The Timberwolves’ Twitter Account Roasts Bryan Colangelo

Late last night, The Ringer posted a great article investigating five Twitter accounts which appeared to be operated by Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Bryan Colangelo. Colangelo has claimed responsibility for one of the accounts, but has denied using the other four. However, all five accounts share some interesting similarities. The accounts defended some of Colangelo’s moves, criticized 76ers’ players and coaches, and telegraphed some of the team’s strategy. If you haven’t done so, I highly recommend you read the article by Ben Detrick for more information.

The article has sent NBA Twitter into a frenzy, and rightfully so. Even current players on the 76ers like Joel Embiid tweeted about it. But the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Twitter account had an excellent tweet regarding the matter this morning. The tweet was a video of a Twitter login that showed the Timberwolves account and a burner account, and the burner account gets deleted. It’s a hilarious jab at the 76ers and Colangelo. Ironically, much like the account in the video, the tweet was also deleted. Luckily though, a user on Reddit that goes by the username SomaliRection posted a screen capture of the Tweet.

There are still a lot of unknowns in the Colangelo-Twitter kerfuffle, and the 76ers have announced their own investigation into these accounts. However it plays out, whoever runs the Wolves’ Twitter account deserves some congratulating on a hilarious tweet.

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3Double Mock Draft: Version 1.5

In case you missed it, here is the lottery portion of the mock draft. 

15. Washington Wizards – Robert Williams: John Wall said that the Wizards could use some athletic big men, and Robert Williams fits that bill. He’s an exceptional athlete who will dazzle with his dunking ability, but he is a little undersized. RobertWilliams.jpg

16. Phoenix Suns – Keita Bates-Diop: After selecting Luka Doncic first overall, the go for the Big 10 Player of the Year with KDP. KDP will bring good defense and a strong shot to the Suns.

17. Milwaukee Bucks – Lonnie Walker IV: After a disappointing season, the Bucks are rebooting with Mike Budenholzer as coach. Walker is an athletic guard who can serve as a needed scorer for the Bucks.

18. San Antonio Spurs – Chandler Hutchinson: Hutchinson pulled out of the NBA combine, apparently because a team promised they would draft him. Could that team be the Spurs? Hutchinson is a forward who is a strong scorer who carried the offense in college.

19. Atlanta Hawks – Anfernee Simons: Simons is an interesting prospect, he did not play college basketball and he sat out parts of the combine. The Hawks take a swing at a boom or bust type of prospect who will need several years to develop.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Khyri Thomas: The Wolves have some fantastic options at pick 20, but Thomas is a no-brainer. Thomas is my highest ranked available player, and his skillset seems built for the Wolves. Thomas is a guy who can knock down threes at a high percentage, and bring some much needed defense to a bad defensive team.

21. Utah Jazz – Troy Brown: This seems like a perfect fit. Brown is a versatile defender who can be a playmaker on offense. He should be able to contribute as a rotational player right away. Troy-Brown.jpg

22. Chicago Bulls – Jontay Porter: Michael Porter Jr.’s younger brother is also good enough to be drafted in the first round. Porter did poorly at the combine, he had the highest body fat percentage of anyone at the combine. However, Porter can be a major offensive contributor, and perhaps getting his weight down will help his movement defensively.

23. Indiana Pacers – Aaron Holiday: Darren Collison is the starting PG for the Pacers, and will be 31 and entering the last year of his contract when the season starts. Holiday isn’t an explosive athlete, but he’s a good scorer. He is the younger brother of Jrue and Justin Holiday.

24. Portland Trailblazers – Mitchell Robinson: The Blazers might not bring back Jusuf Nurkic next season, leaving a hole at the center position. Robinson is a shot blocker who can defend the rim. It should be noted that some suggested that Robinson is hard to work with (he had an interesting saga at Western Kentucky University).

25. Los Angeles Lakers – Jacob Evans: Evans is not a player with star potential, but he is a prospect who should contribute on both ends of the court right away. He’s a solid 3&D wing who should produce in any environment.

26. Philadelphia 76ers – Dzanan Musa: The second highest rated prospect from overseas this year, Musa is a young scorer with a lot of potential. He probably isn’t ready yet to contribute in the NBA, and the 6ers could opt to let him play overseas for a while/

27. Boston Celtics – Jalen Bruson: The Celtics might lose Marcus Smart in free agency, and Terry Rozier is also a free agent after this coming season. Grabbing a guard makes sense for the Celtics, and Brunson projects as a role player who can run the offense when Kyrie Irving is off the court.

28. Golden State Warriors – Donte DiVincenzo: The Warriors are always looking for young players that can come in and contribute on cheap contracts. Right now, the Warriors rely a lot on Nick Young off the bench, but he is a free agent after this season. DiVincenzo can play the wing for the Warriors can hit jump shots and force turnovers on defense.

29. Brooklyn Nets – Gary Trent Jr.: Trent is a good shooter, but can he contribute more than that? He has defensive potential, but right now shooting is his main skill coming into the NBA.

30. Atlanta Hawks – De’Anthony Melton: Melton sat out his sophomore season at USC, but he still has a shot at being a first round draft pick. He has long arms and should be a force defensively. If he can improve his jump shot, he will be well worth a first round selection.

Tom Thibodeau: Should He Stay or Should He Thibo-Go?

The Minnesota Timberwolves have their 40 win season since the 2004-2005 season. The team is in a heavily contested battle for a playoff spot, which would break a 13 year drought for the team. Despite this, some are calling for coach Tom Thibodeau to be fired.

During his coaching stints in Boston and Chicago, Thibodeau earned himself the reputation of a defensive genius. Before his hire, the Wolves finished the 2015-2016 season at 28 of 30 teams in defensive rating. Thibodeau was brought in to help the team grow defensively. During Thibodeau’s first season, the Wolves moved up a whopping one spot in defensive rating. So far this season, the Wolves are still 27. This is not the improvement that everyone expected with a supposed defensive mastermind taking over.

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Before coming to the Wolves, Thibodeau was also known for playing his players a lot of minutes. Many hoped that would change. It hasn’t. Jimmy Butler averages the most minutes in the NBA, Andrew Wiggins is 10, and Karl-Anthony Towns is 14. There are serious concerns that Thibodeau runs his players into the ground, making injury more likely. There are also concerns that the team will run out of gas if they make the playoffs. On top of that, there are quality players on the bench like Tyus Jones who deserve more playing time.

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It’s worth mentioning that Thibodeau was hired not only to coach, but to make personnel decisions as president of basketball operations. Very few coaches have this kind of power, Gregg Popovich and Stan Van Gundy are the only two coaches besides Thibodeau that have both titles. Striking a good balance between both jobs has proved difficult, Doc Rivers and Mike Budenholzer both had the title of president of basketball operations stripped from them. Really, this should be two separate jobs. The coach should focus on coaching, and the president of basketball operations should decide personnel moves. However, for all of the fair criticisms of  Thibodeau, it appears he has made some good moves as president of basketball operations. He traded for Butler, and signed Jeff Teague and Taj Gibsons, all of whom have been good additions. The way Thibodeau has filled out the end of the bench has been questionable (Aaron Brooks, Derrick Rose, and an empty roster spot are the most puzzling), but overall his personnel moves have made sense.

The Wolves haven’t gotten the boost defensively they thought Thibodeau would bring, and it appears he is overworking his players. However, he still brought in Jimmy Butler, and without Thibodeau, it’s possible Butler will leave in free agency in 2019. The Wolves are in a tough situation, but the franchise is finally having some success. Thibodeau has his downfalls, but it’s too early to give up on him.

Signing Derrick Rose is a Mistake for the Timberwolves

Derrick Rose’s journey from the youngest MVP to becoming an unwanted backup point guard has been sad. After seven injury riddled years in Chicago, Rose was traded to the New York Knicks. During that year, Rose put up 18 points a game, but he also skipped a game to fly back to Chicago on the day of a game, without telling the Knicks. This year, Rose signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he played just 16 games with them. Again, Rose took a leave of absence and was reportedly considering his future in a sport where he was once MVP. The Cavaliers traded Rose to Utah, and Utah quickly waived him. About a month later, Rose signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves to play for his former coach Tom Thibodeau, in a move that makes no sense.

Tom Thibodeau has been known to love his former players. Since becoming coach and president of basketball operations for the Wolves, he has signed or traded for Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, and now Derrick Rose. To be fair to Thibodeau, Butler has been the star player the Wolves were hoping he would be, and Gibson is a starter and one of the best players on the team. However, the Wolves are exceptionally weak at shooting guard and small forward depth, especially since Butler’s injury. Rose has always been a point guard, so this is a curious move when the Wolves desperately need a wing.

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The Timberwolves have advanced stats darling and hometown hero Tyus Jones as their backup point guard. In plus/minus per 100 possessions, Jones is behind Butler and tied with Karl-Anthony Towns for second on the team. In limited minutes with the starters, many people believe that Jones has outplayed Jeff Teague. Jones’ quick hands lead to steals and deflections. Jones is a winning player, and if Thibodeau is planning on reducing his minutes for Rose, that would be a massive mistake.

There’s some thought that Jones and Rose could play together in the second unit. Rose does have the size to defend shooting guards, but that would push Jamal Crawford to the three, which would be a huge mismatch defensively. Maybe Thibodeau is planning on giving Rose some of Crawford’s minutes, but Crawford was reportedly unhappy with his playing time prior to the trade deadline.

Derrick Rose does not have a clear role on the Timberwolves. The team is struggling to hold onto a playoff spot, and really needs someone who can play the two and the three. That is not Rose. The Wolves still have an open roster spot, but their decision not to sign a wing is frustrating and a mistake.

Making Sense of the Wild, Wild, West

With 17 games left in their regular season, the Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves in third place in the brutal Western Conference. The Wolves are just three games ahead of the Nuggets who currently hold the eighth seed, and a whopping 11.5 game behind the Warriors for the second seed. Positions three through 10 are incredibly close. Right now, the Utah Jazz who find themselves in 10th are only five games back from the three seed. The end of the regular season is in sight, so who will claim playoff spots three-eight?

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Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder haven’t been very impressive this year. With Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony, you’d expect this team to be better. Still, I can’t imagine the Thunder falling out of the player, Westbrook and George are just too good. The Thunder just signed Corey Brewer, who should fill some of the injured Andre Roberson’s role. The Thunder are very thin, but because of their star players, they make the playoffs.

Portland Trail Blazers: In the last ten games, Damian Lillard has averaged just under 32 points per game. The Blazers have won five straight, and are clicking at the right time. The Blazers don’t have the easiest schedule left, they play 14 games against teams solidly in the playoff race. It won’t be easy, but I expect Damian Lillard, the most underrated player in the NBA, to carry the Blazers to the playoffs.

San Antonio Spurs: Things haven’t going well for the Spurs recently. The team went 2-7 in February, and there have been reports that Kwahi Leonard is frustrated with the organization. The good news for the Spurs is that it seems like Leonard might be nearing a return. The fact that the Spurs have played as well as they have (minus the month of February), without Leonard playing is pretty impressive. The Spurs need to start winning games now, and I have faith that the most reliable team in all of sports will make the playoffs once again.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Jimmy Butler might miss the rest of the regular season, but the Wolves still find a way to make the playoffs. The Wolves have played the most games in the NBA, and own the tiebreaker over several teams in the playoff race. On top of that, they have a three game cushion on the number eight seed. They have a brutal stretch in front of them, their next six games are against playoff teams, and the game after that they play the Clippers who are just outside the playoffs. After that though, the schedule lightens up and the Wolves will play a lot of tanking teams. Wolves end their playoff drought despite Butler’s injury.

New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis is playing out of his mind, he’s averaging 34 points over the last 10 games. A month ago, I would have predicted the Pelicans to miss the playoffs, but how can you pick against them right now? Davis is putting up MVP-like numbers, and willing the Pelicans to victory on a nightly basis. The Pelicans are probably the least talented team of the teams in the Western Conference playoff race, but they still make the playoffs.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz have some ground to make up, but have won 12 of 14. Rookie Donovan Mitchell is making his case for Rookie of the Year, and Joe Ingels, Ricky Rubio, and Rudy Gobert are all playing great basketball. The Jazz only play three playoff teams in the next 11 games, and if they can go 10-1 or 9-2, they’ll be looking really good. Coach Quin Snyder has a serious case for Coach of the Year with how the team is playing after losing their best player in Gordon Hayward in the offseason.

With the Thunder, Blazers, Spurs, Wolves, Pelicans, and Jazz making the playoffs, that means the Clippers and Nuggets miss the cut. The Western Conference is as wild as ever, and as the season winds down, there should be meaningful basketball being played every night. Let’s enjoy the wild and unpredictable ride.

Quick Predictions for the 2017 NBA Season

The NBA season is upon us. After a whirlwind of an offseason that featured a lot of all-stars moving teams, it will be interesting to see how the season shakes out. Here are some quick predictions.

1. East Playoff Teams: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers

Boston wins the East again, mostly because Cleveland is without Isaiah Thomas for a few months. Despite trading Paul George, the Pacers manage to make the playoffs.

2. West Playoff Teams:  Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers, Utah Jazz

The Northwest division manages to get four of five teams into the playoffs. The Warriors run away with first place while the Rockets, Thunder, and Spurs all fight for spots 2-4.

     3. Kevin Durant wins MVP.

The Warriors are the best team in the NBA, and after a full year to mesh with Kevin Durant, they should be firing on all cylinders. I expect the Warriors to win around 70 games, and if they hit that mark it is hard to imagine Adam Silver not handing a Warriors player the MVP trophy.

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    4. Avery Bradley makes the all-star game.

Avery Bradley has long been one of the best defenders in the NBA. Bradley will help the Pistons make the playoffs, and he will get the recognition he deserves. Oh, and he’s going to get paid a lot of money this offseason.

    5. The Pelicans trade DeMarcus Cousins.

The Pelicans are aiming for a playoff spot, but in the ridiculously tough Western Conference, it seems like a bit of a long shot. Instead of potentially letting Cousins walk for nothing in the offseason, the Pelicans trade him away for pieces that better fit their team.

     6. The Warriors play the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Again.

This match up will occur for the fourth consecutive year. Some might be fatigued from the past three Finals with these two teams, but at least the Cavaliers have shaken things up.