Western Conference Finals: Minnesota Timberwolves (3) vs Dallas Mavericks (5)

benhogan

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Every time I watch the Wolves I think Gobert is underrated by the fans. I see him make a ton of plays on D, and rarely make mistakes on O. Is he a top-3 player in this series? No. But the amount of crap he gets relative to the amount of skill he brings to the table is a wide delta.
Gobert is a good player. Not exactly breaking news there.

The crap he is getting is relative to on-court fit at times + mostly the cost of acquisition

Most fans around here understand the difference.
 

jezza1918

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Experience or not, the shot making down the stretch (both teams!) makes me very a’scared for the Cs.

I was just so struck by how these teams can both execute an offense inthe face of stifling defense…our Js don’t have that (yet). Want 45 if they are feeling it? Sure. Need a couple down the stretch…who knows?
After Edwards 3 pointer to put Wolves up 4 with about 3.5 minutes to go they scored all of one more bucket the rest of the way on a Reid putback. Their five possessions in between went missed 3, turnover, turnover, turnover, missed 3...so just not sure where you are getting the bolded from? Unless you were talking more in general and not specific to last night. Watching the 4th quarter replay this morning I was encouraged because the team everyone fears looks just like the celts down the stretch ;)
 

Justthetippett

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Aug 9, 2015
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Ant in a bit of a rough patch. Last 4:
12-36 from 3 = .333
13-36 from 2 = .361
25-72 overall = .347
He's getting a little worn out, it seems. (Obviously he was gassed at the end of the game, but just generally has a little less bounce than earlier in the playoffs). His shot is looking a little flatter. Kyrie was on turbo mode last night, which could not have helped. I wonder if they'll change up the D assignments a bit to get Ant some less burdensome possessions.
 

InstaFace

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Gobert is a good player. Not exactly breaking news there.

The crap he is getting is relative to on-court fit at times + mostly the cost of acquisition

Most fans around here understand the difference.
Do they? Because he's not responsible for his own cost of acquisition. Holding that against him seems like grasping for a reason to rag on a guy.

There were several plays last night where there was a contested rebound into a crowd, and Gobert was the one who came out with it every time. He visibly deterred several layup attempts, too. That's his role, that's his on-court fit, he wasn't brought in to be a Porzingis or a Myles Turner or a Chet Holmgren, he was brought in to protect the rim. And, lo, he has the highest D-LEBRON of any C in the league this year. I dunno what you want out of the guy, but I think what Minnesota wants out of the guy, he's delivering.
 

TripleOT

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Every time I watch the Wolves I think Gobert is underrated by the fans. I see him make a ton of plays on D, and rarely make mistakes on O. Is he a top-3 player in this series? No. But the amount of crap he gets relative to the amount of skill he brings to the table is a wide delta.

KAT has also been given a raft of shit lately on the basis of rep and narrative-building, but to me he's looked like Minnesota's best player for several games now. The guy is having a month, right when they need him to. If people nitpicked every Jaylen dribble-into-traffic turnover the way they nitpick KAT's shooting decisions (which look fine to me!), there'd be a civil war around these parts.
Gobert reaching to the basketball on offense like it’s a grenade might have something to do with fans not liking him. He looks so damn awkward at least a half dozen times a game.

KAT was only 3-10 in the paint, with his only makes right at the rim. Taking a bunch of difficult 6-8 footers when you’re big and nimble enough to get to the rim isn’t winning playoff basketball.

Even more unacceptable was Edwards not having even one bucket at the rim, going 1-4 in the paint, two missed layups and a make and a miss inside the foul line.
 

tims4wins

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Do they? Because he's not responsible for his own cost of acquisition. Holding that against him seems like grasping for a reason to rag on a guy.

There were several plays last night where there was a contested rebound into a crowd, and Gobert was the one who came out with it every time. He visibly deterred several layup attempts, too. That's his role, that's his on-court fit, he wasn't brought in to be a Porzingis or a Myles Turner or a Chet Holmgren, he was brought in to protect the rim. And, lo, he has the highest D-LEBRON of any C in the league this year. I dunno what you want out of the guy, but I think what Minnesota wants out of the guy, he's delivering.
This is weird on a Red Sox board, the team that employed JD Drew for 5 years.
 

InstaFace

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This is weird on a Red Sox board, the team that employed JD Drew for 5 years.
I don't know what point you're trying to make. SoSH was pretty split on Drew, but I'd say a narrow majority of posters appreciated what he brought to the table, that he was clearly earning his contract, and after his playoff grand slam that became a clearer majority. Jokes about "looking like he cares" aside, of course.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Apr 12, 2005
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Experience or not, the shot making down the stretch (both teams!) makes me very a’scared for the Cs.

I was just so struck by how these teams can both execute an offense inthe face of stifling defense…our Js don’t have that (yet). Want 45 if they are feeling it? Sure. Need a couple down the stretch…who knows?
This feels like sarcasm. Please let it be sarcasm.
 

tims4wins

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I don't know what point you're trying to make. SoSH was pretty split on Drew, but I'd say a narrow majority of posters appreciated what he brought to the table, that he was clearly earning his contract, and after his playoff grand slam that became a clearer majority. Jokes about "looking like he cares" aside, of course.
The vast majority of Sox fans looked at his contract and thought he should be putting up numbers instead of taking walks with a man on 3rd and 1 out. They held his contract against him when he was doing exactly what the team was asking / paying him to do. Same as Gobert. And same as Gobert, there was a handful of folks that were saying he should be appreciated more.
 

InstaFace

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The vast majority of Sox fans looked at his contract and thought he should be putting up numbers instead of taking walks with a man on 3rd and 1 out. They held his contract against him when he was doing exactly what the team was asking / paying him to do. Same as Gobert. And same as Gobert, there was a handful of folks that were saying he should be appreciated more.
Ah, gotcha, we agree then. JD Drew, a man ahead of his time.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
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I'm way more scared of the Wolves bigs than the Dallas bigs.
I’ll make you all believers in this team bu the end of this series. SoSHers will have posters of Jason Kidd, Luka and Kyrie hanging from their bedroom walls by the time I’m done with yas. ;)
 

Auger34

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Apr 23, 2010
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I've dogged on Luka for his effort on defense but, credit where credit is due, the guy is a fantastic offensive player.
 

Auger34

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Do they? Because he's not responsible for his own cost of acquisition. Holding that against him seems like grasping for a reason to rag on a guy.

There were several plays last night where there was a contested rebound into a crowd, and Gobert was the one who came out with it every time. He visibly deterred several layup attempts, too. That's his role, that's his on-court fit, he wasn't brought in to be a Porzingis or a Myles Turner or a Chet Holmgren, he was brought in to protect the rim. And, lo, he has the highest D-LEBRON of any C in the league this year. I dunno what you want out of the guy, but I think what Minnesota wants out of the guy, he's delivering.
I think there are two separate conversations here.

If we are talking about why the general public rags on Gobert so much I think there are a few reasons.
1. He's probably the most disrespected player in the league by his peers. I don't know why but basically no players like the guy.
2. He gets ragged on by the ex-players in the media a ton.
3. He's DPOY but his impact is mostly off-ball. He got played off of the floor in the playoffs when he was in Utah. He's not exactly a dominant one-on-one defender.

If we are talking about why he gets shit on this board then @benhogan is right. The opportunity cost was huge and it seems like it would have been better spent on a wing or a guard. Reid/Kessler/KAT is still a pretty awesome big man rotation
 

Auger34

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KAT has also been given a raft of shit lately on the basis of rep and narrative-building, but to me he's looked like Minnesota's best player for several games now. The guy is having a month, right when they need him to. If people nitpicked every Jaylen dribble-into-traffic turnover the way they nitpick KAT's shooting decisions (which look fine to me!), there'd be a civil war around these parts.
You were on the Port Cellar before this year right?
 

Kliq

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Edwards played really good defense in the second half on a scorching hot Kyrie, which is a very difficult task, so I understand his fatigue on the offensive end. The issue for Minnesota is their offense is very poor for a title contender (16th in the league this season), and they desperately need Edwards to be the key initiator on offense, especially in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, when Conley isn't hitting shots. The Minnesota offense is not good, they would have to be the worst offense to win a title in a very long time (The 2004 Pistons were 18th in offensive rating that season) and they need Edwards to be the main man.
 

lovegtm

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KAT has also been given a raft of shit lately on the basis of rep and narrative-building, but to me he's looked like Minnesota's best player for several games now. The guy is having a month, right when they need him to. If people nitpicked every Jaylen dribble-into-traffic turnover the way they nitpick KAT's shooting decisions (which look fine to me!), there'd be a civil war around these parts.
KAT impresses me a lot every time I watch him. If anything, I think Minnesota's staff is doing him a disservice: they don't seem to be able to use him+Ant to generate the tough choices for a defense you'd expect.

If he ever ends up in the right situation, watch out.
 

lovegtm

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Edwards played really good defense in the second half on a scorching hot Kyrie, which is a very difficult task, so I understand his fatigue on the offensive end. The issue for Minnesota is their offense is very poor for a title contender (16th in the league this season), and they desperately need Edwards to be the key initiator on offense, especially in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, when Conley isn't hitting shots. The Minnesota offense is not good, they would have to be the worst offense to win a title in a very long time (The 2004 Pistons were 18th in offensive rating that season) and they need Edwards to be the main man.
It's not hard to see why their offense is bad, either: it's ridiculously stagnant.

Credit to them for having the D to make it work, but it's painful to watch their O most of the time.
 

Deathofthebambino

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You were on the Port Cellar before this year right?
Yeah, umm, since when has the Port Cellar not nitpicked every Jaylen turnover?

Shit, the other night, he made the on bad alley oop pass and then hadn't made any other turnovers yet, and there were at least a half dozen posts in the game thread still talking about that one turnover.
 

Auger34

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KAT impresses me a lot every time I watch him. If anything, I think Minnesota's staff is doing him a disservice: they don't seem to be able to use him+Ant to generate the tough choices for a defense you'd expect.

If he ever ends up in the right situation, watch out.
The sense I get when watching KAT is that he is ultra talented but his Basketball IQ is severely lacking.

On the inbounds play at the end of the game where the Wolves were forced to take a timeout, it seemed pretty clear that KAT was the one who didn't go to the right spot and fucked up the entire play. Kyle Anderson was shooting daggers at him and angrily motioning his arm.

He also commits some of the dumbest fouls known to mankind so it's kind of tough to rely on him.

In regards to the Minnesota staff, from listening to various NBA podcasts, Chris Finch is incredibly well respected around the league for his offensive acumen. I tend to think it's more on KAT+Ant than Finch (Ant because he's young and needs to mature)
 

Euclis20

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After Edwards 3 pointer to put Wolves up 4 with about 3.5 minutes to go they scored all of one more bucket the rest of the way on a Reid putback. Their five possessions in between went missed 3, turnover, turnover, turnover, missed 3...so just not sure where you are getting the bolded from? Unless you were talking more in general and not specific to last night. Watching the 4th quarter replay this morning I was encouraged because the team everyone fears looks just like the celts down the stretch ;)
Yeah Minnesota famously had a TON of crunch time issues on offense this year. They were 22nd in offensive rating during crunch time in the regular season this year, and 27th in net rating. Ant going full MJ helps here, but if he's cooled off, it will remain a real problem for them.

Dallas on the other hand, they are very, very good at late game offense. 1st in offensive rating during crunch time, and 3rd in net rating. This can't come as a great surprise considering their personnel, if they can keep it close they have two elite end game shotmakers. Thankfully Boston isn't too far off (6th in crunch time offensive rating and 4th in net rating).
 

InstaFace

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You were on the Port Cellar before this year right?
I was one of the ones complaining about those very incidents! Which, to his credit, he has reduced this year.

I'm just saying Gobert is being treated kinda unfairly. I was basically using myself and my own pet peeves / unfair critiques as a comparison.
 

lovegtm

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The sense I get when watching KAT is that he is ultra talented but his Basketball IQ is severely lacking.

On the inbounds play at the end of the game where the Wolves were forced to take a timeout, it seemed pretty clear that KAT was the one who didn't go to the right spot and fucked up the entire play. Kyle Anderson was shooting daggers at him and angrily motioning his arm.

He also commits some of the dumbest fouls known to mankind so it's kind of tough to rely on him.

In regards to the Minnesota staff, from listening to various NBA podcasts, Chris Finch is incredibly well respected around the league for his offensive acumen. I tend to think it's more on KAT+Ant than Finch (Ant because he's young and needs to mature)
Yeah, I know Finch is respected, and they do a lot of good stuff on defense, so hard for me to say.

Their offense looks so, so, so primitive most of the time though.....maybe that's on KAT+Ant? At the least, they need better player/coach connection, if it's not just an Xs and Os thing.
 

InstaFace

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I think there are two separate conversations here.

If we are talking about why the general public rags on Gobert so much I think there are a few reasons.
1. He's probably the most disrespected player in the league by his peers. I don't know why but basically no players like the guy.
2. He gets ragged on by the ex-players in the media a ton.
3. He's DPOY but his impact is mostly off-ball. He got played off of the floor in the playoffs when he was in Utah. He's not exactly a dominant one-on-one defender.

If we are talking about why he gets shit on this board then @benhogan is right. The opportunity cost was huge and it seems like it would have been better spent on a wing or a guard. Reid/Kessler/KAT is still a pretty awesome big man rotation
This is a fair reply. To #1 and #2, I found this ESPN article a very interesting attempt to take the question head-on, but ultimately didn't get a fully satisfying answer.

As for your last point, though, if they'd kept Kessler and #AllThePicks, they might not have gotten by Denver, and imo would probably be worse off in the series. If they win the title, which they may very well do, they're not going to care whether they overpaid. There are no awards for "best-optimized expected asset values", as Sam Presti can tell you. But even that doesn't justify giving Gobert the crap, rather than giving it to the Minnesota GM who got stars in his eyes when talking to Danny Ainge.
 

jezza1918

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I can't immediately find the stat breakdown that had Jayson Tatum as the best clutch / game-deciding-shot shooter in league history, but if someone can, they should post it in reply to sezwho.
here's one from Feb' 23...we all know he's regressed overall past 2-3 seasons but given volatility of these shots I dont chalk it up to much of anything other than SPORTZ (but also once JT became a clear top 10 guy defenses key in on him more?)
View: https://twitter.com/taylorcsnow/status/1629753206594052096
 

Van Everyman

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This is a fair reply. To #1 and #2, I found this ESPN article a very interesting attempt to take the question head-on, but ultimately didn't get a fully satisfying answer.

As for your last point, though, if they'd kept Kessler and #AllThePicks, they might not have gotten by Denver, and imo would probably be worse off in the series. If they win the title, which they may very well do, they're not going to care whether they overpaid. There are no awards for "best-optimized expected asset values", as Sam Presti can tell you. But even that doesn't justify giving Gobert the crap, rather than giving it to the Minnesota GM who got stars in his eyes when talking to Danny Ainge.
If we're being honest, the reaction here to the Gobert trade was that the Wolves got completely snookered by Ainge and had screwed themselves. Yet here we are two seasons later, Gobert is a useful player, the fit with KAT isn't *great* but isn't a disaster either, and with Ant taking a big leap they are in the WCF.
 

Deathofthebambino

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The sense I get when watching KAT is that he is ultra talented but his Basketball IQ is severely lacking.

On the inbounds play at the end of the game where the Wolves were forced to take a timeout, it seemed pretty clear that KAT was the one who didn't go to the right spot and fucked up the entire play. Kyle Anderson was shooting daggers at him and angrily motioning his arm.

He also commits some of the dumbest fouls known to mankind so it's kind of tough to rely on him.

In regards to the Minnesota staff, from listening to various NBA podcasts, Chris Finch is incredibly well respected around the league for his offensive acumen. I tend to think it's more on KAT+Ant than Finch (Ant because he's young and needs to mature)
KAT is a top 5 talent in the NBA with a 2 cent head. If a coach could get him to play smart, man, he'd be outrageously good.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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If we're being honest, the reaction here to the Gobert trade was that the Wolves got completely snookered by Ainge and had screwed themselves. Yet here we are two seasons later, Gobert is a useful player, the fit with KAT isn't *great* but isn't a disaster either, and with Ant taking a big leap they are in the WCF.
If we're being honest, maybe we should give Tim Connelly some credit for knowing what he's doing?

Maybe the trade was an overpay and maybe if Connelly had kept his powder dry, he could have traded for or drafted one or more useful players with the FRPs (he would have had gotten lucky given that they are likely to be late picks) but at the end of the day, MIN didn't need another ball dominant scorer and they already had at least one 3&D wing so Connelly saw a fit and went for it.

Maybe Connelly thought that it would help Ant's growth to have a top defense behind him (Ant would have more margin of error on offense)?

However people grade the trade, it's not going down as among the worst in history as has been written by many basketball commentators.
 

sezwho

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This feels like sarcasm. Please let it be sarcasm.
Ha, gamethread worthy thinking but not sarcastic! Yes it does look a little different in the light of day :). It was oddly cathartic to watch that Pacers game rundown their leg, side note. Anyway, if it’s 3…2…1 to win the game I want Luka then Ant then JT. Maybe that’s just me.
 

Deathofthebambino

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This is way too harsh. No, he is not the most intelligent basketball player, but he is thoughtful and smart and at times makes excellent reads. Not sure what is a magnitude better than a 2 cent head but not a savant is classified as though
He damn well better make excellent reads at times, the dude has a higher usage rate in his career than Jaylen Brown (26.8 to 26.4). But when the lights get the brightest, he's a mess. In the 28 playoff games he's played, he's had at least 4 fouls 17 times. In 8 of those games, he's not even managed to take 10 field goal attempts. And his total number of fouls aren't even the issue, it's just how fucking dumb a lot of them are. I mean, the guy played an average of 28 minutes against Phoenix in a blow out sweep, and managed to have 4, 4, 4, 5 fouls in each game. That's crazy shit. Last year, in their loss to Denver, he fouled out of both of the final two games.

He's just not a smart player, has a ton of lazy moments every night and when his head isn't into it, he just compounds it. It wouldn't be so damn noticeable if the guy wasn't so fucking good at basketball. I seriously believe he has the talent to compete for MVP's in this league, but he just can't put it together when he needs to on a consistent basis. I'm sure there are dumber players, in fact, I know there is, but none of them, IMO have his talent and it makes me crazy to watch him.
 

benhogan

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Do they? Because he's not responsible for his own cost of acquisition. Holding that against him seems like grasping for a reason to rag on a guy.

There were several plays last night where there was a contested rebound into a crowd, and Gobert was the one who came out with it every time. He visibly deterred several layup attempts, too. That's his role, that's his on-court fit, he wasn't brought in to be a Porzingis or a Myles Turner or a Chet Holmgren, he was brought in to protect the rim. And, lo, he has the highest D-LEBRON of any C in the league this year. I dunno what you want out of the guy, but I think what Minnesota wants out of the guy, he's delivering.
My comment was 100% directed at the cost of acquisition relative to what they already had on the roster (Naz Reid).

Rudy is a great rim protector, that can also gum up an offense. KAT also did a better defensive job on Joker than Rudy did, which had been the recent NBA Media narrative behind the ingenious work of Connelly.

So yea I'd much rather have Donovan Mitchell on my roster, and start Naz, instead of Rudy/Conley if I were the Wolves
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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So yea I'd much rather have Donovan Mitchell on my roster, and start Naz, instead of Rudy/Conley if I were the Wolves
The only way Donovan and Ant work together is if the NBA decided to start playing with two balls.

Now Jrue and Ant would be completely awesome but Connelly had no idea that Jrue would have been available (understand your point is that he should have kept the picks if someone like Jrue became available).
 

benhogan

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Now Jrue and Ant would be completely awesome but Connelly had no idea that Jrue would have been available (understand your point is that he should have kept the picks if someone like Jrue became available).
Agreed

Jrue was only available to those contenders that hadn't traded every pick away

Welcome to Brad's World.

Two basketballs for Ant/Dono? Kyrie/Luka made it work and the Celtics survived having 5 efficient scorers start.
I've watched Minnesota's late-game offense all season & thought a more dynamic PG + floor space would be helpful. YMMV
 
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Auger34

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This is way too harsh. No, he is not the most intelligent basketball player, but he is thoughtful and smart and at times makes excellent reads. Not sure what is a magnitude better than a 2 cent head but not a savant is classified as though
Off the court, he seems like a good dude. (He did say some stupid stuff this offseason but who cares, none of it was offensive).

I think he's smart with the ball in his hands. I mean, those lobs on the PnR to Gobert are beautiful. But off the ball and on defense, he seems like he's a complete dunce. He consistently makes some of the dumbest fouls I have ever seen.

In that Denver Game 7 he picked up his 5th foul by swiping down on Jokic on the perimeter. Jokic wasn't going to shoot and KAT had no chance at a steal. I couldn't believe his complete and utter lack of awareness and of the situation.

He's a guy that I really want to like. I think the way he handled his mom's passing and all of the shit he went through during COVID was exemplary. But every time I watch him, I end up shaking my head. I can tell why a lot of Wolves fans are so frustrated with him
 

HomeRunBaker

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Yeah, umm, since when has the Port Cellar not nitpicked every Jaylen turnover?

Shit, the other night, he made the on bad alley oop pass and then hadn't made any other turnovers yet, and there were at least a half dozen posts in the game thread still talking about that one turnover.
It wasn’t only the turnover but the unawareness that a Pacer was sprinting by him in transition that led to 2 the other way. We hadn’t seen Jaylen lapses like that in awhile.
 

Auger34

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It wasn’t only the turnover but the unawareness that a Pacer was sprinting by him in transition that led to 2 the other way. We hadn’t seen Jaylen lapses like that in awhile.
The turnover @Deathofthebambino referencing was the first turnover he made, the attempted alley oop when it was 12-0. I believe the play you're referring to was a turnover in the 4th quarter
 

Deathofthebambino

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The turnover @Deathofthebambino referencing was the first turnover he made, the attempted alley oop when it was 12-0. I believe the play you're referring to was a turnover in the 4th quarter
That's correct. The turnover HRB is referencing is the one where Jaylen basically threw the ball to the defender in front of him in the 4th. To that point, I believe the only turnover he had was the alley oop pass in the first few minutes.
 

benhogan

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That's correct. The turnover HRB is referencing is the one where Jaylen basically threw the ball to the defender in front of him in the 4th. To that point, I believe the only turnover he had was the alley oop pass in the first few minutes.
Yep HRB is referring to the TO with ~ 4 minutes left, C's down 2, & Jaylen slowly ran back on D.

Credit to the Pacers for playing tight on-ball defense throughout. The Knicks series has them sharpened up to play that style. Boston needed a game to get used to it. The C's will be stronger with the ball tonight

Jaylen came up with several great plays down the stretch that made up for live ball TO.
 

TrapperAB

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To add one small thing to the “why Gobert is frustrating” convo:

A few times a game, he gets it in his head that he’s going to try to dribble penetrate. At that point, he spins and maneuvers like a drunk deer on a frozen pond. One such move last game ended with a 50 MPH bank shot that missed the hoop by at least a foot.
 

Auger34

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To add one small thing to the “why Gobert is frustrating” convo:

A few times a game, he gets it in his head that he’s going to try to dribble penetrate. At that point, he spins and maneuvers like a drunk deer on a frozen pond. One such move last game ended with a 50 MPH bank shot that missed the hoop by at least a foot.
Since I'm not a Minnesota fan, these are definitely the funniest moments in the game. It's hilarious when Rudy throws his hand up to get a pass. No one wants to pass to you Rudy! You have literally 0 offensive game
 

TrapperAB

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Since I'm not a Minnesota fan, these are definitely the funniest moments in the game. It's hilarious when Rudy throws his hand up to get a pass. No one wants to pass to you Rudy! You have literally 0 offensive game
Ha! Yep, several times a game, Gobert gets open on a pick and roll, and Ant looks over… then lowers his shoulder and drives into two defenders instead.
 

Auger34

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Apr 23, 2010
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Still unreal that he hit that turnaround fadeaway in G7 (should be timestamped here)
Did you see the postgame press conference with Ant and KAT? They both said, while laughing, that when he made that shot that they thought they were probably going to win the game.

Anything that unlikely probably means it's destiny
 

cheech13

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 5, 2006
1,672
My comment was 100% directed at the cost of acquisition relative to what they already had on the roster (Naz Reid).

Rudy is a great rim protector, that can also gum up an offense. KAT also did a better defensive job on Joker than Rudy did, which had been the recent NBA Media narrative behind the ingenious work of Connelly.

So yea I'd much rather have Donovan Mitchell on my roster, and start Naz, instead of Rudy/Conley if I were the Wolves
In a vaccuum I like Mitchell better, but I can just envision a scenario where he gets in the way of Edwards, and KAT mopes around in the front court on defense, and the end result is an offense and defense that are both much worse than they are now.