It’s amazing what one question posed over Facebook Chat can turn into…Where do you stand on our little debate?
DP = dpearson45 CM = caseymaikkula AS = ascherber
Suggestion by AS: What do you guys think about this: A debate piece about who is closer to relevance, or becoming good again; the Wolves or Wild and why?
AS: If I was in on writing for this one, I’d have to take the Wolves though.
CM: Uhh, I would also argue for the Wolves, so it’s up to Dave if he wants to argue for the Wild haha.
And let the debate begin:
AS: Wolves at least have two semi-marquee players who could develop into stars, and are theoretically further along in the rebuilding process.
DP: Wild are in much better shape. They are about to get a bunch of bad contracts off the books, and can actually attract free agent talent, unlike the Wolves.
AS: Wolves really don’t have any bad contracts though, aside from Darko, and that’s arguable, if or when, we get a PG who can make him look good, and a coach who doesn’t inexplicibly use Darko as the #2 option on offense. The free agent draw thing is not a Minnesota-specific thing. Free agents will go where there is money, and a chance to win.
AS: I’m not all that versed in hockey, but it seems like it’s easier to build a winner in basketball. You really only need like 7 guys to contribute on a good team. In hockey isn’t it like 15?
DP: Wolves were 15-67 dude. Wild almost made the playoffs. Wild are already relevant.
CM: But look at how often a bad NBA team one year, goes to the playoffs the next. Bucks, Grizzlies, Celtics, Trailblazers, Thunder, 76ers, Bobcats, Pacers, Knicks, Bulls, and Hornets have all done it in the last 2 years. Hockey, not so much…it’s always the same damn teams ever year.
AS: And it depends on your definition of “relevance.” Maybe we should have the question be, “Which is closer to winning a title?”
DP: So you think parity is the reason why? You mean the league where all the superstars are condensing into 8-10 teams? Not to mention there might not even be an NBA season for the Wolves to improve upon next year, or the year after that. That gives the Wild a pretty good head start, especially when they have never sunk to the level of the Wolves in the first place, don’t you think?
CM: Hockey’s the same way though. The Sharks, Red Wings, Capitals, Penguins, Blackhawks, Canucks, Kings, Flyers, and Bruins are all STACKED…
AS: Yeah but if you are asking, “Who is closer to winning a title?” You get into the discussion about whether or not the Wild have to blow it up and start over to become good. Wolves have Love, Beasley, Rubio (maybe), and Wes Johnson. All they need is just one superstar perimeter player, and better play from the 5, and they could arguably be a playoff team with all young guys.
CM: Like scherber said, it’s way harder to get playoff/championship production out of your top 2 lines and goalie, than it is to get playoff/championship production out of 5 players, and maybe 1 guy off the bench.
DP: Hockey is different because playoff series are more wide open. The best the Wolves can hope for, outside of Kyrie Irving being an absolute superstar near the level of Derrick Rose (if they even get lucky enough for once to win the lottery), is the 8th seed in the playoffs and a swift kick to the balls by the Lakers or Thunder. I mean, does anyone here think Philadelphia (76ers) is a contender? That’s the level they are headed for as of now. The Wild took a garbage team to the conference finals in 2004. I’m not saying it can’t be done by any means. I just think it’s an easier task to build a “contender” for the Wild because of the parity in the playoffs, and the fact that the Wild will be much more flexible with money after next season. Not more flexible than the Wolves though, I meant compared to their current situation.
CM: Hot goaltending had a large part in that 2004 run. You also gotta look at the state of their conferences. Every team, besides the Thunder and Grizzlies, is getting old, so the Wolves could be a 4-seed by 2013.
DP: A lot of this really depends on Granlund. If he is as good as advertised, the Wild would have three marquee players in Koivu, Burns, and Granlund; with Havlat, Bouchard, and hopefully Latendresse carrying the secondary load.
AS: If Rubio lives up to the hype, he automatically makes everyone better – like A LOT better. It’s crazy that we had two 20-point scorers on the Wolves, with Ridnour playing big minutes. Let’s say they swing a deal for someone like Monta Ellis, and somehow attract a Tyson Chandler/Brendon Haywood center to come via free agency. And the young guys learn to work on their weaknesses (Beasley – playing smarter, Love – defensive hustle, Wes – dribbling, Darko – go back to Serbia), a Rubio/Ellis/Beasley/Love/Chandler lineup with Wes/Ridnour/Randolph bench is suddenly a damn good team with teams like the Lakers, Suns, Spurs, Mavs all getting old.
DP: Is Wes Johnson going to sign an extension to come off the bench? Is Randolph going to be happy with coming off the bench? Both those guys are gone if they’re not getting starters minutes. There is about 25 turnovers per game in that lineup, too.
AS: Perhaps, but it’s a lineup that could put up 120ppg as well, and getting a legit defensive center would be key, because Darko literally has a (female genitalia).
CM: I don’t think we’d get Ellis, and he doesn’t play well off-the-ball, and he’d have to do that if Rubio is running point, obviously. But i do agree if we get someone to fill the 2, we’re all good. I’d bet we could get Brandon Roy back (Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace, Nicolas Batum, and Rudy Fernandez all take up too many minutes, and Roy’s injury prone).
AS: Roy is done. I bet he retires in less than 2 years, but yeah Ellis might not be the best fit.
CM: Gotta remember that Nuggets situation too. Far too many good players for so few spots. I’d bet JR Smith is gone, and I’d have no problem putting his streaky shooting and athleticism in our lineup.
AS: And as for Wes and Randolph coming off the bench as the 6th and 7th man on a good NBA team, both those guys could easily see 30+ mins per game with Wes rotating in at SG/SF and Randolph in the big man rotation at both PF/C. Both should be happy with that because Randolph will never be a starter for the Wolves.
DP: Ok, so let’s play hypothetical with the Wild, then, assuming minor improvements for every player like you did for the Wolves. You have a potential top 6 (mix and match how you choose, that’s what’s good about hockey) of Mikko Koivu (learns to finish), Havlat (stays healthy and motivated), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (cruises around with Havlat without being concussed, great hands, puts up 50 assists again), Granlund (lives up to the hype), Latendresse (stays healthy). Cullen is fringy, but he could suffice, and like I said, they will have money to play with after next year. Then you have Burns as a legit #1 d-man, Scandella and Spurgeon both look like keepers, you have a PP specialist in Zidlicky locked up. Backstom is your goalie, and he showed flashes of being as good as he was a couple years ago. Will he ever put up those numbers again? Probably not. But he can definitely be an above average goalie.
CM: Good points; don’t know if we’d be able to attract star-power to the Wild. Not that the Wolves do either, but major contributions/improvements from with-in are more likely from the Pups, I think.
AS: Yeah but is hockey a sport that sees guys in their late 20’s and early 30’s improve that drastically? I’m assuming improvements like that for the Wolves because literally the entire roster, aside from Ridnour, are under 25 years old.
DP: P.S.- Darko actually rates as a pretty damn good defensive center, according to John Hollinger.
CM: Yea, so does Joel Przybilla…
AS: I doubt John Hollinger watches the Wolves play. Darko gets his blocked shots, but also plays way too soft most of the time.
DP: The biggest thing for the Wild is simply staying healthy. They’ve got players who have proven they can succeed at the NHL level. They just need luck on their side, and a little less sand in the vagina.
AS: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever even see that Latendresse dude play. I read about him, and hear people talk about him, but he’s like the lochness monster.
CM: Latendresse=Greg Oden of Hockey, lol!
AS: Another beef I have with the Wild is how they have the worst color scheme in all of sports. Wow. The Christmas colors suck, and it’s sad when your best kit is the all-green one with no other colors. The Wolves uniforms are so fly; especially the black ones.
DP: I think they’re trending away from the red and green together. Most merchandise is green now. Definitely agree though.
CM: Wild need a coach as well. No way any free agents are coming here without knowing who the coach is. At least Rambis comes from Phil Jackson’s Zen lol.
DP: You act like they’re not going to have one by the time free agency starts…
CM: I didnt mean it like they won’t have one; more like what kind of pull is he gonna have?
AS: Wolves need to hire someone who will kick the young guys in the ass; Sam Mitchell maybe. Rambis’ hippy shit doesn’t work when you don’t have a true leader.
DP: Let’s not act like Rambis is any prize. There are a couple good, proven coaches on the market that I think the Wild will go for after failing with a rookie coach.
CM = caseymaikkula
AS = ascherber
DP = dpearson45