Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

Find him on Twitter

Posts about Wolves management

To my fans in Oklahoma City

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: May 24, 2012 - 11:50 AM
I would like to thank all of the Thunder fans who have written to me in the last couple of days. I do regret to tell you that the email address you have been using has been diverted to another person, so I haven’t actually been able to read your emails, but I thank you for your efforts.
If you would like to send me emails that will actually make it before my eyes, please address them to Shartman@startribune.com. Thank you.
I must say, those who have read your emails were very impressed. I have been telling them for years that Oklahomans can read, and I am thrilled to be proven right. It was a little strange to have emails delivered by Pony Express, but to each his own.
I knew if I kept the words short, you would be able to enjoy my column, and, again, you have proved me correct.
From what I’m told, many of you responded to my accusations of being simple-minded by sending me emails filled with curses and misspellings. Congratulations on making your point so convincingly. Touche.
For the record, I am a big fan of the Thunder. I think Kevin Durant is the most likeable player in the NBA. I would trade everyone in the Timberwolves’ organization for everyone in the Thunder organization today, with the possible exception of the head coach. Scott Brooks is a fine young coach, but Rick Adelman is one of the best of his generation.
Otherwise, you have much to enjoy at Thunder games, and I suggest you enjoy them as much as you can in the coming weeks, because you have only a few more days to allow a marketing hack to tell you what to wear before the San Antonio Spurs leave you with nothing but regrets and rodeo.
 

I was first in Vikings' press room...which was a mistake

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 26, 2012 - 4:09 PM

Checking in from the Vikings' press room, where it has been proven that myself, Tom Pelissero and Kevin Seifert don't have a lot going on in our lives.

We're here, waiting on what has become the most interesting pick in the draft: The Vikings' selection at No. 3.

Vikings' general manager Rick Spielman has succeeding in adding mystery to the pick. My early view on what could be an unpredictable night is this:

The Vikings really can't go wrong.

If they take USC left tackle Matt Kalil, they'll be getting a good player at a position of need.

The same could be said if they drafted LSU corner Morris Claiborne.

Or Oklahoma state receiver Justin Blackmon.

I wrote the other day that Kalil makes the most sense for the Vikings. The immediate future of the franchise depends on protecting and developing Christian Ponder, and Kalil can immediately help with that.

There has been a late wave of media support for Claiborne at No. 3, based on the premise that stopping excellent passing attacks in the NFC North is the Vikings' biggest area of need. That's hard to dispute. But the Vikings should get Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook back on the field next year, and the Vikings' defensive system doesn't place a premium on elite one-on-one coverage.

I can't really argue against Claiborne. I just slightly favor Kalil.

Blackmon is a fine prospect, but I would rank him as the third-best prospect of the three and the riskiest.

The Vikings will improve themselves with either Kalil or Claiborne. They would also improve themselves with the other possibility: A trade for the right price.

I have no idea which rumors to believe and which to dismiss, so I"m not going to break them down here. If I'm the Vikings, I trade down only if I think I can land one of the players they truly value - guessing Kalil, Claiborne and Blackmon - as well as additional picks.

All three scenarios - taking Kalil, taking Claiborne or trading down - could play out very well for the Vikings.

I'll be covering the draft tonight along with Dan Wiederer, Mark Craig and Chip Scoggins.

You can follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

--------------------------------

Wrote about Wolves' GM David Kahn the other day, and those who support him kept pointing out that the team improved this year and could have made the playoffs with better health.

You're missing the point. The point is that he's been the GM for three years and has brought in one quality starter, Ricky Rubio, who fell to him. He has yet to make one basketball decision that demonstrated professional insight. His best moves - drafting Rubio, hiring Rick Adelman and drafting Derrick Williams - were all easy, obvious, decisions.

We've got to have higher standards in this town. I had people arguing that he's fine because he isnt' that important in the organization because Adelman can make the personnel decisions.

Do you really want an older coach making personnel decisions? Isn't that how teams wind up mortgaging their future, by trying too desperately to win right away? Don't you want Adelman to at least have a smart counter-balance in the front office?

I do.

---------------------------------

Buckle up, people. There will be a showdown in Target Field this weekend.

The Royals beat Cleveland on Thursday and head to Minnesota with a record of 5-14, same as your Twins.

The tension will be...awkward?

-------------------------------

I'm saying it here and now, just as I've been saying for months: I think Andrew Luck will be a good NFL quarterback, and I think Robert Griffin III will be better than Luck.

---------------------------------

I'll check back later tonight when we have some news.

I'll be on KFGO in Fargo with Mike McFeely at 4:35 to talk the draft and Twins. I'll be on 1500espn at my usual time, 2:05, on Friday, and Pelissero and I will run a studio version of Sunday Sports Talk on Sunday from 10-noon, following the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30.

 

jetBlue Park is pretty, pretty nice

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: March 4, 2012 - 9:20 AM

I had heard a lot about jetBlue Park, and now I'm sitting in the press box, looking at a replica of the Green Monster.

My information is that the Red Sox brass is miffed because they wanted an exact replica of the Green Monster, and somehow it wound up three feet bigger than the original. So I guess it's the Big Green Monster.

This place looks like Fenway Park with a spoiler. The panels placed over the stands to provide shade look like the wings of spaceships.

La Velle and I did a pregame video today, and I brought up this point: The Twins shouldn't be jealous of places like this. The Twins' spring training facility fits their personality. It's old-school Florida, simple, easy to navigate, low-key. It's perfect for fans wanting to watch workouts. You'll never have better access to the Twins than during workouts at Hammond Stadium.

And the Red Sox park befits a large-market team with plenty of money to spend on spring training parks. Grandiosity works for the Sox; it's unecessary for the Twins.

The Twins are working on a renovation of Hammond Stadium, though, and it needs one. The concessions are disappointing and the walkways are crowded. Add a tiki bar in leftfield, expand the corridors and upgrade the food, and the place will be fine.

------------------------------

Finally, a good day of sports for the Twin Cities on Saturday. The Twins had an ideal first game, the Gophers basketball team finally won, the Gopher hockey team won the WCHA and the Wolves finally beat Portland.

-----------------------------

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

 

Today's LPR, plus Cris Carter, and the truth about the Wild and Gophers

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 15, 2012 - 8:58 AM

Today's Local Power Rankings, my irrelevant, transparent device for commenting on the local sports teams:

1. Vacant.

I've ranked the Wolves No. 1 for weeks, but I can't keep them in this spot after a four-game losing streak. They should win tonight against Charlotte, perhaps one of the worst teams in recent NBA history, but then the schedule gets tough again.

I picked the Wolves to win 26-28 games this season, and I still think that's about right. They're still the most entertaining team in town, but those who thought they were bound for the playoffs might have been ignoring the fact that most of the roster is a mess.

They have three worthy NBA starters right now - Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Nik Pekovic - and two were drafted by Kevin McHale. There are too many talented but unreliable players on this team, from Michael Beasley to Anthony Randolph to Wes Johnson to Martell Webster.

David Kahn likes long and athletic guys, but he has had trouble acquiring long and athletic guys who know how to play basketball.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Not playing games has elevated the Vikings above all the teams currently losing games.

My reason for elevating the Vikings today: Clarifying roles in the front office, with Rick Spielman running the show and able ot retain righthand man George Paton, should make this a better organization. And while the Vikings have lots of needs, I think Christian Ponder will show marked improvement in his second season, and I think the Vikings' ability to draft high in a talented draft should dramatically upgrade the talent on the roster.

3. Gopher hockey

Yes, they got swept in Denver, and yes, there are signs that this could be another disappointing Lucia squad, but they still have a chance to make a postseason run, which puts them ahead most local teams.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves

See above, under ``Vacant.''

5. Minnesota Twins

They will be better this year than they were last year. They are almost guaranteed to be healthier, to catch the ball better, and to have a better bullpen. Will they contend? I doubt it. But they should be respectable, which would be an upgrade.

6. Gopher basketball

When I watch the Gophers outplay Wisconsin and Ohio State for long stretches, I see a team with plenty of talent that doesn't always play hard, doesn't always play smart, and is often hamstrung by Tubby Smith's substitutions. Subbing in five players when the players on the court are having success is just silly.

7. Gopher football

Ran into Jerry Kill at the Gopher basketball game. He says he's healthy, and he sounded fired up. That's all I've got.

8. Minnesota Wild

This team doesn't score enough goals. It doesn't score enough goals because it lacks talent. That was my assessment entering the season and it's proven true. This franchise is still digging out of the Doug Risebrough era.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A reader suggested this name for Minnesota athletic director, and it's an interesting one:

Darrin Nelson.

Nelson has Twin Cities ties from his days as a Viking. He's worked as an assistant AD at Stanford, the rare school capable of combining high academics, ethics and winning sports teams. He's currently an assistant AD at the University of California, Irvine.

I don't know if he's the best candidate out there, but he's a smart, experienced man.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Cris Carter is right. Randy Moss, even if physically capable of making a comeback, has hit the wall that all diva receivers hit: He's not good enough to make up for the headaches he may cause.

I'll be writing more about this in the near future.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn from 6-8 tonight, spending the first half doing ``Talking Twins'' with Phil Mackey.

I'll be doing Sunday Sports Talk (10-noon) from the Golf Show at Minneapolis Convention Center on Sunday, with Tom Linnemann co-hosting. Come by and we'll fix your slice. Or not.

Have to admit, watching Phil whip Tiger at Pebble Beach has made me want to play golf again, which is bad news for people who own houses along the right side of the fairway at any course I may visit this year.

I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 today. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

 

Wolves reach a milestone

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 7, 2012 - 10:54 PM
The Wolves' victory Tuesday night improved their record to 13-12, marking the first time they've been over .500 this late in the season since 2007 and the first time they've been 13-12 through 25 games since 2005-2006.
To me, there were two keys to the game: Ricky Rubio's passing and defense, and Nik Pekovic's dominant inside play.
My column for the Wednesday paper focussed on Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, and how talented the Wolves would be if they had drafted him instead of Wes Johnson. But on this night, Pekovic's physical play and defense hassled Cousins into a 3-for-13 shooting performance.
Before the game, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said that Pekovic is his starting center. It will be interesting to see whether Darko Milicic pouts, or, if he does, whether anybody will be able to tell.
What's fascinating is watching the way Wolves coach Rick Adelman uses his roster. Tuesday night, with Kevin Love suspended, Adelman started Derrick Williams (14 points, 8 rebounds) and used Anthony Tolliver for 22 minutes for defensive purposes.
Adelman didnt' play Anthony Randolph, Martell Webster or Wayne Elllington. Ellington is a better player than Wes Johnson, but Adelman is obviously giving Johnson every opportunity to prove he deserves to be in the NBA.
With Love out, Pekovic became a big part of the offense, shooting 12 times and producing 23 points. Predictably, Michael Beasley took 21 shots in 31 minutes to produce 17 points. Now, 17 points and 14 looks impressive, but he went 7-for-21 from the field. He's maddening.
More stuff, courtesy of the Timberwolves' PR staff:
-Rubio finished with 14 assists, tying a season high. He had eight in the first quarter. He was plus-11 on the night and is a team-leading plus-95 on the season. He also finished with five steals, the 14th time this season he's had three or more.
-Pekovic has had four double-doubles in the last two weeks. The Wolves are 4-1 with him in the starting lineup and 6-2 when he plays more than 20 minutes.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 p.m. Wednesday and every weekday. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post By Category

Professional baseball (151) Vikings (205)
Gopher coaches (48) Gopher quarterbacks (13)
Gopher recruiting (2) Gopher road games (3)
Gophers disciplinary action (2) Gophers recruiting (2)
Gophers spring football (4) TCF Bank Stadium (22)
The Big 10 (25) NCAA: football (14)
Gophers coaches (60) Gophers players (39)
Tubby Smith (38) Williams Arena (16)
Gophers post season (6) Gophers roster moves (4)
Golf (38) Soccer (4)
Twins news (39) WNBA (7)
Wild news (51) AFC (9)
Bears (24) Ex-Vikings (15)
Football on TV (78) Lions (18)
NFC (69) NFL draft (28)
NFL post-season (30) Packers (52)
Super Bowl (47) Vikings coaches (103)
Vikings defense (49) Vikings fans (32)
Vikings injury report (15) Vikings management (77)
Vikings off the field (28) Vikings offense (67)
Vikings quarterbacks (41) Vikings road games (14)
Vikings rookies (4) Vikings roster moves (3)
Vikings special teams (2) Vikings training camp (5)
Off the field (5) On the road (23)
Quarterbacks (34) Rookies (3)
Roster moves (1) Vikings draft (41)
Ron Gardenhire (120) Target Field (144)
Twins fans (155) Twins management (204)
Twins offense (114) Twins transactions (93)
NBA playoffs (40) Wolves coaches (72)
Wolves draft news (28) Wolves guards (37)
Wolves injury report (7) Wolves management (77)
Wolves players (59) Wolves trade talk (14)
Wolves training camp (11) All-Stars and honors (85)
Fighting (2) Wild coaching (42)
Wild management (53) Wild off-season news (9)
Wild player moves (8) Adrian Peterson (64)
Anthony Herrera (2) Antoine Winfield (16)
Ben Leber (1) Bernard Berrian (7)
Brad Childress (29) Brett Favre (56)
Brian Robison (3) Bryant McKinnie (3)
Cedric Griffin (5) Chad Greenway (11)
Chester Taylor (5) Chris Kluwe (2)
Darrell Bevell (6) E.J. Henderson (4)
Jared Allen (29) John Sullivan (6)
Kevin Williams (5) Leslie Frazier (54)
Madieu Williams (2) Pat Williams (3)
Percy Harvin (26) Phil Loadholt (3)
Ray Edwards (1) Ryan Longwell (9)
Sage Rosenfels (1) Sidney Rice (10)
Steve Hutchinson (7) Tarvaris Jackson (12)
Tyrell Johnson (2) Visanthe Shiancoe (5)
Brad Childress (29) Darrell Bevell (6)
Leslie Frazier (54) NHL news (9)
2010 Winter Games (13) Olympic curling (1)
Olympic hockey (8) Olympic skiing (4)
Olympic village (11)

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT