The Big Picture: The Minnesota Timberwolves are run by David Kahn, a guy who -- deservedly -- finds himself the object of ridicule for many of his player personnel decisions. However, while his execution is decidedly shaky, I think he's got the right idea: As long as the Wolves stink, he's consistently tried to identify high-upside, young, players at the expense of present-day talent and coherence.
Kahn whiffed on DeMarcus Cousins and Brandon Jennings in favor of Wesley Johnson, Jonny Flynn, and Ricky Rubio, and nobody else thought signing Darko Milicic for as many years as he did was a good idea. But no one said finding a superstar was easy, or that Cousins, Jennings, or anyone else he passed up will actually become a superstar. Compare to the Bobcats' acquisitions the past few years, from Jason Richardson on down, in which Charlotte kept acquiring more present-day talent in exchange for both salary cap considerations and players with unknown potential talent.
I'm not sure the Wolves are in a better place, moving forward, because the Cats did gather enough talent that might be attractive to other teams, should they decide to blow it all up, but the Wolves have provided their fans a sliver of hope that a future superstar is on the team, and they've demonstrated that they're actually looking for one. Right now, the Bobcats have no one who has shown reason to believe he can be the best player on a championship team someday.
Musical Interlude: Jeremih ft. 50 Cent -- "Down on Me" (video's backstory)
Key to Victory: Through eleven games, the Beasley signing has to be considered a rousing success. After Luke Ridnour, Beasley's the team's second-most efficient scorer, while getting top-scorer usage. Though his rebounding has dropped precipitously, that can be partly attributed to Kevin Love starting the season on a historic rebounding pace, and partly to where Minnesota's playing him, on the wing.
Earlier this year, I advocated the Bobcats attempt to get him because he's still only 21 years old and had been yanked around in Miami, but I also thought he'd be best-served sticking to a power forward role and not drifting out to the perimeter much anymore. Thus far, he's 8-19 from three, but I imagine that will change, moving forward. Furthermore, though it's still too early in the season to come to hard conclusions, it does appear that Beasley is still more effective when used next to one other big man instead of as a wing next to two big men, and that if Kurt Rambis would simply dispense with Darko, he could play small ball with Love, Beasley, Johnson, Corey Brewer, and point guard. They'd have trouble protecting the rim, but it's not like Darko is Dikembe, either.
What does all that mean for the Cats? Keep Beasley outside. Gerald Wallace will be matched up on him for much of the night, and he would do well to let Beasley play in the style that, historically, has destroyed his teams' effectiveness. When Beasley gets closer to the paint, his combination of size and speed causes problems for anyone who tries to guard him.
Also, don't let Love get 31 rebounds.
UPDATE: Rick Bonnell reports Kwame Brown may play tonight.