Life. Sometimes you are just too real for your own good. I mean, who wants to spend the first week of real basketball working and sleeping? Real basketball is here! I have no time for such trivial matters as making a living.
This won't be a theological essay on each and every Wolf who took the stand, but certainly there are some big points that were made that give a lot of insight as to what this team is and what they want to become.
If there was ever any doubt that Kevin Martin singed here because of Rick Adelman, that should be completely buried at this point. First off, Martin basically outright said it, stating that as far back as two years ago he had an eye on where Adelman would coach next, and when it was here, he had in the back of his mind that this would be his first choice. For his part, Adelman gave a somewhat wordy testimonial that basically boiled down to 'there were a lot of guys in free agency that could have helped us, but none of them were Kevin Martin'.
Then, as a rather unintentional show of how together they are, Martin and Adelman...in their separate conferences....brought up almost the exact same topics, completely unprompted.
- The Adelman family is ok
- Injuries happen. Deal with it
- Must make three pointers
- Offense is good but defense is better
The last point is particularly interesting, as defense isn't something KMart has been known for or has focused on over his career. He made a point of saying he took pride in being part of a top 3-4 defense last season with the Thunder, and that it would be necessary for the Wolves to get better defensively to compete. 'You don't want to have to score 120 every night to get by'. Adelman (and Pekovic) both noted how Rick has challenged Pek in particular to really anchor the defense vocally, echoing Martin's assertion that defense is about communication.
The Wolves...except for maybe Dieng in 2-3 years...simply do not have that classic 'goalie' center, like a Dwight Howard or Tyson Chandler or Roy Hibbert. So they will have to do it more through team defense, which requires constant jabber on the defensive end by the guy who can see the court the best...usually the center. This is part of how guys like Garnett and Duncan have extended their defensive dominance way past their primes...they play center field and coordinate everyone else.
It's certainly going to be a challenge. Last season, all the top defenses had a dominant interior barricade, be it Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert, KG and Duncan, Serge Ibaka, and I think we can effectively count LeBron James in that group for the most part. Defensively, Pek just sin't going to be any of those guys. But he's still a big obstacle to try and force contact into and a pretty effective switch in defending the pick-and-roll, so if Adelman can get him to see what the other team is trying to do and yell it out, the Wolves will get what they need from him on the defensive end.
One thing that was a nice surprise was Martin showed a sharp acumen for the advanced stats side of the game. He's clearly a very, very smart guy. When asked about Pek and the shift in how the game is played, he just flat out said good offenses make threes and free throws and take as few long 2s as possible because they're 'tough, low-percentage shots'.
one single percent 6% away from being the fabled 50-40-90 guy last year (he shot 45%, 42% from three, but only 89% from the FT line. Loser) barely missing out membership in a group that includes the best of the best...Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Dirk and Durant (ok, not a loser...) The Wolves needed better shooting, they got better shooting.
Also, Sid Hartman:
Heya hey, are you as good as everyone says you are?
Deep questions, Sid. Oh man.
Adelman also challenged Kevin Love to be a facilitator, which Love picked up on in his own presser. If you look back at the Adelman/Martin pairing in Houston, it seems obvious what role Rick wants Love to be playing...a super-duper suped up Luis Scola. Which is a role Love can really excel at, I think. If you think of a Scola who rebounds better and hits threes....or a Kevin Love with a touch of Ginobili trickery to his passing and low post footwork....that's a pretty damn good player. And Love is already way ahead of anything Scola ever touched as it is.
The debate of exactly what level of player Love is has been an ongoing thing for a long time here on Canis. Nate seemed to settle on him being a '1a' guy...not a guy who can outright carry your team like a Durant or LeBron, but a guy who can put up their numbers in a craftier way. I'd agree with that, and I think the difference between a 1a and 1 is either someone who also makes a massive impact on the defensive end (like a pre-injured Dwight Howard) or a guy who directly elevates his teammates' play (Jason Kidd being the all-time master at this) I think this is the year...as Adelman noted that we have players around him to keep him from having to do it all himself....that Love can show he can really pick apart a defense with his court vision and get guys like Martin and Pek easy buckets. If he can grow into that (and I don't see why he couldn't) the reputation will back the numbers. A 25-12-5, Charles Barkely type of season is in his range, which would leave no doubt whether he's at the level of a Durant.
**I think everyone assumes Blake Griffin is Barkely 2.0 cuz of the hops, but that guy's rebounding is going the wrong direction. Get to it, Doc
***Also, let's not kid ourselves into thinking anyone but Durant has a shot at LeBron's level
Also of note, Adelman consistently included Brewer in the Ricky/Love/Martin/Pek group. He doesn't seem 100% sold on him, but I think it's safe to say...whether he's a starter or reserve...that Corey won't be fighting for playing time this year. Love seemed genuinely happy to have him back too. He'll be on the court plenty.
Most of the rest of media day seemed pretty blah...lot's of 'are you excited' and 'what kind of training did you do this summer' and fluff like that. Nothing that would give us any insight. But the Adelman/Martin/Love trio hit back this year, which was great. Love in particular is one of the most accessible players in the league, and Martin clearly knows how to articulate his thoughts into meaningful sound bites. Adelman is clearly trying to take this team the direction on his Houston squad, and he and Flip have assembled a roster that can get there.
Anyways. Community season 5. Dan Harmon is back. It's coming. Be excited. In celebration, I give you Abed reacting to things.