Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Timberwolves’

Zach LaVine is an impressive dunker

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During Las Vegas Summer League, the Hang Time Podcast crew (myself, Sekou Smith and Rick Fox) had the chance to announce a couple of games live on NBA TV. In all, we called three games in one day, and by the time the third game rolled around we were starting to get a little weary.

Luckily, the final game we called was New Orleans against Minnesota, which meant we got to see Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine, who was everything he was billed as being. LaVine was by no means the most polished player at Summer League, but the 6-5 guard may have been the most athletic, time and again flying through the sky for crazy dunks or blocks.

LaVine showed off that athleticism again yesterday at the Seattle Pro-Am, where he competed in a dunk contest (emcee’d by Jamal Crawford) and was rather impressive. Let’s hope he gives it a shot in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk contest…


VIDEO: LaVine Dunks

(via BIL)

All-Access at 2014 Summer League

By Jeff Case

NBA Summer League is well underway in Las Vegas — in fact, we’re already in the tournament stage of the competition. As you’d expect, there have been a bunch of youngsters who have surprised (our Scott Howard-Cooper is all over it on the Rookie Ladder) and we’ve even had a couple of shots that nearly made us fire up the Horry Scale.

The other part of the fun of Summer League is seeing how the NBA’s youngsters learns on the job — and on the bench. Not only do rookies get more playing time than they might get on their team come the regular season, but assistant coaches (often the men who lead Summer League teams) get to try their hand at their craft, too.

With that all being said, here’s a look at some different folks participating in Summer League, courtesy of their respective team websites …


VIDEO: Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova takes part in Summer League


VIDEO: Listen in as Knicks swingman Cleanthony Early participates in the Las Vegas Summer League


VIDEO: Wolves rookie Zach LaVine gets ready for his Summer League experience


VIDEO: Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool coaches up the team during Summer League


VIDEO: Kings assistant coach Chris Jent leads the team through a Summer League practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer MUSCLEWATCH Round-up


VIDEO: Jrue MUSCLEWATCH

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are still a few months until NBA training camps begin, so NBA players still have time to get in the weight room and add 15 pounds of muscle, the amount they always seem to add, and make an appearance on MUSCLEWATCH. Once camps start up we’ll launch our official MUSCLEWATCH 2014, but right now with plenty of guys playing in summer league, we can make an initial check-in and see how MUSCLEWATCH is shaping up.

What, you may be asking, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that out local paper used to always say that players had gained 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of muscle. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay. If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

On to the MUSCLEWATCH…

Anthony Davis is already making a case to be a MUSCLEWATCH winner this season.

• In the video above, AD’s teammate Jrue Holiday talks about adding muscle and strengthening the leg he had surgery on. We don’t get any concrete numbers, but he still has months to go.

• One of the big stories from summer league has been the newly-slimmed Anthony Bennett, who looks much different. According to our man Steve Aschburner, Bennett has lost 15 pounds from his playing weight last season. I also love this quote from Bennett so much: “It wasn’t really that tough. My body is kind of weird. I can gain weight fast, I can lose weight fast. So it was just me maintaining it. Watching what I eat at night.”

• Bulls forward Tony Snell arrived for summer league not only with his braids gone, but with 10 pounds of muscle added. “I’ve been in the weight room a lot and I’m eating right,” Snell said. That’ll do it, Tony.

Victor Oladipo is dropping weight this summer. Might want to slow the pace a bit, Vic, considering we have a few months to go…

• Battling with Anthony Davis for MUSCLEWATCH honors may be Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, who has added 17 pounds(!) since the season ended and has plans to keep going. Do it, Gorgui!

• Finally, Brandon Jennings has some vague weight goals on his mind…

NBA players better at basketball than drawing

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.19.14 AM

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of my favorite people up in Canada is Cabbie, who works for TSN and does all sorts of great interviews, often with NBA players. In one of his latest videos, he asked several NBA players, including Kevin Love, Paul George and Kyle Lowry, to draw self-portraits.

I don’t think anyone expected something along these lines, but…well, see for yourself…


VIDEO: NBA Self-Portraits

(via Sporting News)

Ronny Turiaf wired for sound

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Ronny Turiaf video bombs Kevin Love’s postgame interview

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Timberwolves big man Ronny Turiaf is one of the best bench guys in the NBA — always engaged, always excitable. (For a case in point, just watch him videobomb Kevin Love‘s interview last night above.)

And even while he’s out injured, he embraces his role as the team’s emotional leader. During a recent game against the Lakers, Turiaf wore a microphone to record what it’s like on the bench during the action. I love how he is more aware of Kevin Love‘s triple-double chase than Kevin Love is…


VIDEO: Turiaf wired for sound

Former Timberwolves GM back to teach deal-making

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

Andrei Kirilenko Introduced to Media

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERDavid Kahn has spent many years working in the NBA, including most recently a four-year stint as president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. That run ended last summer when the Wolves re-hired former coach Flip Saunders to replace Kahn. Kahn made many deals while running the Wolves. While the jury remains out on a few of his moves, the efficacy of most of his moves seems pretty clear.

Even though Kahn is no longer running an NBA team, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a few tips to share. As ESPN’s Bill Simmons pointed out yesterday, now you can learn from Kahn, as Kahn will be teaching a weekend in deal-making at New York University.

According to the course description, students “will be immersed in the concept of dealmaking, with special emphasis placed on lessons learned in real-life deals from the world of sports, entertainment, and real estate. They will gain a deeper understanding of the key steps required to put together a deal, including building relationships, preparation tactics, identifying what’s important for the other party and how to deliver it, learning when to say no, and understanding that the renewal period for the deal starts the moment it has been completed.”

The cost? Only $750 per person.

The Minnesota Timberwolves can’t stop playing Flappy Bird

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

Portland Trail Blazers v Minnesota Timberwolves

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Have you played the game Flappy Bird on your cellphone? If not, well, that’s too bad, because the game is no longer on the market — the game’s creator removed it from the app store a few weeks back. If you downloaded the game before it left the market, you can still play, but I would advise against this. Why? Because it’s a horribly addictive game. On this point, I can speak from experience.

Flappy Bird is about as simple as they come: You tap the screen over and over to navigate your bird through a series of openings in pipes. Touch a pipe, your bird crashes to earth. That’s it. It’s easy to figure out, easy to control, but the game is just tough enough to make it maddeningly difficult. But as simple as it is, as addictive as it is, there is some terrible zen to be found by hypnotically getting lost in trying to improve upon what you’ve already done.

This has apparently been learned in Minnesota, where as Steve McPherson reports in a fun piece for True Hoop, Flappy Bird has become all the rage in the Timberwolves’ locker room. The top three scorers? Third is Ronny Turiaf with 113; second place belongs to Ricky Rubio with 187. first place belongs to Chase Budinger, who somehow has racked up 327 points. As someone who has spent, ahem, more than a few hours playing Bird, my brain literally cringed a little when I read that score for the first time.

Anyway, as Budinger explains to McPherson…

Budinger will be difficult to top; he has a deep yet nuanced understanding of the game and what it takes to win. “All you do is tap the screen,” he says. “The bird flaps and you gotta go through tunnels. The way to do best at that game is you need to be somewhere alone and quiet. I think on the plane is a good time to play. Or on the bus, even though you’re moving a little bit.”

“Right now,” says Turiaf, “Chase is claiming that when you play without the sound, it helps you get better.”

Apparently, there’s one player who needs to put it on vibrate. Asked who on the team is the worst, Turiaf replies, “By far, and I mean by far: Corey Brewer.”

“I think his high is six,” Budinger says.

Brewer, trotting through the locker room behind Budinger, growls, “Get off me, man. I got seven. Seven’s my high.”

I have to admit, Corey Brewer is a man after my own heart. Or at least my low score.

Luc Mbah A Moute treats fan club to game

Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Pretty cool story out of Minneapolis, where Wolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute decided to step in and help some fans who traveled a long way to meet him.

The dozen young basketball players are all from around Avignon in the south of France. They became aware of Mbah a Moute through a friend of his who used to play for the nearby Basket Club Nyonsais. Because Mbah a Moute has roots in Africa (he is a native of Cameroon) and speaks French, this group of kids felt a particular kinship. As Mbah a Moute explained to Fox Sports, “The French connection, and a lot of those kids are also from Africa originally, so their parents are from Africa. Just being fans of a guy from Africa playing in the NBA, just my story, how I made it in the NBA.”

Still, after becoming fans of Mbah a Moute, getting to the U.S. to see him play a game wasn’t so easy. The original plan was to visit Milwaukee to see him play with his then-team the Bucks, but he was traded to the Sacramento Kings before the season. So they instead planned their trip around two games this week — Sacramento at Brooklyn on Sunday, and Sacramento at Philadelphia on Wednesday.

And then the Kings traded Mbah a Moute to Minnesota. The fans decided to keep their plans as they were, which would have meant missing Mbah a Moute. So Mbah a Moute got involved and paid for the entire group to fly out to Minnesota on Monday, where they had dinner with Mbah a Moute and Ronny Turiaf, and then they attended last night’s Bucks/Timberwolves game.

Ironically, Mbah a Moute didn’t actually get into the game last night, but it didn’t dampen the experience had by all. As Mbah a Moute told Twincities.com, “I just can’t imagine kids coming and doing something like that for someone they don’t know. I think it’s pretty special.”

Last night’s Shaqtin moments

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Rockets/Thunder game was a scrappy, physical affair that was reminiscent of playoff basketball. It wasn’t the only entertaining game last night, but it also didn’t provide the lone potential Shaqtin’ A Fool moment. Dwight Howard, Corey Brewer, Taj Gibson, come on down!


VIDEO: Dwight’s pass


VIDEO: Brewer’s dunk


VIDEO: Taj’s dunk

Kevin Love Thanks Timberwolves Fans For All-Star Votes

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When it became obvious that Kevin Love had a chance at being voted in as an All-Star Game starter, the Timberwolves decided to try and get out the vote. Lo and behold, it worked, as Love moved past Dwight Howard and into the starting five with a surge in votes over the last few weeks.

To show his appreciation to the Timberwolves fans who took the time to vote for him, Love took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s Minnesota Star Tribune

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