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Lots of trade talk (Wiggins/Saric/Teague/etc.), three bad losses, and familiar negativity in this weeks Timberwolves edition. As usual, Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland interviews Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus.
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Are you disappointed that the Wolves didn't make any moves at the trade deadline? Are there any trades that you wish you would have seen?
I’m definitely disappointed, especially with media chatter about deadline activity being pretty much non-existent for the Wolves. Both Glen Taylor and GM Scott Layden seem to think that the team is just a few tweaks away from meaningfully competing based on recent comments from both, but I think the last few weeks have shown that’s not the case.
They’ve certainly had their share of injuries but that’s something every team deals with. Outside of Towns, Covington, Jones and the potential of Okogie and Saric, there’s not much else there to form the core of a team capable of any success in the playoffs.
What kind of offer would you want to see if the Wolves unloaded Wiggins? Is there any way they could have moved Teague and Dieng effectively?
I’d move any of the three for anything that doesn’t tie up cap space long-term or involve unloading too many future assets. I don’t see any of those guys as essential or irreplaceable. Cap flexibility going forward is more important than having any of them on the roster.
What would have you thought of dealing Saric for a first rounder and a player?
It would greatly depend on the player and the pick, but I’d lean towards “no” without knowing either. Saric deserves a better look with a more consistent role and minutes. The allure of draft picks is always there, but Saric has shown enough potential as an all-around player with solid fundamentals that it’s worth the Wolves time to figure out just what they have.
The Wolves and Nuggets tend to have competitive games. Any takeaways from the Nuggets 107-106 loss?
Both teams’ All-Star big boys shined. Towns was his usual stellar self and Jokic had a triple double and the game winning assist. Jerryd Bayless played well for the Wolves and has been huge for them with the injuries to Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague, a pleasant surprise for a guy who was more or less an afterthought in the Butler trade. Whatever Ryan Saunders drew up as a final play resulted in Luol Deng taking the last shot and I’m not sure that’s something you want happening for your team in 2019, but I’d rather see him than Wiggins take it at this point.
Saric against the Grizzlies, but do you have any other takeaways from that game?
Aside from a Saric’s great performance, a nice 18-point effort from Luol Deng and some late game heroics from KAT, this was an ugly game against a bad team sitting its best player. Mike Conley didn’t need Marc Gasol to tear the Wolves up as usual, and they didn’t have the shooting or ball-handling capabilities to penetrate Memphis’ zone defense. A far worse game than the final score would indicate.
When I saw that the Wolves had lost to the Magic 122-112 I legitimately said out loud: are you kidding me? With that, my hopes that the Wolves could possibly sneak into the playoffs were dashed. What did you get out of the game? Am I overreacting?
You could be accused of overreacting if a lackluster performance like this was an outlier and not part of an increasingly worrisome trend, but that’s not the case. The game sucked real hard and I’m beginning to get worried that we’re fast approaching that part of the Wolves season where it becomes a complete slog. A combination of force of habit and latent masochistic tendencies are the only things that keep me watching. I hope I’m wrong.
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.