Remember these guys?
For those without much knowledge of basketball history, this team was supposed to win the 2002 NBA Championship until Tim Donaghy got in the way. We all know how well that went down. By the way, our very own Rick Adelman coached this star-studded team. The starting five consisted of a great perimeter game led by Mike Bibby dishing out assist after assist to Peja Stojakovic. Chris Webber (All-NBA 2nd Team) and Vlade Divac held down a dominant frontcourt. Doug Christie (All-NBA Defense 2nd team) was their defensive ace who also displayed some range from time to time. Off the bench came one of the better 6th men in the league in Bobby Jackson, a versatile Hedo Turkoglu, and Scot Pollard (yes that Scot Pollard!) came in to help keep the defense anchored down with a defensive rating of 98. It also wouldn't hurt to mention it was Gerald Wallace's rookie year.
This team still had a few flaws. They were an average rebounding team. Just 3 players had effective field goal percentages above 50% (Peja, Christie, and Pollard). On defense, they weren't elite in terms of forcing turnovers (15th in TOV%), but with all of these minor ticky tack details, the Kings did a lot of great things like the following:
Top-10 in defensive field goal and 3-point percentage. Third in offensive rating while leading the league in pace of play. Third in free throw attempts allowed. 8th fewest turnovers committed per game. A couple individual things that standout are Chris Webber's assist percentage (21.9%, close to Kevin Garnett), Peja's 9.9 win shares, and Pollard's (THAT SAME SCOT POLLARD FROM THE WEIRD STUFF BEFORE) 128 offensive rating IN THE PLAYOFFS!
In order to stop digressing even more, I'm going to just blatantly blurt out my anecdotal thoughts that came to my mind without any factual basis, but rather my memories of these games I watched. This year's Minnesota Timberwolves are the poor man's version of the 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings.
Think about my irrational ideas with no corresponding evidence or scouting reports whatsoever:
Ricky Rubio: An inferior shooter to Mike Bibby, but I think he can do just about everything else better than him.
Kevin Martin: High volume and extremely efficient shooter who knows Adelman's style. "Just like" Peja Stojakovic, offense will be run with him as Option #1A.
Corey Brewer: Ok, I'd take a 31 year old Christie over 27 year old Corey any day, but you get my vision of him as "defensive ace with occasional (which it better be) range."
Kevin Love: Better range than C-Webb. Better rebounder. Inferior athlete, and a worse defender as well. Still, he is the true star of the team. Option #1
Nikola Pekovic: Not a smoker like Vlade, not quite the same passing vision (For real, Vlade learned stuff from playing with Magic Johnson), and doesn't have the range of Vlade. BUT, Pek's pack prevails because of his awesome personality, and he isn't a huge flopper like Divac.
Advantage Kings, mostly because I don't trust Alexey Shved or JJ Barea as much as I used to.
We have a tall, lanky, and high energy eastern european player in Andrei Kirilenko, wait...... frowny face! :(
Dante Cunningham can be our Lawrence Funderburke, Shabazz can be the rookie in the wings like Gerald Wallace, Budinger can wait in the corner to shoot 3s, and Derrick Williams doesn't...quite...fit....again. Gorgui Dieng and Ronny Turiaf can do their own thing because Scot Pollard is wayyyyy better than they'll ever be (I'm sorry, I can't even say that sarcastically).
And the only thing these two teams have in common.....RICK ADELMAN HOW YA DOIN'?
Ladies and Gentleman, your 2013-2014 Minnemento Timberkings! All glory to Scot Pollard!
PS- If you made it through my rambling and nonsense, I thank you.