Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
Follow Randball on Twitter
Just when you thought we were getting close to the end of mock draft season (with the NFL), it's time to start thinking about the NBA.
The draft is roughly two months away, and as long as the Suns don't leapfrog the Wolves in the lottery, a prospect that has a 5 in 1,000 chance of happening, Minnesota will have the No. 13 overall pick in the draft. (If somehow the Wolves get jumped, which would be just their luck, they lose their pick because they fall to No. 14 in the draft order and the pick, part of a long-ago trade, is top-13 protected).
In any event, the draft is one place the Wolves can try to improve their roster. With 12 players under contract for next year, this will be one of their best places to add a piece beyond getting creative with a trade (which also means subtraction).
As such, here is where ESPN.com has the Wolves going with that No. 13 pick:
Nik Stauskas, Michigan, 6-6 shooting guard: The Wolves' biggest need right now continues to be shooting. Stauskas is one of the true elite shooters in the draft. He has unlimited range, a super-quick release, and as a bonus, he can play point guard in a pinch.
That would work for us. Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
So apparently the notion that Flip Saunders will be the next Wolves coach should be upgraded from sneaking suspicion to somewhere approaching "foregone conclusion."
At least that's how the sports gambling site Bovada.lv looks at it.
The sites asks potential bettors to wager on the next full-time Wolves coach and lists seven options. Flip, at 3-2 odds, is by far the favorite.
What's interesting, too, is that three college coaches are the next-highest on the list:
We base this primarily off of nothing more than intuition and today's news conference announcing Rick Adelman will no longer coach the Wolves.
But it is our belief that the next coach of the Timberwolves will be Flip Saunders.
It is our sense that Flip really wants to coach this team. It is instructive that when asked about it today, Flip didn't rule it out. It's hard to imagine a high-profile outsider taking a look at the Wolves' roster, with Kevin Love possibly gone after a year or even traded this summer, and think of it as a great situation. It's also hard to imagine the Wolves taking a chance on an up-and-comer if they do keep Love around because that would mean they are dedicated to trying to win immediately.
Enter Flip. He's already here. He has a track record. It just makes sense.
Our guess is that nothing happens until after the NBA finals in early June. Sometime in the few weeks between then and the NBA draft, the Wolves make announcement that Flip will add "coach" to a job description that already includes team president.
Maybe we're wrong. Maybe a college coach like Fred Hoiberg will make the leap. But our gut right now is telling us the most successful coach in franchise history will also be the next coach in franchise history.
It was a season of progress and frustration, fits and starts. And it leads into an offseason with a mountain of looming questions. As such, we have compiled a five-part to-do list for the Wolves that they need to accomplish if they are going to have success in 2014-15 and beyond:
1) Find a new coach. Presuming Rick Adelman decides to walk away, which most believe he will do, this is at the top of the list. Adelman brought instant credibility when he was hired, and he brought plenty of stability for three years. But there is also a lingering sense that he wasn't a perfect fit for this roster, and it is essential that the Wolves find that match going forward.
2) Make a decision on Kevin Love. Sure, the Wolves' superstar has one more year under contract before he can opt out of his deal. But here's the reality: if Minnesota is convinced that Love is, indeed, going to opt out, then this summer is the time to make a move in order to maximize the value in return. If Minnesota believes there is at least a reasonable chance he stays, then improving the team around him becomes vital. That won't be easy, of course, with 12 players under contract for next season from a 40-win team. As such ...
3) Get creative. The Wolves can get minor help from a mid-level signing and a likely first-round pick. Beyond that, though, the 2014-15 roster will look very familiar unless the Wolves trade Love ... or come up with some other deal to bolster the team. We don't think it's crazy to see what the market would be for Nikola Pekovic, though we're not sure quite what they'd find considering his long-term deal pays $12 million a year for the next four seasons. That's the kind of creative thinking it might take to reshape the roster for the better.
4) Get Ricky Rubio in a gym hoisting shot after shot after shot. Rubio has marginally improved as a shooter since he came into the league, but he's still a massive liability in a league where most point guards can get their own points. He's young enough (23) that improvement is still very much within reach. But it must happen, and there needs to be tangible evidence next season.
5) Work on chemistry. Somehow, the whole in 2013-14 was less than the sum of the parts. Chemistry is a tough thing to define, but the Wolves need more of it.
But what about the best possible realistic NBA team? Well, ESPN.com (Insider) took a swing at it, taking into consideration salary cap constraints and the way pieces fit together. And it was concluded that Kevin Love would be the second-best player on the that team. No. 1? LeBron James. No. 3? Joakim Noah.
Said the author of Love: Love deserves to be recognized for the expansion of his game this season. He's as lethal as ever from deep, but also has been very good on the block, in passing the ball and as an elite rebounder. As a running mate for James, it's a perfect skill set. Love's 19.8 WARP ranks behind only Durant and James. And, not for nothing, Love's price tag of $14.7 million for this season is appropriate for a second star on a championship roster.
That's not to suggest that those players are going to assemble, of course ... but it is interesting to wonder whether a roster with those three at the top could win a championship.
|Arts (1)||Books (1)|
|Movies (3)||Music (6)|
|Hobbies (1)||Fishing (1)|
|Society (2)||Crime (1)|
|Sports (523)||Baseball (1)|
|Professional baseball (756)||Basketball (8)|
|College basketball (6)||Football (1)|
|College football (118)||Professional football (539)|
|Technology (1)||Food and drink (14)|
|Politics (1)||Transportation (1)|
|Employment (1)||Career development (1)|
|Cooking (2)||Pets (1)|
|Vikings (1048)||Men (3)|
|Games (1)||Gambling (1)|
|Commercial (1)||Animals (3)|
|Dogs (3)||Gripes (1)|
|Newspapers (1)||Beer (6)|
|Minnesota wine retailers (1)||Wine retail + marketing (1)|
|Bad driving (1)||Commuting (1)|
|Family activities (1)||Style (2)|
|Pregnancy (1)||Car buying (1)|
|Retirement (1)||Shopping (1)|
|Chickens (2)||Fruit and berries (1)|
|Weather (1)||Internet (2)|
|Twitter (2)||Video games (2)|
|Web pick (1)||YouTube (1)|
|Birds in the backyard (1)||Business trends (2)|
|Loopholes (1)||Problems on the job (1)|
|The rich get richer (1)||Airlines (1)|
|Midwest getaways (1)||Road trips (1)|
|Skiing (1)||Travel deals (1)|
|Wisconsin (3)||Gopher road games (1)|
|TCF Bank Stadium (1)||NCAA: football (121)|
|Basketball on TV (2)||Gophers coaches (1)|
|Frozen Four (11)||North Dakota (1)|
|College hockey (20)||Fantasy football (12)|
|Golf (84)||Minnesota state tournaments (20)|
|Preps (8)||Soccer (90)|
|WNBA (16)||Wild news (8)|
|Wolves news (366)||NFC (2)|
|Super Bowl (1)||Vikings coaches (1)|
|Behind the scenes (3)||Celebrities (1)|
|Dance (1)||Local TV and radio (2)|
|Ex-players (1)||Injury report (2)|
|Baseball wisdom (1)||Target Field (253)|
|Twins fans (772)||Twins game coverage (17)|
|Twins management (3)||Twins offense (1)|
|Twins pitching (3)||NBA playoffs (1)|
|Wolves draft news (1)||Wolves guards (1)|
|Wolves players (9)||Values and morals (2)|
|Miscreants (1)||Wild coaching (45)|
|Wild game coverage (3)||Wild off-season news (1)|
|Wild player moves (3)||Wild pregame skate (1)|
|Wild trade news (1)||Movies (1)|
|Ortonville (2)||Brad Childress (1)|
|Stillwater (1)||Television (2)|
|NHL news (94)||Outdoors Women (1)|
|Olympics (2)||Olympic hockey (1)|
|Glen Perkins (1)||Health + Beauty (1)|
|Beer (2)||Wine (1)|
|Public safety (1)||Gophers (200)|