Frustrated Beasley calls Minnesota “The worst team in the NBA”

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It’s not going to be easy for the Minnesota Timberwolves to bounce back from a 15-67 season and become contenders again, but that doesn’t mean the Minnesota players and coaches won’t be frustrated after a loss like the the 109-89 beating the Memphis Grizzlies handed the Wolves last Saturday.

According to Ray Richardson of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, nobody was more upset with himself and his team after the loss than new forward Michael Beasley, who followed up two strong performances to start the season with a six-point, six-turnover abomination against the Grizzlies:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The word “Professional” was written in large letters on a chalkboard inside the Timberwolves’ locker room Saturday night. Somebody must have written it after the Wolves’ demoralizing 109-89 loss to Memphis at FedExForum.

Before the game, the board was filled with a checklist of items to remind Wolves players of their responsibilities. Whatever game plan Wolves coach Kurt Rambis had intended was never executed, prompting claims from Rambis of a lack of professionalism in his players and an alarming assessment from a frustrated Michael Beasley.

“I feel like everything we’ve been working on since training camp went out the window tonight,” Beasley said. “As of right now, we’re the worst team in the NBA.”

Beasley was so disturbed with the results that he sat in front of his locker stall staring at the floor with his uniform on. He was the last player still in uniform, but he had a reason. Beasley was preparing to go back onto the court to do some extra shooting.

Beasley didn’t address his performance, but he appeared to be speaking for the entire team. After an impressive win over Milwaukee on Friday night at Target Center, the Wolves failed to follow up and give indications that things really might be different this season.

“We played soft,” Beasley said. “With our record last year (15-67), we can’t come in thinking we have the game won already. Getting our first win last night was not good for us. We came in here on our high horse, and they knocked us off.”

It’s good to see that the Timberwolves haven’t resigned themselves to the cellar already, and that the notoriously flighty Beasley appears to want to get better instead of let himself off the hook for performances like the one he had on Saturday. Time will tell if the Timberwolves’ frustration and apparent resolve will translate into a return to respectability or just make another abysmal season that much harder for them to take.

 

 

 

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.