Anthony Bennett as depicted by Asian Pixar earlier this summer.  Photo from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uVIOjsZ-s0

Anthony Bennett as depicted by Asian Pixar. Photo from youtube.com/watch?v=2uVIOjsZ-s0

There are two thoughts that always give me comfort:

One: That there are still current NBA players older than me. (God bless you, Steve Nash.)

Two: That I’m less fat than Anthony Bennett.

Well damnit, AB screwed it all up and got into shape.  What am I supposed to do now?!  Soon Nash will retire to Canada and his $20,000,000 maple tree mansion and I’ll just be old and floppy.  Can we force Oliver Miller out of retirement?  Thanks Tony, now I can’t eat these Gummy Bear pancakes just because you decided to fulfill your potential.

However, if last night is any indication of how AB’s destiny is going to pan out, we’re in good shape ourselves.  Bennett scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in just under 25 minutes of play in his Timberwolves preseason debut.  He threw down a couple thunderous dunks, had a killer spin move and did not once try and order a mashed potato pizza or eat JJ Barea.  (We would have allowed it.)

I wouldn’t be a true Minnesotan if doubt and pessimism didn’t creep back in.  This is only one preseason game.  People get lucky.  I’m sure Kwame Brown has had accidentally good games before.  Human Ent Manute Bol once hit six three pointers in a one half.  I won $100 in a Cap’n Crunch box in 6th grade (and spent it on a basketball, a Bell Biv Devoe tape, a Risk board game that I played by myself because I had no friends and the rest on Twix candy bars.  I haven’t won a damn thing since.)  And after all, we were playing the lowly 76ers without Joel Embiid, Noel Nerlens and Michael Carter-Williams, which officially puts them at 7th grade recess level, if the kids had never played basketball before and were all napping.

But screw it!  This is the season of unfamiliar optimism.  We have no players pushing their way out (knock on wood, knock on wood), our bench is actually way better than last year, we have potentially limitless Rubioops to Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett is currently not strapped to a custard/jelly donut dialysis machine.  He may not be the next Karl Malone, but he might just live up to that #1 pick status after all.

AH SHIT!  I can’t write an article and not be pissy about something!  It feels so weird!  I hate JJ!  My taco doesn’t have enough sauce!  Glen Taylor hates puppies and thinks that Croatians aren’t people!  Phew, that’s better.  Now I’m ready to watch a Timberwolves season.

Go Wolves!

My dog Frosty is ready for the new Timberwolves season.

The new look in dachshund fashion.

The new look in dachshund fashion.

MNrise

This is not an anti-Kevin Love post.

I’ve focused so much mental energy on that man.  I wrote blog after angry blog cursing him out.  I begged him to stay.  I even made a video about Minnesotans being too nice to burn his jersey.

But I’m done complaining. Kevin Love is gone and what we got back is probably the best haul for a superstar forcing his way out, ever:

Andrew Wiggins: Holy Moses Malone, we got Wiggins!  I’ve been so worried for the past month that we’d screw it up or that the league would veto the trade.  But it actually worked out and we now have arguably (and that’s a big arguably) the most touted talent since LeBron James joining our team.  And he’s Canadian!  People always bitch about our cold weather, but that’s nothing to a Canuck!  Minnesota winters are Fiji to them!  And we live close enough that we can import poutine and Tim Horton’s relatively cheaply to make him happy.  The dude is chill and smiley and just wants to be on a team that wants him.  Well guess what, Andrew?  Minnesota wants you!  We’re desperate and friendly and we’ll take you to our cabins up north to make you feel less homesick. Seriously, if you’d have told me a year ago that we’d have Andrew Freakin’ Wiggins right now I’d have punched you in the throat and demanded to know who sent you. But now, like KG said: “Anything is possible!”  Let’s get Kevin Durant in 2016 and then maybe an android version of 1996 Scottie Pippen!  Our starting center can be Bowser from Mario Kart!

Anthony Bennett: Okay, let’s be honest: Anthony Bennett had literally the worst season ever for a #1 overall pick last year. Like Nicki Minaj singing the national anthem and changing it to about butts bad.  It’s not even worth going into Bennett’s stats.  My high school varsity b-ball stats were better and I only scored two points total and even I was surprised the ball went in. However, there are reports all over the league that he’s really gotten into shape and is actually trying and doing pretty well in the summer league. If the fat kid from Teen Wolf can get better, then a former #1 player can too.  Oh, and he’s also Canadian!  Share the maple leafs, Wiggins, you got a Mountie buddy!

Thaddeus Young: I actually don’t know much about Thaddeus Young.  I know he averaged 17ppg last year and everybody from Philly seemed to love him. More importantly, his name is incredible. Thaddeus sounds like the name an alien overlord would give himself to try to blend in and be more likeable.  And according to Wikipedia, it’s the 611th most popular male name in America. (#610 is “Boy”.) But hey, Overlord Gladius Thaddeus will likely be our new starting PF and he has a reputation for NOT complaining, so count me in!

Throw these three fellas names in with other newcomers to our team like Zach Lavine and Mo Williams, then mix ‘em up with our carry-over players like Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger, Gorgui Dieng and even Shabazz Muhammad and we’ve got a pretty dang good team.

Maybe not playoffs good yet, but hey…why start now?

zachlavine

The day after the NBA Draft is a lot like December 26th for most NBA fans. Everybody is flush with serotonin after opening goodies like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or (a partially factory defected) Joel Embiid.  Even the rich kid who had everything (San Antonio) got a new fancy bike (Kyle Anderson). Who knows how it’ll all work out, but fans of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Philly and more all have visions of 60 win seasons dancing in their heads for now.

Not the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If the draft is Christmas then we are Jehovah’s Witnesses. No presents for us.  We aren’t allowed them.  Why not?  Because the pagan god Mithra‘s birthday is on Christmas.  What?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Exactly.  Nothing makes sense for us, ever.  It makes more sense to me that Flip Saunders makes his decisions based on the Zoroastrian guardian of cattle than actual basketball scouting.

So what to think about last night’s Wolves picks?

That’s Zach LaVine, our #1 pick (13th overall) mouthing the words “Fuck me” after being selected by us.  Wonderful!  There has been some argument over whether he really said “Fuck me” or “Fuck man” or “Fun meat”.  Personally, I think he thinks he’s a superhero and said “Duckman” like Captain Marvel yelling “Shazaam!”  He was simply activating his powers.  You’ve heard of the Eurostep?  Just wait for the Duckstep, bitches!  DUCKMAN!

Then we took Glenn Robinson III at #40.  I was unaware that OG Big Dog was a “Junior”.  Personally, this kind of frightens me, as I believe there are already 15 Shawn Kemp VII’s out there.  What if all these kids form a team and consume all the mashed potatoes and cocaine in the world?  What will happen to the economy?!

So here’s what I think: Just go with the flow, man.  You can’t really affect the way our team is run, so why let it upset you?  Don’t try to get all Zach Lowe on this shit.  We’re the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Don’t think “Hey, we could really use a power forward to replace Kevin Love, because he’s leaving.”  No, no.  That’s wrong.  You’re not thinking like a Timberwolf big-wig.  Think “Sometimes boats get zebra mussels on the bottom of them. I want a Mars Bar.”  Now you’re thinking like a bat-shit crazy Timberwolf.  Go Minnesota!

(Alright, I think Glenn Robinson III is a nice pick and potentially a big steal in the 2nd round.  I think time will tell on LaVine.  Give the kid a chance.  If anything, it’ll give Ricky Rubio someone to throw alley-oops to.  And his agent has said 400 times now that they knew the Wolves were going to draft him and that he’s ecstatic to be here, so I think the “Fuck me” part is a misinterpretation.  Probably just a kid caught up in the emotion of the biggest moment of his life.)

As far as the rest of the league goes, I think Milwaukee is the big winner.  They got who they wanted (Jabari Parker) and he’s going to be a stud and probably the biggest statistical star of next year.  I’m furious that the Lakers got a great pick (Randle).  I think that Denver is killing it this off-season.  I love that there’s a real human being named Bogdan Bogdanovic.  (That’s some real Roseanne Roseannadanna shit right there.)  I think Philadelphia thinks it’s 2016.  I also think they better start stockpiling human growth hormone.  I think that San Antonio is never going to go bad, like a box of Twinkies that loves to share itself.

Oh and most importantly: FUCK BILL SIMMONS.

Bogdan Bogdanovic receiving word of his being drafted.  Photo from brandrepair.typepad.com

Bogdan Bogdanovic receiving word of his being drafted. Photo from brandrepair.typepad.com

Kevin Love is an amazing player.  He’s arguably a top five NBA talent and definitely top ten.  He’s got incredible stats and improves year after year.

He is not, however, a leader.

He is in fact a whiny bitch.

“I just want to win, wherever that may be,” says Kevin Love.

What ever happened to CREATING a winning environment?  Whatever happened to being an inspiration to win?  Whatever happened to making everyone and everything around you rise to that level?  I am no professional athlete.  I honestly can’t even touch my toes.  Every time my dog comes near me she sticks her nose down my belly button like there might be a sandwich in there.  There probably is.  But I simply don’t understand this post-Jordan culture of “If you can’t beat them, join them.”  Of jumping ship the minute you’re dissatisfied.  You are not a winner if you leave a losing situation that you were the main cog of just to go to a place that is already winning.  That makes you a Benedict Arnold.  It makes you the guy from the Goonies in the Matrix who just wants a steak.  Even worse, it makes you Dwight Howard.

Yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization is a blundering behemoth of bullshit.  It’s a parade of Jonny Flynn draftings, Darko Milicic signings, Kevin Love max contract snubbings and every other dumbass move you can think of.  But that was because of David Kahn.  He’s gone now.  We had 40 wins last season in a brutal Western Conference.  We lost a dozen games by a margin of 4 points or less because of a (now gone) legendary coach who unfortunately was long past mentally checked out.  For three years we’ve had crippling injuries.  Still, we have Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and a very intriguing sophomore class.  We could make the playoffs next year.  We could get 50 wins.

But we won’t, because Kevin Love will be gone.  Because he can’t lead and he won’t lead.

So go on, get gone.  Find your #1, Mr. #2.  Go be the Kelly Rowland to someone’s Beyoncé.  The Bumblebee to someone’s Optimus Prime.  The Mike Love to someone else’s Brian Wilson.

What’s the worst that’ll happen to the Timberwolves without him?  We STILL don’t make the playoffs?  That’s called Tuesday here in Minnesota.

Kevin Love Trade

Photo from inflexwetrust.com

Photo from inflexwetrust.com

The NBA Draft will be held on June 26 and while it’s widely considered the deepest draft in ten years, there are still many question marks about who will go where and in what order.  I’m here to help.

Here are the top 14 picks and (with 100% certainty) the way the picks will go:

#1) Cleveland Cavaliers – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

As a Minnesota Timberwolves fan I can’t talk too much trash about bad drafting, but holy cow did they crap the bed last year. Anthony Bennett is the fifth #1 pick since 1988 to not make the All-Rookie team (the others: Peanut brittle tough Elijah Price clones Greg Oden and Danny Manning as well as flat-out flops “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison and Kwame “Jordan’s Bitch” Brown.) Even Michael Olowokandi made the All-Rookie 2nd team!  My prediction: The Cavs, being stupid and superstitious, will freak out about drafting two Canadians in a row and pass on Andrew Wiggins, taking Embiid.  Or they trade the pick altogether and swap it for Kevin Love.  Either way, they’ll still be the Cavs. 

#2) Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG, Kansas

Schlemeel, schlemazel, Hasenfeffer Incorporated! So Wisconsin isn’t exactly a sexy destination for Andrew Wiggins.  But did you see the owner’s daughter at the draft!? Oshkosh B’gosh!  If I were Milwaukee, I’d dowry up that chick to Andrew faster than a Laverne & Shirley assembly line.  Riggin’ for Wiggins indeed!  Besides, I saw creepy-ass Nate Wolters making moves on her, so you better lock that shit down!

"Oh hi Mallory, I was wondering if you wanted to look at my antique turtle shell collection? It's quite sensual." Photo from pictures.zimbio.com

“Oh hi Mallory, this is the face I make when I’m in my human-sized turtle shell. Wanna race?” Photo from pictures.zimbio.com

#3) Philadelphia 76ers – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Whoever gets picked here better be good, because Dr. J looked like he wanted to strangle the world with Earl The Pearl’s neck chain.

Making Dr. Kevorkian seem like a better option. Photo from http://larrybrownsports.com

Making Dr. Kevorkian seem like a better option. Photo from http://larrybrownsports.com

#4) Orlando Magic – Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

How do we know this guy is even any good?  Has anyone ever seen Australia basketball before?  For all we know he punts wallabies into baskets of Vegemite stacked on-top of prison colony watchtowers. “Aye mate, that’s Australian rules basketball!  Now take the zip-line koala to the Outback before the didgeridoo buzzer goes off! AC/DC!”

#5) Utah Jazz – Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette

Honestly, most mock drafts didn’t have this guy going higher than #29, but there’s nothing Utah loves more than a person with a stupid name.  And since Dante Exum is gone and there’s nobody in the draft named Wealtho McRomney, then Elfrid it is!  Sorry, Kristaps Porzingis.  You were so close. (Real pick: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana)

#6) Boston Celtics – Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

I checked.  Julius Randle has no prior record of cocaine use.  Go for it, Boston!

#7) Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

Jack Nicholson’s started going to Clippers’ games.  Better make it a good one, LA.  Tick-tock, bitches.

#8) Sacramento Kings – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

I appreciate any team that makes my Timberwolves seem any less depressing. When the brightest spot in a decade is that your team didn’t literally pack up and move to another town, you are possibly in trouble.  But yeah, I’m sure drafting a dude named Aaron will fix everything.

#9) Charlotte Hornets – White guy

#10) Philadelphia 76ers – White guy

#11) Denver Nuggets – James Young, SF/SG, Kentucky

I spent some time in Colorado recently and it’s impossible to breathe there.  I can’t believe that it’s legal for a team in the mountains to have a home game.  God help the league if they ever draft a Kenyan.  James Young sounds pretty American, so it’s cool for now.

#12) Orlando Magic – Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

Am I the only person who thinks that Rodney Hood sounds like Robin Hood’s lousy younger brother that went to Duke?  “Hi, I’m Rodney Hood.  I steal from the rich and give to Christian Laettner.  He’s very lonely.”

#13) Minnesota Timberwolves – Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

Hey Kevin Love!  Unpack your bags!  Nik Stauskas is coming!  *self-inflicted gunshot*

#14) Phoenix Suns – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

LESSON #1 for Jusuf Nurkic in the NBA.  YOU MUST WEAR PANTS!!!  A basketball is not enough to cover your junk!

"Get Real, Jusuf. The ball doesn't need to be THAT far out." Photo from cdn.fansided.com

“Uh, Jusuf? The ball doesn’t need to be THAT far out.” Photo from cdn.fansided.com

So those are my picks. If the 14 lottery teams just take my advice and pick exactly like I say, none of them will ever be in the draft ever again.  You’re welcome, NBA.