Michael Jordan has lost more money on bad bets in his short time as an NBA owner than he ever did as a golfer or casino patron. Tyrussalarycapus wreckus? Dioplosorryus mybadus? Coreymegettie mineus? Boris diawshucksus?
This year, his airness took a break from dinosaur craps and decided to roll the dice on a couple of much younger potentially franchise-changing draft prospects: the Manther (a.k.a. Biyombo) at #7, a mysterious, late-rising, shot-swatting would-be superhero from the Congo who was and still is coveted by many Wolves fans; and, Kembawesome at #9, a high-flying, lightning quick would-be point guard hero hailing from New York City (been there, done that … already had a Magical Unicorn in the fold but hey, thank god the kid didn’t play for Syracuse).
With Charlotte being a terrible team with a mostly terrible roster, I’d been looking forward to tonight’s game mainly for the chance to witness the Manther’s possibly legendary defensive prowess. I also looked forward to musing just a little about the front court rotation the Wolves might have had with the trio of Biyombo, the Incredible Pek and the relentless Dr. Octopus Love. Ka-powwwwww!!! The Wolves could have out-Lee’d Mr. Stan Lee himself.
So anyway, the Wolves came into tonight’s game with a terrible four-game losing streak, an even longer stretch of terrible shooting, more than their own fair share of terribly playing players and the most terrible part of their schedule looming just around the corner. I was expecting a win, but having attended the Cleveland and Houston games in January, I also wouldn’t have been surprised to see our squad lay another egg.
For almost three full quarters, the Wolves looked more like potential egg-layers than toothy predators. It followed a familiar pattern: dig yourselves a nice big hole right away and then try to dig yourselves out. All squared at 66 with about three minutes to go in the 3rd, our point guards and the mighty mohawked one started to make shots, keying a 23-4 run over the next 6 minutes or so and a 102-90 win.
Grades after the jump.Kevin (Dr. Octopus) Love – A+ … Love (+) average or better production from two players = Victory? Turns out, you only need Love (+) one half of above average play from Pekovic (+) one quarter of good shooting from your guards and wings to beat Charlotte. Without Love being on his game tonight, however, the Wolves would’ve needed that late 3rd Quarter run just to pull within striking distance of Charlotte and probably would’ve lost to a 3-25 opponent on their home court. Love Love.
Nikola (the Incredible Pek) Pekovic – A- … Pek seemed a bit bothered by Charlotte’s length in the 1st Quarter, forcing up shots too quickly and bricking most of them in Darko-like fashion. Thankfully, he got it going for the second half, crushing Charlotte inside with dunks, offensive rebounds and good defense. He was also our Iron Man of the night with a team high 44 minutes
Ricky (the Magical Unicorn) Rubio – B- … Ricky’s magical mojo was mostly missing from tonight’s game. Beautiful lob to Wes in the first half, hit a couple of key shots at the beginning of the run in the third, solid effort in other facets of the game … quality PG play from Barea and Ridnour in the 4th quarter tonight let Ricky get some late rest.
The Frequently Invisible Men … 130 total minutes played, three turnovers.
- Luke Ridnour – B … Cool Hand Luke played the first half, Hot Hand Luke played the second going 5-5 while helping the Wolves pull away.
- JJ Barea – B+ … Barea’s second quarter stint had suckitude written all over it. Late in the game, he looked like that guy who played for Dallas in the playoffs last night. ZERO turnovers and a team high 8 assists for JJ.
- Wesley Johnson – C … The Original Invisible Man, Wesley actually had something of a physical presence on the floor in the first quarter (by Wes standards anyway). Nice finish on the oop from Rubio, a couple of nice defensive plays … I think I might have even seen him catch a pass from a teammate and attempt a 3-point shot without hesitation (which he bricked, so I know it was real).
- Martell Webster – B … Solid game from the Mighty Mohawk, with 6 points, 5 boards, 2 steals contributing nicely to our run in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
- Derrick Williams – C … The Caged Lion roamed free tonight for 9 minutes, contributing 4 points, 3 rebounds and one ferociously authoritative dunk in the second quarter. More importantly, he was able to do all of that while sharing court time with the Black Holes known as Beasley and Barea … which is how I’d frame my argument when trying to convince other GMs to trade for him over the next few weeks.
- Michael Beasley – C- … Considering SuperCool had to play all of his minutes with a Caged Lion on the court, I’d say 2-4 shooting with one assist and one block in 9 minutes is an amazing accomplishment … which is how I’d frame my argument when trying to convince other GMs to trade for him over the next few weeks.
- Wayne Ellington – Incomplete
- Anthony Tolliver – Incomplete
What about the Manther? Not a great game, but bejeezus his potential is easy to see. Do we have any professional poker players or ex-pro golfers working in our front office?