Hey all, first and foremost I hope you’re all being safe, staying healthy, and doing whatever you can to keep your mind right. It’s a really strange, weird time. Personally, I don’t really know what to do with myself without any sports, so I suppose I’ll end up writing more often to fill the time. If there’s anything you want us to write about in the future, drop those ideas below or on Twitter.
Anyways, with sports, and basketball specifically, taken away from us for the foreseeable future, let’s talk about the stuff we love. The stuff we’re going to miss most about James Naismith’s beautiful game. Some of this will be Wolves related, and some will just be NBA-related in general. Some will be serious, while some will most certainly not. Anyways, let’s get to the reminiscing! We’re going to miss...
As far as Wolves-related things go, this is the easy number one for me. I’m sure part of it is just a honeymoon phase with a new player, but you really cannot say enough about Beasley in his short tenure in Minnesota. There is the plain and obvious small sample size disclaimer here, but he’s been nothing short of amazing, averaging 20.7 points and 5 rebounds on a TS% of .591.
He’s truly made the most of his opportunity so far in Minneapolis. A general rule of thumb and widely accepted belief was that an increase in workload produces a decrease in efficiency, although MB5 has flipped that narrative on its head. Looking at his per-36 stats is remarkable.
In Denver, Beasley’s points per-36 was always between 12 and 18 points. He never posted per-36 rebounding numbers above 4.4. Thus far, Beasley is averaging 22.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per-36 minutes. He’s been given more responsibility than ever before and has more than answered the call.
Beyond just the numbers, I’m going to miss the attitude that he brings. I know the wins haven’t come yet, and I now there’s a lot of work to do, but if they ever do get this turned all the way around, the attitude and passion that Beasley brings will be a big part of it.
D’Angelo Russell’s Shooting
I mean, there are a lot of flaws here, as we’ve seen, but holy smokes can this guy make shots. Aside from the ability to hit remarkably difficult shots, I think there’s something just so aesthetically pleasing about the way his ball goes through the hoop. The touch is so soft, even from long distance.
The Jordan McLaughlin Breakout
Amidst a pretty miserable season, J-Mac has been the brightest spot for the Timberwolves, relative to expectations. There are few things in sports that bring more joy than an underdog succeed, and that’s certainly what Rabbit has done.
Over his last 15 games, Rabbit is averaging a cool 10 & 5 off the bench on superb shooting (55/41/68). That is stellar production from a backup point guard, especially an undrafted rookie.
Although the cap sheet currently looks better than it did when Gersson Rosas took over, hitting on cheap options like McLaughlin are always a bonus.
Josh Okogie’s Energy
Man, this is one that’s going to sting for me, personally. He has numerous shortcomings on the offensive end, but I’ll never complain about watching Josh Okogie play basketball. He just plays so damn hard, which is a surefire way to win over a fanbase. He’s tenacious, with a non-stop motor that endears him to many. I’m laughing trying to imagine how much energy and effort he’s going to give on the first game back. That’s what I’ll be looking forward to.
This one has been going on for a while, but it’s still just as prominent. In the midst of his first injury-interrupted season of his career, it’s been easy to forget just how good Karl-Anthony Towns is at this basketball thing.
He will likely finish the season averaging 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per night. Shooting 50.8 percent from the field and knocking down a sizzling 41.2 percent of the 7.9 3-pointers he attempts on average each game. If the season ended as it is, KAT would join Larry Bird as the only players in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists while making over 40 percent of their 3-point attempts (minimum 20 attempts). Pretty decent company.
He may have huge question marks over his defense, but you can’t watch these highlights and tell me you don’t long to see this dude in action again.
James Johnson in General
Blocking shots, screaming out coverages and advice to teammates, running point-center, knocking down triples. James Johnson does all these things and I love him for it. Since arriving in Minnesota at the trade deadline, there is no surprise that he has become a fan favorite — despite another beloved Wolf Gorgui Dieng making way for him.
On top of all of that, Johnson has some of the wildest, most outgoing fashion sense known to mankind. One day he will be rocking a tee with a D’Angelo Russell tweet on it, the next he will be sporting fluro green Timbs with a bucket hat.
Come back to us soon, Drip Gawd.
Jake Layman’s Perfect Hair
He may have played a mere 23 games for the Wolves, but Jake Layman is one of the easiest players to like already. He cuts hard, he can hit the long-ball and he is the dictionary definition of ‘sneaky athletic’. However, it’s his forever-flawless locks that I’ll miss the most.
No matter how intense a game or how many minutes he has spent racing around the court, those follicles never move an inch. Even when he was leaving Zion Williamson in the dust and baptizing Derrick Favors ... doesn’t budge.
Someone get me the name of his barber.
The Most Prominent Regular Season in Recent Memory
This will serve as an extended area to just discuss the NBA at large. As a whole, this regular season has felt like it just mattered a whole lot more than previous iterations. We can’t just assume any team from either conference will waltz their way to the postseason.
You could argue we SHOULD be thinking of Milwaukee in that sense, and I think you’d be right, but we’re not, which again makes the Eastern Conference seem more interesting. Teams like Boston and Toronto, in theory, could put up a solid fight against the Bucks, and it wouldn’t *shock most people if one of them were ultimately able to get hot from beyond the arc and survive a series with the Bucks.
In the West, I think we all talked ourselves into a number of teams as legitimate contenders, although as the season has played out the two Los Angeles teams have clearly separated themselves. Still, we’ve watched LeBron and the Lakers revive their image among the fanbase while Kawhi and the Clippers battle through the growing pains of adding two superstars to a previously scrappy underdog.
If nothing more, this season has just been interesting. Anyone who has claimed that this regular season has felt meaningless is lying. Regardless of what the outcome is, the regular season had meaning. It has really helped that LeBron has seemingly taken the regular season as seriously as he has since his early Cleveland days, but just in general there’s been a different aura around everything. That’s important.
Hell, at this point, I’d be happy to watch D-Lo look like a traffic cone on defense. I’d be fine watching Naz pick up two quick fouls. Give me a Jarrett Culver free throw clunk any day of the week. I don’t even care. I just miss basketball.
Comment below with what you will miss the most amidst a prolonged absence.