Q&A: TNT basketball analyst Mike Fratello

  • Updated: January 16, 2013 - 8:45 PM
The Timberwolves didn't appear on TNT for nearly seven years but Thursday they will be featured for the second time in a month. TNT analyst Mike Fratello will call the game with former Wolves play-by-play man Kevin Harlan. Fratello talked this week with Wolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda about the 7 p.m. game against the surging Los Angeles Clippers.

Q TNT has a Wolves-Clippers and Lakers-Heat doubleheader Thursday. Not long ago, the Lakers always would have been considered the main event. Has that changed?

A Yep, I think we have to give the Clippers their due. They have the best or second-best record in the NBA along with Oklahoma City, and they've certainly earned it, and the Lakers have not done very well after the very high expectations. Right now it's the Clippers' town until the Lakers take it back.

Q Does that seem strange to say?

A Yeah, it does, with the history of the Clippers. But it's a new culture there now. Vinny Del Negro has put his imprint on the team. Chris Paul has been so important. And they've made some really good veteran pickups: Chauncey Billups, Grant Hill are just solid people. They're for real. The playoffs are strange. They could legitimately win it all, they really could.

Q Can there be a MVP other than a guy named LeBron? Could Chris Paul be that guy?

A Chris Paul is that guy. He's the LeBron of their team. He makes big shots. He's a voice willing to step up and be heard. He's a great competitor. Is there anything I said there that doesn't go along with LeBron? They have many of the same qualities, except physically they're a different size.

Q Kevin Love has broken his hand again, Ricky Rubio still isn't himself. Do the Wolves have enough to keep it together until both are themselves again?

A Well, you're asking a lot of other people, but that's what you have to do. You have to find a way to hang around. It's going to be tougher to get that eighth spot in the Western Conference than the East. You can hit the Clippers, Spurs, Oklahoma City in a row, lose three or four straight and guys start hanging their heads. They aren't mentally tough and they go, 'Well, that's it.' It can't be that way. It's got to be that determination where if you lose one, the next one becomes that much more important.

Q Some fans here became convinced the Wolves are better without Love. What do you think of that?

A Many consider him to be the best power forward in the game. Those people who judged him may have been a little too quick to give up on him. He's one of the better rebounders in the league, has range on his shot. He broke his hand. You shoot the ball with your hand. Give him time to get back. He's shown what he's capable of doing when he's healthy. If they're tired of him, I'm sure a lot of teams gladly will take him off their hands.

Q If they were completely healthy, could the Wolves compete in the West?

A Could they win a round (in the playoffs)? Yeah. They could win a round. I don't think they're ready to win a championship in the Western Conference yet. Are they as good as Oklahoma City or San Antonio? No. But are they good? Yeah, they have a great coach and if they have all their pieces, and that means Kevin's back playing like he plays and Ricky's playing like he can.

  • related content

  • KNOW THIS

    Wednesday January 16, 2013

    In the wake of the Manti Te'o story, a lot of people are going to think twice when they hear heartwarming sports tales.

  • WATCH WHAT YOU TWEET

    Wednesday January 16, 2013

    Those up in arms about the Twins' offseason moves and potential payroll can, at least for the moment, put the pitchforks down. Our own La Velle E. Neal reports that...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Peralta 1
Cincinnati - LP: P. Villarreal 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 1
Chicago WSox 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Kansas City 1
Cleveland 1 Top 9th Inning
Houston 3
Detroit 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Minnesota 6
Los Angeles 6 Top 6th Inning
Colorado 3
San Francisco 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Arizona 4
Seattle 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
LA Angels 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 4th Inning
San Diego 1
Philadelphia 20 4th Qtr
Indianapolis 20
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Montreal 16 FINAL
Edmonton 33
Toronto 33 FINAL
Calgary 40
Winnipeg 9 FINAL
Brt Columbia 26
Saskatchewan 3 FINAL
Hamilton 28
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close