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Vengeance in Minnesota?

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (25-51) at Minnesota Timberwolves (28-47)
  • Date: April 6, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After winning back-to-back games against the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, the Minnesota Timberwolves were humbled last night at home by the Toronto Raptors.

The Wolves’ diminutive backcourt got taken advantage of.

DeMar DeRozan’s eyes lit up for most of the night with Luke Ridnour defending him. The Raptors’ highflyer posted up his defender and also showed tremendous comfort in his jump shots given that he knew it wouldn’t be blocked.

DeRozan scored 25 points on 12-for-23 field goal shooting.

The contest was quite a contrast in offensive philosophies. Toronto relied mostly on isolations for both DeRozan and Gay in crunch time to close out the game.

Minnesota on the other hand ran their offense and manufactured some quality looks.

The Wolves set some interior screens for Nikola Pekovic who was simply a brute force on the block. The beauty in Rick Adelman’s offense is the multiple counters. His plays are designed to take advantage of all the defensive adjustments opponents make.

Against the Raptors last night, straight post ups for Pekovic also had a quick counter for an aggressive off-ball double team. Indeed, when a perimeter player stood in the path of the Wolves’ center to prevent him from catching the ball, Ricky Rubio would either run a rapid pick-and-roll with the free perimeter player or have him set a screen for another player, thus creating motion on the court.

Rubio and company  almost came away with the win. However, Toronto had the one thing — and they actually had two of them — that Minnesota did not: shot creators and makers.

Rubio was terrific at getting Pekovic the ball on the interior with good scoring opportunities, but once the Raptors allocated some extra defensive attention his way, Adelman’s unit had some issues putting points on the board late.

The Wolves just don’t have any quality shooters on the roster and they lack players capable of creating shots for themselves against tough defense. This was quite evident last night as Rubio was tasked with steering the offense and creating shots late.

This explains why the Wolves are only scoring 96.7 points per 100 possessions in the clutch (defined as last five minutes of the game with scoring margin within five points or less) per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool. That figure is among the worst in the league this season.

The last time the Detroit Pistons faced off against the Wolves, they were blown out at home. However, if the contest this evening is close with five minutes left, Rodney Stuckey and company should have an advantage.

By using Greg Monroe at the elbows, Detroit could potentially invert their offense and post up Stuckey especially if defended by J.J. Barea or Ridnour.

Granted, the Pistons are subpar in terms of late game execution, but they might just have better horses than the Timberwolves, and it could prove to be the difference.

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

50 Comments

  • Apr 6, 20136:48 pm
    by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)

    Reply

    Been soaking up the sun in beautiful San Jose for the past week And enjoying life…I forgot how depressing this site can be lol

    lose this game, lose the rest, improve our draft position, fire Frank, Dumars is clueless, Drummond only gets 18-20 minutes a game, seasons not officially over yet but just a month into this season we knew we were lottery bound…blah blah blah…

  • Apr 6, 20138:48 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    OMG! Moose is getting schooled by Derrick Williams! Damn! Take him out and put JJ in, Moose is playing horrible! 

    • Apr 6, 20138:58 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I will just stay in my little fantasy land and assume that Monroe and Knight both got the memo form upper management…the one titled tank tank tank. Knight’s definitely needs to improve his tanking skills in the off season. I mean seriously what other reason would there be in missing a wide open layup…don’t answer that Rick…fantasy land buddy… fantasy land!

  • Apr 6, 20138:53 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    Why did he just yield a dunk to Pekovic without even trying to contest?! Guess I should be tuned in solely on the Michigan game, cuz I’m tired of Moose playing soft as Charmin!

  • Apr 6, 20138:54 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    Of course Frank would sub out Drummond instead of Monroe! UGH!

  • Apr 6, 20139:43 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Has anyone else read this? IMHO i think he is gooooooooone!

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9142450/lawrence-frank-detroit-pistons-says-future-air 

  • Apr 6, 201310:30 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    Whew. That was too close. Do not want to pass NO in the standings

  • Apr 6, 201310:39 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Wow again much better without Calderon! Knight and Stuckey played great together!

  • Apr 6, 201310:42 pm
    by haydzzz

    Reply

    Lol Frank heres rumours his job is on the line, finally plays knight, drummond and monroe for longer

    • Apr 6, 201310:44 pm
      by Mark

      Reply

      So true.

      Get this bum out of here. He ruined his own career refusing to play Drummond all year. Now he can watch while another coach comes in and takes his players to the promised land 

    • Apr 6, 201310:44 pm
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      Knight was a beast!

  • Apr 6, 201311:04 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Oh BTW who ever says Knight can’t pass is an idiot! He always makes great passes!

    • Apr 6, 201311:35 pm
      by haydzzz

      Reply

      He doesnt always make great passes but he definitely is a good passer, what he sucks at is controlling his tempo and rushing, which a lot of young players do. Next season he has to be more comfortable out there and be way more consistent, he hasnt had a great year, no excuses. Next season is do or die

      • Apr 6, 201311:41 pm
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        He should be the PG no question! I changed my mind on Trey Burke. Pistons shouldn’t draft him.

        • Apr 6, 201311:45 pm
          by Brandon Knight

          Reply

          PG next season!

          • Apr 7, 20134:59 am
            by tgill

            Does it hurt having knight his d*ck so deep in your ass?

    • Apr 6, 201311:45 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      I wouldn’t say he is a good passer. Part of being a good passer is decision making, and he sucks at that. If the defense is loose or he is actually making decent decisions then he is a good passer, but that happens so rarely that it really doesn’t matter. Plus, his ball handling sucks for a point guard, which combined with bad decision making turns him into a pretty awful starting point guard.

      • Apr 7, 201312:18 am
        by Haan

        Reply

        Knight makes a remarkable number of above average passes for a subpar PG; I do agree he’s not a good decision maker, as is manifested in a high number of real bad passes for TOs.  I’m not high on Knight as future PG, but when I think about the combination of good passes and bad mistakes, it seems like serious potential combined with inexperience is the best explanation.  Stuckey as PG would have an occasional outstanding pass, but from the get go, his forte as PG was different from Knight’s, namely keeping his TOs low.   Knight’s often compared to Stuckey qua failed PG in the making, but his high percentage of good passes makes him resemble Bynum and even Calderon more in that respect.  It’s my subjective impression that he has a high number of passes above what could be expected of a replacement level PG; I hope the Pistons use sophisticated techniques to quantify that kind of thing.

        • Apr 7, 201312:30 am
          by oats

          Reply

          His sense of timing, ability to see the court, and his risk/reward assessment are all pretty bad. Those things play a big part in actually being a good passer. When I watch him at the point, he often looks slow, like he’s thinking too much. To me that says not a natural point guard. I see a guy with physical skills resembling a point guard but lacking the feel for the position needed to capitalize on it. Experience can help out, but a large portion of being a point guard is having an aptitude for running an offense, and Knight seems to lack that basic aptitude. Throwing in his poor ball handling skills for the point guard position just adds to that.

          • Apr 7, 201312:56 am
            by Haan

            I’m not defending Knight as future PG or even as a good passer.  Your observations make sense to me.  I’m making a more narrow observation.  If you graded passes as excellent, good, average, and poor, I think Knight would emerge as having both a comparatively high percentage of excellet and poor passes.  On that type of scale, I think Stuckey as PG would have quite a different pattern than Knight with a real high percentage of average passes.  That’s interesting to me, in part because I think they’re often lumped together as PGs, with Knight being seen as a Stuckey in the making.  If I’m right about the pattern, I think it would suggest that Knight has more of a chance to become an above average PG than Stuckey ever did, even if that chance is pretty low.  The other half of why I think so is that Knight makes many more egregious errors than Stuckey ever did, something that experience could correct.  That may be counterintuitive, but in similar manner I’d like a student’s potential more who’s racking up a lot of As and Fs than one who’s steadily cranking out Cs.  The As suggest the possibility of gaining consistency at a high level, while the Fs are more susceptible to marked improvement than are Cs.  Another comparison might be a superyoung player who has an above average percentage of HRs and Ks, compared to an average hitter who neither hits many HRs or had many Ks.

            I could be wrong, but that’s my impression based on having watched too much lousy Pistons basketball in recent years.  Even if I am wrong, I hope someone’s quantifying this kind of thing, because I suspect that there are interesting patterns that the readily available numbers — assists, TOs — don’t reveal.

          • Apr 7, 20131:26 am
            by oats

            Fair enough. I don’t have a problem with that basic observation. He is almost as likely to make me comment on his nice pass as his awful one. I’m not absolutely convinced he isn’t a point guard. So far he has been awful as a starting point guard, and it seems like a huge mistake to hand him the starting role next year. I am open to the idea of getting him some minutes as a reserve though, and if he does well in that role the team might make moves to expand his role.
             
            Knight also hasn’t done enough to justify factoring in to draft decisions. The team should get the best player available, especially if that player plays one of the 3 perimeter positions. If that happens to be Burke then so be it. That might prematurely end the Knight at point guard experiment, but Burke is just more likely to be a starting caliber point guard than Knight so that is a decision I’d be willing to make.

  • Apr 6, 201311:45 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    The jury is still out on Knight. We need a small forward or a shooting guard who can create his own shot. I like Burke, but not for this current roster.

    • Apr 6, 201311:49 pm
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      Why not both SG and SF. We need a good shooting guard that can start next Knight and SF that can replace (Singler) I prefer a Veteran!

      • Apr 6, 201311:50 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Knight is still a terrible point guard, and you are predictably over reacting to a meaningless game against another lottery bound team.

        • Apr 6, 201311:54 pm
          by Brandon Knight

          Reply

          Knight can do what he did tonight every single game and you know that he is capable! We just need a good coach that can guide him and a bunch of good players that can play with him!

          • Apr 7, 201312:01 am
            by oats

            No, I don’t know that. In fact, most all of the evidence says he can’t. Whenever Knight plays like crap you blame it on Calderon or say something about how guys sometimes have bad games. If he has a good game it’s always, “Knight is the bestest everz!!1!!” Yeah, not an actual quote from you, but that’s how you come off. Calm down man. Like how I was telling people to calm down with the anti-Knight stuff just last game I’m telling you to calm down. A player is not judged on his performance on any single game, but rather how they perform over the long haul. Over the long haul Knight was one of the worst starting point guards in the league the past 2 years. He has not shown enough to suggest he will be even an average starting point guard.

          • Apr 7, 201310:46 am
            by I HATE FRANK

            I believe next season is a make or break year for BK … I believe we have seen the Best he has to offer… and I do believe unless we get a coach that knows how to utilize players according to there strengthes, Knight will struggle again… So player will be great no matter what tbey are asked to do, other need help getting there …

            Calipari realized he was not using Knight the right way earlier in the season, Later he adjusted abd Knight excelled … so we will see 

    • Apr 6, 201311:49 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      This current roster won’t be next year’s roster. We have a ton of cap space. If we exercise the amnesty on CV and buy out Stuckey we have even more. There is a ton of room for roster turnover, so how Burke fits on this current roster is completely irrelevant. I’m sticking with my stance I’ve been taking for awhile, best player available with a preference for any of the 3 perimeter positions.

  • Apr 6, 201311:56 pm
    by Sidewalkvendor

    Reply

    Oladipo is the answer at the 2 spot

    • Apr 7, 201312:02 am
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      I agree! I like his attitude, I like his explosiveness, I like his athleticism, I like his defense, man I like everything about this guy. Hopefully he is available!  I know Dumars will draft him without any hesitation. He loves these kinds of players!

      • Apr 7, 201312:57 am
        by Nick

        Reply

        Yes Oladipo brings a lot more to the table that will help the Pistons. I think the system in Indiana kind of limited a lot of things he can do.

    • Apr 7, 20132:54 pm
      by sloppy joe

      Reply

      Stuckey Jr.?  I’ll pass get me a 2 who can shoot the ball.

      • Apr 7, 20133:05 pm
        by Jon

        Reply

        how is he stuckey jr.? stuckey was a pg who couldn’t play pg oladipo is a sg who knows he is a sg and is getting better at shooting evidenced by his 40-something 3% this year

        • Apr 7, 20134:08 pm
          by sloppy joe

          Reply

          i would take burke over oladipo anyday…. The mere suggestion of oladipo is ridiculous.

        • Apr 7, 20134:08 pm
          by sloppy joe

          Reply

          i would take burke over oladipo anyday…. The mere suggestion of oladipo is ridiculous.

  • Apr 7, 20133:57 am
    by Sidewalkvendor

    Reply

    Since star players dont usually go here. I hope we can get jarret jack and sam dalembert on a cheap contract.

    • Apr 7, 201312:39 pm
      by Jacob

      Reply

      I hope not. I would rather have Smith or Brewer.

  • Apr 7, 20131:06 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    We have a lot of money to spend! We better spend it on really good players! I like Josh Smith

    • Apr 7, 20132:53 pm
      by sloppy joe

      Reply

      No

    • Apr 7, 20133:08 pm
      by Jon

      Reply

      how would smith fit here. he is a frontcourt player that can’t shoot. i’d take korver at half the price all day

  • Apr 7, 20133:05 pm
    by Sop

    Reply

    Top 6 realistic replacements for Lawrence Frank:
    (realistic meaning no Phil Jackson, Izzo, or Jerry Sloan)
    1. Nate McMillian: Yes it’s a stretch, but wouldn’t it be awesome?
    2. Stan Van Gundy: Ok he probably wants a vet team, but he could build system around the next Dwight sans diva mentality.
    3. Mike Brown: Not good enough for the Lakers? Fine with me. His defensive emphasis would be appreciated.
    4. Brian Shaw: Not good enough for the Lakers? Fine with me. His rapport with the players would be appreciated.
    5. Scott Skiles: Just imagine him taking his vengeance out on Milwaukee 4 times a year.
    6. Avery Johnson: Would he drive the team insane? Maybe. But he might just might teach BK how to play pg.
     

    • Apr 7, 20137:33 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Brown had no idea at all what to do with either the Lakers or Cavs. He can emphasize defense all he wants, but anyone who needs Kuester to turn a LeBron James team into a mediocre offensive team is not a good coach. Especially since all Kuester did was make LeBron the point guard and run a crap ton of isos. That was an improvement. I feel like I can not say this enough times. Brown had absolutely no idea what to do with the best player on the planet. Please keep Mike Brown away from the Pistons.
       
      I don’t like Avery Johnson either. He didn’t exactly do a great job coaching his PGs in Jersey, and Devin Harris actually played better for Lawrence Frank than for Avery Johnson. I just don’t see some mastermind that really maximizes his point guard play. Plus he’s been run off by his players twice. That’s a very bad sign. I don’t get why people like Johnson. All he’s done is under perform with a talented Mavericks team and have multiple teams quit on him. No thanks on him either.
       
      Scott Skiles seems to combine mediocrity with being hated by his players. I don’t have him on a coaching targets list either.
       

  • Apr 7, 20133:16 pm
    by Jon

    Reply

    keep frank for next year. sign just enough to get to the cap floor. attempt to trade this years pick and some pieces ( knight and jj or maybe some expirings to a team looking at 2014 FA) for a top 10 next year. suck for the whole year and end end up with with 2 top 10 picks in next years draft. yeah it’d be painful to watch (again) but any team with 2 top 10s in 2014 is going to be trending upward and put that with moose and dre and we’d be top 3 in the east in 2 years probably better

  • Apr 7, 20133:43 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    This is stupid! Why wait two years if we already have the money and a top draft pick to be a good team??

    • Apr 7, 20135:15 pm
      by Jon

      Reply

      because being a good team is unimportant and a waste of time. being a great team that can win championships is the ultimate goal and superstars are required to win championships. most of the pieces are in place to be a dominant team in the next few years but without a wing scorer who can take over when necessary there is little chance that we will ever get to the finals. there is only one wing in the draft with even the potential to score 20 a game (mclemore) and he’s no guarantee. same with 2013 FA.

      • Apr 7, 20137:00 pm
        by Sop

        Reply

        2014 is a stacked draft but even if we tanked the whole season there is no guarantee we could get a top 3 pick and our pick next year is only top 3 protected or it goes to Charlotte. So that plan is ridiculous.
         
        I still think Tyreke can be a dominant wing scorer and if he is paired with.

        • Apr 7, 20137:13 pm
          by Jon

          Reply

          i thought it was top 8 and then top 3 later. even still, if we could pull off even one 2014 first top 5 we’d be set to start contending shortly. i agree on giving tyreke a chance if it’s for a decent price. he is definitely an elite talent, he just needs to get a 3 point shot which can be developed

        • Apr 7, 20137:45 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Next year is top 8. I feel this plan is crazy anyways. First of all, projections on the draft this far out always suck. Remember when Muhammad was the only get in this draft? Yeah, that didn’t pan out. The elite talent in this draft is kind of missing, but there seems to be a good number of decent prospects in it. It isn’t the draft day disaster people thought it would be at this time last year. Who knows how good next year’s crop really will be. I agree the early outlook is better than this draft, but not so much that I would subject the team to another year of suckage to two picks in it. This team can get good now, and with some internal improvement from Drummond and Monroe they can get really good down the line. That may not be a clear cut plan to contend soon, but the team has some pieces and the flexibility to get there without bombing another year.
           
          By the way, I don’t think anyone is giving up a potential top 10 pick in the 2014 draft unless the team moves Monroe. I’m just not seeing it. That class is well liked and teams are really stingy with their picks right now. Not only do I not like the idea of intentionally deciding to have a throw away year when it doesn’t have to be a throw away year, I’m far from convinced it can be done anyways. If that pick could be had, why is that so much better than just getting someone like Porter, signing someone like Redick, and being good next year with a top 10 pick in 2014 to add to a group with Drummond, Monroe, and Porter? I’m not getting this.

          • Apr 7, 20138:13 pm
            by Jon

            i agree the plan is farfetched but the way i see it its either 2 picks in 2014 or no picks in 2014 and no picks 2014 means we’ll probably be a 6-8 seed next year with only the potential to do a couple spots better. that leaves the pistons in bucks territory which is not a good place.  if they can pull a trade for next years 1st rounder, i assume that the trade includes our first this year and other pieces with potential (knight), which leaves the team hard pressed to do well since talent from this years already bad team leaves, therefore yielding a second first rounder in 2014. otherwise we keep this years pick and become good enough to make the playoffs yielding no picks. the only likely way to get 1 pick next year is to trade expiring contracts with this years first rounder to a team looking to build through the 2014 FA and to sign some other decent players in 2013 FA (redick evans, korver). that would get us to the playoffs and give us a chance at an elite player for the future. this plan is also good, however just as unlikely as the last

          • Apr 7, 20138:51 pm
            by oats

            The difference is the team would be looking at a 6-8 seed, but doing it with a core of 3 guys 23 or younger (Monroe, Drummond, and the pick this year). That’s not that bad of a situation to be in really. Miami is a juggernaut now, but when Drummond is  24 and about to enter his peak 5 years from now the league will look way different. I could definitely see Drummond being the best player on a contender with Monroe and one of the lottery picks from this year as the 2 next best players. Or maybe the team makes some shrewd trades with the kind of assets either on roster or that could be acquired if the team just plays it smart. I’m just not convinced that lineup would be stuck on the mediocrity treadmill. The odds of success with that are already high enough that I’m not signing up for another year of awful, especially since I’m not convinced the 8th pick or so next year will be that much better than the 5th pick or so this year.

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