Tag: Kevin Martin

Ricky Rubio

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves


Last season: Once again, the Timberwolves went into the season appearing to have the talent to make a playoff run, and once again they fell short, finishing 40-42. They couldn’t catch a break in close games, going 6-13 in games decided by four points or less (including an 0-11 start in close games). Some of that was bad luck, but ultimately, offseason signings Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer weren’t a strong enough supporting cast for Kevin Love. It’s hard to blame him for wanting out.

Signature highlight from last season: Let the record show that “The Corey Brewer 51-Point Game” was a thing that happened.

Key player changes: Nothing major. Just the biggest game-changer of a summer blockbuster trade since Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers in 2012. Flip Saunders sent Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers in return for the No. 1 picks in the last two drafts, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. As part of the same deal, the Wolves turned Alexey Shved and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute into veteran Sixers forward Thaddeus Young. With their own lottery pick, Minnesota took high-flying UCLA guard Zach LaVine. They also signed veteran point guard Mo Williams for some scoring help off the bench. Head coach Rick Adelman retired; after flirting with Memphis’ Dave Joerger, Saunders replaced Adelman with…himself.

Keys to the Timberwolves’ season:

Can Anthony Bennett contribute? Wiggins was the headliner of the Wolves’ return in the Love trade, but Bennett is still a total mystery. In Cleveland, he had the worst rookie season for a No. 1 pick since Kwame Brown, but he was recovering from a shoulder injury suffered at the end of his college career that kept him from working out last summer, which contributed to his poor conditioning. He looked considerably better in July playing with the Cavs’ Summer League squad, and the Wolves have every reason to believe last season’s struggles were more a product of circumstance than of a lack of talent. Still, Bennett is very raw and what he’ll show this season remains to be seen.

What is Ricky Rubio’s ceiling, and can he reach it? This is a pivotal season for Rubio. If the Spanish point guard isn’t signed to an extension by Halloween, he’s set to hit restricted free agency next summer. Even after three years in the NBA, it’s tough to get a handle on what exactly Rubio is as a player — his torn ACL midway through his rookie season wiped out much of his effectiveness the following year. Last season, he proved himself to still be a gifted passer and above-average defender, but he shot an abysmal 38.1% from the field on 8.2 attempts per game. This season will make or break Rubio’s future with the Timberwolves — if he can’t turn his scoring woes around, the team may decide to go in another direction when it’s time to re-sign him.

Does Saunders have the patience to see this rebuild through? Months before trading Love for Wiggins and Bennett, Saunders used his authority as team president to appoint himself head coach. This arrangement may work out, but things can get complicated when the guy building the roster and the guy coaching it are the same person. As a GM, Saunders did a terrific job of leveraging Love into high-level prospects. But as a coach, he will have to understand that Wiggins, Bennett, LaVine and promising 2013 first-round pick Gorgui Dieng aren’t going to learn the NBA game overnight. It’s not worth rushing that process to chase a shadow of a chance at a playoff berth that wouldn’t amount to anything. If Saunders the coach is willing to play the long game with the development of the young talent Saunders the GM brought in, the franchise is in good hands.

Why you should watch the Timberwolves: They won’t be good, but they’ll be the most fun bad team in the league. Wiggins, LaVine and Brewer turned loose in transition with Rubio throwing them lobs? Yes please.

Prediction: 25-57. As soon as the Timberwolves traded Love, they pretty much tossed any playoff aspirations out the window. This is a developmental year, and it’s not exactly going out on a limb to say that Minnesota will be at or near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The rewards won’t come for a few years at least.

Ricky Rubio says speculation around Kevin Love “hurt the team and hurt himself”

Minnesota Timberwolves Media Day

Last season in Minnesota there only seemed to be two questions: “Wait, who is hurt now?” and “So, Kevin Love, where do you plan to play next season?”

Frankly the first question doesn’t get mentioned enough when discussing the Timberwolves struggles last season (although there certainly were issues beyond injuries), but the second one…

Ricky Rubio brought it up again talking about the future of the Timberwolves with Jeff Caplan of NBA.com.

“Of course we had a lot going on last year and the media was talking, they were wondering if Kevin wanted to be here, blah, blah, blah, and that hurt the team and hurt himself,” Rubio said. “Now that he’s not here, the media’s not going to talk about that anymore. I think that’s going to be good for him and for us.”

Um, maybe the not talking about him is nice Ricky, but the team is not better off. Maybe Wiggins can develop into the kind of talent Love is…. but Love already is. Okay, but time to move on…

Except this season Rubio could be the distraction.

Rubio’s name is going to come up in a lot of trade rumors this season as he is up for a contract extension and if not done by Oct. 31 (highly unlikely outcome) he is a restricted free agent. Team coach/president Flip Saunders doesn’t want to pay Rubio what the player (and his agent) think he can get on the open market. Rubio may be in for a surprise there, but in the short term Saunders is going to listen to legitimate offers, and those will flow in.

It will be Rubio’s year to hear “So, where do you plan to play next season?”

That said, he said he wants to take a leadership role on this team.

“We have to step up, especially me as a leader, be more vocal. Our young guys, they need someone to guide them. I think we have a lot of vets here that can do that. Mo [Williams] is a great example. Me and Kevin Martin can do the same thing.

“What I’ve been doing, since I am young, is leading by example, practicing hard and doing everything on the court. I have to learn how to be more vocal. I’m not good at that and I have to improve.”

It’s something that would help his trade value, too.

67RIEFNS No. 7: Warriors’ starting lineup

Stephen Curry

The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the doldrums of the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Bob Myers’ hard work paid off.

The Warriors general manager’s painstaking pursuit of Andre Iguodala included convincing Iguodala to sign while simultaneously clearing the necessary the cap space – and it worked.

The result? Iguodala turned the Warriors’ starting lineup into one of the NBA’s most effective and complete units.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut dominated last season.

Of the NBA’s 30 most-used lineups, none had a better net rating than the Warriors’ starters, who outscored opponents by 15.4 points per 100 possessions.

And they did it by dominating both ends. Their offensive rating (112.4) and defensive rating (97.0) would have both led the NBA.

Here’s how the league’s 30 most-used lineups stacked up offensively and defensively. (Click here for an interactive version where you can mouse over each logo to see players and exact offensive and defensive ratings.)


  • Bottom right: above average offensively, above average defensively
  • Top right: above average offensively, below average defensively
  • Bottom left: below average offensively, above average defensively
  • Top left: below average offensively, below average defensively

Peerless far into the bottom right, that’s the Warriors’ starters.

Within the 30 most-used lineups, only two were better offensively – one on the Clippers (Chris Paul, Darren Collison, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) and one on the Timberwolves (Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic). With Collison on the Kings and Love on the Cavaliers, neither lineup will be around this season.

Likewise, the only better defensive lineups – the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Channing Frye and Miles Plumelee; the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah; the Pacers’ George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert; the Wizards’ John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Nene and Marcin Gortat; and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts and Al Jefferson – have broken up with Frye in Orlando, Boozer in Los Angeles, Stephenson in Charlotte, Ariza in Houston and McRoberts in Miami.

Yet, the Warriors’ top lineup remains.

Between Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Lee and Bogut, it’s difficult to find a skill left uncovered.

Curry and Thompson bomb away from beyond the arc. Lee scores inside. Curry and Iguodala keep the ball moving. Lee and Bogut clean the glass. Bogut protects the rim. Iguodala and Thompson defend perimeter.

The puzzle pieces fit seamlessly.

Steve Kerr, please don’t mess with this lineup. It’s basketball bliss.

Does Serge Ibaka know who Mitch McGary is?

2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day

Mitch McGary – you might have heard of him.

The Thunder drafted him No. 21 after he turned pro due to a looming marijuana suspension. Since, he has backward somersaulted into a dunk and spoken about his suspension.

He just hasn’t made an impression on Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka.

Royce Young of Daily Thunder:


I think Ibaka is telling the truth. I hope he’s telling the truth.

Kevin Martin said at Timberwolves media day he didn’t know Kevin Love had been traded, some people believed him. But Martin was joking.

If Ibaka was also pulling a fast one, I’ve willingly fallen for it. I prefer the idea that his offseason was so fulfilling he didn’t have a chance to monitor every transaction, even his own team’s.

Mark Cuban: Don’t expect any Mavericks to score 20 points per game

Game 5: Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs

In 16 of the last 17 seasons, the Mavericks have featured a 20-point-per-game scorer. Heck, a couple of those years featured two 20-point-per-game scorers.

Between Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Dallas has not lacked a clear go-to scorer.

That’s about to change – at least if Mavericks owner Cuban gets his wish.

Cuban, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“I’m not expecting anybody on our team to be a 20-point scorer,” the owner said as the Mavericks introduced six new players at a news conference. “Not Dirk. I don’t want him to be a 20-point scorer. Seriously. Monta (Ellis) has that capability. Chandler (Parsons) has that capability. Dirk has that capability. Richard Jefferson’s got that capability. Jameer (Nelson could score) 15. Raymond (Felton) could do 15, if that was the focus, but that’s not our focus.

“That’s the cool thing. There are going to be times when we overpass. And that will be the challenge.”

Since the 2000-01 season, of the 70 teams with top-five offenses each season – and that’s the type of potential these Mavericks have – 62 have produced a 20-point-per-game scorer:

(Click here to view a larger, interactive, version of the chart)


Season Team Offensive rating rank Offensive rating Scoring leader Points per game
2013-14 LAC 1 112.1 Blake Griffin 24.1
2013-14 POR 2 111.5 LaMarcus Aldridge 23.2
2013-14 DAL 3 111.2 Dirk Nowitzki 21.7
2013-14 HOU 4 111 James Harden 25.4
2013-14 MIA 5 110.9 LeBron James 27.1
2012-13 OKC 1 112.4 Kevin Durant 28.1
2012-13 MIA 2 112.3 LeBron James 26.8
2012-13 NYK 3 111.1 Carmelo Anthony 28.7
2012-13 LAC 4 110.6 Blake Griffin 18
2012-13 DEN 5 110.4 Ty Lawson 16.7
12/1/2011 SAS 1 110.9 Tony Parker 18.3
12/1/2011 OKC 2 109.8 Kevin Durant 28
12/1/2011 DEN 3 109.2 Ty Lawson 16.4
12/1/2011 LAC 4 108.5 Blake Griffin 20.7
12/1/2011 CHI 5 107.4 Derrick Rose 21.8
11/1/2010 DEN 1 112.3 Carmelo Anthony 25.2
11/1/2010 SAS 2 111.8 Tony Parker 17.5
11/1/2010 MIA 3 111.7 LeBron James 26.7
11/1/2010 HOU 4 111.3 Kevin Martin 23.5
11/1/2010 OKC 5 111.2 Kevin Durant 27.7
10/1/2009 PHO 1 115.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 23.1
10/1/2009 ATL 2 111.9 Joe Johnson 21.3
10/1/2009 DEN 3 111.8 Carmelo Anthony 28.2
10/1/2009 ORL 4 111.4 Dwight Howard 18.3
10/1/2009 TOR 5 111.3 Chris Bosh 24
9/1/2008 POR 1 113.9 Brandon Roy 22.6
9/1/2008 PHO 2 113.6 Amar’e Stoudemire 21.4
9/1/2008 LAL 3 112.8 Kobe Bryant 26.8
9/1/2008 CLE 4 112.4 LeBron James 28.4
9/1/2008 DAL 5 110.5 Dirk Nowitzki 25.9
8/1/2007 UTA 1 113.8 Carlos Boozer 21.1
8/1/2007 PHO 2 113.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 25.2
8/1/2007 LAL 3 113 Kobe Bryant 28.3
8/1/2007 GSW 4 111.8 Baron Davis 21.8
8/1/2007 NOH 5 111.5 Chris Paul 21.1
7/1/2006 PHO 1 113.9 Amar’e Stoudemire 20.4
7/1/2006 DAL 2 111.3 Dirk Nowitzki 24.6
7/1/2006 WAS 3 110.1 Gilbert Arenas 28.4
7/1/2006 UTA 4 110.1 Carlos Boozer 20.9
7/1/2006 SAS 5 109.2 Tim Duncan 19.99
6/1/2005 DAL 1 111.8 Dirk Nowitzki 26.6
6/1/2005 PHO 2 111.5 Shawn Marion 21.8
6/1/2005 SEA 3 111.1 Ray Allen 25.1
6/1/2005 DET 4 110.8 Richard Hamilton 20.1
6/1/2005 TOR 5 109.5 Chris Bosh 22.5
5/1/2004 PHO 1 114.5 Amar’e Stoudemire 26
5/1/2004 SEA 2 112.2 Ray Allen 23.9
5/1/2004 SAC 3 110.5 Peja Stojakovic 20.1
5/1/2004 DAL 4 110.3 Dirk Nowitzki 26.1
5/1/2004 MIA 5 110.2 Dwyane Wade 24.1
4/1/2003 DAL 1 112.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
4/1/2003 SAC 2 110.3 Peja Stojakovic 24.2
4/1/2003 SEA 3 107.3 Ray Allen 23
4/1/2003 MIL 4 106.5 Michael Redd 21.7
4/1/2003 MIN 5 105.9 Kevin Garnett 24.2
3/1/2002 DAL 1 110.7 Dirk Nowitzki 25.1
3/1/2002 MIL 2 108.8 Ray Allen 21.3
3/1/2002 GSW 3 108.3 Antawn Jamison 22.2
3/1/2002 LAL 4 107.2 Kobe Bryant 30
3/1/2002 MIN 5 106.1 Kevin Garnett 23
2/1/2001 DAL 1 112.2 Dirk Nowitzki 23.4
2/1/2001 LAL 2 109.4 Shaquille O’Neal 27.2
2/1/2001 SAC 3 109 Chris Webber 24.5
2/1/2001 MIN 4 109 Kevin Garnett 21.2
2/1/2001 SEA 5 108.9 Gary Payton 22.1
1/1/2000 MIL 1 108.8 Ray Allen 22
1/1/2000 LAL 2 108.4 Shaquille O’Neal 28.7
1/1/2000 UTA 3 107.6 Karl Malone 23.2
1/1/2000 DAL 4 107.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
1/1/2000 HOU 5 106.7 Steve Francis 19.9

Unsurprisingly, a plurality of the exceptions are Spurs teams. Gregg Popovich’s squads move the ball, spreading the scoring.

Which is exactly what Cuban wants for his Mavericks.