Monthly Archives: February 2013

Minnesota Wild… Playoff team?

I know I blog about a lot of sports. My wife is a prisoner of my sports disease! But I can’t help it!

I love hockey! I’m a former basketball coach and hockey is basketball on ice. I watch a lot of games so I am telling you what I see with the MN Wild. Is it gospel? No. But its my opinion which is why I write a blog. So here goes. The Wild have a decent team. They have good goaltending, unlike the Blackhawks. They have good defense. Sutter is the real deal. They need a thumper back there because they can get muscled on the boards but overall the D is good. They have some speed and talent on the puck. What they don’t have is 1 complete line. Their top line is one power forward from being dominant. Heatley is not that. He’s a 2nd line guy with Bouchard and Setegouchi, Coyle or somebody like him is the power forward for the top line. Speed from a big guy would make Zack and Mikko better. Heatley is stuck in neutral while Zack and Mikko are flying around. They need to create more offense by being able to carry the puck into the offensive zone. You can’t do that when one guy on your top line is not a worker and can’t skate. Mikko, Zack, and a power forward with speed would present a lot of problems. Think a healthy and motivated Latandress type. I say throw Coyle on that line and see what happens. Parise gets beat up challenging the puck all the time and Mikko is at best when he’s facilitating and defending. This is a very good team next year. They are an average team this year. The Wild need to continue to mix in their youth, Coyle on the top line is my call. Offseason should be about getting bigger on the blue line and bigger and more athletic at forward. They are pot committed with 200 mill committed to 2 players so might as well go all in!

Gopher Mens Basketball..what happened?

How does a team look like a final four team in December turn into a team that needs to win at least a couple of games down the stretch to make the field of 65?

Is it overrated talent? Is it Tubby? Is it the conference? Answer. All of the above! Lets start with the talent…Rodney still can’t shoot the ball nor has his handle improved. When I was a kid, players like him were called soft. Dre Hollins is a 2 guard! Coleman is… well what is he? Trevor is not close to pre injury status. Austin Hollins is there best player, but he has a big hole in his game too. His handle is keeping him from being a star!  Coaching? What is their identity? What is this team? Early in the season, defense turned to offense regularly. Now, they can’t score and they turn the ball over 20 plus times a game. Whats Tubby running on offense? Heard that question before? This is a serious problem since MN now has some really good high school ballers and this staff has not figured out that todays players do not want to play 47-45 games. Jones and Vaughn are not playing at MN. Sad but true.

The Big 10 is getting a lot of best conference chatter nationally so I have to give the experts some room here. My opinion for what its worth is that the Big 10 may have the best conference top to bottom rankings wise. But the eyeball test has me thinking that they will continue to lose ground in the Blue Chip talent chase overall. Yes, Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State will continue to get their studs. But the conference has 12 teams! I watch Wisconsin play and I think, what is that! Northwestern plays keep away until the shot clock is down to 5 on every possession. Purdue, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Illinois, Ohio State, MN. I just named the other 9 teams in the conference. Which one of them is headed to the sweet 16? Ok that was rhetorical.  The referees call the games like they’re  Rugby matches! Its brutal to watch. 19-18 at halftime is routine and 45 free throws is the norm. Are you kidding me! For every Zeller that decides to go to the Big 10, there are 10 Tyus Jones that say, the heck with that style of ball, I’m taking my talents to Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina etc. etc. 

Thats a problem people. Don’t be fooled. This conference is not a national threat from top to bottom. So what if they put 7 even 8 teams in the tourney! There are really 2 teams with any chance to do damage. Indiana and Michigan. So yes, on paper its a big time conference but the eyeball test has it with the same number of contenders as the ACC, Big East, and SEC.Heck Gonzaga has a real chance to do something this year. Again! So my point on this matter is that the perception of the conference inflates the early season rankings and expectations. At the end of the day, the Big 10 routinely puts 6 to 8 teams in the tournament and most years theres 1 or 2 that get deep. 

My conclusion is that the U of M basketball team is underachieving but not nearly as much as you think. Tubby probably has to go. I’ve met him and he’s a great man and has led the team back from the Monson era. They are now respectable after the Pryzbiila, Rickert, and Humphries debacle. But he has become stubborn in his approach to todays college game. He doesn’t adapt to his talent like those guys coaching at Duke, North Carolina, Louisville etc. And his biggest failure is his inability to secure a top of the line point guard. Its just time. It’ll be expensive so its 50/50 that he he stays. Lastly, the conference is not doing itself any favors. They continue to pride themselves on being the roughest conference in the country. But the appeal of this conference to the bluest of blue chippers continues to fall behind. The Big East tried to sustain that from the Georgetown, Seton Hall and Syracuse days of the mid 80’s. Syracuse adjusted faster than the rest and are consistently good. The rest haven’t and continue to try to catch up. 

Talent makes conferences good! Name the last dominant player from the Big 10 to excel at the NBA level. Take your time. I’ll wait. 

Minnesota Sports…Why so diseased?

After a prolonged absence, I’m baacckk! Did you miss me? Ok probably not, but I missed writing so here I am again.  Lots on my sports brain so let me get right to it.

The Vikings are acting like a bush league operation by not giving Leslie Frazier the extension he earned. Yeah I said it. One could argue that they set him up to fail this past season. (I’m one who is arguing that) Here are the facts…They strapped him with an unproven, overrated project of a quarterback. They gave this quarterback absolutely no vertical threat. They paid a tight end (John Carlson) 20 million to stand on the sideline looking like Adonis. The offensive coordinator alienated their most explosive passing threat by throwing him 3 yard passes and asking him to make lemonade out of lemons. If Adrian Peterson doesn’t do the unthinkable,  and Leslie Frazier isn’t so respected in that locker room they are a 5 win team at best. No coach did more with less. Totally bush league move for them not to extend his deal!

David Kahn must go! Yeah I said it! (again) Even if you take away the injuries, the product that he and Adelman assembled was a 7 or 8 seed in the West and home by early May. I admit I was a huge Adelman bobo. But after Rambis I get a pass. My thinking was finally a presence on the bench that would garner respect around the league. No matter the injuries, the roster has no defensive presence besides a breaking down AK47 and Rubio. I tell the truth here so lets break it down.

Guards first…Luke can’t guard his position and can’t beat anyone off the dribble. Ever notice that when he plays point, he dribbles the ball until theres about 5 seconds left on the clock? I knew you noticed! Pass the ball! 15 minutes a game would be about right. JJ shoots way to much and he’s exactly 4 inches taller than my daughter and shes not tall. Career back up. 12-18 minutes a game. Shved… I like him but he turns the ball over at an alarming rate, and his outside shooting and decision making is not made for prime time yet. Malcom Lee got hurt but before that he was actually playing good defense and showing progress offensively. Adelman didn’t like him so his minutes were sporadic. Still, at best he’s a rotation guy. Brandon Roy… Ok sign a 2 guard with no cartilage in either Knee and hope the blood plasma transfusion works? GONG!!! Rubio is Rubio. I like him a lot. He’d have 20 assist a game if his passes were going to guys who could make shots. The last few weeks he’s been playing his heart out for this team. So thats the guards. 6 guards and 1 that would get major minutes on any team. Thats not about the injuries, thats a recipe put together that was destined for mediocrity. Kinda like heading to North Dakota looking for seafood gumbo. Lets move on.

Kevin Love… I wrote last year that he was not a franchise player and I got hammered for it. At least you were reading so I didn’t mind. But the facts are the facts…When your “best” player can’t or won’t defend and is not or has not been an end of game closer, then that player is not a Franchise Player. Can he be a big part of a good team? Yes. His stats would be great if he was Robin but he went to the Olympics talking like he was Batman! Then he shot 37% percent from the field, broke his hand doing those dangerous knuckle pushups and then re broke it. Injuries do happen but timing is everything. He was KLove to the beloved Wolves fan and now he has got a serious image problem on his hands. What now?

Adelman doesn’t like DWill so he didn’t play him for the first month of the season until he had no choice due to the injuries. Is he a superstar like you’d expect from a number 2 pick? No. Can he be a 25 min 12 point 6 rebound guy for a long time in the NBA? Absolutely!  Pek? Time to leverage the big man for some assets. Good player on a bad team. Him and Kevin don’t work because neither can defend the paint and neither has any explosion down low. He misses a lot of buckets from in close. 3rd option on a good team and he’s in a contract year. Do not pay him 50 million for 5 years! Yeah I said it! The rest is depressing. Cunningham is a glue guy. 20 minutes a night is perfect for his skillset. Steimsma is awful! Chris Johnson is better but Adelman is stubborn about guys he doesn’t know or like. Kid is long athletic and defends the bucket! 20 minutes a night with Steimsma not getting anytime unless absolutely necessary. Oh I almost forgot about Chase Buddinger. Good role player. Can shoot and jump, but cannot guard anyone on the floor.

Ok so there you have it. If they weren’t hurt is this the kind of product that was going to threaten the best teams in the league? These are David Kahns bold, job saving moves? Really now. Of the 12 players listed above, are there more than 3 players that could get major minutes on a good team? He has to go after this season. Injuries aren’t his crutch this time. Talent evaluation is his weakness in a league that requires you be right at least 80 percent of the time. Give him Rubio and nothing else!

Ok you’re tired of the negative so I’ll wait on the Twins, Wild, and Gopher football/ basketball. Diseased!!