Previews for tonight's game against Sacramento:
With Corey Brewer in the running for the league's Most Improved Player, Jonah and John introduce the Brewer campaign that includes an interactive new website, Brewersblend.com.
Media members covering the NBA vote on the award after the regular season. The Wolves' marketing and public relations staff titled the campaign "Something's Brewing." Media members nationwide will receive a gift box that includes coffee beans, a coffee mug, beverage menu, sugar packets and Brewer's season statistics and highlights. The box also contains a two-minute video with Brewer, rookie guard Wayne Ellington and coach Kurt Rambis in starring roles.
"Corey would get my vote," Rambis said. "He's still working to get better, but the progress in his play is obvious. He deserves consideration."
Brewer has started all 74 games this season and made significant improvements in key categories heading into tonight's game against Sacramento at Target Center. He is averaging 13.0 points and shooting 42.8 percent from the floor and 34.6 from three-point range. The slender 6-foot-9 swingman finished last season shooting 38.0 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent on three-pointers.
From the Associated Press:
Coach Kurt Rambis even has a cameo, posing as a store manager.
"All he needed was more time on the floor to get his rhythm down," Rambis says, commentary that could easily double for post-game analysis of Brewer's actual on-court progress this season.
There's a list of the attributes of "Brewer's Blend" on the side of specially made coffee bags: caffeine (noting his defensive energy), complexity (statistical balance), smooth flavor (recent shooting success) and rich finish (dunking ability).
Brewer is averaging 13 points per game, up from a cumulative 5.9 points per game over his first two seasons.
There's a corny video, too, shot at Caribou Coffee (corporate sponsor, of course) featuring Kurt Rambis as the store manager, Brewer as a "barista" and Wayne Ellington as a glass-cleaning employee.
Wonder if Rambis got paid union scale. He's still a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, you know?
Houston's Aaron Brooks probably will win the thing, but I think I'll have Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut first on my ballot since, to me, MIP is Most Improved, not best new opportunity given.
Brewer reacted to the campaign on Tuesday afternoon, "It means a lot, especially for me, coming in my rookie year and playing really bad and then last year getting hurt. To comeback and have a decent year means a lot."
And a final pitch from Brewer, "I drink coffee every once and a while. Brewer's Blend is great, it gives you a lot of energy in the morning, everybody needs to get some Brewer's Blend."
So while Minny's campaign for Brewer is entertaining, I don't really see him as a better candidate than any of these three. For my money the Most Improved in 2010 should be Houston's Aaron Brooks.
Denver's Ty Lawson and New Orleans' Darren Collison -- two overlooked college seniors drafted 18th and 21st overall respectively -- have provided young legs and a different dimension to veteran teams. Lawson's play with the contending Nuggets has left Wolves fans wondering why their team chose Jonny Flynn sixth overall and dealt Lawson away for a future first-round pick.
"And we haven't even seen Ricky Rubio yet," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said.
The Wolves took Rubio fifth overall, but he chose to remain playing in Spain and the team won't see him until 2011 at the earliest. Even without Rubio, this rookie class of point guards really is, well, unprecedented.
From Jerry Zgoda/Star Tribune: 2009 point guards: progress report
A look at the 2009 draft's remarkable point guard class (number corresponds to where they were drafted in the first round):
5. Ricky Rubio, Wolves: Potentially "transformational" pass-first point won't arrive in Minnesota from Spain's Regal Barcelona team until 2011 at the earliest, if ever.
6. Jonny Flynn, Wolves: Do you attribute his uneven rookie season to a foreign offense that doesn't maximize his pick-and-roll skills or a young, stubborn, me-first attitude?
The Timberwolves' current biggest problem is that their new brain trust spent the draft, free agency and the 2009-10 season trying to identify, find, lure, sign and develop point guards, and with only eight losses remaining in the season, they might as well have William Avery dribbling upcourt.
During Kevin Love's two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 21-year-old from UCLA has experienced 118 losses, including a current losing streak of 16, and just 38 victories.
"It's been tough," Love said. "Junior high, high school, college — I've won my whole life. Then coming into this, it's a little bittersweet because here, you're happy, you're playing well, but it's not producing wins."
Against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at Target Center, Love scored 23 points with a career-high 22 rebounds — coming off the bench. The Wolves lost again.
"If we would have gotten the win, it would have been better, ending our losing streak," he said. "Obviously, I'd like to start; I don't necessarily like coming off the bench. But that's what coach (Kurt Rambis) wanted, with Ryan Hollins, a 7-footer, and (7-0) Darko (Milicic) in there. It has to do with matchups. Coach wanted spark off the bench. Hopefully, that will work for us.
From Tom Ziller/Fanhouse: Can the Nets Catch Minnesota?
As brutal as the Nets have been, the Minnesota Timberwolves probably have been a greater embarrassment. They’re stalled at 14-60 and have lost 16 straight. Suddenly, the Nets were no longer talking about catching a team that hadn’t played a game in 37 years, but a living, barely breathing modern disaster.
"If we could catch [Minnesota] and not finish last in the NBA, that would be great," Courtney Lee(notes) said.
Truth be told, that would depend on whom you ask.
As thrilled as everyone was with a 10th victory, there’s no organizational clarion call to catch the Wolves. The Nets want every possible pingpong ball for Wall.