Beasley, Brewer, Love on All-Star ballot, Wolves host the Lakers tonight, Beasley credits conversation with Flynn for his recent performance and more
Previews of tonight's game against the Lakers:
From the Timberwolves:
The 2011 NBA All-Star Ballot was unveiled today during a special tip-off event in Los Angeles, the Official Host City of NBA All-Star 2011. Michael Beasley, Corey Brewer and Kevin Love will represent the Timberwolves on the ballot as fans worldwide have the opportunity to vote for their favorite players as starters for the 60th NBA All-Star Game. The 2011 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at STAPLES Center on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.
From the Timberwolves site: This week we sit down with president of basketball operations David Kahn, look back at Kevin Love's record-setting night and go Off The Court. (AUDIO)
Admittedly, the NBA draft seems to become more of a guessing game each season. With younger and younger players going higher and higher in the draft, teams are essentially gambling on what the player they choose might become in two or three seasons. In the ultimate irony, our instant gratification culture often causes teams to give on those players before they've had the necessary time to grow as people, let along athletes. That seems to be the case with the Miami HEAT and Michael Beasley, and we can't help but wonder if they're beginning to regret giving up on the young man they took with the second overall pick just two years ago.
One thing's for sure: the Minnesota Timberwolves couldn't be happier, and they're already starting to make the case for Beasley as the early frontrunner for Most Improved Player.
Beasley, leading the Wolves (4-9) with 22.2 points per game, credits the conversation with Flynn for helping him become one of the NBA's more productive players over the past week. Flynn and Beasley have known each other since high school, when they competed in AAU events. Both were in the 2007 McDonald's All-American Game.
Beasley said he and Flynn ordered room service at their Sacramento hotel a few hours before the Wolves played the Kings on Nov. 10. They talked about a variety of things, including their high school days. The night before in Los Angeles against the Lakers, Beasley made only 6 of 15 shots in the Wolves' 99-94 loss. He made 17 of 31 against the Kings and finished with a career-high 42 points to spark a 98-89 victory.
"Ever since that conversation, he woke up," Flynn said of Beasley. "I told him that 'Even in the confines of what Kurt wants to do, you can't lose yourself. ... You have to be who you are. There's a reason you were the No. 2 pick in the (2008) draft.' "
"The Mike Beasley I know is the scorer who's going to kill whoever is in front of him," Flynn said. "That's the Mike Beasley I've known since I played AAU ball with him. You play within the confines of what Kurt wants to do, but you can't lose yourself. I told him you've got to be who you are, there's a reason you were the No. 2 pick in the draft."
Somebody asked Beasley on Thursday if he has ever been in a groove like the one in which he has scored 42, 35, 25, 28 and 33 in the past five games. That 42 at Sacramento is a career high.
"I've been in a groove like this my whole life," said Beasley, who doesn't turn 22 until January. "Except for Miami."
From the Timberwolves site: Wolves Hot Seat: Wes Johnson
Jonah Ballow puts rookie Wes Johnson on the Hot Seat before a little interruption from Michael Beasley.
Love is currently leading the league in rebounding, averaging 14.3 a night – nearly two more than his closest competition. That wasn't a goal of his, but it comes as a result of his desire to collect every missed shot.
"It just kind of happened," said Love. "My goals were to rebound the ball as best I could and be a double-double guy like I was last year too. I've always tried to go after every single rebound and it's been working for me thus far."
That it has. Love is quickly become one of the better power forwards in the league and a catalyst behind Minnesota's rebuilding efforts. Before too long they'll be back in the Western Conference playoff picture, with Love being one of the main reasons why. Teams hoping Kahn will put him on the open market can stop wasting their time, because it isn't happening.
The Timberwolves are 4-9. "We're nowhere near being out of the woods," coach Kurt Rambis said Wednesday.
But they were 15-67 last year, so the excitement threshold is low.
At the very least Love and Beasley have pushed Minnesota into the finite circle of watchable NBA clubs. They meet the Lakers here Friday.
"Michael and I have known each other since the seventh and eighth grade," Love said. "We were rivals in high school. We played All-Star games against each other, so it's been pretty easy to bond."
Kevin Love started the team's popularity surge with his 31 points and 31 rebounds last Friday against the New York Knicks. Now he's co-starring with rookie shooting guard Wesley Johnson in a hilarious YouTube video that captures a "missed handshake" between the two players during the Wolves-Milwaukee game Oct. 29 at Target Center.
What normally is a routine moment, teammates supporting each other during a free-throw attempt, has become the NBA's version of NFL Films' "Football Follies." Nearly 1.3 million viewers have watched Love and Johnson fail to connect on a handshake while Love was at the free-throw line.
"Michael (Beasley) hit a game-winning shot against the Clippers and more people are talking about me and Kevin not being able to get a handshake right," Johnson said with a smile. "It's been crazy."
Love calls the moment an "Internet phenomenon."
From Sid Hartman:
There was a lot of second-guessing after the Wolves took Syracuse guard Wes Johnson with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft instead of Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins, who was taken with the fifth pick by Sacramento. So far this season, Cousins is averaging 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 22.6 minutes per game, while Johnson is averaging 9.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 28.9 minutes per game. ... Henk Norel the 23-year-old forward who the Timberwolves selected in the second round of the 2010 draft, is averaging 7.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for DKV Joventut Badalona in Spain.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, who suffered through a 15-victory campaign last season, has been relatively pleased with his team's 4-9 start entering this evening's game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Target Center.
"Actually, I'm really upbeat considering that (injured) Jonny (Flynn) and Martell (Webster) haven't played at all," Taylor said Thursday. "And those are guys who certainly are among the top seven players on our team.
"We lost two games (season opener against Sacramento and at Charlotte) in that last minute that we could have won. So you look at everything, there was a good chance that we could almost be 50-50 at this time."
The Timberwolves have fewer than 1,000 tickets remaining for Friday night's game against the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers (10-2) at Target Center, with prices ranging from $20 to $150.
Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen is going back to school.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward, who won two world championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers before signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves, was an assistant coach with the NDBL's Utah Flash last season before opting to return to Stanford University to earn a master's of business administration.