Tag: Kevin Garnett

Flip Saunders

Timberwolves coach Flip Sauders returns to Twitter to say he loves three pointers


The last time Timberwolves coach and GM Flip Saunders was on Twitter, he was setting the record straight that Kevin Love had in no way told him he was opting out or wanted to be traded. Six months later, Love was traded.

Now Saunders is back on Twitter after a long hiatus to again set the record straight.

Saunders doesn’t like the idea that he is considered a dinosaur, an old-school guy who doesn’t have an obsession with getting clean three-point looks like everyone else in the NBA.

Unlike the Love situation, I fully believe Saunders here. Look at what he told Zach Lowe of Grantland in a recent interview.

Do we need to make 3s? No question. I think Andrew will become an adequate 3-point shooter. The bottom line is, you have what you have. If your best players aren’t 3-point shooters, you can’t just make them 3-point shooters. We need to build around them and get some other players who can stretch the floor…

The reason teams don’t post up is that nobody can do it anymore. Teams would like to do it. The post-up is conducive to small ball. If a guy can score down there, the defense has to trap, and you can get open 3s. And that’s what we’re all trying to get — open 3s.

Saunders is also a realist. He may want to shoot threes, but he also sees his roster (the one he built) and knows these are not the Warriors. He’s going to often have the ball in the hands of Ricky Rubio (25.5 percent from three last season) and Andrew Wiggins (31 percent), followed by Zach LaVine (34.1 percent) and sometimes rookie Tyus Jones (25 percent at Summer League). He doesn’t have stretch bigs with Kevin Garnett (14 percent last season), Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng. There are a couple good three-point shooters on the roster in Shabazz Muhammad (who Saunders will use as a stretch four at times) and Kevin Martin (if he can stay healthy), but this team needs guys who can space the floor.

All of that could lead to spacing issues for the Timberwolves next season.

But don’t confuse that with a guy who doesn’t want to shoot the three. Saunders took to Twitter to clear that part up.

With Nikola Pekovic still hurt, Flip Saunders says Karl-Anthony Towns could start. Or Gorgui Dieng.


Minnesota is going to be a fascinating team to watch this season, just because coach Flip Saunders has a lot of options with his rotation. He has said he plans to start Kevin Garnett at the four, then when he rests they can go with Gorgui Dieng or small with Shabazz Muhammad.

Then at the five there’s a solid scoring big in Nikola Pekovic who was an anchor up front until he got injured, and now there’s No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns who needs time at that spot.

Zach Lowe at Grantland asked the million dollar question: So Flip, does Towns get the start?

Well, Pek is still hurt. And we have another guy who isn’t bad in Gorgui Dieng.

First off, no coach is going to answer that question in August, unless the question is “do you still plan to start LeBron James?” If a coach can create competition in camp to push guys, he’s going to do just that.

But as mentioned above, Saunders has options. He can start KG and Towns, and then go small off the bench with Dieng and Muhammad. Then he can mix and match early in the season to see what pairings work and in what situation. As the last couple NBA Finals champs have shown us, versatility matters.

There is one other Timberwolves question that influences all of this: Do they have enough shooting to give these bigs space to work? Opponents will be more than happy to let Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and maybe even Kevin Martin (he’s got to prove he’s healthy) to beat you from the perimeter, or especially from three. The Timberwolves are not exactly loaded with shooters.

Minnesota is going to be a fascinating team to watch next season, for a few reasons.

Nets finally taking responsible path to rebuilding, don’t expect another spending spree next summer

Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams Paul Pierce Kevin Garnett

A few years back, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov knew he needed a winning team to open the Barclays’ Center, a team that could get New York’s attention. He ordered his GM to spend without concern for the luxury tax, he openly laughed at that demarcation line. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, trading for Joe Johnson, and the list goes on — Brooklyn bought a pretty good team, one that made the second round of the playoffs, but at a ridiculous price tag.

Now, times have changed — the Nets waived Deron Williams, traded Garnett, let Pierce bolt to the other coast, and made moves to get under (or at least close to) the luxury tax. Prokhorov is sending out letters to season ticket holders touting a younger, more athletic team. They are going to try and build in a more traditional way. Well, except without draft picks for a while.

That means next summer, when they have cap space again, don’t expect the Nets to spend like mad on one big free agent, reports Nets Daily.

One league source told NetsDaily it will be a long time, if ever, before the Nets pay the luxuy tax again. Part of his thinking is that they will go into next summer with $40 million in cap space, enough to pursue a star or more likely, pay two of three good players … some of whom may be their own. The other reason is they think with a longer term strategy and some good fortune, they can win while being fiscally frugal. They’re putting a LOT of stock in continuity, particularly with the coaching staff. (The insider said that he could foresee the Nets maxing out only one of their current playes, Bojan Bogdanovic, two years from now if he breaks out.)

They are going to act like 29 other teams.

The general rule of thumb around the league is not to go into the tax — especially avoid the dreaded repeater tax (for being above the tax line three out of four years) — unless you are in a window of title contention. The Cavaliers are about to do it to keep LeBron James happy, but they should — with him they are contenders for the next five years (at least). But you don’t  see even the big market money machines like the Lakers and Knicks willing to spend way over the line right now, at least until they get somewhere near contender status again. You can’t just buy a team.

What this likely means for the Nets is some short term pain. They certainly still have the talent to make the bottom half of the playoffs in the East — they did spend this summer to retain Brook  Lopez and Thaddeus Young — but the rebuilding is going to take a little time. Especially considering all the draft picks they sent away during the “win now” era (Boston will be picking for the Nets a lot in the coming years).

The Nets have learned how to build patiently, while their owner has learned how to dodge marriage promises. They may be getting things right, but there is still a price to be paid for their win-now era.

Flip Saunders: Kevin Garnett will start for Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett

The Timberwolves didn’t sign Kevin Garnett just for his leadership.

They want him to play.

Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, in a Q&A with Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Is KG going to start?

He’s gonna start. That’s who he is. KG is a starter. He’s the best power forward on our team, actually. No one rebounds better. He’s the best help defender. No one communicates better. He knows the offense, and he can pass it.

That leaves Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng battling to start at the other big-man spot.

Towns was just the No. 1 pick, a productive two-way player who seems relatively NBA-ready for a rookie. Saunders said Pekovic is still hurt, but the center has been a steady starter the last four years when healthy. Dieng broke out late in his rookie season, and he maintained that level while starting a majority of Minnesota’s games last season.

Towns has the brightest future among that group, and maybe he should start for that reason. It will be pretty tough for the Timberwolves to make the playoffs next season, so maybe they should think long-term.

It’s also possible Towns is already better than Pekovic and Dieng, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the veterans are ahead when the season begins.

Simply based on productivity, Garnett belongs in the mix in a four-man race. But he’s clearly getting the nod based on stature. The 39-year-old also might be better off physically starting rather than sitting on the bench and getting cold to begin games.

I don’t expect Garnett to play typical minutes for a starter, which should leave playing time for those younger players. Enough to maximize their development? That’s a different question – especially with Anthony Bennett, Adreian Payne and Nemanja Bjelica also on the roster.

Perhaps, though, that issues takes care of itself. Garnett played just five games after Minnesota acquired him before the trade deadline, missing the final 21 games of the season. Injury is always an increased concern for players his age.

I’d hardly be surprised if, for one reason or another, Garnett is no longer starting by the end of the season.

Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves

Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game — this is going to be fun to watch.

They already had Kevin Garnett, now the Timberwolves are about to add another veteran to their locker room, a guy who can help guide a talented but young core.

Minnesota has reached a deal with veteran point guard Andre Miller, something first reported by Shams Charania of Real GM and confirmed by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Former Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks notes this is not much of a cap hit for the Timberwolves, as the NBA pitches in on all veteran minimum deals.

This is a smart pickup for the Timberwolves. Miller split time between the Wizards and Kings last season (the fact that the Kings didn’t retain him should be a sign George Karl doesn’t have sway over personnel decisions). Even at age 39 Miller provides some good play on the court (with the Kings under Karl he averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 assists per game). His game is the definition of crafty.

Ricky Rubio will be the starter opening night at the point for Minnesota, but behind him are two talented but young players — Zach LaVine and Tyus Jones (the latter of which looked pretty good at Summer League). Miller can both provide some stability in that rotation and be a mentor to the younger players.