30 games into this strike shortened year, our young club is about to embark on the toughest stretch of games it will encounter this year. It almost seems like a who's who of west coast playoff basketball teams. Playing the Lakers 3 times, Clippers/Nuggets/Blazers/Jazz all twice and other notables sprinkled in. We're sure to have our fair share of challenges ahead. Some things I look forward to seeing over the next several weeks of basketball:
1. Can someone other then K-Love step up and hit an open jumper? Occasionally Luke or Beas will find their groove and provide us with another go to guy down the stretch, but these games have been far to few. We can't always rely on Kevin to get us over the hump on a nightly basis. Someone needs to step up.
2. Can we lose a couple tough road games and get it back on track away from the friendly confines of the Target Center. Or can we take a bad beating one night and bounce back the next on the road. I know we have been playing well on the road all year and I hope this continues, but winning in LA or OKC is a different story. We need to be able to come home and know we've got the win. Take pride in the home court and defend it like a true playoff team does. It makes a couple tough road loses not as tough to come back from.
3. I'll say what everyone thinks. Why is Wes still being put out there!? Granted Wayne has made it easy to forget him as a viable replacement and I like Beas coming off the bench. We need a scorer (when he's on) to come in on that second unit to keep us in games. But Wes is just terrible! How many times has he passed up an open look to take a dribble and still throw up a brick? Or take that open look and throw up a brick. Or continue to throw up bricks trying to find something that isn't coming. Is his defense really that spectacular that we can't do it without him? Really? And wipe that stupid smirk off your face Wes, it's not funny anymore.
4. One word "Pek"!! The surprise of the year. Can he continue to put up the numbers that he's been posting so far this year. His foot work is unbelievable for his girth and he has a knack for crucial rebounds. He does get stripped often but it seems a fair trade off I guess for what we're getting out of him. If he could block or alter more shots like, dare I say Darko, he'd have to be considered a top center in the west if not the league.
5. Can we get a little more aggressive on the defensive side of the ball. We need to make our presence known around this league and it starts with defense. When the Pacers came to town Im sure our boys woke up knowing who just came through. I know they're a deeper team with more size and their bigs can get away with playing 28 minutes but does that mean we can't make our presence felt a little more on the defensive end?
6. Finally, I just want to see how our team stacks up to some of the leagues top tier teams with 30 games and a healthy squad to roll into town with. We're at a place with this team we haven't been in a while, and im excited. This isn't going to be a smooth stretch by any means but we also haven't been this prepared for a challenge like this for quite some time.
I left K-Love off my list because, well, K-Love is a beast! He'll do what he does night in and night out. At home or in a swimming pool carrying a baby. I think we are very close to having a legit playoff team here. Maybe not quite this year yet, but next year is definitely possible with this nucleus. It's exciting times to be a wolves fan and I'm glad to be a part of it. It's been hard these last couple years wearing the gear, watching the games and having to explain why I do it to everyone except those who know. Well this is why me boy! And I was there when the ground was broken on the house that K-Love built. GO WOLVES!!!
This is my first posting on canis hoopus, please let me know what you think.