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Tag: Karl-Anthony Towns

Ward-Henninger (Western Conference Preview): OKC Has “Operation Shutdown Potential”

Russell Westbrook will be looking to follow up on his MVP season alongside the Thunder’s two high-profile offseason acquisitions, but guest Colin Ward-Henninger foresees chemistry challenges ahead (Keith Allison/Flickr).

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Colin Ward-Henninger of CBSSports.com helps preview the talent-loaded Western Conference after an action-packed offseason replete with key player movement.

8:54-9:52: “Paul George actually had a higher usage rate and more touches than Melo last year, and we all know what Russ [Westbrook] does on the court. And he had a hard enough time playing with Durant, and then when Durant left, we saw the madness that happened last year with just the NBA record usage rate of like 40 percent or something like that, which is insane, and it’s hard to just turn that off. I think it’s going to take a while…I think it’s going to be very difficult. I think that Paul George is going to have the hardest time adjusting, because I think he’s going to be the one who’s expected to take fewer shots. Melo, we hope at this stage in his career understands that he’s not the No. 1 guy or even the No. 2 guy in this case, but you never know. And these are two guys that can opt out of their contracts, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. So if they get 20 games into the season and they don’t like playing with Russ, there’s some Operation Shutdown potential there.” Continue reading

Tim Faklis: Timberwolves Primed for Playoffs as 5 or 6 Seed

Andrew Wiggins, just 22, has been mentioned in Kyrie Irving trade rumors, but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says he wants him in town for the long haul (Jose Garcia/Creative Commons).

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have missed the playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons, while finishing with more losses than wins over the last 12. However, the tide is about to turn, according to our guest, Tim Faklis, who contributes to A Wolf Among Wolves, Wolves Wired and FanSided’s The Step Back. He argues that the team’s active offseason, highlighted by the blockbuster trade with Chicago that landed Jimmy Butler, has placed it firmly in win-now mode. Tim touches upon a wide assortment of topics, including the Timberwolves’ expected improvement and whether or not they should try to trade for the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving. Let’s see if these excerpts leave you howling at the moon:

3:20-4:02: “He [Butler] is not a dynamite perimeter shooter, but pretty much every other aspect of his game is something that they’ve missed, especially defensively. They were the worst defensive team in the NBA by a lot of measures last year. And Butler brings in that defensive toughness that [coach Tom] Thibodeau’s been looking for since he joined the team really… I think part of Thibodeau’s plan is to have Butler teach the both of them [Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins], especially Wiggins, how to work on that end.”

12:02-12:39: “Jeff Teague has been up and down from season to season in terms of his 3-point shooting. The hope is that he’ll be up in Minnesota with guys like Butler, guys like Wiggins, guys like Towns there to initiate most of the offense and him just to kind of bring the ball up and then play. Continue reading

Defense Propels 76ers Nine Spots (Power Rankings: Jan. 20, 2017 Edition)

Coach Brett Brown and his Sixers are finally starting to see results, with wins in seven of their last nine games (TastyPoutine/Creative Commons).

With every team at or beyond the midpoint of its regular-season schedule, it could not be a better time to assess how each squad measures up. Some teams will be celebrating All-Star starter selections just named, while many others are confronting serious injuries. Amid this crazy time, the 76ers jumped nine slots, leaving the league’s cellar thanks to a mighty strong start to 2017. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic have experienced the league’s steepest declines in recent weeks.

Biggest Jumps: Philadelphia 76ers (+9), Washington Wizards (+4), Detroit Pistons (+4), Denver Nuggets (+4)

Biggest Falls: Sacramento Kings (-8), Charlotte Hornets (-8), Orlando Magic (-7)
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Patrick Fenelon: “There’s Nothing Wrong With (the Timberwolves’) Offense Right Now”

Through seven games, the 21-year-old forward is shooting north of 63 percent from 3-point range (Erik Drost/Creative Commons).

Through seven games, 21-year-old Canadian Andrew Wiggins is shooting north of 63 percent from 3-point range (Erik Drost/Creative Commons).

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The 2-5 Minnesota Timberwolves may be on the cusp of something very promising, but they’re awfully young. Under new head coach and president Tom Thibodeau, that inexperience has likely already contributed to three losses by a combined 10 points. Close losses notwithstanding, the offense, led by Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns, all 21 years old or younger, has been electric, as has the 3-point shooting in particular. Timberwolves expert Patrick Fenelon was gracious enough to join the show to discuss these three phenoms, the prospect of Minnesota improving its team defense, rookie point guard Kris Dunn’s strengths and weaknesses, and a whole lot more. Get teased with some excerpts below:

2:53 – 3:21: Fenelon begins by explaining what has been causing the Timberwolves to blow leads in the third quarter of games: “You wonder if it’s just a weird quirk of youth thinking that they can just sit back and play prevent defense. It’s just a layup line really is what happens in that third quarter. If you look at shot charts, you’ll see that one guy is coming in there and getting layups over and over again. They just stop playing defense. And then turnovers happen.”  Continue reading

The Clippers’ Suffocating Defense Earns Top Spot (Power Rankings: Nov. 11, 2016 Edition)

In the debut of On the NBA Beat’s biweekly (the every-other-week kind) NBA power rankings feature, Doc Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers lead the field, four Eastern Conference teams rank in the top seven spots, Los Angeles’ other team cracks the top half, the “no-longer-tanking” 76ers occupy the last spot, and so much more.

Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Therefore, the results of Thursday’s four games will not be reflected in these rankings, but the blurbs and team records will be completely up-to-date. Future editions will also include each team’s net change from the previous rankings.

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Steve McPherson: Timberwolves “Very Concerned About Developing Their Young Talent”

After winning Rookie of the Year last season, Andrew Wiggins is still making great improvements to his game to try to reach his sky high ceiling. (Erik Drost/Flickr)

After winning Rookie of the Year last season, Andrew Wiggins is still making great improvements to his game to try to reach his sky high ceiling. (Erik Drost/Flickr)

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On the heels of Minnesota’s exhilarating, nationally televised upset of the mighty Warriors, Steve McPherson (Rolling StoneHardwood Paroxysm and A Wolf Among Wolves, among other outlets) drops by to talk about the young Timberwolves and why their future is so bright. The conversation spans from Karl-Anthony Towns’ many talents to Flip Saunders’ grand legacy and virtually everywhere in between. Some of the show’s highlights can be found below:

3:45 – 4:05 on Karl-Anthony Towns’ many skills:

“You see how difficult of a matchup Towns is going to be for years. You see him both stepping out to defend Steph Curry and shutting him down on a possession, which is amazing for a guy who is 7 feet tall, and then also being a threat on the other end, both shooting and closer to the basket.”

9:45 – 10:35 on Andrew Wiggins’ development in Minnesota:

“They are still trying to figure out what Wiggins can do…The Wolves are very conscientiously showing him different things to see what he can do on the court…They want to give him the ball in a way that he gets to see the court a bunch of times a game and then makes decisions, and then they can see how he deals with that and what he has to work on.”

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What’s With Whiteside and the T-Wolves Take Toronto

Kristaps Porzingis's birlliant performance in the Rising Stars game was not enough to lead the World team to victory over the United States. (PJMixer/Flickr)

Kristaps Porzingis’s brilliant performance in the Rising Stars game was not enough to lead the World team to victory over the United States (PJMixer/Flickr).

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Spend some of your All-Star break with your favorite fellas as they discuss the Miami Heat and All-Star Saturday night. The co-hosts revisit interviewee Josh Baumgard’s thoughts on Hassan Whiteside’s impact and future with the Heat, the team’s handling of Dwyane Wade’s usage and the degree to which Chris Bosh’s injury matters.

Next, Joshua and Loren guide you through the most exciting NBA All-Star Saturday night in recent memory. On a busy basketball weekend that featured Timberwolves domination, a retooled Skills Competition featuring big men and thrilling three-point and dunk contests, On the NBA Beat has you covered.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Midseason Awards Starring Porzingis, Towns, Popovich and McCollum

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year so far this season. (Ed/Wikimedia Commons)

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year so far this season. (Ed/Wikimedia Commons)

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Midway through the NBA season, Loren and Aaron take the opportunity to handicap the league’s various awards, including Best Hair of course. In the opening segment, they reflect on the state of the Suns and Nuggets – the most recent team interviews – as well as what’s on the horizon for those two.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Best Rookies, Portland’s Surprise Start and the Enigmatic Derrick Rose

Andre Drummond's improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

Andre Drummond’s improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

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On today’s episode, the A-A-Ron Block is devoted to continued discussion of the Chicago Bulls. This intriguing-yet-perplexing team has defeated the Cavaliers and Thunder, while also surrendering 130 points to the Hornets. Its starting point guard is an enigma, too, going three straight games with single-digit scoring before erupting for 29 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against the Thunder Thursday. Following Derrick Rose’s strong individual performance, the guys debate the validity of the latest trade rumors swirling around him. They also touch on frontcourt rotations, the pros and cons of starting Doug McDermott and more.

Later, LLC Incorporated breaks down the best rookies so far — Karl-Anthony Towns is the twins’ consensus pick — and the league’s most pleasant surprises and early disappointments. While the Blazers and Pistons have impressed Aaron so far, Joshua is particularly irked by the Grizzlies’ sluggish start. Finally, who’s currently the worst team in the league? The guys disagree.

Music: “Who Likes To Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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