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Chris Hine, Star Tribune Timberwolves Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2024 8:14 pm

Chris Hine, Star Tribune Timberwolves Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR

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May 6, 2024 8:14 pm

Chris Hine joined JR to discuss the status of Rudy Gobert for Game 2 and the ceiling for Anthony Edwards' greatness. 

JR Sports Brief

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Price and coverage match limited by state law. Chris, how are you, man? I'm good. How are you doing? I'm amazing.

Thank you for taking the time to hop on. I guess the first question, congratulations, first of all, to Rudy Gobert, the birth of his child. Is he playing basketball tonight or is that still up in the air? That's still up in the air right now. Hopefully we'll get some news here within the hour and get a definitive answer on that. But right now, we were hoping they were going to have them tonight, but we'll see.

Okay. When you think about what Anthony Edwards has been able to do, a little bit of a surprise, no surprise at this point, dropping 43 points on Saturday. He's been on a roll, man. Yeah, I think it's a little bit of a surprise just how kind of quickly he's grown this season. I mean, we've seen Anthony Edwards get better every year of his career. I think what's remarkable about this season and this run is that even up to maybe one or two months ago, he wasn't really playing like he's playing right now with this kind of really solid decision-making, this late game execution, things like that. The ability to read defenses, he's doing it at such a high level right now, really even better than he was, say, in January or February.

So I think that's what's most remarkable about this is that you're seeing a player just grow up before your eyes right now in the playoffs. Chris Hine is here with us from the Star Tribune in Minnesota. I am tired, Chris, about the Michael Jordan jokes. To me, they have played out. I know even Anthony has said, like, okay, can we relax? Can we get over this?

Is this done? Like, can we get this shut down or is this going to be on the internet forever? I think it's going to be on the internet forever. The internet doesn't like to let Michael Jordan die in that way. You know, he's always going to be a topic of conversation.

When it comes to NBA players, he hovers over everything, right? I mean, just think about, you know, LeBron versus MJ debates are going to go on in perpetuity as much as they may annoy people, right? You know, there's always going to be these things where people are comparing whoever or to Michael Jordan for whatever reason. It's what the internet is what people love to talk about.

I don't know why exactly, but it just seems to always be a topic of conversation. Well, this man certainly isn't a part of that conversation. He did pick up his own award coming off the bench. It's Nas Reed. Like, there were no expectations that he would necessarily be doing this at this point of the year. And I think a lot of casual NBA fans are fonding out about him.

Tell us about Nas. Nas, I don't know that sixth day of the year was in their hopes at the beginning of the season, but this is another example of, you know, kind of this, a young player that Timberwolves had developed the same way, like Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, who gets better with each year. And, you know, I think his confidence has grown, his emotional maturity has grown. He doesn't get as down on himself as he used to.

And I think a good example of that was game one. He had a terrible first half, didn't score two turnovers, but comes back in the fourth quarter. And, you know, before it kind of takes over late, Nas Reed got them through the early and middle part of the fourth quarter with 14 points. So he can score in bunches. He's highly skilled.

He's got a great handle for a big man. And his defense has really improved as well. I thought he gave Nikola Jokic all he had. And Jokic, you know, certainly wins his battles against anybody.

But I thought Nas makes him, made him work just as much as anybody might make Nikola Jokic work on that end of the floor. Well, Chris, you've covered this Wolves team all year long, and we could talk about Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. Not a lot of people talk about the dude who's going to be 37 later this year and Mike Conley. He ended up playing 76 games this year.

He's been hurt a lot more recently. Do you think if he wasn't as available and present, would the Wolves be right here? What impact has he had or not had on this team's development?

Huge. And, you know, that can't really be understated. Just the the impact that he has from a leadership standpoint, from, you know, he really is a point guard. You know, the definition of a point guard runs the offense, gets everybody organized, is a leader on the floor, helps the Anthony Edwards, you know, kind of dissect defenses, is always in his ear telling him what he sees on the floor.

Always, you know, he says sitting next to him in film sessions, you know, helping guide him through that. So, you know, Mike Conley is invaluable to this team. And, you know, when they need him to, he can score, he can hit threes, he can still hit that floater. He and Rudy Gobert have excellent chemistry on the pick and roll, which can look unstoppable at times. And yeah, Mike Conley, they're not here in this position without him, that's for sure. Now, Chris, you talk about Rudy Gobert again, and everybody will publicly support the man on the birth of his child. If he's not there to help, I don't want to say bully around Jokic, there's nobody bullying him around. But if he's not there, that lessens their odds and chances of winning. I mean, are the fans, have you heard fans upset or worried or bothered?

What have you heard, if anything? I mean, the general consensus on social media is people understand, you know, it's the birth of a child. I mean, I personally don't have any kids.

I don't know what it's like. But, you know, I think people understand that this is a moment that's bigger than basketball, even a playoff game. So that's honestly the general reaction that I've seen. And, you know, I think the team is the same way. Anthony Edwards earlier this season, he missed the second half of a close game against the Kings, you know, to to witness the birth of his of his daughter.

So it's, you know, it's one of those life moments that you have to do everything you can to try and be present for, you know, no matter where you're at professionally in your life. Chris is here with us from the Star Tribune. When you look forward with what we've seen in Game 1, we don't know the status of Gobert as an overall knowing that, yeah, OK, he will eventually be back, even tonight. You got the Wolves taking a series? I stay out of the prediction game, but I think Denver's been for a run for their money like they haven't seen in the last two years. I think this Wolves team is as equipped or better equipped to take them down than any team they faced in these last two playoffs here.

And I think the Wolves are a smarter and more mature team than they were a year ago when the Nuggets faced them in the first round of the playoffs. So I expect a deep, I expect a deep series, a fun series. I don't see anybody really blowing anybody out as long as the teams are at full strength. I'll condition that with. So I really do think it's going to be an epic second round series and, you know, one that's really more worthy of a conference finals building than anything else.

I'd agree with that. Not knowing the status of Rudy Gobert was nice on Saturday. To know that Chris Finch was able to show up despite having his knee blown out. How is he feeling after sitting down and the travel and what have you? He's good, right?

He seems good. I mean, we talked to him yesterday at practice and he said he thought game one went well from a communication standpoint with his staff, with the players. The players said they thought it went well. So, you know, it's a little, it's a little different, a little different arrangement having him sit back there.

But all in all, it seems to have gone about as smoothly as possible from everybody's account. So, you know, I think the fact that he's able to just be there and be around the bench and communicate is helpful. I don't think he wanted to be in the locker room or be in a suite. I think just being near the action, you know, even if it is not in quite in his typical role. But being right there kind of in the thick of it is what he prefers and it's what the team wants.

And everybody was OK with how it went in game one. Chris, last question for you. We talked about Anthony Edwards and how he has grown. What's the next step? Like, what possibly could he do next outside of what he's already doing? At this point, he's playing like the best two guard in the entire league.

What's left for him to grow into? Well, I mean, it's consistency. That's what marks great players in the NBA. You know, how often can you do this? It's not necessarily can you do this? Can you play like this on a given night?

It's how many times can you string it together? What makes Nicole Jokic so good is, you know, for instance, Nicole Jokic doesn't go out and occasionally do, you know, 30 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. Nicole Jokic does that every night he takes the floor.

Right. That's the mark of a great player, MVP caliber type of player. So that's the next step for Anthony Edwards is finding a way to reach that level where he's doing this kind of stuff every night and not once every, you know, let's say three games or once every four games.

And, you know, maybe in that span he has maybe a clunker or an off night. So that's the next step. It's finding a way to do this all the time. That to me is the next the next step in his growth. Well, Chris, thank you so much for taking the time. Where can people follow you and your work with the Star Tribune? Twitter at Christopher Hine, H-I-N-E and Star Tribune dot com. Head to our website and subscribe for the symbols platform as long as we'll be doing it.

Hey, I think we're going to have a great run. Hey, Chris, thank you. Enjoy the game. OK, thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-06 22:38:30 / 2024-05-06 22:43:17 / 5

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