Tonight marks another opportunity for the Timberwolves to get back on track to the standard of play that we saw in the beginning of the season with the early 9-9 start. However, it's also a chance for the team to delve deeper into frustration as a loss to the Sixers would be perhaps the low-light of the season coming after two games where the Wolves weren't competitive against average teams .
The last time the two teams met Karl-Anthony Towns had one of his rougher games of the season as he got into early foul trouble against Jahlil Okafor. Towns had perhaps his worst night against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday (shooting 4-17), but he will likely be motivated for a re-match with the fellow rookie center to whom he is often compared.
Unfortunately, there isn't too much good to say about the Wolves in this recent stretch. Our key players are struggling with shooting and turnovers, while our lack of three-point shooting remains appalling in comparison to every team we play. Basically, once a team starts hitting a few threes in a row we just lose.
In more fun news, Nate Duncan had our esteemed Jim Peterson on his podcast over the weekend to talk about the Wolves this year and the development of our key players (primarily Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach LaVine). Its definitely worth a listen, especially to hear about the coaching staff's attempts to get Wiggins and LaVine to play more of the "correct" way.
Peterson's theory for why Wiggins has so much trouble getting rebounds and steals is due to his lack of being in a defensive position when he is playing off-ball defense (which also relates to Sam Mitchell's disparaging comments about AAU Basketball after the Bucks game). While it may be an overly simplistic conclusion, it does give credence to the idea that Wiggins has an on-and-off switch and he doesn't always know how to turn on.
This Week in... Things that Are Great!
I read an interesting article that was retweeted by Punch Drunk Wolves from the New York Times (Article Here) about a particular NBA comedy web-series developed by Los Angeles Economics professor and comedy writer Matt Hill. The videos are anything but professional and focus on the San Antonio Spurs as Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Gregg Popovich go on wild animated adventures.
The article points to a definite NBA humor sub-culture that is rapidly growing across the Internet. Think Game of Zones, a lot of the work by Jason Concepcion and Shea Serrano when they were writing for Grantland, or pretty much half of the stuff on NBA Reddit. I would also venture out on a limb and say Bill Simmons' popularized style incorporating sports and pop-culture is also likely a contributing factor.
While I have an admittedly narrow view of other sports on the Internet, it does seem that the NBA's comparitively quick move towards the Internet with accessible highlights and coverage has now been fully embraced and the league has a much wider and nuanced Internet presence than the other major sports leagues in America.
I think this is due to a couple reasons, as the NBA has a much smaller pool of players (especially those who get major playing time) and the stars in the league often have very distinct personalities, cultivated or otherwise. This type of entertainment also requires a viewer who understands extremely specific NBA references, as if rewarding them for their minute attention to the league. This has allowed the NBA to increasingly capture the market of Internet savvy millennials who are looking for smart and funny entertainment about their sports interests.
While these are all really conjectures on my part, I found it an interesting topic as it's something I have been noticing about the NBA for a couple years now.
Here is the first webisode of "Spurs Special Forces"