Timberwolves feeling the love
Photo by Tojosan
After consecutive wins (you heard me) against the Nets and Wizards, the Wolves have now won four of seven and are channeling some seriously good vibes. Following the Wizards game, chatter centered around winning streaks (and whether or not two games constitutes one), hope, rejuvenation. Leave it to Wolves' coach Kurt Rambis, though, to temper the mood with a note of sober professionalism. When asked what he thinks his team can learn from this mini-winning streaks he replied: "they have to understand that if they win back-to-back, their reward is they have to practice tomorrow." Anyone think playing in the NBA sounds like fun?
Of course, partially enabling the Wolves' good fortune was the fact that their two most recent opponents have been the Nets and the Wizards. The unfortunate Nets, who have fallen to the Wolves twice now, are pretty much beyond dispute the worst team in the NBA. The Wiz are another story altogether. Featuring Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and the magical and strange Gilbert Arenas (not to mention a host of other talented players), the Wiz have one of the league's most theoretically potent lineups. And with former Wolves coach Flip Saunders at the switch, one would think that this would be an awfully dynamic, awfully dangerous team.
But, for some reason they're neither of those things. That great collection of talent plays without any sense of group purpose, their trust in one another seemingly frayed. Unusually for a Flip Saunders team, these Wizards are not great ball-movers; they often slip into a deadening one-on-one game, their offensive approach often no more nuanced than a sequence of isolations.
Speaking of familiar faces, former Wolves lottery pick Randy Foye fits perfectly with this incoherent team mentality. Foye, recall, was dealt to Washington, along with Mike Miller for the draft pick that will perhaps one day become Ricky Rubio. Whether or not Rubio ever makes it to faire MN, after a fresh glimpse at Foye, I think we can basically call this trade a success. A series of stat-boosting but ultimately inconsequential rainbow threes notwithstanding, Foye showed rotten shot selection and a glaring lack of awareness. Check out Randy going up soft against Ryan Hollins. And then please note that, while being mostly guarded by Foye, the wildly erratic Corey Brewer dropped a career high 27 points on 16 shots. Terrible shot selection? Inconsequential threes? Passive defense? Sounds painfully familiar to me.