Al Jefferson should not be playing basketball right now. All you needed to see in order to know this was contained in a single minute-long stretch of action during the first quarter. With just over two minutes gone in the game Big Al took the ball in his favorite place on the court, in the low left block. He proceeded to start off his typical bag of trips by dipping his left shoulder, putting the ball on the ground, making a quick pump fake and....instead of rotating into a 2nd move or a counter step to the defender's positioning, Al was unable to get any lift or separation. He just threw the ball up towards the rim.
After the miss he looked completely unable to gather up any speed whatsoever and he was late getting back on defense. After a couple of similar trips up and down the court cumulating in a weak ass block attempt on Kevin Durant in transition where he was unable to turn around quickly enough to make a serious effort on the ball the Wolves' highest paid player was mercifully sent to the bench in favor of their newest player, Darko Milicic.
Aside from their best player either reverting into a useless player or having a much-worse-than-it-is-being-advertised knee problem (or a combination of both), the other elephant in the Wolves' room is the increasingly absurd rotations from Kurt Rambis. The team can only run with the "we're developing our talent" meme for so long. At the end of the day, and no matter how much we may talk about draft picks and cap space, we watch to see our favorite team win and this coaching staff is developing quite the track record of putting out rotations that do not give the squad its best chance at victory. They start their worst player. They hand the majority of their PG minutes to their most ineffective point guard. They do not pair their best paired bigs. They do not run out pairings that have a fairly solid chance at success.
Last night the Wolves put their best available lineup into the game with the score 25-16 after an extended OKC run: Ramon Sessions, Wayne Ellington, Damien Wilkins, Kevin Love, and Darko Milicic. This lineup lasted all of about 50 seconds before Kevin Love was yanked for Al Jefferson, who quickly proceeded to be ineffective on both ends of the court for a minute or two before being yanked early in the 2nd quarter.
What's the point in watching something like this? It's not entertaining. Something clearly is wrong with the product. Do we just continue to roll out draft speculation and talk about the overall improvement of Wayne Ellington, Corey Brewer, and Kevin Love (which, it should be noted, is the only thing that keeps me jumping off the deep end with this coaching staff; they really deserve a lot of credit for this)? What is the take-away from this product when it is clear that the best version of said product is not placed on the floor? Why not Sessions, Ellington, Brewer, Love, and Milicic for extended stretches if Jefferson is hurt or sucky? The only reason it was close for a while was because Jefferson was SOOOO terrible that the team's best lineup eventually had to be out there for a few moments together to keep it interesting....that and OKC sucked it up for long stretches of the game during the first 2 quarters.
I'd like to say that I paid a lot of attention to the rest of this game. However, I was sidetracked by comment threads about Orson Welles, Pinky and the Brain, Soju, and an episode of Ghost Whisperer with a lesbian ghost love affair. It also did not help that the League Pass feed from OKC was riddled with the Thunder running a dual audio feed from their production truck. Nothing complements terrible NBA action like behind-the-scenes technical audio spliced together with homerism from the opposing team's announcing crew.
The only other nugget of game action I can remember in the 2nd half was checking the box score midway through the 3rd quarter only to find that Ryan Hollins had played more minutes than either Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, or Darko Milicic. I thought about this for a moment. While the game was on the line, Kurt Rambis played Ryan Hollins, the team's worst player, more than Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, or Darko Milicic. Checking back briefly during the 4th quarter I see that Ryan Hollins was yanked immediately following my 3rd quarter discovery and now that the game is out of hand, Darko, Love, and Big Al now all have more minutes than...well, it's time to go pour a drink. Tonight's Korean Cooking game wrap is simple: get a bottle of soju and pour.
EXTRA DRUNKEN ORSON ACTION...ANIMANIACS STYLE!!!