Episode 62: It’s Funny Because He’s Behind Developmentally

The Sports Fist hits on all the hot button issues of the day because that’s what the Sports Fist was born to do. Namely:

  • Congratulating Stu on his new job
  • An extended World Cup preview
  • Much yelling over Klinsmann
  • Kendrys Morales and the 30-swings-and-misses analogy
  • Mauer and the head ouchies
  • Kevin Love has lost his damn mind

We also sing the Jeffersons theme song a couple times if you’re into that sort of thing.

(Link to mp3 here if player below doesn’t work.)

PlayPlay

Brandon’s Timberwolves Offseason Gameplan

As The Official Pretend Sportive GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves, it should come as no surprise that the masses (no one) have been clamoring for my vaunted annual offseason game plan. I have detailed my strategy below.

(Remember that last year I would have drafted CJ McCollum and Mike Muscala, then signed AK47 and Al-Farouq Aminu. I would have then traded Derrick Williams for Utah’s Jeremy Evans. My Pretend Wolves would not have included Shabazz, Dieng, Martin or Brewer. Dieng looks like a solid pick-up but overall my team would have been better while maintaining a TON more payroll flexibility. And remember, I’m a moron. You suck, Flip Saunders.)

As it stands, here is my POV on what the roster needs to look like to be a competitive, playoff-bound team.

PG: Rubio / [?] / Barea / Shved

SG: [?] / Martin / Brewer

SF:  [?] / Budinger / Shabazz / Mbah a Moute

PF: Love / [?]

C: Pek / Dieng / Turiaf

So there you. To simplify, the Wolves have four big needs: Backup PG, Starting SG, Starting SF and Backup PF. Those four positions are all anyone should care about this offseason. Considering the fact that the Wolves are nudging up against the salary cap (you suck, Flip Saunders,) they have very little wiggle room to fill them all. It’d take a near-miracle to go 4-4, but filling most of the needs and balancing the roster is not out of the question.

The Wolves have a superstar and two very good starters, plus a bench of solid centers and wings. With a little roster balance (THIS IS WHY IT’D BE NICE TO HAVE A COMPETENT GM) as well as a solid understanding of what bench guys play best with each other (THIS IS WHY IT’D BE NICE TO HAVE AN ANALYTICAL COACH), I don’t think you have to squint too hard to see a much improved version of the Wolves next season.

***

What I would do:

STEP 1: The Draft. Target wings. I have not watched any workouts but I watched a ton of college hoops and my wish list is: Gary Harris, Nik Stauskas, James Young and Kyle Anderson. Get one of those in the first. In the second round, target potential backup PGs and PFs. Russ Smith, Jahii Carson and Khem Birch are my targets.

STEP 2: Trade(s). Call every GM in the league and offer Barea, Martin, Brewer, Shabazz and/or Mbah a Moute in exchange for a competent backup PG or PF. None of those guys has a ton of value, but we are not asking for the moon. We’re shooting to trade competence for competence to help another team balance their roster. Not looking for projects but solid, developed pros. I’m talking about Dante Cunningham-types (ideally who don’t lob death threats while on the way home from jail).

STEP 3: Free agency. Plug the holes you weren’t able to fill with low-cost but decent production guys. Obviously would need to reassess after the draft/trades but for now my target list is: Shaun Livingston, Ramon Sessions, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, Anthony Tolliver and DeJuan Blair.

And that’s IT. That’s the entire plan. Not a franchise-changing offseason, since big moves are impossible considering the current state of the roster (you su—ah forget it), so the only goal is to get slightly better and show our waffling savior Kevin Love that he should stay while also staying flexible for the future if and when he bolts.

***

My dream scenario (while also realistic) is something like this:

STEP 1 RESULT: Drafted Gary Harris, Russ Smith and grabbed a couple Euro-stash PFs.

STEP 2 RESULT: Signed DeJuan Blair (1 yr/$2M) and Anthony Tolliver (1 yr/$2M).

STEP 3 RESULT: Traded Barea and Mbah a Moute for some shooting sleeves and a couple buckets of practice balls.

2014 Roster:

PG: Rubio / Smith / Shved

SG: Harris / Martin

SF:  Budinger / Brewer / Shabazz

PF: Love / Blair / Tolliver

C: Pek / Dieng / Turiaf

Harris starting over Martin, you ask? It’s worth a shot and easy to flip flop if Harris is a disaster. But Martin is more effective with the ball and may do better split up from Rubio. Harris will not be asked to do a whole lot beyond defense, spotting up and learning the offense.

Bud moves into a starting role as a decent two-way player who can be a low-usage flloor-spacer while Ricky and Love do their thing. If he too is a disaster, it’s a simple swap with Brewer. Worst case scenario is rolling with a starting five that was playoff-worthy last season.

As for the bench, the second unit may have trouble scoring points unless Smith is a better creator than expected, but defense should be solid and hold its own while the starters rest. And just to be clear, Martin, Dieng and Blair are all plus offensive weapons. Should be much improved.

I’d also be more than happy to chuck Shved in the river in favor of a traditional PG with decent-enough handles if one can be found on the cheap.

Final point, if they can get anything of value in any bench trades, the roster could and should look a lot better. But I can’t know that so I’m just doing what I can. Still think this is a very solid roster with a not-totally-disastrous future if our Golden Boy up and leaves.

Now let’s all hope Old Man Anna Nicole Smith (aka Flip) can do better than this pedestrian/very doable plan. You’ll be shocked, but I have my doubts.

Episode 61: Diaper Play at Stu’s House

A little bit of Twins talk and a whole lot of Wolves bitching. Other mentions: Tracy Chapman, molotov cocktails, Minnesota insecurity, the poet laureate 50 Cent and drunken wives.

Episode 60: Dry-humping Peanuts Characters

Jon, Clarence and Brandon discuss:

  • Parents getting turnt on work trips
  • The case for keeping Kevin Love
  • The case for firing Flip
  • Teddy B and the art of pre-raging
  • Update on Twins’ 2016 outlook
  • How we can get Rick Spielman fired (hint: check the ep title)
  • World Cup

#HireStu

Episode 59: You Leave Bob Out Of This

Brandon was out of town this week, so we turned to Emergency Podcast Guest (and Jon’s brother) Dave Marthaler to fill in with the rest of the gang.

After Dave confirmed that the podcast is not, in fact, just Jon sitting around a table with a bunch of stuffed animals, imitating their voices, he joined in the talk about some and perhaps all of the following:

  • The Vikings draft (which was like a month ago, but we haven’t recorded a podcast in awhile)
  • Speculating on what Brandon might think about Kevin Love
  • The end of the Wild season
  • Gopher football
  • Are the Gophers better off than they have been in years, overall as an athletic department?
  • Landon Donovan being left off the USA’s World Cup roster

There was some other stuff in there, too. It got strange at times, not least because both Marthalers sound the exact same.

Episode 58: The Horse ebooks of Politics

Football scouting expert and temporary Canadian John Sharkman leads us in a draft-heavy episode. We get reeeeeeeal deep as we argue the merits of John Football, Ted Bridgewater, Bork Blatles and more. Spoiler alert: we’re praying for Manziel, planning for line depth.

After the honest-to-god legitimate sports conversation, we spend the rest of our time BSing about The Big Lebowski, Bob Ford, the cost of Coronas, and Minnesota bar go-tos.

Episode 57: You Can’t Rope the Wind

Podcaster Emeritus Michael Rand and his comically verbose pal Rocket make the trek to Sportive HQ, and things get real confusing, real fast. We piloted a new thing in which we broach a topic, move on to something else, bring it back up again, forget the original point, get confused, suggest yet another topic, swear at each other, and somehow an hour later we end up at the place we began. A place called Nowhere.
Specific topics:

  • Rocket referring to Stu as a “box of smashed assholes”
  • A Sportive Roast
  • Why hockey twitter sucks
  • Twins rest-of-season predictions
  • So much laughing at Rand for backing Pelfrey
  • Why Mauer sucks (Team Brain Injury vs. Team Lil Joey’s Feewings aw Huwt)
  • Wolves talk, for some reason
  • Johnny Football vs. Teddy B

And a lot more. This one’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.


Hey, by the way: our podcast is on Stitcher now! If that’s your podcast app of choice, listen to us there!

Episode 56: Bathtub Full of Steak Fries

The great Holly Manthei dialed in for her third appearance, chock-full of the scatter-brained nonsense you’ve come to expect when we all get together. A few of the many items we hit on:

  • East coast cobblers
  • Beer science
  • Sour beers
  • How to reach your spreads
  • Grommets 2, the movie
  • The Mount Rushmore of MN Soccer (somehow includes 45 people)
  • Girbaud jeans & New Kids on the Block
  • The true story of what Holly did with her World Cup medal
  • Meat markets
  • Hypercolor tees
  • Peep show booths

We also touched on glory holes and unleashed roughly 75k swears, because of course we did.

Episode 55: I Don’t Broke My Arm

Hockey stats nerd and President of Deutschland Hans Van Slooten joins us on a puck-heavy episode. Discussed:

  • Wild playoff preview/predictions
  • Odds Mike Yeo is around next year
  • Gopher Frozen Four recap
  • Stu and Jon getting after each other, delightfully
  • Why we hate UND
  • Four seconds apiece devoted to the Twins and Vikings
  • Brandon discussing his team allegiances followed by a chorus of fart sounds

And a bit of Wolves talk just to allow Hans to get a few below-the-belt shots in. Enjoy, puckheads.