As many of you know, tonight dawned the Wolves’ Annual training camp scrimmage in Mankato. I made the trip down in hopes of observing our product on the court, while tweeting to y’all the observations I make. Well, due to crappy cell phone coverage and a lack of free wifi, I was unable to do so. But nonetheless, here are a few notes I took down from the game.
- To start this thing off right, the Wolves beat the Wolves 79-73. Whoop-dee-doo.
Now I’ll go down the list of player performances:
- Corey Brewer seemed to have gotten considerably worse this offseason, and I say that regretfully because I truly love the guy. The lankiest man on the court even had difficulty weaving through traffic — that is if he could get there. Brewer’s ball-handling skills are very bad; that’s about as simple as I could put it. Quite often does he try to drive to the hoop but is halted by either a traveling call of a defender’s hand sticking in there to swat it away from his grasp. Bad. As much as I love Brew, he could have trouble finding minutes this season, unless he drastically improves by the season opener.
- Pekovic was a monster tonight. There’s no doubting this guy’s talent. He was banging with Darko all night long, making him look like a girl with her skirt hiked up plenty of times. He scored double-digits in points for sure. His post moves are uncanny and his strength is unmatchable. He wasn’t great on defense, but not bad. He’ll need to improve in that area if he wants to find consistent minutes all season long. But judging on what I saw tonight, Pek will have no trouble making the rotation.
- I was surprised to see such little time coming from our 4th overall pick this summer tonight. Wes Johnson didn’t see much action in the first half at all, but came on stronger in the second, elevating both his play on defense and on offense. I’m almost sure that he didn’t miss a shot tonight, but will say he had a lot of easy, open looks too. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that the kid has a pure shooting stroke; he’s easily the Wolves best pure shooter from all over the court. He has touch from mid-range and likes to push it beyond the arc. So many times did Beasley get in his face, though, and make him put the ball on the floor and that’s where he got in trouble. It was similar to Brewer but a lot less awkward and it didn’t always turn out in the defense’s favor. The only problem I have with Wes is that I think he may get the Kevin-Love-treatment this season. You can quote me on that if you’d like. The rookie will struggle finding consistent minutes this year. I just have that sad feeling.
- Our other wing — wow, we have a ton of wings — Martell Webster was very quiet tonight…Until he started yelling. A few times in the second half, I caught Webster screaming at Wes Johnson for being in the wrong place on a play. Sure, you’re a veteran, but is there any reason to get upset in a scrimmage like this? Not to mention, Webster was one of the only players taking tonight’s game as serious as possible. That veteran mentality could help down the road this season…Or hurt the team. If he’s just going to be screaming at rookies for screwing up, then we’ll get no where. But if Webster focuses his criticism on being positive and constructive, he will be a valuable, suave veteran that will help the team a lot. Oh, and let’s hope his offensive game shows up too. He didn’t hit one three-pointer tonight.
- Anthony Tolliver was the best player on the court tonight. Just drink that in for a second. He was all over the floor and didn’t miss a shot attempt until late in the fourth quarter. Being the undersized 4 that he is, Tolliver needs to, and does, make up for it in athleticism as well as a strong, eclectic skill set on offense. He can dribble drive and pop it from outside. The Wolves made a smart decision grabbing him to back-up Kevin Love this season because I saw some problems with him tonight…but I’ll address that a little later. Anyways, I feel really good about Tolliver this season and think he’ll get good time in the rotation with that high motor of his.
- Darko didn’t do anything great tonight. But nor did he do anything bad. Don’t have much else to say except that the guy does look like he’s in game-shape finally. Oh, and in no way is Darko as great a passer as Vlade Divac. Not even close.
- Easy Beas was the show tonight. He immediately became a fan favorite just by the way he carried himself on the court. His game spoke for itself and his up-tempo attitude and motor showed the fans a playful side to what was thought to be a depressed, pot-smoking soul before he came to Minnesota. Beas had the crowd on their toes multiple times after going up for alley-oops, only to have it slip through his hands. But regardless, Beasley showed some serious versatility to his game. He took on Wes Johnson one-on-one, drawing fouls in the lane left and right while playing the 3. He posted up with Love a few times as a 4 and put a few good post moves on him. His defense was suspect at times, but it’s a scrimmage, honestly, and he played the majority of the game, so i’m giving him a break there. Another problem with Beas is the fact that he puts up a lot of shots, and I mean a lot. But he may have to continue that this season with the lack of scoring coming from anyone else on the roster. Anyways, the crowd saw tonight what should be a consistent performance. I foresee 20-10 games out of Beasley this year, and so just thinking about how we got him for a second rounder makes me happier than this guy.
- You know what didn’t make me happy? Seeing Jonny Flynn on the bench. Because without him, our point guard tandem of Sebastian Telfair and Luke Ridnour are sub-par at best. Ridnour looked good but that’s it. And same goes for Bassy. Get well soon, Flynn.
- And so now we come to Kevin Love. I’ll start off with this: Kevin Love was arguably the worst player on the court tonight. Drink it in, yet again. He looked slow, lazy and completely disconnected to what was going on around him. Either he was really grumpy tonight or just didn’t feel it was important to showcase his talents to all the adorning fans in a scrimmage. Whatever the reason may be, Love looked pathetic. He barely ever touched the ball on offense and when he did his post moves were not impressive. He often passed on open shots from the perimeter to dish the rock off to the top of the key. On defense, it was the same old, same old. He couldn’t defend a tortoise in the paint. Beasley made him look silly at moments. I’m sorry that this rant has to ramble on, but if you were to see what I did, you’d be angry too. This guy’s supposed to be the best player on our team, yet he decides it’s unimportant to participate in tonight’s scrimmage with a hop in his step and some blue-collar competitiveness. That’s just unacceptable in my book. Love should’ve dominated the likes of Anthony Tolliver and Kosta Koufos, no questions asked. But he didn’t, and that’s a problem to me. Maybe it was the knee? Doubt it. I firmly believe that this guy is still on a high from the World Championships and that, since he played with real All-Stars like Kevin Durant, he doesn’t have to try anymore. I want to see more from Love. I deserve to see more from him. And if he can’t deliver that this preseason, fans should take serious offense to his lack of attentiveness to this franchise. Prove me wrong, Love.