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Tracking the T’Wolves – Stomping Our Way To a Second Top-10 Pick
Chris Trew looks into the potential fallout from Kevin Love’s recent 2-game suspension for treating Luis Scola’s face like a bug, and Mason explains why his suggested actions would be so impactful.
Trew’s Take: Kevin Love finally showed his true colors last week against the Houston Rockets. In one fell stomp, he communicated to the Tumble front office, “I am mad you didn’t give me a max deal.” Does Kevin Love respect the game of basketball? Is he a good leader for a team trying to pull itself from the bottom of the barrel? Should we like this man? The Oregon native put his foot down. The answer to all of the above is “No.”
So he’s missing 2 games. Aside from definitely losing those 2 games, how else will this affect the team? What other suspensions can we look forward to from the Tumblers?
Nikola Pekovic will begin spitting in referee’s faces whenever he disagrees with a call.
Why it Matters (Mason): Where the hell did this guy come from? His PER of 21.5 is twice that of the center who was starting before him (Darko Milicic), as Pekovic is averaging 18.3 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes while shooting 63.2%. Most people expected him to split time with Darko and not be much of a difference-maker, but he has solidified his spot as the T’Wolves’ starting center. That is, until he starts spitting in referees’ faces every time they call him for a foul, which fortunately occurs 5 times per 36 minutes, easily the most on the team.
Ricky Rubio will head butt a ref, choke his coach and punch some guy in the stands.
Why it Matters (Mason): Well, suffice it to say that I missed the memo about Ricky Rubio becoming the NBA’s first Roberto Alomar/Latrell Sprewell/Metta World Peace combo, but I’ll go with it. Up until taking the aforementioned actions that will undoubtedly get him banned from the NBA for at least the rest of the season, Rubio’s had a fantastic rookie year, and in my opinion trails only Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving for the rookie of the year award. His assist rate is 4th among starting PGs (trailing Calderon, Kidd, and Nash), helping him sport a PER north of 17 despite only shooting 38.2% from the field as well as a turnover rate just over 22%, well above the 16.7% league average for the position. Rubio helps his teammates immensely on both sides of the ball, and will be dearly missed when he loses his mind and gets suspended.
Anthony Randolph will tweet something about Cane’s Boxes (no slaw, sub toast) during a game, proceeding to throw chicken fingers at opposing players while on the court.
Why it Matters (Mason): Randolph has played more of a minor role in Minnesota’s sudden reversal of fate, and was appropriately sentenced by Chris with a less severe suspension. That being said, he is making solid contributions in his 12.2 minutes per game. Apart from his 17-game Knicks tenure last season, Randolph has always been an above-average NBA player and a valuable asset off of the bench. He has improved both his field goal and free throw percentages from last season while committing fewer turnovers. His suspension for in-game tweeting and food-chucking would further inhibit the T’Wolves’ lineup, especially with Love and Pekovic already suspended for their own obscene actions.
Michael Beasley will continue to act like Michael Beasley.
Why it Matters (Mason): Not to worry, Minnesota fans – we’re leaving you with Beasley! Owner of the second highest usage rate on the team behind Love despite his below-average 40.6% field goal percentage, that usage rate of nearly 27% is bound to jump with Love, Rubio, Pekovic, and Randolph all out. Watch out Kobe, Beasley’s coming for you, and he isn’t afraid to attempt as many shots as it takes to get there! Point being that as long as Beasley is active and getting minutes, he has a chance to hurt his team, regardless of who is serving suspensions. He has admittedly played a bit better recently, but he should inevitably return to his high volume, low production results.