Tag: Kevin Garnett


Elton Brand announces retirement unless…


Elton Brand played just 36 games for the Hawks last season. His role shrunk even further during the playoffs, getting just four minutes.

The writing was on the wall for the 36-year-old who previously played for the Bulls, Clippers, 76ers and Mavericks.

Al Coqueran of The Examiner:

after a 16-year career in the NBA, Brand announced his retirement.

I could get in shape if I got the call but this looks like the end of the run for me, right now it is family time,” stated Brand.

I wouldn’t be shocked if a contender wants Brand to fill a roster spot during the season. Size comes at a premium, and Brand seems to be a positive locker-room presence.

If this is the end of Brand’s career, it was a strong one.

He faced oversized expectations at the No. 1 pick in the 1999 draft, and that still colors opinions of him. It’s not unheard of to hear Brand called a bust. That’s not fair, though. Brand posted more win shares than anyone in his draft class aside from Shawn Marion. Simply by being one against 57, the No. 1 pick has low odds of being the very best player in each draft.

But Brand did plenty to warrant praise. He made a couple All-Star games, led the Clippers to their first playoff-series victory since moving to California and had more 20-point, nine-rebound seasons than any current players except Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

Neither Brand’s prime (seventh-place in 2006 MVP voting) nor longevity (16 seasons, including 13 with an above-average PER) have gotten their just due. Brand wasn’t all time great, but he was very good for a bit and pretty good for a while longer.

Flip Saunders has cancer, will continue as Timberwolves president/coach

Flip Saunders

A couple months ago, Flip Saunders said he planned to continue coaching the Timberwolves.

It appears not even a scary medical issue will stop him.

Behind Kevin Garnett, Saunders is probably the most influential person in Timberwolves history. Saunders has coached the team to more wins in his two stints than anyone else combined. He also runs the front office and even owns a share of the franchise.

He has done a lot for Minnesota, including – as this timeline details – overseeing the 2015 draft process while dealing with his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That resulted in the Timberwolves selecting Karl-Anthony Towns No. 1 to join an exciting young core headlined by Andrew Wiggins.

Saunders has done an excellent job rebuilding this team after Kevin Love asked out. Hopefully, Saunders fulfills his plan to stay on duty and gets a chance to see his vision through.

Ricky Rubio on Timberwolves: ‘I have to go pull this team in the playoffs’

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors

Kevin Garnett is the Timberwolves’ most-accomplished player.

Andre Miller is their oldest player.

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are their most-important players.

But on any team, leadership naturally falls to the starting point guard and highest-paid player. Ricky Rubio, who fills both titles in Minnesota, is embracing that role.

Rubio, via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

“We know we’re young and we’re building,” Rubio told SI.com in a phone interview. “At the same time, I think we’re ready to win games. Last season we only won 16 games but it didn’t feel like we were a losing team at all. We were just lacking some things. Me personally, I have to go pull this team in the playoffs. I know it’s a big challenge, but I think we have the right assets, the right weapons to get it. I know we’re in the West side, it’s really tough, but I think we can make it happen. I have big expectations for next season.”

I don’t think it’s completely outlandish to suggest the Timberwolves could make the playoffs. They’re loaded with talent at every position:

  • Point guard: Rubio, Miller, Tyus Jones
  • Shooting guard: Kevin Martin, Zach LaVine
  • Small forward: Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Nemanja Bjelica
  • Power forward: Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng, Adreian Payne, Anthony Bennett
  • Center: Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Pekovic

That is one heck of the depth chart.

But there are three major reasons Minnesota won’t make the playoffs:

1. Youth. As talented as those players are, many of them are still very young. They’ll probably need more time to develop and learn how to do the little things necessary to win.

2. Fit. Too many Timberwolves prefer to operate in the same areas of the court. They just don’t have enough floor spacers.

3.  Western Conference. It’s darn good.

Rubio could help, though. He’s reaching the age where he should take the next step. And a nifty passer, he could mitigate Minnesota’s spacing issues. He’ll have no shortage of talented players to throw passes. He’s the crux.

The Timberwolves probably won’t reach the postseason, but if they do, it very well could be because Rubio pulled them there.