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Timberwolves go tall with starting five

Oct 4, 2010, 4:33 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for timberwolves_logo.gifBe careful about taking much away from preseason games. Backups get major run, coaches are experimenting, only the guys fighting for jobs are really motivated.

But one thing we can take note of from the Minnesota Timberwolves first preseason game (against the Lakers in London), the starting lineup:

Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Darko Milicic.

That’s a tall lineup for Kurt Rambis, essentially playing the 6’7″ Johnson (a rookie) at the two. He had a good outside shot in college (he hit 41 percent of his threes) but this is a different position and a different level. This may well be a preseason experiment, but Rambis studied under Phil Jackson and he loves long, tall lineups.

This lineup makes Michael Beasley a three, playing out on the perimeter. Which is a bad thing, but Minnesota seems committed to it. (Yes, Beasley had a good game in this preseason contest against a disinterested Lakers defense, but I will take a couple years observation over that. A lot of commenters/emailers disagreed with that linked post, saying Beasley can play the three — I stand by my post. In Miami Beasley was better at the four. This Minnesota experiment only works if Beasley changes and steps up his game wing. It is not just me — I asked a few people, including scouts, if my perception of him was correct and to a man they said Beasley struggled on the perimeter. Unless that changes, forcing him to play on the perimeter will be a problem.)

The good news? This tall starting lineup for the Timberwolves should be a force on the boards. But on the flip side it seems to highlight a disconnect between the what the management thinks it is building — GM David Kahn said the teams should run — and the reality on the ground of how the team is built. That is a not a running lineup.

We’ll see if this is where the Timberwolves are with a starting lineup in a month. But for one game on another continent, the Timberwolves looked good against the Lakers.

  1. Rob - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Beasley vs Artest? I would choose Beasley even in regular season..
    I like Webster better than Johnson even if they basically the same height

  2. Strizzle - Oct 4, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    I still disagree it is a bad idea. My first argument is that it is a different offense. I admit it is a pretty weak argument but it is one none the less. Okay now for a more sensible reason why I question that it is such a bad idea. I took a look at the website that offered the statistics and PER and all that crap and found a very interesting part about top five-man floor units. There were 20 listed and 5 of them had Beasley playing the 3 spot. Of those 5, only 1 was being played with Wade while he was at the 3 spot. I would think that since he played more with Wade while he was at the 4 I am sure that would take much coverage away from him and others. Of course his shooting percentage is going to go up. It is easier to hit shots when you are open. I would love to see Anderson Varejoa or Mo Williams PER while Lebron is on the floor vs. while he is off the floor.

  3. Rob Mc - Oct 4, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    No way Kurt…he is going to prove you wrong all season! The T-wolves are going to gel into a defensively strong and competitive team that runs on turnovers and rebounds.

  4. devo - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Kurt Dude, give it a rest…we completely understand that you abhor the Wolves and all that is Kahn, so find something else to talk about

  5. McDaddy - Oct 5, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Remember, Beasley is still a very young man. He played one year
    of college and has only been in the NBA for two years. He still
    could end up being a really good player with more time to develop.

  6. Twins - Oct 5, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    They also said they will play Love and Beasley together. By the end of the day you’ll go to your best players. And so, I think Webster should start next game!

  7. Kaaaaaaaaaaahn - Oct 5, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Kurt wishes he was Kahn…GM of a team…there really isnt a difference..Kahn was a lawyer turned sports writer turned GM..Kurt’s dream..its why he rips Kahn so much..its why all these 2 bit hack writers rip kahn.

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