It's been a hugely disappointing start to the Wolves four game home stand--losses to the Orlando Magic and the Portland Trail Blazers, both in galling but different ways. Coming out flat against the Magic and digging too deep a hole for themselves, then blowing yet another big lead against the Blazers in the 2nd half leaves them at 8-11, and reminds us that they may not be quite as talented (or ready, your choice) as we had hoped.
Tonight, the Clippers are in town, and will likely be without their starting back court of Chris Paul and J.J. Redick due to injury. The Wolves, who have struggled all season at Target Center, need to begin fixing that problem, and with a hobbled Clippers and poor Lakers the next two opponents at home, the time to do so is now.
I'll have more later this week on where things stand with this team and its raft of young players; one of this season's goals was always to sort through a large number of guys early in their careers and figure out who is part of the future and who isn't. That process is ongoing, but suffice it to say they are not all going to reach the idealized versions of themselves that we as fans imagine for them.
One of those young players who has not been able to break into the rotation has been sent to the D-League, specifically the Idaho Stampede. Tyus Jones, who the Wolves traded up for in the first round of the 2015 draft, has not been able to get any playing time behind the trio of Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, and Andre Miller at point guard, and thus will spend a little time in the minor leagues getting some game action.
We are reminded that the Wolves do not have their own D-League affiliate, meaning they have to beg a spot on another team's roster. In this case, Jones will be playing for the Utah Jazz affiliate. It is not an ideal situation, though from what I understand the Wolves' plans for their own affiliate are not all that far along and they are likely to be one of the last teams to add one in the coming years. Still, Jones will get some playing time which can't hurt. I wouldn't expect him to spend too much time with the Stampede.
A couple of other notes: I want to thank Klawitter and Average Jer for having me on the Awkward Bounce podcast. It was fun to sit around and talk basketball with those two guys for an hour on Saturday morning, and in their own awkward fashion, it seems like they have begun to solve their ambient sound problems. Unfortunately, that means the sound of my voice comes through loud and clear. Here is a link to their soundcloud page where you can listen to all of their episodes.
Also, you can follow them at @awkward_bounce on twitter, where future pods will be announced.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who came out to meet me over the weekend while I was in Minneapolis. It was a real pleasure for me and means a lot. I've spoken before about what this place means to me and why, and actually seeing some of you in person was important to me. So I thank you all, whether you were able to make it out or not, but meeting those of you that I did was a highlight. (Special thanks to Average Jer for organizing everything in an appropriately planned but not heavy handed way).
Today in history
43 BC: Cicero assassinated in Rome
1783: William Pitt the Younger becomes youngest ever British PM at age 24.
1787: Delaware becomes first state to ratify Constitution
1808: James Madison elected president
1836: Martin van Buren elected president
1877: Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph invention
1917: U.S. declares war on Austria
1941: 2400 die in Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, Hawaii
1945: Microwave oven patented
1960: Ivory Coast declares independence from France
1986: Jean-Claude "Poppa Doc" Duvalier flees Haiti
1993: LIRR Massacre: Colin Ferguson kills 6 and wounds 19 on commuter train.
Today's musical birthday is Tom Waits, born in 1949