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Being A Basketball Fan In March Is Fun

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Here we are in early March. College basketball conference tournaments have started, high school tournaments will start soon and the NBA playoff races have started to heat up. And in the last three months, I’ve broken my nose and hand playing basketball. GO SPORTS!

We’ll have plenty of content on the site throughout the next month or so focusing on certain players’ successes in the tournament. Think about it. The Wolves have Tyus Jones, Gorgui Dieng, Brandon Rush and Cole Aldrich who have all won national championships. That’s pretty remarkable.

For what it’s worth (nothing), my top-5 favorite college basketball players in the last 10 years:

5.) Jon Scheyer, Duke

I’m a Duke fan. You hate me already, I know. But Scheyer played exactly like I would if I knew how to play basketball. Launch 3-pointers and cross your fingers. Scheyer averaged 18.2 points per game in his senior season and shot 7.2(!) 3-pointers per game, connecting on 38.3 percent of them. Plus, a guy I played intramurals in college with called me Scheyer all the time for absolutely no reason at all. Like literally no reason. I am very bad at basketball. Jon Scheyer was not.

4.) Dane Bradshaw, Tennessee

Who is Dane Bradshaw, you ask? No, not the comedian. Bradshaw played at Tennessee from 2003-2007 and averaged 5.5 points per game during his senior season. My best friend Adam and I had a million inside jokes about Bradshaw. I was 17 during his senior season and I don’t even remember what those inside jokes were. But Adam, this is for you.

Sometimes I lay awake at night and wonder what Dane Bradshaw is doing. Then I feel creepy and just fall asleep.

3.) John Wall, Kentucky

He gave me a move to do for two-straight spring break trips. In related news, my friends ditched me when we were out on both trips. Thanks, John Wall. Flex on the haters. Words to live by.

2.) Corey Brewer, Florida

Think about how good that Florida team was with Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford. And Brew seemed to be the media darling, always smiling. Turns out when he went pro, nothing at all changed. All smiles, all the time for Brew.

1.)  J.J. Redick, Duke

I tend to like players everyone else despises. Redick fits into that category perfectly. People hated Redick when he was in college. We forget that these guys are teenagers and in their formative years. If I had to go through what Redick did in college, I’d be in a very dark place today. Although, I did eat an entire container of Goldfish the other day, so you could argue that I am in a dark place.

And then there’s the race for the playoffs in the NBA. In the West, there are four teams within four games of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth seed with about 20 games left, the Wolves being one of them at 3.5 games out. And in the East, three teams are within three games of Chicago for the eighth seed. And then you see that San Antonio is 2.5 games back of the Warriors (without Kevin Durant) in the West for the first seed and the Celtics are just three games back of the Kevin Love-less Cavaliers in the East. Things could get interesting before the season ends on April 12.

MVP Race

Who should it go to? I have no freaking idea.

But I am baffled that Kawhi Leonard doesn’t get more love. The dude is averaging 26.3 points, six rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 38.6 percent from the 3-point line on 5.2 attempts per game. I talked to Steve Thomson of WCCO Radio on Sunday (shameless self-promotion) and we were both kind of flustered why we aren’t talking about him more.

I know we can’t ignore James Harden and what he’s been able to do in Houston, helping the Rockets totally turn things around from last season. And Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, which is completely absurd and shouldn’t be a thing a human should be able to do. Then again, I’m not totally convinced Westbrook is a human. And LeBron James is probably still the best basketball player in the world. But Leonard is so good offensively, and is probably the best defender in the NBA (and if he’s not, he’s in the top three).

I don’t know if Leonard should win it, but we should definitely be talking about him more.

Payne Cleared To Practice

Wolves forward Adreian Payne has been cleared to practice after being out since Feb. 7 while being treated for a condition of low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Payne said on Wednesday that he feels healthy, so that’s obviously the biggest thing here. But as far as seeing the court goes for Payne, first he’ll need to get back into basketball shape after a month off the court.

Speaking of college basketball, Payne had plenty of highlights during his time at Michigan State with Tom Izzo from 2010-2014.

Wolves Sign Stephenson To Second 10-Day

The Wolves announced Tuesday Wednesday afternoon that they had signed wing Lance Stephenson to a second 10-day contract.

In his first stint with the Wolves, Stephenson played four games and played 12.3 minutes per game while averaging 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but Stephenson is a gritty defender and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. Sounds like a Tom Thibodeau kind of guy, huh? Moving forward, we can probably expect the same playing time for Stephenson with Zach LaVine out for the season and the team being short on wings.

 

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