Rookie Rankings, Week 21: Gorgui Dieng’s Late-Season Surge

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Gorgui DiengWe have reached the point of the season where teams that are out of the playoff race start giving more playing time to their younger players to see what they may have.

One of those teams is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who may have something in rookie big man Gorgui Dieng.

New Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders spent the offseason loading his roster with veterans such as Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf in hope of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. While Minnesota (35-35) already has surpassed last season’s win total, break-even ball doesn’t get it done in the Western Conference.

While the veterans got most of the minutes, Dieng and fellow rookie Shabazz Muhammad – both acquired in a draff day swap that sent Trey Burke to Utah – mostly sat and watched. Through the first 64 games, Dieng accumulated 22 DNPs as Turiaf backed up Nikola Pekovic in the middle.

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Rookie Rankings, Week 20: Who Will Impact the Playoff Push?

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While Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke chase Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year, a handful of anticother rookies are helping their teams chase postseason berths and higher seeds.

The Eastern Conference has three teams in the playoff chase whose finish will be somewhat impacted by the play of their rookies. The Western Conference has five teams in the hunt with rookies playing a prominent role.

The team relying most on rookies is undoubtedly the Atlanta Hawks, who have two rookies in their rotation as they try to hold off the New York Knicks for the final playoff berth in the East.

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Tweet of the Day: Gorgui Dieng, Ricky Rubio Have Brief Twitter Exchange

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Minnesota Timberwolves rookie big man Gorgui Dieng took to Twitter on Tuesday to make a request of his star point guard and teammate, Ricky Rubio.

While inquisitive, his question also seems to have a tinge of sarcasm.

We can only guess what the backstory to this might be.

With only 16 tweets in the month of October, Dieng isn’t exactly the most active user of the social media platform. Rubio seemed entertained by his rookie center’s tweet and alluded to his lack of Twitter presence.

It is unclear if Dieng is simply asking for an autograph as a joke or if it might be some sort of awkward response to some unknown rookie hazing.

There hasn’t been any documented evidence of hazing as it relates to Dieng, but he still has an entire season ahead of him.

The NBA, like most fraternities (in pro sports or academics), has its own traditions as it relates to rookies and how they are treated.

Some guys have to carry luggage. Some guys get popcorn in their cars—see Kent Bazemore, for example.

Odds are, however, that this is simply a lighthearted exchange between a rookie center and his point guard.

Perhaps the rookie big man is simply star struck to be playing with Rubio?

 

Previous Tweet Posts:

Tweet of the Night: Dwyane Wade has been working with Tim Grover for the past two months

Tweet of the Day: Matt Bonner to New Balance, “Give Me Shoes!”

 

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Michael writes the Tweet of the Day for SheridanHoops.com.

Follow @MBrumagin

NBA Players’ Response and Support for Adrian Peterson

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Adrian PetersonThere are many tragedies in life that many hope to never have to experience.

One of the saddest realities in life is that of a parent outliving their child.

There are also many things—evil, terrible things—that no one should ever have to bear in life.

The worst of which, perhaps for a parent, is harm inflicted on their child at the hands of a criminal—whether verbal, physical or sexual abuse or even abduction or death. The burden of knowing that your child suffered such trauma is immediate cause for pain, sorrow and anger and can leave scars that can take years to heal.

Sadly, such tragedy struck the family of Adrian Peterson, 2012 NFL MVP and star running back for the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson’s two-year-old son, who had been in critical condition since Wednesday, died Friday due to wounds inflicted by the man in whose care he had been entrusted—his mother’s boyfriend, Joseph Patterson.

Patterson is in custody and will face felony charges. Peterson and his family, meanwhile, are faced with the difficult task of grieving a loss is incomprehensible.

Several NBA athletes took to Twitter to pour out their heartfelt and sincere condolences.

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Five Things To Watch: Minnesota Timberwolves

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Flip_SaundersAnother season marks another chance to feel optimistic about your favorite NBA team’s chances of making some noise. Other than a few brief stretches, Minnesota Timberwolves fans have had trouble finding any reason to be optimistic over the past few years.

From injuries to frequent coaching changes to frequent front office switches to Darko Milicic, the Timberwolves have had quite an interesting little decade.

This season is a special one. It marks the 10-year anniversary of their 2003-04 run to the Western Conference finals. That was also the last time they managed to make the playoffs at all.

Aside from the 2004-05 season, this year’s squad is probably the team with the highest expectations in the last 10 years.

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