While a majority of the basketball focus these last couple of days has been on the NBA trimming the size of their bubble down to a “final four,” the two local Minnesota franchises have been in the news for a variety of reasons as well.
Let’s get right to it...
The Strive for Five
The Minnesota Lynx wrapped up their 22-game regular season last Friday with a commanding win over the Indiana Fever, bringing their bubble record to an impressive 14-8. The victory was good enough to secure a first-round bye for the squad, which was more than needed considering how banged up/worn out a few of their players were (i.e. Sylvia Fowles).
While the bye gave the Lynx a few extra days to rest, rehab, and enjoy the Florida weather, it wasn’t until the last possible second of the Washington Mystics/Phoenix Mercury game that they knew who their second-round opponent would ultimately be:
The buzzer beater from Shey Peddy officially sent the Mercury onto the next round, where they will face off against the Lynx in another single-elimination style format, with the winner going on to face the Las Vegas Aces in a more traditional best of five series.
This latest postseason run marks the 10th consecutive appearance in the WNBA Playoffs for the Lynx, who split their regular season series 1-1 with Phoenix earlier this summer. Thursday’s matchup between Minnesota and Phoenix starts at 6:00pm EST and can be seen on ESPN2.
Good luck, Lynx!
Sachin or Out?
While the offseason hiatus continues for the Timberwolves, a few of the team’s top personnel have seen their names constantly circulating in the news cycle, most notably David Vanterpool and Sachin Gupta.
Vanterpool’s name has been attached to multiple head coaching positions around the league, although the influx of veteran candidates (Billy Donovan, Ty Lue, and Mike D’Antoni) has once again pushed his resume towards the bottom of the pile. While it currently seems unlikely that DV will secure a head coaching job with another team this offseason, his knack for player development and his reputation as a defensive mastermind should ultimately reward him with his own franchise sooner than later (maybe even the one who currently pays his salary).
As for Sachin Gupta, his name has quickly surfaced as the top candidate for the president of basketball operations position with the Sacramento Kings:
Sachin Gupta appears to be in strong position for the Kings job. Several other candidates have withdrawn. Tried to look at some of the major factors that could affect his decision making if the offer is made. https://t.co/KGATjOVml7— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 16, 2020
The latest piece from Jon beautifully outlines the pros and cons of Gupta taking the Kings job (if it is indeed offered to him) while also detailing some of the improvements the Wolves have made in their front office.
As Woj reported earlier on Wednesday, it’s likely the Kings will have made their decision by the end of this week, so one way or another we should have some clarity on this situation rather soon. Losing Gupta would obviously be a big blow to what has been a revamped and innovative front office, but in the same breath it’s awesome (and refreshing) to see candidates like Sachin rise up the ranks and get an opportunity like this. While his (potential) departure from the Wolves would undoubtedly sting, I’m of the belief that Rosas has other people already in mind that could quickly come in and help continue building the new culture that started back in spring of 2019.
Ghosts of Point Guards Past
Last but not least — while most of NBA Twitter’s energy on Tuesday night was spent creating new ways to make fun of a team blowing a 3-1 lead, a few tweets from a certain ex-Timberwolves point guard may have gone under the radar during the end of Game 1 of Celtics/Heat:
Jimmy a dog— Jeff Teague (@Teague0) September 16, 2020
We had it minny smh— Jeff Teague (@Teague0) September 16, 2020
The “it” Jeff is referring to is the 2017-2018 Timberwovles roster, which as you know featured both himself and Jimmy Butler that was inevitably bounced in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. When pressed about whether or not the team actually had “it,” Teague responded:
lol and that’s why we didn’t— Jeff Teague (@Teague0) September 16, 2020
Sure, NOW Jeff Teague feels comfortable taking shots.
All jokes aside, back-and-forth banter and commentary like this from current players makes watching these games so much more enjoyable (just ask the Portland Trailblazers), but these latest tweets from Teague also confirm just how toxic the relationships were on that squad that got bounced by the Rockets.
While I doubt the fine folks at 30-for-30 will be in a rush to produce a documentary on the 2017-2018 Minnesota Timberwolves, I still feel like we have a healthy (or maybe unhealthy) amount of stories that still need to come out from one of the higher (and simultaneously lower!) points in franchise history.