Reminiscing With Ratke

Welcome to the first edition of “Reminiscing with Ratke.”

Before we dive in, let me answer a few questions from the imaginary readers.

What will this column be about?

This weekly column, posted every Saturday (you know, when people don’t read…), will take a look back at the events that occurred throughout the NBA during the last week. This isn’t just a Timberwolves-focused thing. We’ll touch on everything from Michael Beasley’s hair to the new mascot of the New Orleans Pelicans AKA the ClownBird (more on this later).

Who are you?

Good question. My name is Kyle Ratke and I’m the Web Editorial Associate for the Timberwolves. If you followed the Lynx at all, you might recognize my name. If you didn’t, then you have no idea who I am. Hopefully if you read this column on a regular basis, that will change.

Are you going to be all serious and stuff?

Who knows? This column is meant to be more of a conversation with readers and most of the time, it will just be me throwing a few thoughts and observations of things happening throughout the league. This column is kind of a wildcard. I’m not quite sure on the direction we will take quite yet. This could be a rough first month. Buckle up.

Questions Going Into The Week

After months of draft talk, “WHERE WILL DWIGHT GO?!”, training camp and practices, here we are. This week was like Christmas, only better because my little sister didn’t wake me up at 4:45 a.m.

“KYLE, MOM AND DAD SAID YOU HAD TO GET UP!”

Really, Amanda? Nobody is up besides you and you know if we get mom up before 6 a.m., we'll have to hear about how hard life was in 1978. Nobody wants that.

Regardless, basketball fans across the world were thrilled when Orlando and Indiana tipped things off on Tuesday evening.

Before the week started, I had a few questions that I thought were important for the basketball community.

Is Derrick Rose Completely Healthy?

This is a difficult question to answer. Is Rose completely healed? Probably. It’s been more than a year since the electric point guard tore his ACL. But mentally, I’m not sure if he’s all the way there.

I was talking with Mark Remme the other day and both of us agreed that with an athlete as explosive as Rose, it has to be incredibly difficult to judge where you’re at with your body. Without his quickness, what is Rose? An average point guard? Slightly above? He relies on his quickness not only to drive to the hole, but to drive and kick.

We also decided that Adrian Peterson is an alien.

In first game back, Rose played 34 minute (this is good…) and scored 12 points. The bad news is that he shot 4-of-15 from the field, 1-of-7 from the 3-point line and had five turnovers. But if I’m a Chicago fan, I’m not nervous at all. He had a few moments throughout the game that brought us back to 2011.

He missed 11 shots and had five turnovers. That doesn’t sound like a guy who isn’t healthy. It sounds like a guy who hasn’t played a competitive game of basketball in more than a year.

Can/Will Dwight Howard fit in Houston?

While it’s only been two games, it looks like Howard has fit in just fine averaging 15 points and 21 rebounds in two wins.

I know you can’t judge these things on two games. If we did that, I would have been the starting point guard of my varsity team after scoring 20 points in a pickup game.

With Howard, I think it’s all about his mindset.

We have to remember, Howard didn’t choose to play in either Los Angeles (trade) or Orlando (draft). He picked Houston because he felt the most comfortable there. I don’t know how you feel about Howard. I know that I was annoyed during his back-and-forth situation in Orlando. I was sick of hearing about him and Kobe fighting like the Kardashian sisters. I was sick of him taking up my Fourth of July weekend with his big decision.

But I follow his actions. Stupid, I know, but we are basketball junkies. That’s what we do.

Howard might not be the Kareem or Wilt that we thought he’d be when he entered the league, but he is arguably the best center in the NBA and he makes the Rockets a better team.

You know, until he asks for a trade…

Will the Lakers be horrible?

No Kobe. No Howard. An aging point guard who can no longer play back-to-back games and a center who was in his coach’s doghouse for the majority of last season. That doesn’t exactly sound like a team to fear in the Western Conference.

The Lakers surprised us by beating the Clippers in the first game of the season, but came back down to earth while falling to the Warriors. I’m not sure if this team will be as horrible as some predict, and much of that will depend on when/if Kobe Bryant comes back and what type of player he is when he returns.

Remember, the only reason this team made the playoffs last season is because Bryant played out of his mind for the final two weeks of the season.

In related news, Bryant received $24 million on Friday. I still buy Ramen Noodles. So yeah, there’s that.

What did we learn during the first week?

Michael Carter-Williams could be the cornerstone for Philadelphia

It was only one game and it was against a Miami Heat team that isn’t loaded at the point guard position, but 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds? Are you kidding me?

If you are single and play fantasy basketball, pick him up!

There were a lot of questions about how the former Syracuse star would transition to the NBA, but if the first week was any indication, he should be just fine. These aren’t numbers we should expect all season, but with limited depth, MCW will see 35-40 minutes every night, getting every chance to improve throughout the season.

THE CLOWNBIRD IS COMING FOR YOU!

There are no words for this. I am working from my home computer, so I can't insert a photo, but Google the new mascot for the Pelicans. Actually, don't. You'll sleep better tonight.

This combines two of my scariest things in the world: Big Birds and Clowns.

Scary stuff, folks. Don’t look into its eyes.

The Timberwolves will score points

In their first two games, the Wolves have averaged 110 points. This isn’t much of a surprise. A team with scorers like Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic should hit that number quite frequently this season.

The more impressive thing is that the Wolves have hit that mark when Pekovic and Martin haven’t been at their best. Defense will be a question mark for the team, but if Minnesota can play the team-defense that was played in last night’s win over the Thunder, this season could be a good one if you’re a fan of the Wolves.

Tomorrow’s game against the New York Knicks will be telling on where the team is defensively.

Well, folks, that’s all we’ve got this week. As always, thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.