short takes

 

Silly push

Miami comes to Target Center on Wednesday and brings an updated version of the Knicks’ “Linsanity.”

This time, it’s a guy named Hassan Whiteside who’s come out of nowhere. But Wolves fans with good memories will recall the NBA’s latest overnight sensation: He had a private, free-agent workout at Target Center in September 2012 that failed to impress enough, just as the former 2010 second-round pick out of Marshall did everywhere else before he dazzled this season.

That dazzling includes a 14-point, 13-rebound, 12-block triple-double in just 24 minutes against Chicago last Sunday and a 23-point, 16-rebound game against the Clippers in L.A. the week before. Project his production over a full season with increased playing time and ESPN.com’s analytics staff came up with these comparisons: David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Alonzo Mourning.

Whiteside’s father, Hasson Arbubakrr, played four games for the Vikings in 1984.

 

Butler makes a smart business decision

Unlike Ricky Rubio, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler didn’t sign a contract extension just before the season, a decision he called betting on himself because he believed he was worth a lot more.

He was right, perhaps to the tune of a max-contract deal after a breakout season in which he was selected an East All-Star reserve.

Butler’s 20-point scoring average is seven better than last season, and at age 25 he is averaging career highs in nearly every category. “I knew he’d be good,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune. “But I didn’t know he’d be this good.”

 

Parting words

TNT analyst Charles Barkley on West coaches’ decision to pick Oklahoma City’s great Kevin Durant over Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Portland’s Damian Lillard as an All-Star reserve: “That’s really not fair. I love Kevin Durant, but he hasn’t played enough games. This isn’t a Lifetime Achievement Award.”