Wolves third pick at #23...Next season's salary cap projected to be higher than expected...Polk with concerns on the current lineup...Rambis misses playoffs for first time in years...Stiemsma named D-League's Defensive Player of the Year
From the Pioneer Press:
The Timberwolves on Friday came away with the best possible position for their third pick in the first round of the NBA draft when the league conducted random drawings to break ties among teams that finished with identical regular-season records.
The Wolves landed the No. 23 pick when Utah, which owes Minnesota its first-round choice, won a tiebreaker with Atlanta and Denver.
The Wolves, whose 15-67 record was the second-worst in the league, will have a lottery pick, then the Nos. 16 and 23 picks in the first round. In the second round, they will have the 45th and 56th picks.
Minnesota will have the second-best odds of capturing the No. 1 overall pick in the May 18 draft lottery.
From Chris Sheridan/ESPN:
The New York Knicks and other teams hoarding salary-cap space for this summer's free-agent market received surprisingly good news Friday when they were told at the league's board of governors meeting that the 2010-11 cap is projected to be $56.1 million.
That figure was $2 million to $3 million more than most teams had been expecting and $5.7 million more than the league forecast last July as a worst-case scenario.
Other teams with significant cap space that will be positively affected by Friday's news include the New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Greg Stiemsma has been selected as the NBA Development League's Defensive Player of the Year by a vote of the League's 16 head coaches.
"Our organization is extremely happy for Greg," said Skyforce head coach Tony Fritz. "He did a great job of anchoring our defense and protecting the basket all year. He is one of the reasons we had such a successful season."
Stiemsma appeared in 45 games, 44 starts, for Sioux Falls during the regular season, averaging 8.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and an NBA D-League-best 3.6 blocks. He scored in double figures 24 times, recording 11 double-doubles and one triple-double, when he scored 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked 10 shots in a 107-105 victory over the Springfield Armor in Sioux Falls on Dec. 27, 2009.
From the Associated Press: No playoffs for Rambis this season
Now, after having one of the best seats in the house for the NBA playoffs - the chair right next to Jackson for the previous eight seasons - Rambis will be watching the playoffs from his couch this time around.
One of the first pieces of advice he got from veteran coaches was to not take the losing home with him every night. That proved easier said than done.
"I got pretty obsessed with the season, always trying to find ways to make things better,'' he said. "Watch a lot of tape of our opponents, figure out how to best give our team a chance to win. Trying to get them better. It's just hard to turn your mind off and not just focus on it all the time. It was very difficult.''
From Benjamin Polk/City Pages: Timberwolves scan the horizon
So this is kind of depressing. Because if Al can't be an elite scorer and can't adapt his game, and if Darko is not the player we wish he was, and if Jonny Flynn is no better than a scoring sixth (or seventh) man, these Wolves really have a long, long way to go. Let's hope they make some progress soon.
Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player Darko Milicic waits at the Alitalia Airlines ticket counter at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, after finding out that all the flights going to his home country of Serbia were canceled on Friday, April 16, 2010. The air traffic agency Eurocontrol said almost two-thirds of Europe's flights were canceled Friday because of a volcanic ash cloud moving in from Iceland.
From Jerry Zgoda/Star Tribune: McHale sizes up NBA playoffs, sidesteps the Wolves
He diplomatically sidesteps questions about the team he once ran. Ask when we'll be talking about the Wolves in the playoffs, he answers, "Don't know." Ask if this season's team, the core of which he built, was better than 15 victories, he answers, "You know what, who knows?"