Beasley Trade Beginning of Wolves’ True Test?
Trade On the Horizon?
Before the 2011-12 season began it was obvious one of the biggest weakness of the Minnesota Timberwolves would be at the shooting guard position. As the season goes on, it becomes even more clear that something must be done to address the situation, which is why forward Michael Beasley has heard his name in numerous trade rumors.
“It’s hard, I’ve never been in a position like this,” said Beasley. “I’ve always been a starter. Coming off the bench is different. My minutes fluctuate. It’s kind of weird. You just have to be professional about it, stay ready and work on my game. We’ve got so much talent on this team.”
The Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and even the New Jersey Nets have been rumored to be interested in Beasley’s services on the basketball court and the Timberwolves are in a good place in all discussions. After all, they essentially received Beasley for free when the Miami HEAT sent him to Minnesota, so they can either find a trade for a player that fits their needs, a player who comes off the books at the end of the season or they could even let Beasley walk at year’s end.
“It’s part of the game,” said Beasley. “I’ve been traded once before. Nobody wants to get traded. I just play basketball, and if it happens, it happens.”
With rookie Derrick Williams receiving more playing time and, more importantly, finding more ways to contribute more to the Timberwolves, Beasley has become even more expendable. Yet, contradictory to most media reports of Beasley’s unprofessional and immature attitudes, he is taking the rumors in stride.
“For now, I’m a Timberwolf,” said Beasley. “I love my team and my coaches. If it’s time for me to go, I have no control over that. I’m just playing the game and keeping my mouth shut.”
Rubio Coming Back To Earth, But Still Learning From the Best.
Recently, Timberwolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio has come back to Earth after an exciting first season in the NBA. His shot isn’t falling and he’s turning the ball over frequently, but as someone who has been a professional since he was 14 years old, Rubio is still confident in himself. He is also continuing to learn from his Hall Of Fame worthy opponents throughout his struggles.
“He knows how to play, he’s smart and, like I said, he’s one of the best ever,” said Rubio of Steve Nash. “He knows how to control the game and he passes very well, which option he has to find for the team and he just runs it and does it.”
Rubio has heard the comparisons between himself and the two-time MVP for a while, long before making his debut in the NBA this season. However, when the comparison comes from the player you have looked up to himself, it certainly is a confidence boost in the midst of a trying time.
“I see some things of myself in him,” said Steve Nash. “I think Ricky is going to keep improving every year and we’ll see which type of player he is in three, five or seven years. Obviously it’s going to be exciting to see how he evolves as a player.”
With a renewed confidence, Rubio is now focusing on fighting through the recent adversity. While some believe he is hitting the “rookie wall,” the Timberwolves aren’t worried about their point guard finding a way to get back on track. In all actuality, they believe he is playing better than his recent numbers indicate and part of helping him is for the entire team to step up and do their own respective duties on the court.
“They’re definitely playing him differently,” said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. “They’re playing him physical. In our league, the coaches scout well and they figure things out and we just haven’t shot the ball very in a lot of games when he’s out there or he’d have a lot more assists than he has.”
Timberwolves thinking playoffs?
Coming into the season, the thought process for the Minnesota Timberwolves was to establish their style of play and to make evaluations of which players would continue to be a part of the roster going forward. While both of those points have occurred and remain works in process, something surprising happened: the Timberwolves found themselves realistically in reach of their first playoff berth in years.
“We’ll need a lot of guys to step up if we’re going to maintain what we’ve done so far,” said Adelman. “Our schedule becomes really difficult in March.”
It is going to be tough, of course. For the remainder of March, the Timberwolves are on the road for nine of their fifteen games, including a seven-game road trip Mar. 12-23. This is now the make-or-break portion of the schedule for the Timberwolves, because if they would still find themselves in playoff contention at the end of the month, they have seven home games in April.
“There’s no reason for them not to try that and work hard for it,” said team owner Glen Taylor. “It’s going to be tough because there are so many other teams that are so close, but I can’t believe that the guys—now that they’ve seen what they can do in the first half of the season—won’t put that as part of their goal.”
During this incredibly difficult stretch of the season, the Timberwolves will, of course, look to Kevin Love to lead the way. The two-time All-Star has become one of the post players in the league and has a knack for fourth-quarter play that inspires the rest of his teammates to succeed.
“It just shows what type of player he has become,” said Adelman. “He makes the plays in the fourth quarter. He made the big free throws to win the game there and that’s what you expect out of him.”
The one thing that can be stated with certainty before the Timberwolves embark on this difficult and telling portion of their season is the New Orleans Hornets will be watching closely. Remember, they received the right’s to Minnesota’s first-round pick in the Chris Paul trade. Minnesota may be focusing on acquiring a playoff berth, but there will be bad karma sent their way from New Orleans.