Reminiscing With Ratke

After nine games in 14 days, I am a tired individual.

Have I been playing? No. Have I been traveling with the team? Of course not.

I’ve been writing, tweeting, watching “Scandal” and writing columns that my mother will email to all of her coworkers at some point.

I can only imagine what the Wolves feel like after actually playing in these games. After last night’s game against the Nets, the team immediately boarded a plane to head to Houston. There are a lot of things I envy about a professional basketball player. The travel schedule isn’t one of them.

Here are some Week 4 questions, thoughts and observations.

Could The Knicks Miss The Playoffs?

Last season it looked like the New York Knicks could possibly compete in the East with the Miami Heat. They had an elite scorer in Carmelo Anthony, a great defender in Tyson Chandler and sometimes the offense actually looked like there was more to it than simply feeding Anthony the ball.

The Knicks are 3-8 right now, good for third last in the Eastern Conference. Somehow, they aren’t even New York’s worst team. Good for them. How in the world does a team with Anthony, a guy who is averaging 25 points per game and has six All-Start games under his belt, start the season that bad?

There are a variety of reasons for this.

‘Melo is shooting 41.6 percent from the field. This would be fine and dandy if he was shooting the ball 10 times per game. But he’s not. He’s averaging a 22.3 shots per game, which leads the league by two full shots. LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 20.3 shots per game, but is shooting nearly seven percentage points better than ‘Melo.

We know that Anthony likes to play “Hero Ball” … Or perhaps “Iso Ball” is a more politically correct phrase. I’m not sure if that’s the most effective offense for this team.

The argument that the Knicks don’t have enough offensive weapons looks good from the outside looking in, but if you watch the Knicks play, I’m almost positive you could have above average players on offense, and their game would instantly change because of the style of ball that New York plays. Unless you’re Carmelo, it’s a pretty tough offense to play in.

I think Anthony is one of, if not the best pure scorer in the league, but in today’s NBA, that style of ball isn’t going to win a title. Or even make it to the playoffs for that matter.

It also hurt the Knicks tremendously when Chandler went down with a fracture in his right fibula. With players like Anthony and Andrea Bargnani, Chandler is the only thing that kept this team above water on defense.

Chandler isn’t expected back until around Christmas. It might be tough for the Knicks to get out of the cellar until then. Their next three games are on the road against Washington, Portland and the LA Clippers…. 3-11?

Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Growing On Me…

If you weren’t a basketball fan, you would think I had some sort of fungus growing on my left foot.

Nope. I’m talking about my new favorite basketball player to watch.

Everything about this kid is awesome. Trying to pronounce his name while talking to Mark Remme in the office? Not so much.

Antetokounmpo was picked 15th overall in this year’s draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s 6’9” and has arms longer than the line at Best Buy on Black Friday.

They call him the “Greek Freak.” Yes, he is in fact from Greece, so that makes sense.

His numbers won’t blow you away. He’s averaging 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in just seven games. The thing is, he’s only 18 years old. He’s got a body similar to Kevin Durant and plays with a young (and sometimes irresponsible) amount of energy.

Is he going to be the next Durant? Probably not. I’m not even sure if he’ll be a star or a rotational player for that matter. I know that it’s just fun to watch him play because he truly is a wild card.

On Dec. 28, I’ll be in Milwaukee to cover the Wolves and Bucks game. I might ignore the game and just do a live “Greek Freak” blog. I’ll see what our web team thinks about that.

If you haven’t seen him yet, do yourself a favor and watch this.

Chase Is Back In Town!

Leading up to the season, Wolves wing Chase Budinger was one of the first players in town to prepare. After talking to him for a bit, you could tell how excited he was to rebound after an injury-filled 2012-13 season with new guys like Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin.

And then Budinger was informed that another knee surgery would keep him out for the beginning of the season.

Disheartening news for a guy who can be really valuable for Minnesota. Early this week, though, Budinger came back to the Twin Cities to rehab and prepare for his comeback.

As of now, he said he’s taking things “week-to-week”, not trying to rush anything. He said he wants to make sure everything feels right before coming back. That’s the way to go, especially with this team’s injury history.

I watched him at shootaround on Friday morning and he made something like 9-of-14 3-pointers (this is a guesstimation. My mom was texting me asking me what I wanted for Christmas). With some up and down bench play for the Wolves so far, Budinger’s return will be welcomed with open arms.

Also, he has a Fu Manchu mustache. For a guy who can only grow neck hair, I am extremely jealous.

Well, folks. That’s all I’ve got this week. As always, thanks for reading. Enjoy your week.