FanPost

Timberwolves v Rockets Report Card 1/23/12

So here are my grades for the Wolves/Rockets game complete with my own personal bias and misperceptions. In general I am more of a intuition evaluator than stats guy so please be aware of that. One of the things I appreciate about this site is the mix of the two approaches to both fandom and player evaluation. I think this dualistic approach is probably the right way to go for the sport of basketball.

Like previous graders I am basically grading each guy on my own expectations of that particular player. I also tend to factor in the timing of a given event- what quarter did it occur or how did it influence a key run for either side.

I have attempted to keep track of bad shots and bad turnovers. Despite three days of evidence that bad shots should be defined in terms of distance from the basket I am defining them here in terms of how they worked in the offense. A player will not be given credit for a bad shot if it makes me recall one of my favorite Trent Tucker lines: “I like that shot, it either goes in or it doesn’t.”

Lastly, I have assigned extra credit for particularly exciting or heads up plays and have subtracted imaginary points for especially poor decisions.

(More below the fold)

K. Love,

44

13-19

5-5

8-10

3

12

1

5

0

0

4

39

R. Rubio,

39

3-11

0-3

2-2

0

3

11

5

3

0

3

8

L. Ridnour,

36

5-10

0-1

5-6

0

3

7

2

2

0

4

15

D. Williams,

36

3-9

0-0

5-8

1

8

0

4

0

0

1

11

D. Milicic,

26

2-7

0-0

0-0

1

3

1

0

1

1

1

4

BENCH

M

FG

3FG

FT

OR

TR

A

TO

STL

BLK

PF

PTS

W. Ellington,

39

2-11

0-2

0-0

0

5

0

1

1

0

4

4

N. Pekovic,

10

1-2

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

1

0

0

1

2

A. Tolliver,

8

0-3

0-1

0-0

0

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

A. Randolph,

7

4-8

0-0

1-1

3

5

0

1

1

0

2

9

Kevin Love

Negative-Terrible save under own basket, complaining leads to Houston fast break, couple of lazy pass turnovers,

Positive- Aggressively trying to score in the post, got much better after a slow start, timely threes within offense kept us in the game, strong finishing dunks in the lane. Big Scoring night with a great FG%.

A Couple of bad turnovers but otherwise a great game. Can’t blame this one on

K Love.

Ricky Rubio

Negative- Some forced shots, missed defense, coming up short on layups, multiple very bad turnovers contributed to Rocket’s run to close 3rd/open 4th, not so incredible defense to close out the second half

Positive- Controlling tempo, hustle, assists, incredible defense to start the second half, stayed aggressive despite some clear mistakes.

B+ This was tough one for me. He kept us in the game and then seemed to play us out

of it. I finally decided to give him the + because of the energy he brought, although

the bad turnovers were a concern tonight.

Luke Ridnour

Negative- Forced pass when he should have shot, torched by Houston point guards.

Positive- Possibly the only “real” shooter on the team, good passing in third quarter

B+ I thought this was a good game for Luke. He does give some up defensively but it

doesn’t seem to be for lack of effort. Someone needs to back him up. Without his

shooting and timely passing we would not have been nearly as close as we were.

Darko Milicic

Negative- Missed lay up, missed layup, bad foul on Martian, missed hook (ok- it was another layup),

Neutral- New haircut that took him from short to slightly shorter.

Positive- I liked his hustle on several early plays including the opening tip, at least one very nice wrap around pass, defensive hustle.

C+ People will think I am grading Darko way too high here and I am not going to defend

myself. The missed lay ups were painful. Still there were a few things I liked from

him tonight.

Wayne Ellington

Negative- Poor shot selection on three in transition, kind of hacky on defense, not a good shooting night- ok terrible shooting night.

Neutral- Meaningless dunk with 4 seconds left to go in game.

Positive- At least one good defensive play (I felt I had to write something).

C Did Wayne really play 39 minutes? Really. I was trying to pay extra close attention to

the game but I am still surprised by this. I barely noticed him. Did I really miss Wes

Johnson? I’m so confused right now.

Derrick Williams

*First NBA Start

Negative- Despite what I have written below- some of his drives seem a little tentative, bad turnover at what might have been our last chance to start a comeback run, weird outlet pass off the back of Randolph’s head.

Positive- I liked his aggressiveness, especially early in the game, rebounding, a few nice defensive plays, getting to the free throw line.

B Thrust into his first NBA start at a position many feel he cannot play. I think he did -

wait for it- ok. I appreciated his effort to take the ball to the rim. I just wish he would

be a bit more decisive about it. He did go up and get a few big rebounds and I’ll give

him credit for being noticeable in this game.

Anthony Tolliver

Negative- Seems to be stuck in his head right now, a very forced drive

Positive- Seems like a heck of a nice guy (see Ellington).

Incomplete Eight very boring minutes on a night where we were shorthanded. I think I

am being too kind really.

Nikola Pekovic

Negative- Very bad foul on Scola giving up three point play, Crazy pass to the ghost of that guy that slaps the newspaper on floor court side.

Neutral- where did he go in the second half?

Positive- Much needed post scoring (on one play).

Incomplete 10 minutes. Kind of surprised at this because he has looked good lately.

Houston’s front line is pretty athletic and not in a big, crash into each other,

kind of way so maybe it was a match up issue.

Anthony Randolph

Negative- Bad play (bring ball up the floor) immediately after making a good play

Positive- Nice and much needed spark, great decision to give up the ball rewarded with alley-opp, most of his shots were good shots, nice kick out to Ellington.

Incomplete Seven productive minutes is still just seven minutes.

Cameraman vs Houston Fast Break

Too many missed opportunities.

C-

Jim Peterson

Admittedly Jim Peterson is not my favorite announcer so I may be over reacting here. I was really irked by his voice tone when Kevin Love got his 10th rebound as Peterson said something to the effect of “There he gets his double double.” Last year when we were the worst team in the NBA the double double streak was a nice way to stay positive about the season. This year I want something more meaningful. I do not mean this as a knock on Kevin Love in the least. I mean this from a fans perspective. I don’t want to be satisfied with a good stat nights from our star. It just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

C-

Martell Webster

Extra credit for his snappy dress, bold hairstyle and enthusiasm for the team from the bench so far this season. If he plays with as much energy we will be very glad to have him back.

Incomplete

Game Notes/ Thoughts

Way too lethargic start to the game. They dug themselves a big hole which, to their credit, they climbed out of on Love and Rubio’s play in the second quarter. The big Rocket run that started towards the end of the third really bummed me out. This was a big home game against exactly the kind team we want to start being better than. It’s just so clear that from a talent standpoint we are not better than the Rockets. We need shooters, real shooters. Shooters who can actually shoot on a regular basis. It seems like every game we miss shot after shot while the other team hits shot after shot. I don’t think I have ever seen that many missed lay ups in a game I was not playing in. We have Love (I hope) and we have Rubio, now we need someone else and that someone else better be able to shoot the basketball.

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