We decided to switch things up a little bit, flip the script and all that, to bring you a preview of the Minnesota Timberwolves heading into L.A.’s Sunday evening contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
As such, we called up our Minnesota Correspondent Robby Sikka, a USC med school graduate who feels more strongly about the Wolves than coffee does caffeine.
We asked Sikka to give us 10 things we need to know, with my comments in italics underneath:
1. The Timberwolves were one of the league’s best teams in January and Kevin McHale was NBA Coach of the Month.
Sort of true. The Wolves started out 10-2 in January before dropping consecutive games to the Pistons and Lakers, though their schedule was on the easy side. Still, McHale deserves credit for completely turning around a team Randy Wittman had completely buried.
2. Kevin Love is an automatic double-double the last two months. No player in the NBA has better rebounding instincts.
This might be true. Love’s one of five rookies in history to grab more than 20 percent of all boards available during his time on the floor.
3. Slumdog Millionaire is going to win Best Picture, and Freida Pinto is more than welcome to Minnesota to watch a game out here with us…just saying the offer is out there…
Sikka’s of Indian roots, and since the Oscars are tonight we’ll allow this random digression.
4. Randy Foye is quietly having a terrific season, increasing his scoring average each month and becoming a team leader.
For the season, Foye’s averaging 16.6 points, 4.6 dimes, 3.3 boards and 1.13 steals, but he’s been much better since McHale took over, routinely scoring 20 points and dishing six assists. He’s been cursed by how good traded-for Brandon Roy’s been, but Foye’s steadily gaining ground.
5. Al Jefferson going down for the season with a torn ACL is just one of a rash of injuries affecting the league’s top stars: KG, Amare, Elton Brand, Gilbert Arenas, T-Mac, Jameer Nelson, Andrew Bynum…yet amazingly Kobe Bryant continues to play through injuries and tough it out. He has to be one of the league’s iron men at this point.
6. The Wolves are positioning themselves to have one of the league’s most productive off-seasons with potentially four first round picks, and lots of cap room and tradeable assets.
Ideally Minnesota will package some of those picks to get an elite talent. They’re in a good position, also, to take a risk on a prospect, and should see their lottery balls go up significantly considering Jefferson’s (23 points, 11 boards) injury.
7. Rashad McCants had a tough month, first getting dumped by Khloe Kardashian, and then getting sent to the NBA’s equivalent of the outhouse in Sacramento. Only Chris Brown and Rihanna had a worse month, and maybe A-Rod too.
8. Ryan Gomes is a quintessential glue guy and was pivotal to the team’s success in January.
Gomes is severely underrated by fans, since he’s anything but flashy and always makes the right play, but coaches and GM’s know his worth.
9. The Wolves have struggled against the Lakers this season because of the Lakers length and athleticism, not to mention talent.
True, but with Jefferson out, the Wolves are basically a drive and kick team that shoots a lot of threes, which is actually gives teams a better chance of beating the Lakers (should they convert a good 60 percent of those threes, of course). Pounding it inside on L.A. works better without Andrew Bynum, but it still doesn’t work with the Lakers compact defense.
10. New Timberwolf Shelden Williams is married to WNBA super star Candace Parker. She is out for the season having her first baby. Do the Wolves get draft rights to the new baby? Mike do some homework on this, that kid could be a superstar in the making.
I like where he’s going with this point and will bring it to Phil Jackson before the game.
OK folks, we’ll check in before the game.