Blog Profile Central: Dunking With Wolves
Get To Know: Dunking with Wolves
Editor's Note: The Timberwolves community is fortunate to have a collection of dedicated, knowledgeable blogs that cover the team year in and year out. It's a network of gifted writers who bring a mixture of insightful analysis and humor to the game of basketball and the Wolves. Over the next nine weeks, Timberwolves.com will profile nine members of this community through a series of Q&A sessions with the founders and main contributors at each site. Part III focuses on DunkingWithWolves.com, which began its run in the Wolves' blogosphere in 2009.
Blog Name: Dunking with Wolves
Web Address: http://dunkingwithwolves.com
Year Established: June 29th, 2009
Main Administrators (with Twitter handles): Mike McDonald (@missiveattack)
Contributors (with Twitter Handles): Ben Beecken (@bbeecken), James Glenn (@notclose2famous)
What sparked the creation of the blog and what is the focus message you try to send to your readers?
My wife and friends would ignore me even more intentionally if I didn’t have an outlet for my fandom. I write from the long-suffering fan’s perspective for Wolves fans of any tenure. The message I’m trying to send is one of hope and patience with more than a dash of cynicism.
The corporate line is: Dunking with Wolves is a part of FanSided Network, which is part of Sports Illustrated Sites.
What will readers find on Dunking with Wolves?
I pull news from all sources, give a best-case/Wolves-case scenario and do game previews. Ben and James (who are ridiculously awesome) run all of our game wraps, as well as features and power rankings.
From a feedback standpoint, why do viewers choose to come to Dunking with Wolves?
The themes that develop over a season don’t really get a lot of attention by beat reporters in traditional outlets, certainly not nationally. Whether it’s debunking the myth that Ricky Rubio can’t play defense or meticulously (sadistically?) cataloguing every trade David Kahn has made, I feel we do a good job in identifying themes and I hope it enriches the fan experience.
What keeps you so dedicated toward analyzing and following the Timberwolves each year?
It took me awhile to learn: If you’re a Wolves fan, you can’t go through life constantly wondering what would have happened if the Wolves didn’t trade Stephon Marbury and had kept Brandon Roy, or drafted Joakim Noah and Stephen Curry, or pulled off that move and gotten Paul George for Jonny Flynn, or found a way to get Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow or anything resembling a 3-point specialist this year. You can’t live like that. There are rubber rooms and Vikings jerseys for those people.
The most satisfying reason I have for following the Wolves is watching players like Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio come into the league with obvious professional-level skills, watching them see what they can and can’t get away with, add other facets to their games and keep improving year after year. Seeing skilled players like Pek, AK and Dante come to the team, find their niche and compliment their teammates while putting their own stamp on the game, it makes you appreciate the star players and the team-building aspect of the NBA. Watching each story arc get woven into all of the others, it’s a league-wide character drama and the Wolves have been one of its more tragic acts.
Favorite Wolves memory?
I feel like we’re all obligated to say Game 7 against Sacramento, but it seems like such ancient history. Ricky’s first games against OKC, Chicago and Miami were all pretty spectacular. Ricky and Love’s 3s in L.A. to beat the Clippers were pretty spectacular. (So was Wayne Ellington’s reaction.)
Biggest decision the Wolves need to make/address this offseason?
Sign Pek, but that’s closer to a no-brainer than a big decision. The perimeter shooting and the Derrick Williams situation seem more important and vital -- because Pek’s contract does get pretty prohibitive if you’re carrying multiple backup point guards and a backup combo forward on your roster each making around $5 million.
Most vital move: obtaining a legit shooting guard and inexpensive perimeter shooting in general.
How do you view the Flip Saunders hire as the new President of Basketball Operations?
It’s like somebody getting back together with their high school girlfriend. It’s not necessarily good or bad, but it’s kind of both. In a word, it’s comfortable. The Sixers hire of Sam Hinkie, and the Suns for Ryan McDonough, make it look really poor.
I hope Flip wasn’t just paying lip service to advanced analytics and that Team Adelman is on board. Analytics departments are for more than just advertising. In spite of all this, I’ll view it with tepid enthusiasm if Flip plays nice with Team Adelman, finds some shooting defenders, keeps Love happy and the core intact.
If you’re making selections for this team in the draft, who do you ideally take with that first pick?
Victor Oladipo has the efficiency, defense and athleticism that are ideal. That said, McCollum and Caldwell-Pope look like they’d be alright, too. I wouldn’t be despondent if either picks were moved, so long as they’re for efficient guys and not chuckers like O.J. Mayo and Jamal Crawford-types.
What was the most enjoyable storyline in the NBA this season? Why?
This was one of the most painful seasons I’ve ever seen, with so many injuries everywhere -- not just to the Wolves. Ricky Rubio’s return to form and then seeing him explore his scoring potential made the season feel like it had a developmental purpose for him. Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham were my favorite surprises -- AK’s “running like a young deer” comment and Cunningham’s willful hustle were gifts that kept on giving.
Which beat writers do you follow closely to get more information on the Wolves?
Britt Robson has been a beacon for me since Steve Aschburner left. Jon Krawczynski is a superstar. Benjamin Polk, a poet.
Which are some of your favorite NBA- and Timberwolves-related blogs you follow?
I was big on I Heart KG. When Sonia Grover left, I followed all the way to Canis Hoopus. That community is fantastic and Stop-n-Pop will be missed. A Wolf Among Wolves, Punch Drunk Wolves —there is no shortage of quality blogs covering the Wolves and I hope we can be a quality contributor. Glad you’re shining a light. Thank you for including us.