Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Interview with the Enemy: T'Wolves Blog

In the interest of lottery-bound teams sharing information, we traded questions with T'Wolves Blog about their team, their future and a certain Brazilian supermodel. A big thanks goes out to College Wolf and DeROK for their great answers. You can view the questions they asked us and our answers here.

1) In the off-season, Al Jefferson signed a 5-year, $65 million extension, which was actually less than what he was eligible to receive had he asked for a max contract. It was refreshing to hear a player say that he wasn't worthy of a max deal. What are your impressions of the young stud in his first season in Minnesota?

College Wolf - I can’t speak for all fans, but I’ve quickly become enamored with him. I’ve followed the Celtics for the past few years as my “other” team, so I already knew a good deal about “Old Skool” (as we affectionately like to call him.) Still, I did not foresee him coming in and immediately producing like he has been all season long. Before the season, if you would have told me that he’d average 20+ points, 10+ boards, and have the second most double-doubles; I would have said “no way.” Not only has his offense been superb, but we’ve seen him grow before our very eyes as a leader out on the court. He’s been much more vocal and passionate as the season has gone on, which is very exciting to see and is exactly what this young team needs in a leader. However, it is not all praise… because until he can improve his overall defense, he’ll never be considered a truly great player in this league.

2) How has the fanbase adjusted in the post-Kevin Garnett era?

DeROK - I would say for the first half of the season, most Timberwolves fans were still suffering from a KG hangover. The team's record was horrendous, hovering around the 5-30 mark, and none of the young players we received in the deal seemed to be living up to our expectations of them. There was honestly a point where I felt the Wolves had gotten completely taken in the trade and that Al Jefferson was nothing more than the next Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Then, things suddenly changed. It was right before the Wolves were scheduled to play Boston. As if someone had flipped on a switch, Al Jefferson began to completely dominate games and was consistently putting up the type of point totals we'd see Garnett score every two seasons. The team was able to build off of that momentum heading into the Celtics game and put on one of the best performances of the season. Had it not been for back-to-back meltdowns on inbounds plays, the last-place Wolves would have toppled the league-leading C's. After the game, Garnett had a celebratory tirade that didn't sit too well with most Minnesota fans. I think the team's gutsy performance coupled with Garnett's post-game reactions were what finally cut the last ties most of us had to the KG era. Garnett's still my favorite player and can't wait to see him in the playoffs again, but Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, Randy Foye - those are "my guys" now. I'm happy with where this team's going and actually think we got the better end of the trade in the long-term. It really was the best thing for both the franchise and Garnett to part ways. I think almost every Wolves fan realizes this and, as a whole, we're at peace with the situation.

3) Rumors are that if Minnesota is looking to draft one of the top level PG's in the upcoming draft. Should they look to draft their PG of the future or is there someone you think they should trade for or sign as a free agent instead?

CW - This is a big bag of cookies that I’m not entirely sure we can fully dissect at *this point* of the season. There are still some “things” contingent on other “things” happening. I believe the draft is before the free agent signing period, so the front office needs to decide if they will be pursuing Telfair or not this off-season. That in turn affects whether they want to spend our lottery pick on a PG. Do they draft a second tier PG if Derrick Rose isn’t available? I’d say no. Do they draft Rose if he is available? I don’t see how they couldn’t… regardless of what they plan on doing with Telfair and Foye.

It wasn’t long ago that Foye was considered our “point guard of the future.” Who knows, maybe he will still end up becoming so. No one really knows right now. Much further evaluation is needed both upon the guys on our squad and the options available in the draft and free agency.

As for free agent point guards, I don’t really see any guys available (within reason) that I’m too interested in… especially considering our lack of available salary space. I’d prefer we don’t waste the MLE this season either. There’s nothing worse than spending the MLE just to spend it. I enjoy checking out fake potential trades and whatnot every now and then, but it’s largely a waste of time to pontificate about trades because our Front Office is just so unpredictable.*

* That was my nice term for “incompetent.”

4) Is Marko Jaric still dating Adriana Lima? If not, do you think you can get us her number?

CW - Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for the rest of us), yes, they are still dating. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but even if I had her number I’m thinking I probably wouldn’t share it with too many people. Here are some recent photos on The Big Lead of the seemingly happy couple. Extra Credit to Marko for looking like a stud in a flannel shirt.

5) Who is more maddening to root for: Antoine Walker or Ricky Davis?

CW - I think it’s hands down, Ricky Davis. I think the main reason is that he teases and tantalizes fans with his athleticism and the occasional “outbreak” game, only to revert back to his jumpshot clanging self the very next day. Seriously, RD has got to be towards the top of the list of players that could go out on any given night and either drop 40 points… or go 1 of 15 from the field. You know what you are getting out on the court with “The Toine.” Namely, a 31 year old player that looks like he’s 41, and plays like he’s 61. He can’t really shoot, defend, or do much of anything… hence there are little to no expectations. Anything he contributes is gravy. Ricky, on the other hand, is capable of averaging nearly 20 points a game, which has always baffled me. Another thing that made Ricky Davis more maddening to watch was the fact that he was basically our second option for a team trying to compete in the Western Conference. The most maddening thing about The Toine the past month has been his whining about not getting bought out…but I can live with that. I can’t wait to start referring to him as “Antoine Walker’s Expiring Contract” next season.

Again, a big thanks to the guys at T'Wolves Blog for commiserating our similar fates this season. Make sure you check out their quality blog for loads of great content.

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Well done!

I should have put some similar pictures in my post... dangit.

Anonymous said...

Walker hasn't been whining about anything. The media asked him a few questions and he answered them.
He could contribute if he was allowed.

Somehow I doubt this so called Minny blog guy has watched many games this year. When Walker was playing 30 minutes a game his plus minus was top 2 on the team every night.

Jefferson did not turn down a max deal. He signed for sure money now instead of waiting. If he had a serious injury he would get nothing.
Get the facts or don't write because you both sound like idiots.

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