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Jace Frederick, St. Paul Pioneer Press Timberwolves Reporter

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April 24, 2024 9:47 pm

Jace Frederick, St. Paul Pioneer Press Timberwolves Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR

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April 24, 2024 9:47 pm

Jace Frederick joined JR to discuss how dangerous the Wolves are in the West and if Alex Rodriguez still has a chance to own the team. 

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Price and coverage match limited by state law. Hey, Jase. How are you, man? Hey, good, man. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to hop on. Let me ask you this out the gate. Any surprise about what the Timberwolves have been able to do against this big three?

But the big three, I guess they're old and they're not heavy enough, right? It's a top heavy roster? Yeah, I think the only surprise like Minnesota doing this to a first round opponent wouldn't stun me because when this team has locked in defensively, like number one defense in the NBA, but when they have gotten up for games like they defend at this level, this is what they've done. But just the fact that Phoenix all year had kind of had the solution, the code for Minnesota's defense, they'd really spread them out, put them in compromising positions, moved them around like Phoenix had scored better on Minnesota than anybody had all year. But Minnesota is kind of like they've made a few defensive adjustments and matchups and now it's turned into a lot of isolation basketball for Phoenix and Minnesota has three of the better one-on-one defenders in the NBA. So Phoenix kind of playing right into Minnesota's hands and you're just seeing it like the wolves, when they can feed off their defense, they're a really, really, really good team. And Jace Frederick is here with us, covers the Minnesota Timberwolves for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

You talk about Rudy Gobert. We also have Nas Reed I just mentioned, the sixth man of the year. Last night, Jaden McDaniels had the game of his life getting in front of everybody's face. People are just finding out about these players. Like in the case of Jaden McDaniels, why has he kind of gone under the radar? Same with Nas Reed.

Yeah, I think a big part of it is like with the wolves, they've been kind of a fringe playoff team the last couple of years and at that point, you know, you only really see them when they get in the playoffs. And like Jaden and Nas didn't play in the playoffs last year. Nas hurt his wrist with like maybe like 10 games to go in the regular season. Jaden McDaniels, game 82, he punched the wall in frustration and broke his hand.

So he missed the playoffs. So like, these are guys when you finally see the wolves, like they haven't had a kind of national TV games last couple of years. And when they finally get to the playoffs and those guys are out, like they kind of miss their moment, those 15 minutes of fame for everybody to find out who they are. But now it's like front and center. It's obvious.

It's right in front of your face. And Jaden McDaniels has been one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, but now you're seeing him do it to Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Brad Biel. And Nas Reed, it's all been about kind of opportunity for him. His role has grown each year as he's gotten better and better and better. So now like, but now you're seeing now, it wasn't exactly the same player two years ago, but he's ascended to this point. It's what's really kind of endeared him to the fan bases that everybody's enjoyed his ascension so much.

So like these are two guys who keep getting better and better and now they're finally getting their playoff opportunity to shine and they're taking full advantage. Well, Jase, everybody knows Rudy Gobert. He just was in that anonymous NBA player survey poll. He's called overrated.

He's getting choked out by Draymond Green. He says he doesn't get respect because he's like the weird guy from France. Like, does this bother him really? Does he let it brush off? Like, how does he feel about this really? I think it used to bother him more.

I really do. I think like now obviously I didn't cover him a few years ago, but just the way he talks about it now, he just seems so much more at peace with it. Like he said many times, like alluded to, like I'm confident in who I am now. Like I'm comfortable with who I am as a player. My teammates know what I bring. I know what I bring.

The fan base, the local fan base knows what I bring. So like if others don't get it, then that's kind of on them. Like that's the way he talks now.

And I truly do believe it. Like I think that maybe five years ago that does impact him, but he is so secure with who he is as a player now. And I think the respect that he feels from just teams around the league and like how they game plan. And he sees the way guys drive in and veer away rather than challenge him at the rim. So I think he now truly is like, it doesn't bother him. I really think that he sees the awards pile up. He's going to win another defensive player of the year award this year almost certainly. Like I think he feels kind of the respect he gets, even if like individual players maybe just know him as the guy who might airball one out of very 30 free throws, you know, and laugh and like the post moves aren't always the prettiest, but like he just knows his value and what he brings.

And I think he's more and more confident in that than ever before. Jase Frederick covers the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T wolves right now have a 2-0 series lead against the Phoenix Suns.

The Stars studded Phoenix Suns Durant, Booker, and Beal. Another star, an emerging star making his mark is Anthony Edwards from right here in Georgia. I've spoken to Ant-Man way back from when he was even in high school.

I guess it wasn't that way back. And you've had a chance to see him grow. How has he ascended? How is he different as a player? How is he different kind of behind the scenes as well, if at all? I know he's a little bit of a goofy kid. Yeah, he still is that like he you can get him going on any topic just like especially off the record and just start BSing with him about it.

He'll just go on and on and he's still just as funny in that respect. But I do think like he's taken his role more and more seriously like as the leader of this franchise. He goes out of his way to constantly compliment teammates, call out various guys. He on the court will say like, hey, you got to do this and this.

And then in the media, the first thing he'll say is, well, great job by this guy. That's who won us the game tonight. He's been the best maybe at like giving Karl-Anthony Townes credit whenever possible, knowing that Townes is often one of the more scrutinized players on the team. Like he really has taken on a leadership role where like everybody kind of does look to him and respect him and really follow his lead. And I think that's how he's grown into it and which at 22 for him to have such like a command of the locker room that even does have like Rudy Gobert is like 33, 34. Mike Conley is 36 and those guys are leaders as well. But like it's Anthony Edwards locker room and that's why I've seen him grow.

And also the decision making. Like this is a guy who used to, even if he was doubled, he was still going to jack up a long jumper. And like last night when you see him, he gets two on the ball, he makes the right play and it's boom, boom.

And now it's an easy play for Jayden McDaniel. And that's how Jayden scores 25 because Phoenix is putting all of its attention on to Anthony Edwards and Edwards is making them pay by trusting his teammates. So like he really does evolve. He takes coaching so well.

He really takes messages and implements them into the game. So like his maturity and really every aspect just continues to blossom every year. Oh, Jayce, you mentioned Karl-Anthony Towns. We know he was here before Anthony Edwards. There's kind of had the been a little, I don't want to say passing of the torch, but we know Anthony Edwards, he ain't going anywhere. And Karl-Anthony Towns, he's had to kind of move into that number two spot. How has he adjusted to his new role or has injuries made it a little bit easier to move him out the way? Yeah, injuries probably have made it a little bit easier, but I think in general, like Karl has lost so much in his career and has always said like, I'll do whatever it takes to win. So I think he's kind of seen like he experienced the posting a bunch of empty numbers and losing games and not getting any credit for it, almost being criticized for like, oh Karl-Anthony Towns, 32 and a loss, you know, to where now I think he's seen the full effect of like just how much more respect you get when you're part of a winning team. Like his numbers were not as good this year and yet he made an all-star team.

So it kind of cements on the message like, hey, if you win, we all eat. And I think he's seen that and he's embraced it in like these games. I think he played 24 minutes or so last night.

He didn't care. He was just beaming in the locker room talking about how he's embracing guarding whoever, whether that's Kevin Durant or whatever, and he's fine, you know. He laughed and called himself just a three and D player out there. So like I think he really is just enjoying like winning and having a chance to finally win a playoff series for the first time in his career.

So I think really kind of winning does smooth everything over and I think as long as they are doing so at a high level, he's okay with whatever at this point. Jace Frederick is here with us, covers the Timberwolves for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. We had this conversation last night on air. We know that the Minnesota Timberwolves, to resolve their ownership dispute between Glenn Taylor and and Laurie and Alex Rodriguez, that they're going into mediation and arbitration.

What's the latest? How could this end up? Is there still a pathway where A-Rod and Laurie could become full owners of this team? Yeah, I think there definitely is. I think it is a complicated one, like this mediation date, May 1st, that from everything I've kind of gathered just seems like the ultimate formality just to get to arbitration. Like I wouldn't expect hardly anything to come out of this mediation. And then they'll do the arbitration and that'll probably take place over the summer. And I wouldn't be surprised, like that totally does come down to like an arbiter looking at the contract and just getting establishment of like, was a payment made in time or whatever before the contract, that final date came that would have triggered an extension and Glenn Taylor saying no and Laurie and A-Rod are saying yes. And that should be pretty easy to kind of conclude once like the arbiter gets like the full, all the documents. And if it does come out, Laurie and A-Rod's favor, what's interesting there is like, okay, it would be ruled in their favor. But now the Board of Governors would still have to approve them. Probably like a September meeting or whatever. And now Glenn Taylor is so popular among all other NBA owners that there is a world I think where they could say, you know, we don't trust A-Rod and Laurie's financials.

We don't want you guys owning a team. And they can vote it down. It really can kind of all come down to that. So like, I wouldn't be surprised if the legal part, I don't know, even if it does go Laurie and A-Rod's direction, though, like they still have another hurdle after that. So I wouldn't expect any real resolution on this anytime soon. Like I said, arbitration probably over the summer.

And then the Board of Governors, I know, usually does meet in September and that would fit that timeline. So I think we're still a ways out on this. Jay's final question for you based on Alex Rodriguez, his own reputation, his life, his celebrity, his controversies and his successes. How does the Twin Cities feel? How do the Twin Cities feel about Alex Rodriguez, who sit in courtside, potentially be in the face of the franchise from an ownership perspective? Yeah, honestly, I think this is a really good situation for Alex Rodriguez to be in because I think a lot of other places, they might look at it and say, like, I don't know, does he have money issues? Does he have the funding?

Did they dot all their I's and cross all their T's here? But Glenn Taylor is such an unpopular figure just because of all the struggles and poor decision making that has happened with the Timurals under Glenn Taylor's watchful eye. Yeah, but obviously the conflict with Kevin Garnett, people would so love for Kevin Garnett to be back in the arena for his jersey to be on the rafters, which KJ has basically said, I'm not doing any of that as long as Glenn Taylor is the owner. So frankly, like, Will's fans just want to transition. And I think if you asked everybody like, hey, would you like a different owner with less conflict here and just a smoother transition? They might all say yes.

But if they're just picking between Alex Rodriguez and Mark Lori or Glenn Taylor, the the definitely like in the public, the winner right now would be the Lori and A-Rod side. Oh, wow. How about how about that? I certainly know that. And listen, Glenn Taylor's painting it as, hey, they don't got the money.

I'm trying to save you. So they may trade the whole team. So I guess we'll see what's going to happen, Jase. Maybe they should go to the people's court. Does that still come on TV?

Yeah, I don't know. That would be that would be an interesting case. I bet ratings would be high.

Yeah, it would. Better than than anything. Kaitlin Clark is done. Hey, Jase, thank you so much for the time. Where can people follow in your work with the Pioneer Press? Yeah, TwinCities.com is where you can find all of our Tim Rhodes coverage. I post everything on Twitter, whatever you want to call it at Jase Frederick. So any of those spots and you will find everything Tim Rhodes we've got coming out, which is quite a bit this time of year.

Can't wait to see what the Wolves do throughout the rest of this series and potentially throughout the rest of the playoffs. Hey, Jase, enjoy the ride, OK? Thank you, sir.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-24 22:53:32 / 2024-04-24 23:00:25 / 7

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