The thrilling highs of a last second win over the Indiana Pacers Friday night were echoed by a strangely balmy Twin Cities Saturday of 69 degrees. The same phenomenon held true after the Wolves suffered a slow, painful loss in Chicago to the Bulls and the Twin Cities got smacked with overnight thunderstorms and a frigid, sleety Sunday high of 36 degrees.
The Wolves loss at the hands of the Bulls came without Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Brandon Roy and JJ Barea. In the second half the situation was compounded by the loss of Chase Budinger to what is being called a twisted knee. Negative x-ray results were good to hear, but he’ll be given an MRI in Dallas Monday.
Budinger had been brought in over the summer to give coach Rick Adelman a dependable wing option off his bench. Someone who was familiar with his system and excelled at its most common movements: corner 3s and backdoor cuts. His expanding mid-range game was on display over this last week as he hit multiple jumpers off curls at the top of the key.
The options if Roy or Barea are unable to go in Dallas get even slimmer now. Is it time to give Alexey Shved all the starter’s minutes he can handle or does Adelman keep his playmaking with the second unit on the bench? Does Malcolm Lee get more time to expose his limited jumper? Will Conroy, anyone?
Luke Ridnour certainly becomes an indispensable part of the Wolves’ backcourt rotation. The scoring has to come from somewhere as Derrick Williams’s offensive ineptitude reached new heights with an 0-10 performance Saturday.
Whether driving into traffic and throwing a layup off the bottom of the rim or squaring up and hesitating… to jab-step… and throw a pump fake… and then consider another awkward euro-step drive before throwing up another errant jumper.
Guy should be given tape of Dante Cunningham — who is absolutely killing it from the top of the key — in hopes he will recognize just what an open jumper is.
Nevermind the frustrating forays towards the bucket, a major achievement in this young season would be to just recognize when nobody is within six to ten feet of you — and you are within ten to fifteen feet of the hoop — that that is an ok shot, and you should just go straight up and nail it without hesitation.
The missing of lay-ups and inability to cope with any contact whatsoever are issues for another day.