Game 2: Milwaukee 98 Minnesota 95
The Wolves made mistakes that were hard to fathom and RA must have been dumbfounded watching this game. Accordingly, I'm tempted to just fail everyone on the Wolves roster, but I will try and tease things out a little.
Michael Beasley: 25 minutes, 6-13 FGM-A, 3PM-A 1-2, FTM-A 2-6, Reb 7, Ast 0, Stl 0, Blk 0, TO 3, PFs 4, -2, Pts 15
If not for his fourth quarter of competence Michael would have received an F. If not for his sulking he would have received a C. In fact, I think we should take a moment to emphasize an issue that PDGirl brought up yesterday in the game thread. Apparently, JPete made a comment about how Beasley's sulking impacts the rest of the team. His body language rubs off on other players and gets the entire team in a funk such that everybody plays poorly as opposed to just Michael. PDGirl concurred with JPete, and I have to say, in retrospect, they are making very good points. Michael's attitude, when he is playing poorly, does have a significant effect and he will need to improve on this. I don't actually recall seeing Michael sulk in any game last year as much as he did yesterday. He seemed more free spirited last year, but I ask all of you to correct me if I'm wrong. Perhaps he feels more responsibility to RA than Rambis such that he feels worse when he performs poorly while playing for RA than he does Rambis. Regardless, Michael had a terrible first 3 quarters. He picked up 4 fouls in what felt like minutes and was rarely on the court. When he was on the court his attitude was terrible and enabled Stephen Jackson to hit uncontested shots. Yet, Michael did have an excellent fourth quarter as he was integral in the Wolves comeback. I'm actually kind of amazed he had 7 rebounds as he did not seem that active to me. With that said his lackadaisical approach to free throws still bugs me (he is 3-9 this year) and is hurting us. In addition, he had too many turnovers in my opinion.
Kevin Love: 40 minutes, FGM-A 6-18, 3PM-A 0-4, FTM-A 19-24, Reb 20, Ast 2, Stl 0, Blk 0, TOs 3, PFs 1, -1, Pts 31
One cannot help but feel Kevin's stat line for this game is incredibly atypical because, well, it is. He score 31 pts, but only shot 25% from the field. He only had 2 assists, but he had 3 turnovers. He shot 24 free throws!!!! His defense was substandard and his decision making didn't meet expectations. Yet, he is the only reason we were in this game as there was a lot to like and a lot not to like with the way he played. As an aside I have to tell you Kevin is a fascinating player to me. It certainly did not feel like he had 22 shots yesterday, and even though he had 31 and 20, one could argue he had a bad game. Wow!!!!
Darko MIlicic: 24 minutes, FGM-A 2-4, 3 PM-A 0-0, FTM-A 0-0, Reb 9, Ast 0, Stl 1, Blk 0, TOs 5, PFs 6, -4, Pts 4
If not for his 5 TOs (5!!!!!!) Darko would have received a B. He played reasonable defensively holding Bogut to 15 points on 7-20 FGAs. He had an uncharacteristic 9 rebounds, but unlike last game, he did not play within his limitations offensively which manifested in his turnovers. Moreover, he couldn't stay out of foul trouble. Yet, I can't help but feel Darko has exceeded expectations in his first 2 games of the year (yes, I thought this little of what he would give us this year).
Luke Ridnour: 34 minutes, FGM-A 7-10, 3PM 2-2, FTM-A 1-2, Reb 0, Ast 3, Stl 1, Blk 0, TOs 4, PF 4, -6, Pts 17
It bothers me that Luke had 34 minutes in this game as the offense simply stagnates when he is in the game and he gives you very little defensively. However, his one redeeming quality (his shooting ability) was extremely evident yesterday as he had 17 points on 9-12 shooting. For that, and for that alone, he gets above a passing grade. Indeed, his prayer of a 3 point make where he shot the ball off one leg epitomizes how defunct the offense is with him in the game as. The only reason this shot was necessary is because of how poorly Luke runs the offense. To this end, the Ast/TO ratio of 3:4 is unacceptable.
Wesley Johnson: 31 minutes, FGM-A 3-9, 3PM-A 2-4, FTM-A 0-0, Reb 4, Ast 0, Stl 0, Blk 0, TO 1, PF 1, -8, Pts 8
Again, Wes is simply not doing enough defensively and shooting to compensate for his offensive deficiencies. The most telling numbers here are all the 0s in his stat line (0 FTAs, 0 Ast, 0 Stl, 0 Blk, etc.) in 31 minutes of play. I will not say much more here, but I really hope he improves.
Anthony Tolliver: 21 minutes, FGM-A 0-1, 3PM-A 0-0, FTM-A 2-2, Reb 3, Ast 0, Stl 0, Blk 0, TO 1, PF 2, +9, Pts 2
AT is the type of player whose contributions simply do not manifest in his stat line. He is potentially the smartest player on the team and the team is improved with him on the court. He played reasonably defensively, and played within himself offensively (unlike the OKC game where he was 0-6). He gets a B from me.
JJ Barea: 19 minutes, FGM-A 1-9, 3 PM-A 1-1, FTM-A 6-6, Reb 3, Ast 4, Stl 1, TO 1, PF 1, +1, Pts 9
If not for his abysmal shooting JJ would get an A- from me. Again, he demonstrated he is a fierce competitor and he is a tremendous asset to this team. Even though he gives up size he doesn't appear to be a net negative on defense as yet. He gets to the lane in a facile manner and creates for his teammates. Unfortunately, they were not knocking down shots. Here's to hoping his hamstring is OK.
Ricky Rubio: 27 minutes, FGM-A 2-3, 3PM-A 0-0, FTM-A 2-3, Reb 3, Ast 4, Stl 3, Blk 0, TO 3, PF 3, -1, Pts 6
Ricky was exactly what we expected from him as a first year NBA player in this game (he was better than expected against OKC). He made some unforced errors and tried to force a few passes. His reluctance to shoot the ball actually hurt the Wolves offensively on numerous occasions as it led to a far worse shot with the clock running down. He is going to have to take those shots even if he does not make them to keep the defense honest and hopefully build his confidence. He had too many turnovers yesterday to get above a B, but you have to love how the offense flows when he is in the game.
Derrick Williams: 19 minutes, FGM-A 1-3, 3PM-A 0-1, FTM-A 1-2, Reb 5, Ast 1, Stl 0, Blk 0, TOs 4, PFs 2, -3, Pts 3
I might be being too harsh or not harsh enough depending on you talk to hear. Derrick made way too many mistakes for my liking yesterday. The numerous charges called on him were appalling to me because Derrick made no effort to avoid them. In addition, he continues to draw ridiculous traveling calls where he takes a step before putting the ball on the floor in an effort to take his defender one on one. I like that he is rebounding reasonably, but I am nervous he does not have the ability to create his own shot even though I initially thought he would have no trouble in this regard. Yet, he is still very young and raw and he will get a lot of rope from me here.
Alright everyone.. those are my report cards for the first 2 games. As I said in my previous post I felt this would be a reasonable supplement to the excellent game summaries provided by Oceanary/SnP. Certainly, there is a great deal of room to improve on the quality of these report cards as there are numerous people on this site with more basketball knowledge than me. Indeed, as I said before, I would prefer these report cards be delegated to someone else or be a team effort where any one fan would post their report card under fanposts to invoke debate and to help us somewhat objectively track if a player is improving this season or not. Again, if you did not read my last post, I wish to know 2 things:
1) Is this report card idea worthwhile or should we discard it entirely?
2) Would you be willing to write an occasional report card? The idea being if you look and no report card is up you would just go ahead and write one if you have the time and desire to do so.