What's Love Got To Do With It? Report Card vs Denver 26/04

Last nights report card is brought to you by my shoddy writing, poor basketball knowledge, and plagiarism of people who know much better than I do.

So, end of the season and all that. This is where you start to wonder what might have been. But we're not going to do that, 'cause that would be miserable.

I can't help thinking that I'm bad luck. My first report card was against the Houston Rockets on the night K-Love trod on Luis Scola, resulting in suspension. My second report card? That night against the Lakers, resulting in the destruction of all that is good in basketball.

Last night, nothing too bad happened. We got slaughtered by a very good Nuggets team who I think could surprise the Lakers in the first round. Worse things could have happened. Better things too, but I'll take it. I'll be honest, I let a lot of the middle part of the game just pass me by. However, it seemed like most of the Wolves team did too, so I'm not too concerned.

Looking hurriedly for a gimmick to hide my inadequacy with the English language and my lack of basketball knowledge, I decided to take it back to the start - comparing tonights game from each player with the report card from the game they first played in this year. I figured I could get away with being lazier and pretend I knew what I was talking about, while trying not to get in the way of Malastare's epic end of season report card. Here goes...

(ps. I gave up trying to find the first card for Brad and Martell. The SBN search function is pretty poor)

JJ Barea (31 mins, 20 points off 7-13 FGM-A, 3-6 3PM-A, 3-4 FTM-A, 1 Reb, 5 Asts) Grade: A-

JJ Barea: 27 minutes, FGM-A 6-11, 3PM-A 1-3, FTM-A 1-1, Reb 2, Ast 2, Stl 0, Blk 0, TO 0, PFs 3, +11, Pts 14

Grade A-

It is hard to overstate how great a game JJ Barea had in terms of him still being a relatively unknown commodity. Yes, he had a great playoffs last year, but nobody really knew what we would get from him when we acquired him. The numbers do not prevaricate here. JJ was a stud in this game and was, along with Ricky, the main reason the Wolves had a chance to steal the game from OKC. His intensity and effort are truly refreshing and infectious. He is like a mini-Anthony Tolliver except he is white, is much quicker, etc. He is a guy that definitely plays the game the "right way" and he was tremendous in this game. I particularly enjoyed how much of a pest he was to RW. The only reason he does not get an A here is because it will take a lot to get an A from me this year, and because he did not play enough minutes to have an A worthy impact in my humble opinion (this is obviously no fault of his own).

bsg007, Game 1, OKC

With the loss of Ricky and Luke, JJ has had a hell of a lot of pressure put on him, and is now basically our one point guard. He's playing a lot of minutes (tonight less than normal) and still playing well. As with what bsg007 said at the beginning of the season, his effort and intensity are something a few of our other guys could do with adopting.

Incidentally, someone who knows more about this sort of thing, does JJ's shot, especially from 3, look forced to anyone else? Maybe it's because of his size but he seems to be stretching a lot when shooting. However, his shooting numbers are pretty good so it doesn't really matter, just something that occurred.

Also, I have never seen a guy look less comfortable in a headband.

Wes Johnson (19 mins, 6 points off 2-3 FGM-A, 2-2 3PM-A [!!!] 0 Rebs, 2 Asts, 2 Blks) Grade C

Wesley Johnson: 25 minutes, FGM-A 2-4, 3PM-A 1-3, FTM-A 0-0, Reb 1, Ast 3, Stl 0, Blk 0, TO 3, PFs 2, -13, Pts 5

Grade D-

Looking at the boxscore the numbers that jump out at you are his 3 turnovers, 1 rebound, 33% 3 Pt shooting, and 0 free throw attempts. The reason I point to these numbers is because Wes once again demonstrated that he has not acquired the ability to adequately drive to the hoop to get to the free throw line without turning the ball over. Moreover, he is not shooting a high enough percentage from 3 to compensate for this deficiency (I get that this is a small sample size). It is also problematic that a player that is supposed to have such a huge advantage in terms of length and athleticism at the 2 only obtained 1 rebound in 25 minutes. Ultimately, Wes destroyed the offensive flow and did not do enough defensively or otherwise to offset the adverse impact he had on the offensive end. He simply looks to be above his head starting at the 2 on an NBA team. Here's to hoping Adelman can make him a better player, but I don't have a lot of hope here.

bsg007, Game 1, OKC

I believe I am now the last remaining member of the Wes Johnson Fan Club. Can't fault that stat line. I like Wes a lot. I feel he can produce much better than he has. I realise I'm now the only person who wants to see Wes play for us again but I like him a lot. However...

Look at the two stat lines, separated by 65 games. Now read bsg's comments from game 1. Now pretend I've written the same thing. Uncanny.

Martell Webster (28 mins, 11 points off 5-10 FGM-A, 1-4 3PM-A, 1 Reb, 3 Asts) Grade: B

(Couldn't find Martell's first game report)

Played nice early. I can't help thinking that the back surgeries are having an impact. He shows flashes of being a good wing player here but doesn't seem to put it together. I'd like to see him next year again given a full training camp etc. Jim Pete also made the point that he thinks he needs to be more selfish, and who am I to argue with him?

Anthony Randolph (21 mins, 9 points off 4-9 FGM-A, 2 Rebs, 3 Asts, 1 Blk) Grade: B

Anthony Randolph: 3 minutes, FGM-A 1-2, 3PM-A 0-0, FTM-A 0-0, Reb 1, Ast 0, Stl 0, Blk 0, TO 1, PF 1, -2, Pts 2

Grade D-

I was going to give AR an incomplete since he only played 3 minutes, but I couldn't get myself to do it because those 3 minutes were horrifying. Suffice it to say the "playing AR and Wes Johnson at the same time" experiment failed miserably. I just cannot overstate how incompetent the team looked when AR and WJ were in the game. I suspect RA quickly recognized this which is why AR only played 3 minutes. At least he didn't drop the nice Rubio pass that gave him his 2 pts.

bsg007, Game 1, OKC

AR had a good game. Productive, I don't remember him causing us too much bother on the defensive end. He's certainly improved from game 1, although I believe that's simply because he's had a lot more minutes as the seasons gone on and the injuries mounted up.

Nikola Pekovic (25 mins, 18 points off 8-12 FGM-A (awesome), 2-5 FTM-A, 10 Rebs, 0 Asts, 1 Blk) Grade: A-

I had to include this, (sorry TO12).

Pekovic: INC

It's great to see you again buddy! The skull/knight tattoo is looking as good as ever! Sure 1:36 in garbage time isn't much, but I figure coach is just saving you for the playoffs. Your stats? No... don't look at those. It's not about stats anyways, it's about helping the team wi-... well, never mind. Nice tattoo! See ya!

TO12, Game 6(?), Cleveland

I think the comment from TO12 above kinda shows how I think we all (ok, most of us, respect to Cynical and a few others) felt at the beginning of the season. Now we know the truth. The guy is a beast. We all know that now though and hindsight is a wonderful thing. Koufos (remember that dude? I quite liked him) had a lot of trouble with him early. DO NOT TRADE PEK. I REPEAT, DO NOT TRADE PEK.

Brad Miller (17 mins, 4 points off 1-3 FGM-A, 1-2 3PM-A, 1-2 FTM-A, 4 Rebs, 4 Asts) Grade: A (sentimental, me?)

(Couldn't find his first game report)

"Brad Miller from 3!"

Happy retirement Brad! The headbands were a nice touch. I'm just gutted I won't get to watch his TV show, it sounds...intruiging. You've got to ask why your back up, retiring centre has the second most assists on the entire team, behind only (and only one behind) your starting point. He is a great passer though. Gonna miss him.

Wayne Ellington (23 mins, 12 points off 5-12 FGM-A, 2-5 3PM-A, 2 Rebs, 1 Ast) Grade A-

Wayne Ellington: 31 minutes, FG 5-13, 3PM 1-6, FT 0-0, Reb 5, Ast 1, Stl 3, Blk 0, TOs 1, PFs 3, +9, Pts 11

Grade B+

The boxscore really belies how well Wayne played today. Along with Ricky he was instrumental in the Wolves coming back from 2 significant deficits in the second and third quarters. He played with excellent effort today and really did the best he could defensively despite the fact he has no chance to stay with Dwayne Wade for 31 minutes. In addition, he has a readily evident understanding of RA's offense as his spacing was good and he parked himself in great positions on the floor that enable Ricky to routinely find him. Unfortunately, despite being a "shooter", Wayne simply did not shoot well as he was 5-13 from the field. In fact, I am convinced that if Wayne shoots a bit better this game the Wolves win.

bsg007, Game 3, Miami

'Make It Wayne' Ellington had a nice game. He shoots well, drives well, works hard on defence. Again, look at the stat lines, production largely the same, which is fine. Wouldn't have a problem with him and Martell as back ups at the 2 and 3. Again, go back to bsg's comments from game 3. I felt like Wayne had a much better game than his boxscore shows. Seems to 'do stuff' with and without the basketball.

Derrick Williams (15 mins, 4 points off 1-5 FGM-A, 0-2 3PM-A, 2-2 FTM-A, 2 Rebs) Grade: C

Derrick Williams: 24 minutes, FGM-A 6-14, 3PM 0-4, FTM 1-2, Reb 6, Ast 1, Stl 1, Blk 0, TO 2, PFs 3, -4, Pts 13

Grade B-

Derrick had a reasonable first game for a rookie. His decision making on both ends of the court was certainly questionable at times, but I liked his aggressiveness offensively. Unfortunately, it is going to be a big problem if he cannot hit from outside as this was one of his most touted skills. I am still not sure what to make of Derrick at this time as I am not yet convinced he can create his own shot like Michael can. In fact, the Milwaukee game further contributed to my fears in this regard. Yet, for the Thunder game I feel he earned a B- given it was his first game.

bsg007, Game 1, OKC

Not getting a whole lotta minutes recently. I'll be honest, I don't remember him doing anything really good or really bad. Kinda hope he can come back next year and produce a bit more. He's shown flashes this year of what he can do well and overall I think I'd like to see him back here.

The big question is, did anyone see who got to play video games with him?

Michael Beasley (24 mins, 13 points off 5-12 FGM-A, 0-2 3PM-A, 3-4 FTM-A, 1 Reb, 1 Ast) Grade: B-

Michael Beasley: 36 minutes, FGM-A 11-27, 3 PM-A 0-3, FTM-A 2-3, Reb 5, Ast 1, Stl 1, Blk 1, TO 2, PFs 2, -8, Pts 24

Grade C

One can't help but wonder if Michael was encouraged to try to take his defender off the dribble and shoot capriciously by RA given that he played so many minutes despite doing so. Undoubtedly, Michael is a player that makes you pull your hair out because he looks tremendous at times, but appears to be detrimental to the team more often than not. Against OKC, as many CHers mentioned in the game thread, his ego appeared to adversely impact his decision making as he was trying unsuccessfully to hold his own against his best friend, Kevin Durant. Fortunately, this prompted him to play with uncharacteristic energy, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but more often than not MIchael simply could not get out of his own way. Moreover, despite his effort which was good to see, he remains a defensive liability at this time. He gets a C for his game against Miami because he did drive to the hoop with more proclivity than in the past despite taking numerous ill advised shots. Despite his poor shooting performance he was the most viable offensive option we had in the game, and I have to credit him for that as he remains the only person on our roster who can reliably create his own shot. To this end, there have been people on this site who recently called into his question his ability to frequently generate good scoring opportunities by driving the lane (I believe it was EIM). This is a reasonable argument that I have not heard anyone make as yet that deserves attention. Indeed, it may be, that even though we all want to see Michael go to the hoop more, that he may simply be incapable of creating good scoring opportunities by doing so.

bsg007, Game 1, OKC (and some Miami)

Michael Beasley is good at basketball. Fact.

He's gone from being the guy who takes 27 shots, to the guy who looks for his teammates, doesn't stop the ball, and works slightly harder on defence. He's trying to play within Adelman's system, which you can't fault.

I like Beas. Unfortunately i don't think we can afford to give him $8million next year. I'd love to see him become the go-to scorer somewhere and have a productive career. I'll miss you Beas.

Malcolm Lee (20 mins, 2 points off 1-6 FGM-A, 0-1 3PM-A (ouch), 2 Rebs, 2 Asts) Grade: B

Malcolm Lee-The Wolves played well when he was on the court. He shows some potential on the Defensive End. He’s not a NBA Quality PG at this time. But for limited stretches you can get by with him. I’ll expect to see his role increased next year. His upside isn’t probably much better then a 8th-9th Man, but if that’s what the Wolves get with a Mid 2nd Round Pick that’s gold. Final Grade-B

Jose Cordoba, March 25th, Denver

In the best case scenario, Lee wouldn't have had to be playing 20 minutes, primarily at point guard. He's definitely got skills, and will be good, but due to circumstance he's been thrown in at the deep end. Basically, what Jose said in March.

Anthony Tolliver (17 mins, 3 points off 1-4 FGM-A, 1-3 3PM-A, 4 Rebs, 1 Ast) Grade: C+

Anthony Tolliver: 20 minutes, FGM-A 0-3, 3PM 0-3, FTM 0-0, Reb 2, Ast 0, Stl 0, Blk 1, TO 0, PFs 2, +2, Pts 0

Grade C-

Anthony is always going to be one of my favorite Wolves because he simply plays the game the right way, and I love the heart he shows. However, if not for his defensive contribution in this game, he would have received an F. The numbers speak for themselves here (0-6 overall with 0 points)

bsg007, Game 1, OKC

Tough year for AT overall. Hasn't shot well, hasn't got many minutes. Still my favourite Wolf, still gives massive effort every time he gets on the court. Still hope he's here next year.

A few extras:

Rick Adelman Grade: A

When you add up all the injuries (we finish the year without 3 of our best 4 players), the shortened season, the lack of training camp, the lack of practices and then you compare and contrast to last season it is astonishing what he's done. By winning percentage he's currently the 4th best Wolves coach of all time, in his first year, with an inherited roster. He was on course to take us to the playoffs until that game. Expect great things next year.

Jim Petersen and Tom Hanneman Grade: A

You only need to listen to a few games called by other teams broadcast teams to realise how good these guys are.

In fact, you only need to listen to ten minutes of an English football game to realise how good these guys are.

Canis Hoopus Grade: A+

This place is awesome. SnP, Tim Allen, Oceanary, anyone who writes for the site you all do a fantastic job. There is some serious knowledge on this site, and now a massive worldwide community of Wolves fans.

Thanks to bsg007 for starting the whole report card thing, it's been a great way of seeing this team through a load of different eyes.

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