Rambling On is Minnesota sports talk for the common fan. Daily content and conversation, on Twitter and Facebook.
Our three weekly Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs are released on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), Wednesday (Minnesota Wild related), and Friday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
For this weeks early Thanksgiving week edition, Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland and Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus discuss the Wolves dominant performance against the Blazers, their issues against the Grizzlies, Butler on the 76ers, and more.
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Since we last spoke, our heroes played two games. First, they beat the Trail Blazers at home in their Prince uniforms. Were you impressed with their performance, and how much of an effect did KG being there have haha?
The game against the Blazers was the most fun I’ve had watching the Wolves all season. They were great defensively throughout, Covington and Saric having made their presence felt on that end since they got here. Both are fundamentally sound and Covington is an especially disruptive presence for opposing teams. Wiggins and Towns both played great on both ends of the floor as well.
Then on Sunday they lost to the Grizzlies. Any takeaways?
Their offense still relies too heavily on isolation, one-on-one play and Memphis is built to shut that down probably more than any other team. They continuously drove or passed into the lane where Marc Gasol and the swarming Grizzlies D were more than happy to shut them down. They would’ve benefited greatly from more perimeter passing and ball movement to open things up for them but never seemed to embrace that as things went on. That’s on Thibs.
Still, it was a pretty solid defensive effort, though they have still no answer for physically dominant bigs like Gasol that Towns and Dieng can’t handle.
Some folks on Twitter have said that this Wolves roster is one of their best top-to-bottom. Your thoughts?
I can totally see that, especially considering their depth, something that has almost always been a problem for this team. I think it’s a bit too early to tell, but on paper, I’d buy that.
How much does Jimmy Butler help the 76ers? Could they win the NBA Finals? How far do you think they’ll go?
Butler certainly makes them better, and they’re definitely a favorite to win the East. But they did give up two of their better shooters, which limits their spacing and takes away two of Simmons’ favorite targets for assists. I still don’t think they or anyone else have much of a legitimate shot at beating the Warriors, though.
What sleeper teams do you think could make a splash come playoff time?
The Pacers have a real solid young core. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them build some momentum this season and surprise some folks come playoff time.
What do you think of the drama in Golden State?
It’s been fun to follow for schadenfreude purposes, but as of right now, they’re still the favorites to win it all. Unless this escalates in some crazy way, I don’t think that will change. I doubt Durant will stay after this season, but most already assumed he’d be gone either way.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Probably green bean casserole or some shit.
Beartrap McManus is an NBA and Timberwolves expert. He has been a life coach for Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland since before time, a consultant for Rambling On since its founding, and Timberwolves analyst beginning in Series Five. He resides with his wife and twelve kids in Hurley, Wisconsin, where his wife owns a popular supper club.