Tom Hanneman and Jim Petersen: I'll See You In Court
By Stephen Litel
Surely, many fans will find themselves conflicted after the Timberwolves win in Orlando. It is, of course, always good to see your team get a hard-fought win on the road, especially an overtime game. Yet, with each win that the Wolves notch from now until the end of the season, they find themselves close to losing their first round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
As I have mentioned in this space before, an ideal situation would be to play the young guns (Foye, McCants and Smith) a good amount of minutes to continue their development in this now lost Timberwolves season. The lineup that Minnesota can put on the floor until the end of the season that helps to find something positive going into next year is Foye, McCants, Jaric, Smith and Garnett.
Although, to a certain degree, Marko Jaric's inability to play well coming off the bench holds the Timberwolves hostage, if he needs to start to be productive, then so be it. Trenton Hassell is certainly a fine on ball defender, but Jaric is able to play better help defense. Look back to the game against Miami on Friday... Jaric played a stellar defensive game, allowing his confidence to get back on track. He does, however, need to work on his outside shot during the off-season to be a complete threat, as it is always a crapshoot when he has an open shot.
Did anyone happen to notice what Kevin Garnett said to Marney Gellner post-game? After the nice road win, Garnett stated "We're just trying to build something for the future here." Now, Garnett is always careful with what he says to the media and usually knows what he is doing, so I find it interesting that he made this statement.
In a season where Minnesota will miss the playoffs for a third straight year and has been nothing short of a disaster with the expectations coming in with the additions of James, Foye, and Smith, Garnett has been showing the true leader he can be. Coach Wittman stated recently that there really is no leader in the locker room for Minnesota, but I am constantly seeing Garnett praising the younger players, encouraging Jaric in the huddle and I have also seen glimpses of a young Kevin Garnett. You remember that guy? "The Kid" used to be full of energy and life, working himself into a lather due to his overwhelming love for the game of basketball. I believe that guy is slowly re-emerging.
It is not debatable on whether or not Garnett likes his teammates this season as people, but as basketball players, they can leave something to be desired. However, he is indeed on board, doing all he can to push the young players, along with Jaric, in order to find something that he can cling to for the remainder of his time in Minnesota.
It is also obvious that Garnett likes Ricky Davis, but I believe that he was speaking of Davis and Blount when he spoke of "head-cases" a few weeks back. The Big Ticket has spoken out numerous times in support of Davis with statements like he made last night, saying "Ricky and I are gelling later (then they would have wanted), but I will take it." Again, another comment that seems to come off as if he is certainly disappointed in how this season as a whole will turn out, but sees promise. The problem is that if Garnett wants Davis to return next season, Mark Blount must be traded, as those two seem to feed off each other, creating a spiral of negativity on the bench... and Blount's contract will be hard to trade.
One last random thought... I am going to be taking Tom Hanneman and Jim Peterson to court soon for copyright infringement. I began to call Randy Foye "Fourth Quarter Foye" in this space awhile ago. It was brought to my attention recently that they have begun calling the rookie the same and I heard it for myself in the Orlando game.
OK, so I didn't have the nickname copyrighted, but I'll have to have some words with them.
By Stephen Litel