We're halfway through training camp. How does everyone see the lineup/depth chart sifting out?
PG - Ridnour
Wing 1 - ??? (I'd give the slight nod to Martell so far)
Wing 2 - Beasley
PF - Love
C - Darko
Bassy, Corey?, Wes, Tolliver, Pek
Other observations/predictions after the jump.
In no particular order...
- is anyone else amazed (based off the coverage) that it appears that Beasley has come in and made himself the name and the face of this franchise? Maybe it's just because he's new, but last I checked Love just won a gold medal and is our cornerstone, yet it seems like every other video clip/interview I see and every other piece written about the Wolves has Beasley in it somehow. Where has Love been? I have no idea how he's doing in camp thus far, but I feel like I can tell you what Beasley's been up to for the last three days, know what I mean? He's got to be the early the candidate for breakout star on this team.
- I read somewhere (sorry, I can't find it now), I thought it was a local reporter's comments, that Lazar is playing very, very well and that it's going to be tough for the coaches not to play him less than 6-8 minutes a night. Anyone else at Training Camp and willing to weigh in? Who loses out if Lazar needs PT?
- I love Corey Brewer, and right now I kind of feel bad for him. Everyone's focused on Beasley, Martell, and Wes, and yet Brewer made huge strides last year and knows the system. Maybe it's because he comes across as having an 'Aw shucks' kind of personality whenever I see him in interviews, but I always get the sense that he feels like he's on the outside looking in on this team. It's changed so much - before he was one of the young pieces the old regime was building around, and now he's one of the only pieces left over on a team that's gone in a completely new direction. I've long felt that Brewer's a guy who fits perfectly - perfectly - with Rubio, and I would love for him to get a chance to play with La Pistola. I also get the sense that Brewer is one of the best complimentary players out there, meaning that he's not a leader or a go-to guy, but that the excellence in his game is (in some ways) dictated by the level of ability of the guys he plays with. You put him on the Lakers and he'll clearly look superior to Ariza when Ariza was there. Put him on the Wolves last year and, well, you get what you got. Depending on how it all sifts out, starting Corey at the 2 this year next Beasley and Love might make this a terrific starting lineup (assuming my hypothesis is correct). I guess I just hope that Corey doesn't get shafted this year (like being sat so that Lazar can play), and I hope that he doesn't get traded but right now if a guy was to be traded I think Corey has to be right up there - he's young, expiring, but still has some upside and at least a useful role as a defensive guy with length.
- Along the lines of the last observation, is it possible that by the end of the year our bench team could outplay our starters? Suppose our starting lineup is Ridnour, Corey, Beasley, Love, and Darko. How would they fare (at the end of the year, so we can assume a little development and chemistry amongst the players) against Jonny, Martell/Lazar/Wes (at the 2 and 3), Tolliver, and Pek? Or to put our bench play in a different perspective - will our bench make more of a difference in winning games than our starters will? (The idea being that if our starters can play relatively neutral basketball, our bench is good enough to go up 5-10 points over other teams' benches, and that is the difference in the ball game).
- Do you think the Wolves will try and trade for Josh Smith (who's only 24 years old and has, I believe, 3 years and approx. $30 million left on his contract)? Jamal Crawford's making a big stink in Atlanta (he of the reigning 6th Man award fame and 18 ppg average) about getting paid, saying either pay me or I'm gone. Horford's up for a contract next year (a young double double center? You gotta resign him). They just signed JJ to a HUGE contract. Marvin Williams is signed for 4 more years. Something's gotta give in Atlanta, and trading away Josh Smith for, let's say, Kevin Love might be what gives (both young, both play the same position. Love gives you a ton of salary flexibility while being a good enough passer for all the shooters). More to the point, have y'all seen Josh Smith play? The dude's an incredible defender, is showing signs of being a better shooter (as in recognizing what shots he shouldn't be taking), is still very young, but is the kind of dynamic, high flying, game taker over that one could imagine would look perfect in a Showtime offense run by La Pistola.
Which of these two teams looks more Showtime to you:
Ricky, Martell, Beasley, Love, Darko
Ricky, Martell, Beasley, Josh Smith, Darko
The tradeoffs? You lose a lot of rebounding in Love (Smith ain't a stiff, but Love's incredibly good at grabbing boards. I suppose you'd be relying more on Wes and Martell grabbing more boards - Beasley too - and maybe improvement from Darko and Pek. But still, end of the day you're becoming a worse rebounding team, especially offensively). You get significantly better shot blocking ability with Smith. I'd say the shooting is about equal for each, now that Smith is avoiding three pointers. Free throw rate is about the same. Smith is the better defender, and both are equal passers (with Smith potentially being better. He certainly was better at dishing last year than Love was).
I know this is probably throwing water on an oil fire, but it fits the criteria of a Signature move while fitting the MO of the FO thus far, and for a young player (Smith) who'd fit the offense and defense of this team, would fit with Ricky, and could be counted on to create his shot next to Beasley.
- OK, one final prediction. I think Beasley leads the team in scoring this year, with Love a close second. I think both guys average over 16.5 ppg, with Beasley over 18 ppg.
Groovy. Please weigh in on your depth charts/starting lineups, and please please please, if anyone's seen any practices or scrimmages or heard anything, what's the update on the battle for SG?