Tuesday, October 9, 2007

NBA Preview: Your Minny Celtics Will Be Appreciated More From Afar

It seems appropriate to bring up the Timberwolves on the eve of THE BIG SHOWDOWN ACROSS THE POND. Seriously, though - Minnesota is probably gonna be the worst team in the league this year. It seems almost unavoidable, and when people say otherwise I always laugh. It's easy to laugh when there are seven recent Celtics on the Wolves: Blount, Davis, Gomes, Green, Jefferson, Ratliff and Telfair. With names like those, and little else to show, how can this team not be bad? I mean Craig "Rhino" Smith, Randy Foye and Corey Brewer combined don't make one Pierce or KG. And even with those two respective stars, both Minny and Boston have struggled mightily the last few years. Sans KG and Pierce - well, this group in Minnesota is gonna have a long season.

Which doesn't mean they won't be entertaining. It will often be like watching the C's with Pierce injured in the dead of winter last year - some exciting, optimistic elements, just shrouded with northern basketball morbidity. But the team does have Ricky D to brighten their spirits (who should, for the love of God, be in a place like Miami by the spring.) Also everybody is free to discuss port with Blount. And Mark Madsen and McCants are around - so yes, this definitely will be a fun team to watch in doses. But for Timberwolf diehards - well, you have my pity.

Minny's problems are twofold. One problem is management - the Glen Taylor/ McHale reign can be considered nothing short of disastrous at this point. To add icing on the cake, the Wolves are coached by Randy Wittman, he of a career 74-132 mark. So the people calling the shots are, in short, morons. Compounding this problem is a larger dilemma that faces this year's Wolves: youth. It is basically impossible to win alot in the NBA unless you have at least one really good veteran leading with a shining light. Neither Ricky, Blount or Juwan Howard come close to qualifying in this regard. And with most of the remaining roster of consequence being in their early twenties, it is a fundamental truth that the Wolves will struggle.

I expect this to be one of the most out of control teams in the league - bad coaching, youth, Ricky and Blount almost guarantee it. Needless to say I'm looking forward to it, certainly it should be more interesting than watching Cleveland on a cold January evening. But one can't get too worked up over a team that should not win twenty games. Still, the talent is enticing - Jefferson, Rhino, and Gomes make up an imposing frontcourt; and Green, Foye, McCants and Brewer are all pretty exciting. I guess if all these pieces flow together, and Wittman stops impersonating Glenn Rivers, the Wolves could end up with...thirty victories. It's more likely, though, that Blount sets a new record for most three pointers attempted by a seven foot port aficionado. Ah, what a season to look forward to. Mr. Taylor, I hope you like the smell of Hell.

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