As the season winds down, the Wolves are back in action tonight hosting the Lakers. You will recall the last meeting with the Lakers when they blew another double-digit lead under a hail of ridiculous shots by Jordan Clarkson and their own horrendous execution and lost in overtime in Los Angeles. Hopefully they have enough gumption to not let that happen again.
Ex-Wolves legend Lance Stephenson has signed a long-term deal with his first team, the Indiana Pacers. I’m not exactly sure why they committed to him for two guaranteed seasons, but there you have it. One wonders if this somehow is an attempt to appease Paul George. They are waiving Rodney Stuckey who has a $7M player option for next season.
The Pacers are in a tough spot. Without a point guard after this season, they will probably have to spend most of the cap space they have on re-signing Jeff Teague, at which point they essentially will be running it back with the same veteran group that clearly isn’t good enough. Or they trade Paul George (and everyone else not nailed down.)
C.J. Miles is likely to be a free agent this summer...
The recent Wolves collapse has been disappointing, but one bright spot has been the play of Kris Dunn. I’m leery of reading much into a few late season games, but it’s heartening to see him on the floor and contributing. He can really guard people, and is racking up steals and blocks at an unprecedented rate for a rookie guard. He’s been playing exclusively off the ball recently, which I think frees him up on both ends—without primary playmaking responsibilities, he appears to be freer. Right now he appears to be taking steps down the Tony Allen career path, which would be a terrific outcome.
The injury to Nemanja Bjelica has resulted in surgery on his foot. Hopefully he recovers fully and is ready to go next fall. His injury coincided with the Wolves recent losing streak, and while correlation does not prove causation, I think it hurt the team. He was playing a lot before the injury, and playing pretty well. Losing him was perhaps the final straw in making the rotation too thin to overcome. Thibs has either had to play small, which none of their wings is really equipped for, or play Gorgui Dieng huge minutes as he did in Indiana the other night. We’ve remarked that having a better version of Bjelica is what the Wolves have needed, and he was resembling that player before getting injured.
Today in History
240 BC: First recorded passage of Halley’s Comet
1296: Edward I sacks Berwick-upon-Tweed. I just like writing Berwick-upon-Tweed.
1796: Carl Gauss, German mathematician discovers something I don’t understand about the heptadecagon.
1814: Sixth Coalition marches into Paris after defeating Napoleon.
1822: East and West Florida combined by Congress into Florida Territory, Early Bird Specials begin throughout territory in celebration.
1956: Russia signs peace ending Crimean War.
1867: U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for two cents an acre.
1870: 15th amendment to Constitution.
1870: Texas readmitted to the Union, final state of the Confederacy to re-join.
1909: Queensboro Bridge opens.
1012: French protectorate in Morocco established.
1919: Gandhi announces resistance to Rowland Act.
1953: Albert Einstein announces revised Unified Field Theory.
1959: Dalai Lama flees China for India where he is granted asylum.
1972: Northern Ireland’s government dissolved as direct rule from Westminster announced.
1976: Israel kills six Palestinians protesting land confiscation.
Today’s Musical Birthday
It’s a good day for birthdays today—Eric Clapton, Tracy Chapman, Norah Jones. But we’ll go with the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson, born in 1914 (d. 1948.)