It was my best night at a Twolves game in years. Not because of the game itself – the 1st half was dismal; the 2nd half exciting but with an all too predictable ending. What made my day was the opportunity to chat basketball in a small group with a couple of “non Twolves” NBA staff before and after the game. It was really fun to hear a different perspective on the NBA in general and the Twolves in particular. These guys are focused on current NBA players, so there was little talk about Europeans or college players.
So, here goes. So just to be clear these are not my thoughts, but a report on other’s thoughts taken from the conversation.
KLove has rocketed up the charts and is considered in or near the top 25 of most team’s player value list. Everyone liked the rebounding (considered elite even early on) and the effort. But most felt his offense was going to be limited to put backs and garbage buckets. Maybe a singular post move. No one expected his ability to shoot the 3 as effectively as he has done this year. With that, his value has literally tripled. If KLove can shoot the 3 as well next season (teams are always hesitant about a “fluke rule” season), KLove will be a perennial all star. Still not capable of being an A1 option in today’s NBA (rules favor slashing wings who can also shoot a bit), but certainly an A2 player.
Unfortunately, that is the highlight of the conversation. Comments on the other starters:
Beasley – improving and still with quite a bit of potential. Plays a little softer than what they would like to see at his size. Not sure about his motor – there are times where he seems to take multiple plays off. Really believe that he would be better off in a different style of play – something more free lanced and less structured than what the Twolves run. I specifically asked if they thought Beasley could be an A1. The consensus – no. Just don’t think he has the killer instinct to be an A1. A solid player who still has lots of potential, maybe with an A2 ceiling. Just don’t see the potential to be an A1. (Probably the comment that made me the saddest all night)
Darko – They really don’t get the Twolves infatuation with Darko. They feel he is really over paid and nothing more than a mediocre post. Has some good skills, but they really don’t like his motor. Really question the wisdom of running the set offense through Darko – while he can pass, he does not have the play making ability to warrant so many touches.
(Editorial comment – there was a lot of talk about player’s “motors”. It seems to be NBA speak for the ability and determination to give 100% every second you are on the court. At least in this group, “motor” seemed to be equal to, if not more, important, than any other skill. So it was quite damning to have a couple of Twolves starters having questionable motors.)
Ridnour – a very solid, back up point guard who is miscast as starter in the Twolves offense. Excellent shooter, good IQ, plays hard. Just not the athlete you need at the PG position in today’s NBA. Said lots of teams would find a way to play him 20 minutes a game.
Johnson – Not nearly as down on Wes as we are here at CH sometimes. They love his stroke and feel he is athletic enough. Really impressed with the intensity he has shown against Kobe – 1 guy said that Wes played the best defense he has seen on Kobe all year. Then the next night, Wes shows no intensity. Will he mature as a professional and bring that Kobe intensity every night? Is the intensity swings just a rookie thing or something deeper? That, more than anything else, will be the big question next year. The only skill they see Wes lacks is the handle that he will need to be more than a spot up shooter.
A few brief comments on the bench.
Flynn – consensus is that Flynn needs a new home, and fast, if he is to stick in the NBA. Still think he could be an energy type back up PG. But out of all the players, he seems to fit the worse (much worse than Beasley) in the current system. Confirmed that he was offered around at trade deadline.
Pek – think that with time (and patience), Pek will be a serviceable back up big man.
Randolph – They were very opinionated about AR – not in a good way. One guy referred to AR as a tall version of Gerald Green!! Supremely athletic, good skills, basketball IQ way below average and not someone who makes other players or his team any better. Said he plays like “a fart in a wind storm”. Not sure what colored that opinion – out of the entire conversation – these comments stood out as being less objective and more personal.
I asked a question – who would be the ideal draft pick for the Twolves this year? It was unanimous – Kyle Irving. Speedy, athletic PG who sees the floor very well. Not a ball dominant point guard – would share the ball making Love, Wes and Beasley more effective scorers. Plus they believe he will become an excellent 3 pt shooter. It would move Ridnour to the 2nd unit making that group much more productive (they are very high on Ridnour – said he would be the best 2nd unit PG in the NBA). I asked a loaded question – how much better would Irving make us? They thought 12-15 wins more!! I was shocked – I think Irving is pretty talented but not all that special. They seem to think he would be the ideal fit to make many of the existing pieces immediately more effective. (Sorry – did not have the opportunity to explore the “what about Rubio” part of this equation)
There was obvious talk about our coach and FO. Like TimAllen did in his Solan conference report, I will write that up as a separate post later in the week.