Wolves Record This Week: 1-5
Well, what an awful stretch of basketball we have gotten ourselves into. Our Wolves appear to be crumbling before our very eyes. The injuries keep on piling up, and help doesn't appear to be on the way anytime soon... Well serious help, anyway. The Wolves are signing international player Mickeal Gelabale today, but I wouldn't expect anything particularly impactful from him. The Wolves are currently on a 5 game losing streak(including a winless 4 game road trip), but it's the way that they've been losing that has been the most troublesome. They lost their 5 games this week by an average of 16 points, and not a single one was close. Hey, remember when some people said this team was better off without Kevin Love? I wonder if they've changed their minds yet. In other team news, Rick Adelman has been away from the team tending to his wife who is currently in the hospital. Here's to hoping that it's nothing serious and she gets well soon.
Injury Woes: Laughably Woeful
Just when you think it isn't possible for this team to rack up more injured players, they do. Last night both Nikola Pekovic AND Alexey Shved had to leave the game with injuries. If you're having a hard time keeping track at home, let me help you out. With those injuries, that means the only players this season that haven't been hurt at one point or another this season are: Luke Ridnour, Dante Cunningham, Derrick Williams, Greg Stiemsma and Lou Amundson. I don't know about you, but I'd take that starting 5 against any other team in the league! *sigh*
Team Defense: D
I touched on this in the opening paragraph, but the team was outscored by an average of 16 points this week, and it wasn't only due to poor shooting. Don't get me wrong -- there was plenty of that too, but they also gave up an average of 103.6 points per game. They allowed their opponents to shoot an average of 51.7% from the floor, including allowing 59.7% from the Mavs. You're not going to win too many games with that kind of turnstile defense.
Nikola Pekovic: B
Before having a pretty poor night and eventually getting injured last night against the Clippers, Pekovic was having a pretty solid week. Averaging 18.8 points and 10 rebounds on nearly 60% from the field, he was one of the more consistent players in a week full of disappointments. He was bottled up almost entirely by the Clippers and couldn't find any spacing down low. A lot of his troubles with spacing over the last week can be directly traced to the lack of Kevin Love, really the only other low post threat on the team. Combine that with the poor shooting we've seen from other guys lately, and defenses are happy to crash down on Pekovic early and often. Considering the attention he's drawn, he's done pretty well -- he just needs to convert a little bit more consistently around the rim. Hopefully his leg contusion doesn't keep him out for too long, because I'd more than a little concerned with Stiemsma shouldering the load in the paint.
Derrick Williams: B
Derrick managed to play his way into the starting lineup this week after some solid play off the bench in recent weeks, even though he's gone cold from beyond the three point line. After the game against the Hawks in which he shot 3-5 from downtown, he's shot an abysmal 1-11 since. He's made up for that in other areas, however. He's gotten to the free throw line a bit more lately by being smarter about his drives to the basket. He's drawing contact rather than creating it, and generally looks much more comfortable on trips to the lane. Regardless of his outside slump, we know D-Will can shoot the ball, but he needs to get more consistent inside. He made some strides this week and deserves some credit.
Lazar Hayward: Incomplete
The Wolves did indeed sign Hayward to another 10 day contract but he didn't play any more during this stretch of games than he did last week. He'll likely be officially waived today in order to make room for French guard Mickael Gelabale(who we'll get to in a second). Hayward's official statline(assuming he doesn't get picked up by the Wolves again later this year) will be 2.5 points, 1 rebound and 0.8 assists in just under 8 minutes per game. He served almost the sole purpose of spelling Andrei Kirilenko for a few minutes at a time, so I guess he did what he was supposed to do. 8 of his 10 points came against the Thunder in garbage time last Wednesday. Lazar, we hardly knew ye.
Mickael Gelabale: TBD
Gelabale, a 29 year old 6'7" swing guard, hasn't been in the NBA since 2008, after serving two seasons with the Seattle Supersonics. Over 109 games, he averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game. Not exactly eye-popping, but that was nearly 5 years ago. He most recently played in the Euroleague and the Adriatic league. Over 22 games combined this season between both leagues, he's averaged 11.8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 29 minutes per game. You can't expect him to come in and shock the world, but focus on the positives! He's not only breathing, but also healthy, willing, and able.
Alexey Shved: C
Is it possible that Shved just might be hitting the cliched rookie wall? He doesn't look as energetic out there as he did earlier this season. After starting off the week strong, he made only 3 shots in 21 attempts over his past three games, and nearly every single one is coming up short. Terry Porter's hope of turning him into a spark plug off the bench after starting Ricky Rubio last night didn't exactly work out as Porter had hoped. Hopefully Ricky's increased minutes can help give Shved some additional time to rest & recover.
Ricky Rubio: C+
Rubio returned from back spams thsi week and he seems to be settling into the offense a little more as a facilitator. He has racked up 32 assists in the past 6 games. He's looking more and more comfortable running the offense... Just so long as he isn't involved directly. His shooting woes continue, and on the season he's shotting a putrid 22% from the field, including 0-9 from behind the three point line. I'm not sure if his knee isn't feeling quite right while jumping, or if it's something else, but his shot couldn't look less confident. He even managed to horribly miss a wide open layup last night against the Clippers. I couldn't find a clip online, but it will make SportsCenter's Not Top 10 -- count on that.
Wolves Highlight of the Week:
This one was kind of a no-brainer during such a non-exciting week. The very second it happened, it cemented its place in this spot. With apologies to DeJaun Blair, I submit the following:
Wolves Twitter/Instagram Photo of the Week:
As negative as this week was from a winning standpoint, this week also produced one of the cooler things I've seen from the team all week. The Timberwolves teamed with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make a wish come true for Wolves fan Cody Metz(find out more here). Cody and his parents were able to spend last Tuesday and Wednesday with the Wolves both during their home game against Atlanta and their road game at Oklahoma City. That included taking the team flight, staying at the team hotel, and taking the team bus between locations. Wolves PR person(on Twitter as Twolves_PR) captured one of many cool moments during Cody's experience in this shot, as he met with Ricky Rubio on the court prior to Tuesday's tilt against the Hawks:
Image Courtesy of Wolves PR via Twitter
Stick with me this season as we continue to look back on the Wolves Week that was. Comments, criticisms, etc? Please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts. Or discuss it with me on Rube Chat here.
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This article was written by jab. You can normally find him meandering around Rube Chat. Or feel free to email him at email@example.com.