Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – Recap – October 12, 2013 – ESPN

Austin Daye scored 12 points to help the Toronto Raptors win a sloppy preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-97 on Saturday night.

Raptors’ Steve Novak no mystery man | Toronto Star

“I’m very clear about who I am as a player and I think my role, it can be (needed) on this team,” said Novak, the only tangible asset obtained by the Raptors in the summer trade of Andrea Bargnani. “Obviously, to spread the floor for DeMar (DeRozan) and Rudy (Gay) and just give them space is important, and to just make shots when I get them and just always be aggressive. I think having guys like Rudy and DeMar will make my job easier, and hopefully vice-versa.”

Did Andrea Bargnani really deserve to be booed by Toronto Raptors fans? | National Post

Bargnani certainly could have helped himself out, though. He could be aloof with the media, which should not matter but does impact the public’s perception, and often appeared disinterested on the court. He failed to move the needle much when it came to his two primary weaknesses, rebounding and help defence, two skills that are closely associated with effort and basketball intelligence. Beyond that, the constant rumblings from within the organization that Bargnani milked injuries, or at least did not rush back from them, painted a picture of a player who tried but did not give everything he had to the team.

Timberwolves Fall to Raptors 104-97 | Canis Hoopus

Despite the rough start shooting the ball, Toronto’s inability to hit their free throws and keep Love off the line kept the Wolves in the game early, and the worst the Wolves saw in the quarter was a 7-point deficit. As the quarter went on, the offensive flow improved dramatically, and the quarter was a competitive one for the most part.

Raptors Hold Off Wolves, 104-97 | Timberwolves.com

“Our first unit is flat, so that’s a challenge to us,” Wolves forward Kevin Love said. “I thought we played better on both sides of the ball in the second half, but starting the game we just need to bring it more. We need more energy, we need to know what we’re doing offensively and pick it up defensively. Overall, we just need to play better.”

  • mountio

    Kevin Love: Advanced stats guys’ nightmare. This guy just keeps on rackin up the stats and his teams keep on suckin .. [not so much a comment on this random preseason game … just a comment in general]
    On the raps, seems like a game where they gave everyone some run .. so probably a sloppy game to watch. Good to see LF hit a three and go 3 for 4 ..

    • DDayLewis

      Have you seen the players he’s played with?

      • mountio

        Absolutely. Rubio, Pekovic (both borderline all star types and arguably better than ANYONE on the raps), Shved, Kirelinko .. even D Williams .. hes had a totally reasonable supporting cast. Kevin Martin this year.
        The guy is out of excuses ..

        • DDayLewis

          Rubio is a borderline all-star? Are you kidding me? I love Rubio, but he isn’t anywhere near All-star level yet. And I don’t quite know what you’re trying to accomplish with Shved and D.Will. They’re both pretty mediocre.

          He played 18 games last season. It was a very injury plagued season. It’s hardly fair to attribute his team’s lack of success when he played in less than a quarter of the games.

          • mountio

            ok .. perhaps a stretch for rubio since the position is loaded . but hes a very good PG. Certainly better than anyone we have had in TO. NBArank had him 47 last year and 49 this year – again, better than ANY raptor. So, certainly no slouch ..
            Pekovic absolutely a borderline all star. So, Ill repeat it again, with two players better than anyone on the raps (plus himself), shouldnt his teams be better? Not sayin he shouldve won multiple championships, just saying they should be WAY better than they have been.
            Sure, he was injured last year, but what about the previous 4 years??

            • DDayLewis

              Why are you comping Minnesota to Toronto? That really has no bearing on how good Kevin Love is. Like I said, I love Rubio, he’s one of my favorite players, but the dude can’t crack 40% on his field goals and he has a long way to go. Pek is also very good.

              Look at his team in 2011-12. Can you really say that the roster was great? Rubio shot 36%, Pek only played 27 minutes a game, and beyond them you have shitbags like Milicic, Ridnour and Michael Beasley. How far do you really expect to go with those guys?

              http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/MIN/2012.html

              If you go one more season before that, his teammates were even worse. Rubio wasn’t here yet and Pek was a rookie. Wes Johnson started 63 games. Milicic also cracked 60. Ridnour was the starting PG.

              http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/MIN/2011.html

              So again, how is it all on Kevin Love that his teams have been shit?

              • mountio

                I compare to the raps because a) this is a raps site, so seems like a reasonable barometer that most people can relate to and b) its a team that many people on this site think is going to the playoffs, despite having no players as good as the wolves top 3, and no one even close to the gawdy Love).
                So .. my point is simply that his teamates have NOT been shit (and even if they were, a stat stuffer like him should be able to at least float them to the playoffs). A team with three top 50 players (given 30 teams, each team should have, on average 1 or 2) should not be complaining about its talent. At some point, Love has to be accountable.
                For some reason, he gets a free pass .. and I just dont get it.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  You have to look at the circumstances. Last year, Love basically missed the season, so you can’t look at that team at all.

                  The season before, he played just 55 games and Rubio missed more than half the season. And Rubio wasn’t all that great in his rookie season, anyway.

                  Luke RIdnour has been the starting point guard and third best player on the team for most of the time Kevin Love has been healthy. Michael Beasley was one of the main players. These are not signs that your team is going to be very good.

                • DDayLewis

                  No, he’s had three teammates who haven’t been shit in Kirilenko, Rubio and Pek, but Love barely played with Kirilenko last season, Rubio was injured for another half season and Pek was playing limited minutes in the seasons prior to the last one (where, again, Love was injured).

                  You can’t possibly look at the minutes played/games played charts for the 2011/12 and 2010/11 seasons and claim that he’s been playing with great teammates. That hasn’t been the case whatsoever. Rubio and Pek are good players, but they have not always been good, and they have not always been prominently featured on the Wolves. Love isn’t being blamed because people are reasonable about the circumstances

                • mountio

                  ok .. visceral reaction as expected.
                  Lets see what happens this year when he is a top 10 PER and win shares guy, has two other top 50 teamates and Minny struggles. Ill be interested in your thoughts (and Tim’s below) at that point

                • DDayLewis

                  If Love, Pek and Rubio are all healthy this season, I totally expect this team to make the playoffs in an incredibly competitive Western Conference.

                • mountio

                  make the playoffs?! I should sure as hell hope so with 3 top 50 players and one all “top ten” one.
                  The measure of success for K love should be much more than making the playoffs (hell the raps might make the playoffs this year .. albeit in a weak east). Why does this guy keep getting a free pass ….?

                • DDayLewis

                  I’m not sure I’d put Rubio in the top 50, and Pek is a fringe top-50 guy. The West is tough, man. It’s not about free passes or not.

                  What would satisfy you? Love taking his team into the second round of the playoffs?

                • mountio

                  one of two things would satisfy me
                  1) Love take the wolves at least to the 2nd round. If hes as good as the advanced stat guys think, that should be easy .. especially with two other top 50 guys on his team
                  or
                  2) People admit that Love is what he is .. a very solid guy who fills the stat sheet but isnt a superstar at all .. something like a top 20-30 player (ala Chris Bosh.. who btw even lead the raps to more with a shittier supporting cast)

                • DDayLewis

                  Really? You think there are 20 players who are better than Love?

                • mountio

                  Yes – thats the whole point of my rant. Quickly i would go with something like

                  LBJ, KD, CP, CA, TD, TP, DW, RW, KB, JH, BG, KI, SC, LA, DN, DH, MG, AH, RR, KF maybe CB, ZR. Theres 21 quickly.
                  BG, ZR and CB are arguable .. but they have certainly had more success (winning) than he has.

                • DDayLewis

                  Sorry, in the future, could you please spell out those names? I’m having trouble with some of the names on that list. Am I correct in assuming that your list is as follows?

                  Lebron
                  Durant
                  Paul
                  Anthony
                  Duncan
                  Parker
                  Dwyane Wade
                  Russell Westbrook
                  Kobe Bryant
                  James Harden
                  Blake Griffin
                  Kyrie Irving
                  Lamarcus Aldridge
                  Dirk Nowitzki
                  Dwight Howard
                  Marc Gasol
                  Al Horford
                  Rajon Rondo
                  Kenneth Faried
                  Chris Bosh
                  Zach Randolph

                • mountio

                  yes – correct, although you missed Steph Curry

                • DDayLewis

                  Love, when healthy, is definitely a better power forward than Randolph, Griffin, Aldridge and Faried. He’s arguably better than Nowitzki, Bosh and Horford.

                  I’m also of the opinion that Love is better than Rondo and Irving. You’re missing guys like Curry and Noah.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  I have to agree. I’d definitely put Love ahead of those big men, although I don’t know about Rondo or Irving.

                • mountio

                  I dont necessarily strong disagreement with guys you threw in .. all have an argument either way. But, you look at Loves advanced stats and youd think he blows these guys out of the water.
                  Rondo has been the best player in playoff series that really matter. Hes on another level to me. Irving, while young, has shown more of an ability to lead a team than Love (espeically when you consider love has had 5 years)

                • DDayLewis

                  You don’t even need advanced stats. Is 26/13 not enough for you?

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  I don’t think Love IS a superstar. I think he’s a little better than Bosh was in Toronto. I think in order for him to be a superstar/top 10 player, he needs to either become an unstoppable offensive force (like Dirk), or become and impact player on the defensive end.

                  Right now, he’s an elite level rebounder, a very good scorer and passer, and that’s it.

                • DDayLewis

                  26 points per game on 57% TS% isn’t unstoppable enough?

                • mountio

                  Its all about context. Love stuffs the stats when it doesnt matter with the best of them. Dirk scores, when the whole building knows the play is being run for him .. the defense schemes for it .. and he still delivers. In the playoffs. Under pressure.
                  There is a BIG, BIG difference

                • DDayLewis

                  What? How can you just simply make the statement that “love stuffs the stats when it doesn’t matter”? That’s ridiculous. I could wave my magic wand and say that about any player in the league.

                  Everyone on the opposing team knows that Love is Minnesota’s biggest threat, but he scores anyway. I’m not saying he’s better than Dirk, but he’s at that level.

                • mountio

                  You can not, however, say that any old player has been threw multiple rounds of the playoffs as a stud scorer that other teams focused on though (and still delivered). Dirk has. Love hasnt.

                • DDayLewis

                  Yes, but this circles back to who Love has played with. He has had a litany of shitbags playing beside him, and the one season his supporting cast was any good, Love was injured.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  We really have no idea how Love will perform in the playoffs, so it’s hard to make any definitive statements.

                  I seem to be in the middle of the two of you. I don’t think Love is a top 10 player, but I also don’t see him as low as you seem to.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Love doesn’t ability to create his own shot that someone like Dirk has. He’s a very good 3 point shooter and can definitely score, but he’d be easier to shut down on defense than a guy like Dirk.

                • DDayLewis

                  What? He gets the ball in the post and he’s relatively unstoppable. He was assisted on 58% of his made field goals in 11-12. League average for Power Forwards is 67%.

                  http://www.hoopdata.com/advancedstats.aspx?team=%&type=pg&posi=PF&yr=2012&gp=30&mins=20

                  And come on, nobody scores 26 points per game without being able to create his own shot.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  He did that over basically half a season almost two years ago. Until he’s able to do that again over an entire season with a playoff team, I’m not ready to anoint him.

                  And I didn’t say he can’t create his own shot. He’s just not on the level of a Dirk Nowitzki.

                • DDayLewis

                  I really don’t see how whether his team makes he playoffs or not validates his ability to score individually. He played 55 games out of 66 in 2011-2012. This isn’t a Bargnani-esque 13 game sample (I’m not comparing the two, please nobody make this into a Bargs discussion).

                  I do agree about him not being at Dirk’s level quite yet. Dirk’s scoring+efficiency numbers are nuts.

                • Guy

                  When healthy, I don’t think there’s any question Kevin Love is one of the best players in the league. In comparison to Nowitzki, I think Dirk has the edge overall on offense, but Love is the better option defensively. The question with Love is health. If he can get, & stay healthy, I’d suggest Love is the better option today simply because he’s 10 yrs younger.

                • Guy

                  You need some tylenol yet?

                • Guy

                  You’ll never win when you’re arguing with god.

                • RapthoseLeafs

                  Bosh is a great comparable, although I’m more likely to see Love as … same stuff, different DNA.

                  In CB’s last year with Toronto, he put up almost identical per, as Kevin did in 11/12, with a slight bump in rebounds favouring Love.

                • Casey Sherman

                  Pek was around 25th-35th in win shares/PER. I agree about Rubio though. But then you have Kevin Martin who’s pretty good as well

                • DDayLewis

                  Kevin Martin is a sieve on defense, but he’s always been a great scorer. He’s going to rock out in Aldelman’s offense.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  The only good team Martin has ever played a big role on were the Thunder, and he came off the bench. He might be one of the worst defenders at the shooting guard position. The only reason he’s sought after is because he’s also one of the most efficient scorers in the league.

                  I do think Minnesota is going to struggle mightily defensively, because they have so few good defensive players, especially in the front court.

                • Casey Sherman

                  For the record, I think they’re going to miss the playoffs. And if they make it, it’ll be on a virtuoso season from Kevin Love. They have an absolute mess at SF.

                • DDayLewis

                  Spurs, Thunder, Spurs, Grizzlies, Warriors are locks. Who do you like more than the Wolves?

                • 3242

                  rockets clippers?

                • DDayLewis

                  yeah…that was a weird moment. fixed

                • mountio

                  Clips and Rockets for sure (assume you meant to type clips above). The 7 and 7 seeds are up for grabs between Por, Minny, Den, Dal. Personally, I think that puts Minny 8th-10th

                • DDayLewis

                  Portland is surprisingly deep this year. It’s going to be a dogfight for those last two spots.

                • Meow

                  – said Everyone watching the Western Conference the last 10 years.
                  haha just sayin

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  I think, barring injury, that Minnesota is going to grab the last spot.

                  Portland, on paper, looks good, but I thought they looked pretty good last year and they finished with a worse record (slightly) than the Raptors.

                  I think Denver is going to collapse big-time. Without Iguodala and George Karl, and with JaVale McGee looking like he’s going to start and Gallinari out for who knows how long, I can see them winning 20 games less than last year, and possibly even more than 20.

                  Dallas has Monta Ellis, now, so that right there is a guarantee they’ll miss the playoffs. Even with Dirk.

            • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

              Two years ago, Love missed half the season and Rubio played just 33 games, and he was just a rookie. Luke Ridnour was their third leading scorer. Enough said, I think.

              The season before that, Michael Beasley was the team’s second leading scorer and he played 32 mpg. Enough said there, I think.

              The year before was pretty much the same.

              You really need to look at the teams Love played with. Really.

  • GoingBig

    It looks like we are still waiting on TRoss to progress. I didn’t see any progression this pre-season in an important thing – consistency.
    I wasn’t too hyped on a rookie breakthrough for him; I’ll keep waiting; maybe Ujiri won’t.

  • Guest

    mountio :

    “Rubio, Pekovic (both borderline all star types and arguably better than ANYONE on the raps), Shved, Kirelinko .. even D Williams .. hes had a totally reasonable supporting cast. Kevin Martin this year. The guy is out of excuses ..”

    I couldn’t care less about Love or his perception, but your argument is so bad I had to respond to it. If I had no other knowledge to go on, your above statement would make it seem like Love has been constantly losing despite having two borderline all-star types to support him. “The guy is out of excuses” implies a significant sample size. So let’s see if your argument makes sense, shall we?

    1. Whether Rubio and Pekovic are borderline all-star types is arguable, but since a wall of text could probably be written arguing for against that assertion, I’ll just leave it at that.

    2. “Kevin Martin this year.” When arguing about his past supporting cast, what relevance does Kevin Martin have? They haven’t even played any regular season games yet. If your only reason for bringing him up is to back up your “The guy is out of excuses” conclusion, then read on to #4.

    3. “Sure, he was injured last year, but what about the previous 4 years??” I’m going to do you a favor here and pretend you didn’t ask this question. You argued that he has a reasonable supporting cast comprised of Rubio, Pekovic and others, who are only relevant for the last two years, and not the 3 years prior to that. If you believe he had a reasonable supporting cast in the three years prior to Rubio’s arrival, do make the argument, but I cannot guarantee that people won’t laugh.

    4. Since the core of your argument revolves around Love having Rubio and Pekovic, let’s take a look at the games they played together. The relevant seasons are the last two, as Rubio has only been on the team for two seasons, and Pekovic did not play enough to be considered a borderline all-star type his rookie season. Last season is easy. Love only played in 18 games, in which the team went a fairly competitive 9-9. Contrary to your argument, the Timberwolves managed a .500 record during these 18 games, while only having Rubio available for 3 of the 18 games. Furthermore, in those 3 games, Rubio was hardly a borderline all-star as he averaged less than 19 minutes per game, while contributing a *total*, not average, of 8 points (on .182 shooting), 9 assists and 5 turnovers, leading to a 1-2 record. Without Love, the team went 22-42 (.344).

    In 2011-2012, the trio of Rubio, Love and Pekovic only played 26 games together, two of which I am not counting because Pekovic played a total of less than 4 minutes. For the record, however, the team went 1-1 during those two games, so it doesn’t have huge bearing on this either way. In the remaining 24 games, the Timberwolves went 14-10 (.583) when all three players played in the same game. For comparison, in the other 42 games, the team went 12-30 (.286), which is usually the sign of a team with a solid supporting cast (sarcasm). With Love, the team went 24-31 (.436) (including a loss when Love left the game after playing only 8 minutes); without Love, the team went 0-9 (.000).

    After looking at the facts, it’s clear that Love is out of excuses. He had a total of 27 games over two full seasons to prove himself, and he only managed a meager 15-12 (.555) record with the two borderline all-stars at his disposal. Furthermore, his stat-stuffing ways does not actually help his team win more games than without him, as the Timberwolves went 33-40 (.452) when he played (despite having less than a reasonable supporting cast for 67% of those games), versus 22-51 (.301) when he didn’t. Let me repeat: 27 games. The man is out of excuses.

    • Guest

      Slashes were stripped from the above post, so “arguing for against” was supposed to be “arguing for or against.” There may be slashes missing elsewhere as well.

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