American Wolves In London

LONDON ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Sasha Vujacic of the Los Angeles Lakers (R) in action during the NBA Europe Live match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the O2 arena on October 4 2010 in London England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Wayne Ellington at the point, more Beasley points than Beasley minutes, a 59.4% eFG, between-the-legs Kevin Love passes, a disinterested Lakers team with only 6 minutes of Kobe Bryant...it wasn't exactly a night day to read a lot in to, but it sure was fun to see the squad out there on the court again.  Better yet, it was fun to see them playing entertaining ball.  In fact, the Wolves were far and away the more entertaining team earlier today in London.  

Without reading too much into things that don't amount to all that much, there are a few things that are abundantly clear about this year's Minny team....along with a few game notes:

  • They have legit NBA size, length, and athleticism at the 2 and 3.  We'll have to see how the shooting and talent plays out at these two spots, but it was somewhat jarring to watch the team throw out guys like Corey Brewer, Martel Webster, Wes Johnson, and Michael Beasley at the 2 and 3 instead of Sasha Pavlovic, Rodney Carney, Shaddy, and Randy Foye.  Beasley is fixed at the 3, but Webster, Johnson, and Brewer all seem to be able to have some positional flexibility at the 2/3.  If Beasley can turn into something of a gunner at the starting 3, and the trio of Webster, Johnson, and Brewer can play d and hit the 3, the Wolves could have backed themselves into a fairly stout wing rotation. 
  • Minny bigs are going to get some assists this season.  6, 5, 2, and 3.  Those are the assist totals for Kevin Love, Darko Milicic, Nikola Pekovic, and Anthony Tolliver.  It will take quite a few more good passing games from Darko to allow David Kahn an "I told you so" to Chris Webber, but the 4/5 in this offense is going to get some nice opportunities for kick outs and some solid pick-and-roll action.  
  • Despite the team's fantastic shooting, Corey Brewer went 1-9 from the floor.  
  • Nikola Pekovic is a bull. He had 1 FGA and 6 FTAs.  
  • The Wolves out rebounded the Lakers overall, but they were murdered on the offensive glass: 17 to 8.  This is going to be something to keep an eye on, as Darko and Pek are not known as defensive rebounding monsters.  
  • Mike Beasley had a nice scoring run, but he also turned the ball over 6 times.  That being said, I'm all for the team letting him develop into a high usage type of scoring threat.  He is far and away the most offensively talented player on this team and he should be treated as such.  
  • The Wolves now have the top 2 players from the 08 Hoopus Draft Board.  If only they could get Derrick Rose.  
  • The Wolves won this game at the line.  Actually, LA lost it from the line, as they went 18-33 from the line (54.5%) while the Wolves put in a 23-32 effort (71.9%).  
  • Wayne Ellington is not an NBA back up point guard, but that is what he played against the Lakers.  Bassy is needed in a bad way right now.  
  • Anthony Tolliver is going to earn some good minutes on this team.  
  • My prediction for the best 5 man rotation:  Ridnour, Johnson, Beasley, Tolliver, Love.  
  • Love is going to have a silly-good year. 
Well folks, that about does it for now.  What say you? 

UPDATE: Here are the Four Factors:

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr LA Lakers 97.0 94.8 46.8% 22.8 37.0 22.7 Minnesota 114.4 59.5% 31.1 25.8 21.6
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