Jonas, perhaps on his first day of 8th grade
Use the comments here to discuss the game as you wish, or as always, join and chat in the forums in the game thread that you should hopefully be able to find. Also, there is still plenty of time to get involved in the very fun TIMBERPUP GAME this season, so post your game predictions and get involved in the challenges that the wise sage roundhouse presents to those fortunate particpants each game.
TimberPup game rules (forum registration required)
On to the game. Well, the Wolves head to Toronto today to face off against former coach Dwayne Casey and easily the Eastern Conference's #1 sleeper team: The Raptors. Tip off at 5 central on NBATV and local TV as well. Here are 5 pre-game bullets. Unlike the King's game preview, hopefully the bullets show up in this post. I swear they are at least there in the site editor. Because, as always, who doesn't love bullet points?
-Kyle Lowry. Look out for this fantastic, all-around, Swiss Army knife, stat sheet stuffing, extremely underrated guard. Good Lord did the Raptors land a steal in this guy. Conlangelo, the league's all-time most overrated GM, made a good move here with Houston. One-on-one, Luke Ridnour is going to have some huge challenges with him, and it will take some good help effort from the other four starters to contain him and his shot creation. PS...remember when him and Randy Foye starred at Villanova together? Remember when Foye was "the better player?" It is weird how these things work out. Why do things like this happen? So odd.
-Rookie Spotlight: Jonas Valanciunas. Jonas will have his work cut out for him. Pek had a very rare off night and clearly struggled being double and triple teamed in the post against Sacramento. Jonas has the length to get a hand up vs. Pek and this should be an interesting length vs. girth matchup. But Jonas has the makings of a solid all-around center. Not much else is known about the guy just yet, so keep an eye on him as the marquee rookie of the game.
-Pek in the Post/DWill at the 4. Pek struggled in game one, plain and simple. You would too if you were triple teamed by three guys who were 6-feet 10 inches tall every time you received a pass. What would help a bit here is if Lord Adelman at least attempted to get Derrick Williams a consistent offensive role while Love is out. The floor need be stretched, and D still showed us nothing special in the first game (to no one's surprise). Pigs need to fly here. We really need a stretch to get Pek some room down low or he could struggle early on. He is no longer a surprise player and has earned the respect of opposing scouts. When Love does get back from injury, look out. The best stretch 4 and an elite post scorer is a rare and awesome thing to have. But I can't help but wish Lord Adelman would try to implement Derrick's (underachieving to say the least) ability as a stretch 4 a little more. At least give the guy a chance.
-Depth. The other night, against the Kings, the Wolves (and the Kings for that matter) basically shot like a WNBA team. That isn't meant to be derogatory, that is simply what happened. The Wolves had to basically adjust and win the game at the free throw line (a great sign, by the way, that the team can finally get there). If not for Barea playing like Derrick Rose (!!) and getting to the rim at will...and finishing...the game would have been an even more hideous spectacle to behold. This presents two points. 1. How awesome are Wolves games going to be when those shots are falling and the team is shooting over 50%? 2. The Wolves' depth has improved so dramatically by purging the garbage from Kahn's 2nd reign that the starting lineup can throw up a steaming pile of 33% FG% and JJ Barea can will us to victory on offense. This is just...there are no words. The days of Beasley one-and done- 22 footers are over.
-Greg Stiemsma. Gets his own bullet. Screw DeRozan. His $40 million contract makes him unmentionable and not worth a bullet. Greg was just awesome in his Wolves debut and let's hope the trend continues. He made a positive play in what seemed like every few seconds. Blocking shots, getting pissed, and generally acting like Darko Milicic after seeing his first naked boob. Keep it up Steemer, and keep proving your worth.
Prediction: Even though the Wolves seem to always dog it in Canada, I can't predict a loss until they lose a game. Embrace Homerism. Wolves win it...probably thanks to a 15 and 10 night from Cunningham or something weird/awesome.