some other players that stayed here. Williams is a star player. And he's the only star that signed overseas. Don't you think that's a little weird? 

Ben Golliver: Not at all. He was in a unique situation with his contract extension coming up, with an open mind, a desire to see the world and make money, and a team that would give him a max contract even if he broke both his legs because they already mortgaged the franchise for him. Why single someone out for criticism because he made a unique choice that will prove to be in his best interests as long as he doesn't get hurt (and could still be in his best interests even if he does)? This was a great way to get back in shape after an injury, it took guts, he's getting rewarded and he is living life on his own terms, not those of the NBA owners. He's not begging fans to let him play on Twitter, he proactively sought a deal that will pay him more than any other player during the down time and will be ready to go when the NBA is back. It wasn't a decision many stars could make but there were good reasons behind it and he showed courage. That makes him a winner to me. 
Posted on: September 26, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Kevin Love lost more than 20 pounds this summer

Posted by Ben Golliver

kevin-love-skinny

Who knew the best way to lose weight was to subsist solely on a diet of Cuervo Girl sandwiches? Take that, Subway Jared.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love writes on Grantland.com that he was able to drop more than 20 pounds from his listed weight of 260 this offseason.
Professionally, the time provided me with an opportunity to rest and methodically work my way up to a healthy state. I worked slowly and built up my stamina and strength through yoga, strength training, and cardiovascular conditioning … I feel better than I ever have. For the first time since my freshman year in high school (2003-04) I weigh under 240 pounds, and my strength has consistently gone up. First, I took my time building back up, and treated the latter part of April and the whole month of May as a recovery period from the 10 straight months of basketball. Not that I am the only one who plays this much throughout the course of a year; I know that many players do this, and some even take their teams deep into the postseason year in and year out. This year, for example, some of the players from the World Championships moved deep into the playoffs and their teams saw immense success. While I pay those individuals much respect, knowing the NBA could head into a long and drawn out offseason gave me peace of mind that I could rest my body and mind to prepare for the next step in my career.
The obvious question here: How will the self-reported lost weight and increased strength change his game? 

Will it help his offensive versatility and defensive mobility? Will it allow him to continue to develop his three-point shooting game? Will it make him better able to guard the league's combo forwards? Will it make him an ideal trail man on the fast break?

The quick-trigger answer: We might not ever know for sure.

Love put up 20.2 points and a league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game in 2010-2011 but he played for a Timberwolves squad that was a total statistical anomaly. Under former coach Kurt Rambis, Minnesota played at the league's fastest pace but was a bottom-7 offensive team and was a bottom-4 defense in terms of effiency. They were way below average in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, dead last in assist rate and dead last in turnover rate. Next season will bring a new coach, Rick Adelman, and a new point guard, Ricky Rubio, into the fold. It will also see the addition of rookie forward Derrick Williams, a potentially explosive offensive force, to the team's frontcourt.

All told, that's a lot of major variables before we even get to Love's physical specs. Whether or not his game changes as much as his body has, it's a safe bet that Love's number will look different -- perhaps quite different -- next season.

Hat tip: SI.com and TwinCities.com
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com