Yes, it's preseason, and just one game. But I think there are definitely some immediate conclusions we can make from the Wolves' win over the Lakers at the O2 Arena
1: This isn't some freakish frankenstein team.
This team is built for a single purpose to play a single system. The players complement each other, fit the system, and can all do multiple things on the floor. I personally believe that, when a team is at the absolute bottom of the league, it doesn't matter if they put the system or the players in place first. For us, it's the system, and as much regret as some of us might have over the lack of BPA selections, system before roster is looking like it's going to work pretty well.
2: Our big men can really move the ball
Darko, Love, Pekovic and Tolliver combined for 16 of the team's 26 assists....over half. It looked like Rambis was using the Lakers' triple-post version of the triangle, except at super speeds. With a group of deadly shooters on the wings, having three guys in the paint that all have court vision and passing skill is going to pay off huge.
3: Switching Sessions for Ridnour was worth it
Luke gets this game. It's not that he's a better fit skill wise....although he certainly is....it's that he's proven beyond a doubt to be a legit NBA player. He's run a team before. He knows what he's doing. There's a presence and stability to him that Sessions just wouldn't have ever been able to give us because he just hasn't been an NBA player long enough. Ridnour knows what to do and when to do it....something we haven't had at the point guard spot since Sam Cassell.
4: Trading for Martell Webster was worth it
I get the BPA side of the argument. And I get the "equivalent exchange" side too. But much like Ridnour, we just can't overstate what a legitimate NBA player of Webster's talent can mean to a young team like ours. I like Luke Babbitt. I think Luke Babbitt will have a very successful career. But if he had been here this season, he would have been just as lost as the rest of our team. Webster won't be. Not only does he have 5 years on NBA experience, but he's played for a good team. He expects to win, and knows what a winning team does to win.
5: Anthony Tolliver's pretty good
Final numbers: 10 points (on 4-7 shooting, including a three), 6 rebounds, 3 assists in 22 minutes. Sure, it was mostly against bench players, but hey...that's who he's going to be up against most nights anyway, right? The guy is a legit NBA big man....he can score with range, rebound, and it seems his stint with the Warriors has taught him the value of sharing the ball at a fast pace. I expect him to really make a name for himself this year.
6: Corey Brewer is on thin ice
I hate to say it, because I love the guy. But of the new wing rotation, he's easily the shakiest of the players. He's still a rollar coaster on offense, and his lankiness is more apparent now than ever with Webster's overpowered frame to compare him too. Hopefully Corey can really get his defense together this year, because it's hard to see him getting a chance against the Kobes and Wades and Evans of the NBA if he gets off to a slow start and ends up buried behind Webster and Wes.
7: Michael Beasley can really score the basketball
It wasn't that he scored, it's HOW he scored. Beasley made a slew of jumpers, drew a number of fouls, and threw in a three, a nice driving layup and fancy up-and-under in the post. 21 points on 8-10 shooting in 18 minutes. He spent time at both small forward and power forward, and definitely has the look of a future #1 option. An absolute steal for us this offseason.
8: We're going to be better than last year
These doom and gloom predictions have always puzzled me (especially when teams like the Cavs are predicted to make the playoffs...?) No, we're not going to be a stellar team, but I don't think it's a home team bias to say we'll be better than last year, and competitive most nights. Never underestimate what a streamlined, balanced roster with a couple of playing veterans can accomplish. Especially with a proven point guard like Ridnour running the show.