The Wolves finished yet another season below .500. On a scale of Troll 2 to Time Bandits, this one sits at a solid Highlander; It was a train wreck and I couldn't stop watching. Losing to the Jazz is just the cherry on top of the banana split that doesn't have any flyning bananas (KLove stole them for his banana sammich). That said my big problem is that we've seen similar teams for 5 years with one or two good players: notably Al and KLove, a sample of of AK47, moments of solid Brewiness and a honest to goodness unicorn; In the end however our teams simply haven't been good enough to win a majority of their games and often they win a lot less than that. So my big failing is that I hate watching the same shit on a different day so I would shake things up.
Doing the same thing multiple times and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.
Apparently Albert Einstein didn't say that but it sums up my thoughts, screw incremental improvement at this juncture I want to blow shit up.
Let's start with end of year grades.
|Kevin Love||A||Hell No||Cedar Ridge Reserve Bourbon, I saw some incredible bouts of challenging jumpers but would like to see more hard nosed interior D from our team as a whole and Love in particular, his offense is sublime|
|Ricky Rubio||B+||Not even close||Samuel Smith IPA - always a nice drink but you know there's something just a little better out there. We all know where his deficiencies are so let me just link to someone else's work|
|Nikola Pekovic||A-||Slightly, only due to habitually missing 10 games a year||Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout - a solid beer, strong, not for the faint of heart but also not something for all meals. I gotta give credit where credit is due, I think our lack of rim protection was schematic to avoid fouling, Pek gets in front of guards, moves his feet and stays vertical as well as anyone in the league.|
|Kevin Martin||B-||Yes||That sour beer I had at my local watering hole from some Wisconsin Brewery... really good at first, but the more I drank the more I realized it wasn't my thing. The Blue Light special can shoot, post up, create his shot but he doesn't pass well or even really handle all that well and he competes with JJ for the title of worst defender on the team (but doesn't win it because he at least gets rebounds and steals.|
|Corey Brewer||C-||Massively||Miller Light - It's a terrible terrible brew but for some reason there's a lot of it and you usually drink it in some really awesome settings when nothing else is available, much like his 51 point game|
|A.J. Price||F||Yes||Ham's Beer, one wonders where people find this stuff anymore.|
|J.J. Barea||F-||mmmhmmm||Madhouse Brewery Coffee Stout. You have to work to be this bad... somehow you've taken things I love (scrappy players, crazy shots, solid assist numbers) and made it horribly, infuriatingly awful.|
|Alexi Shved||D+||indeed||Goose Island 312... see it should be good, it looks good the first sip is intriguing, but it's just not good.|
|Chase Budinger||D+||Affirmative||Everything by Sam Adams, it looks like it should be a good hoppy hipster brew, I should like it... but the ingredients aren't balanced and it doesn't get the job done. I really hope he recovers from his injury, he clearly has not been the same player he was in Houston.|
|Robbie Hummel||C-||Nope||Old Orchard Apple Cider, it's pleasing to the palate but doesn't try to be any thing more than it is, adult apple juice.|
|Shabazz Muhammad||D||Yes||Breckenridge Vanilla Porter - your brother talks about how horrible it is, but surprisingly it has some redeeming qualities. He's far and away the most relentless player on the Wolves and sometimes you just need that extra energy.|
|Luc Richard Mbah A Moute||D+||Sadly||Stella Artois - I've been told it's good but the only stuff I've had is skunky, it can't ball handle, rushes all offensive moves and the vaunted defense looks a little slow of foot.|
|Dante Cunningham||D+||No||What does one say about a guy accused of chocking his GF... I really hope he's innocent because that's a terrible thing to do, kind of like constantly jacking up 20' jumpers or drinking Natty Ice.|
|Ronnie Turiaf||C+||Negative Ghostrider||Lienie's Red - just a fun beer, cheap and always drinkable. It helps that the only memories I have of Linie's Red are being offered it by my boss while working as a web lackey Friday evenings or while water skiing. The bang for the buck is off the charts. Our one and only great free agent signing last year and an ideal third C.|
|Gorgui Dieng||B-||Not a chance||Founder's Breakfast Stout. It's got flavors you haven't tasted before in a nice appealing drink. It can be sipped or chugged wholesale as a meal replacement and good things will happen. Thank you Gorgui for your rebounding, shot blocking and Game Winner against Houston. He clearly has better hands than Turiaf and he was able to fix his foul issue within the year. What a find.|
Ok so down to the shake things up part. Everyon knows we need a good wing, need to move dead salary and generally get better; There are two unpopular things I would strongly consider in order to make this team better
Idea the first:
Trade Gorgui Dieng. He's coming off a strong second half of his rookie year and getting lots of national acclaim. So much so that there's a good chance he's overvalued especially if people aren't paying attention to his age. Check out some rookie centers that he compares well too, I personally really like the Marcus Camby and Lopez comps who both struggle to play solid man defense in the post. Don't get me wrong, I jump at a chance draft a future Camby in a heartbeat with anything outside a top 5 pick but this is the one guy on our team who offers skills the league values while being locked into a very cheap rookie deal meaning we could be looking at a chance to dump two bad contracts. Note that I liked this idea a lot better when there was a chance of drafting Cauley-Stein to replace him but the idea is solid. To steal an idea from AK: Dieng, JJ Barea and LRMaM for Varejao, 2015 Miami first round pick and Gee (whose contract isn't guaranteed)... That's a lot of salary cap flexibility while going all in on Love's final contract year.
Idea the second:
If he wants out eventually deal Love for a ridiculous return, but accept nothing less.
In short the moved Melo (clearly worse than Love is now) plus Chauncey for a bench guard, a quasi-starting point on a bad year, a promising young wing and a promising big. Oh they also got a first round pick. We're offering just Love, a top 5 player in the game along with a guy like Brewer who is worse than Chauncey but not dumping quite as many other contracts. In return I would expect to get a promising young wing, a bench wing, a promising big and two draft picks. The only team that can offer this, afford Love, make the salaries work and have a good chance to keep Love is Chicago. The promising young wing is Butler, the big is Mirotic, the backup wing is Dunleavy they have 1st round picks from Charlotte, Cleveland (2015) and Sacrament as well as their own. Which of those picks would be sent would be based on things like if they use Taj or Boozer as filler to make salaries work. Taj is clearly the better piece for us and I'd be happy with a single pick if they did that but Boozer might cost 3 even though he's only signed for one more year. Some lesser mitigation could occur by including someone like Brewer in the deal.
1. Love, Brewer and Barea for Dunleavy, Mirotic, Boozer, Butler, Sacramento pick (won't be conveyed) and Charlotte pick (will be conveyed)
2. Love for Dunleavy, Mirotic, Taj, Butler, Charlotte pick and Chicago pick.
Draft #13 - assuming we don't lose it to Phoenix or move up (hahahaha) I'm just going to copy my signature from near draft time last year.
Oladipo, Kyle Anderson, Gary Harris or Bust!
Honestly there are other picks I'd like but Kyle Anderson is a clear cut number 1 if available and Harris number two. Just say no to Dougs