It's almost unnecessary to say that KG is dominant. Duh. He can exert his will at will at both the offensive and defensive ends. Or, in transition, if you'd like. Yet the most impressive thing about Ticket remains his passion, and anyone who has been around the Timberwolves for the last decade knows this. Garnett literally wills the level of practice up to his level of intensity, serving to make the entire team work harder.
Some more tangible observations on KG: his shooting touch is there; he is healthy; he is moving quickly; he bestows an inordinate amount of hugs and butt taps on teammates; the lengthy one is always shooting free throws during those few-second transition periods between drills; he usually makes them.
The big man has been showing a soft outside jumper throughout camp -- he seems to have college three-point range -- and that he can catch the ball in the paint and finish with a flush. Perhaps the coaches would prefer his inside game, but you canít hate a 7-0 center for being able to knock something down. His interior defense has been solid, allowing him to play exclusively with Garnett and the first team.
He's been showing why he is Minnesotaís best perimeter defender, but added a wrinkle to his game that has been apparent in camp thus far. The fifth year pro continues to show his improved offensive skill set, which isn't lost on his head coach.
"He's done a good job of working (his shooting) and his ball handling," said Casey. "Because of that, teams can't help as much off Kevin. It's really important that he works on that, and he's done a good job, he just needs to continue doing that once we start the season. You have to have that from guys to knock down those shots and make teams respect that, so they (have to think) about helping out on Kevin."
Said Hassell: "Shooting the three opens up my drive, my mid-range game, and opens up the floor for Ticket. I'm also working on my handle, all so that I can help the team."
He flat out has a nice, polished game, evident in scrimmages, defensive drills, shooting drills, and really, in anything. His shot is smooth, soft, and he has great range. His form on his three-point shot mirrors his form on a jumper from the elbow, which you love to see. He has great handle, protects the ball, and is oblivious to pressure defense. No wonder he scored 20 points a game last year and dished out 6 dimes. A positive write up, indeed, but you shall soon see.
Case in point: James was absolutely unconscious in a shooting contest in which the Wolves broke into six teams of three players each and shot against the clock. James hit 10 consecutive shots from South Dakota before rimming out on his final attempt, and was not amused about missing that one.
Davis, who was fourth in the entire NBA in minutes played last season (41.1), and up there in points (19.4) and assists (5.1), has been showing that he can do all the little things. He got out on the fast break, played tight defense, got open on the wing, and set screens offensively. Davis in particular makes Minnesota's starting five an athletic, quick bunch who should give opponents a rough time from tip off on.
Mad Dog had a terrific hustle play, where he sprinted backwards to the three-point line, grabbed a loose rebound, and threw it back over his head to Eddie Griffin underneath the hoop. Granted, it was a five-on-zero offensive spacing drill, but thatís the Mad Dog for you in a nutshell. Dog also drew Casey's praise for his play in Thursday night's scrimmage:
"Mad Dog got every rebound," said the coach. "He really did a good job last night with rebounding. Kevin (Garnett) and Mark Blount can get the length rebounds, but those guys did a good job of getting physical, carving out space rebounds."
The first thing that comes to mind after watching Eddie all week is his shotblocking. Griffin has been swatting flies all week, and continued to claim the shots of fellow Wolves on Friday. He hasnít been incredibly aggressive on the offensive end, but is shooting a high percentage when he lets it go. He's another big guy (6-10) with soft hands and a soft shooting touch.
Jaric has some sneaky-quick and strong hands. Whether you're KG, or assistant coach Rex Kalamian taking a jumper in between drills, you had better put two hands on the ball when the Serbian is lurking. Jaric also showed a nice finishing touch around the rim, once splitting Garnet and Blount before dropping a left-handed layup high off the glass.
Explosive. We've said it before, but that's the best word to describe Mr. Foye. He can get to the rim at his pleasure, or leisure, and has a penchant for getting up the floor faster than anybody. He should pose problems for defensive coaches this season, because it's always hard to draw up a defense for a guy that can beat you off the dribble or up the floor. The Friday Foye highlight was a two-handed hammer dunk which came off a baseline crossover. It was sick, trust us.
The biggest question mark surrounding Hudson coming into the season was his health, which after three days of tough practices, hasnít been an issue. For those that have seen Hudson catch fire and not miss for long stretches of a particular game, you shouldn't have to hold your breath for too long. His shot remains silky smooth, and he will still put it up from just about anywhere on the court. He gave James a run for his money in the three-man shooting drill on Friday.
"I think us being here most of the summer working out prior to camp has helped us gel quicker, and helped guys get comfortable quicker. It has also made it easier for some of the new guys. I see a lot of focus, willingness to learn, and everyone is trying to get better."
Reed has been rotating between the second and third team, and showed last season that he's a valuable player to have on the court. The second-year forward out of Ole Miss looked great defensively in five-on-fives, and has been finishing well around the rim.
A polished big man, Shirley has impressed thus far. He came in with high praise from assistant GM Rob Babcock and others that had seen him play in the Las Vegas Summer League, and he was of course good enough to be one of five (out of 12) players in Vegas to be selected for Minnesota's training camp roster. The 6-10 Iowa State graduate knocked down two consecutive jumpers in five-on-five drills, and ably defended the high-motored Madsen, who sets at least 10 screens per possession. He did a fairly good job of boxing the Mad Dog out, which again, is not easy to do.
Smith had another productive, active day. For a solid guy, has a nice quick step he uses to get to the hoop, and to clean the glass. On consecutive plays, Smith grabbed a tough defensive board with KG lurking, and beat his man to the hoop to finish a reverse layup. He later pulled in an offensive board behind Blount and KG, and finished -- plus the foul -- immediately after. It was enough to earn praise from coach Casey, and from us.
Baker manned the middle of the lane for the 3s, and held his own against Mark Blount and Eddie Griffin. How Baker would play was an unknown quantity coming into camp, but he has been a pleasant surprise. A savvy 13-year NBA veteran, Baker knows where to be on the floor, and is just as apt to draw a charge as he is to step out and knock down a 15-foot jumper. Should he continue to effectively eat up space in the lane, Baker could be a steady contributor.
The former European stud had a pretty coast-to-coast driving lay up in a full-court buzzer beater drill in which the players had seven seconds to score. Ellis also showed quickness in his perimeter defense, and remains a pleasant surprise to those of us who haven't seen him play in the past. He can shoot, and he can jump. High.
After showing the ability to run an offense in the Las Vegas Summer League, Wright has played both the point and two guard positions for the Wolves' third team in practice. He went five-for-five in shooting pull-up jumpers from the center of the floor at the end-of-practice scrimmage.
"The more I play the point, the better I feel there, and the more the guys feel comfortable with me there," said Wright. "It makes me a better player being able to play two positions well. But the only time you really define that one or two is if the two guard is really big. They run three guards in today's game, and all three are interchangeable."
Any changes you guys would like to see?
I think if Griffin plays like he did last year, Craig Smith should get to be the backup 4.
Well I don't want to see Mark Blount on the first team unless he decides to play the way he did 2 years ago; in 2004, Blount was a rebounding monster, midway through the season he went to the Celtics and even had a 20/20 game and played this way through the playoffs.
Since then, Blount has been a passive SOB because he got a new big contract. He no longer goes up in traffic to get a board, he will stay passive in one spot. The same goes with his defense, he used to attack people in the paint anf may have got a huge block, but instead now he may stand there, and either do nothing or possibly draw a charge.
Basically either Blount turns it up, or get him out of the game.
Oh, and I'll sticky this for the time being. Good thread.
I'm liking what was said about Foye. I was reading somewhere that he's been drawing comparisons to Dwyane Wade... Is that a fairly accurate comparison? I didn't get to see him play much at Villanova, only a few games of last years NCAA Tourney. Paul Shirley will get cut and i'm guessing that 14 players make the squad, with the last roster spot going to Wright or Ellis. As for Eddie Griffin, he needs to stop taking so many 3's. I don't mind him taking one every once in a while, but put the ball on the floor or pass it off to someone else.
It's pretty simple if you want to unsticky this thread.
1.Click thread tools(Top of this page above original post)
2.Click edit thread
3.You will see an option to unsticky/sticky
4.Click okay and your done.