Ron Artest was supposed to be the post presence.
So he plays small forward, supplanting John Salmons in the starting lineup? So he hardly hits the paint, shooting mostly jumpers (albeit fairly well) as Salmons disappears from the offense?
We'll see how this situation unfolds, but Salmons has spent parts of the last three games upset with his role. And it didn't start with his quick exit from the locker room while Theus was discussing the game in the locker room afterward.
Salmons was less than thrilled to be pulled late in the game against Minnesota on Saturday, later saying about the situation "It was (disappointing). Everybody wants to finish the game, so I think that’s just human nature. That’s just being competitive."
It obviously didn't get much better. Asked about possibly losing his starting job the day before the game, Salmons said, "How do I look at it? Just like I always look at it. It is what it is."
What it is, as it stands, is a whole lot of griping early on in the season, including a few words between Theus and Kevin Martin during the latest T-Wolves' game and a handful of words exchanged between players and the coaching staff in earlier games. Salmons' situation may not be as simple as his feelings with his role, with whatever was said by Theus afterward likely playing a part. As Kings center Brad Miller correctly noted, Salmons' skills can't be lost with the return of Artest. Can Theus find the answer and restore some harmony on the home court?
* For one night at least, I was wrong about Rashad McCants (or should he be called, Mc'Can'?). He was phenomenal. And Garcia - who was burned on a couple of the buckets - was the one going home with the 'L' this time. (Check numerous Mc'Can' references below for backstory)
He's got some serious offensive game and explosion, especially for a guy who had microfracture surgery. The procedure kept Mc'Can' out of action for much of last season. If he keeps scoring like this, the storyline and stats could make him a definite candidate for Most Improved Player.
While his usage rate is high, his average of 18.6 points per game on 25.2 minutes is impressive. And for the record, I was told he has the green light from the T-Wolves' brass to use that ball all he wants as they want him to dominate as often as possible.
* The debate over whether Mikki Moore or Salmons should start being put aside for a moment, let it be known that Moore had what was easily his best game yet.
He converted tips and putbacks on offense, and pulled off that pumpfake on the baseline to get his defender in the air and slam it home for the And-1 and a 64-63 third-quarter lead. In all, last season's field-goal percentage leader had nine points on 4 of 5 shooting. He could still stand to grab a few more boards (three in 28 minutes - putting his per-48 minute rebounding rate at a paltry 7.6), but at least he looked like the Moore of last season.
I'll get into this more in depth at a later date, but it must've been about the pre-game meal. Moore, whose metabolism is the stuff of supermodels' dreams, scarfed a full basket of chicken tenders and fries and a cheeseburger an hour before the game. He does all he can to put on weight, but is still Kate Moss thin. For an NBA player, anyway.
* "Coach Bill" should be banned. The local stockbroker/season-ticket holder from the Minnesota area is still a mainstay in the Target Center, still crouching during games with one knee nearly on the playing court and one clenched fist fixed to the side of his head while wearing his fancy suit. He pounds his game program on the floor and - against the Kings - nearly gave players broken ankles as they almost tripped over him. He was a good-luck charm when the T-Wolves were good. Now? Get him back in his seat.
- Sam Amick