October 14, 2006

Wolves Preview: Griffin and Blount

The 2007 edition of the Timberwolves Previews are getting underway. Expect to have the whole team by the end of next week if I have time. Feel free to comment on each player and let me and all Wolves fans everywhere know what you think each players role will or should be with the Wolves.

After I'm done with all of the players, I will have an overall team preview which will include a predicted record as well as team awards and key games. Before I get going, I should also let you know that I will not include the few players that are in camp that I don't think will make the roster.

Eddie Griffin:
Offense:
Eddie has been very inconsistent on offense throughout his tenure with the Timberwolves. It seems as if he has cut down on the number of three pointers that he takes. If he takes more shots inside expect his numbers to rise as far as percentage goes. Griffin will help the Timberwolves on offense most by getting rebounds and allowing them to get more second chance points.

Defense:
Defensively, Griffin is a good rebounder but often gives up easy shots. Griffin is by far the best shot blocker on this team. If he would have gotten more minutes last year, he may have led the league in blocked shots. Expect him to get more playing time especially late in games when the Timberwolves have a lead and need to put their best defenders on the court.

Overall:
If Griffin can stay out of trouble with the law, he should see more playing time than he did last year. As I mentioned above, he should see more playing time late in games when the Wolves need their best defenders on the court. Don't expect him to start but if he plays expect blocked shots and a better offensive game; without the three-pointers.

Mark Blount:
Offense:
Blount came over mid-way through the season last year and really excelled offensively. This year he will have a half season and a team training camp under his belt so expect him to be more active offensively as he will know the playbook much better. If he can take smart shots and control the ball, expect him to average around 10-15 points per game. Don't expect a lot of offensive rebounds, as he hasn't ever been a very good rebounder.

Defense:
Blount is not known much for his defense, he is one of the worst rebounders on the team as far as big guys go. He has sometimes been known as soft but he has shown improvement so far in camp especially in blocking shots. If he can play more physical this year, expect more rebounds and as I said before more blocked shots.

Overall:
Blount will most likely be the starting center for the Timberwolves. If he can average in the teens for points and become more physical on defense he may be a difference maker and surprise many people. However, he may have to prove himself before getting minutes. It is possible that he will have to share minutes with Eddie Griffin who could challenge him for the starting role.

A Quick Look Back:
It seems as if the Minnesota Timberwolves have two choices for the starting center role. They could go with the guy known more for offense Mark Blount, or they could go with the guy known more for defense and blocked shots Eddie Griffin.

As I mentioned though, it is possible that the Timberwolves could pick up someone outside of the organization. There have been teams interested in both Marco Jaric and Trenton Hassel. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Pictures courtesy of Griffin Profile and Blount Profile at NBA.com.