Posted By: Dan Slaubaugh
The Minnesota Timberwolves community is extremely fortunate to have a large collection of dedicated, knowledgeable Wolves writers who cover the team year in and year out. Here at OTP, we are giving fans an opportunity to find out more about these talented individuals. Our third profile feature is Canis Hoopus writer David Naylor.
Name: David Naylor
Affiliation: Canis Hoopus
Web Address: www.canishoopus.com
Well, David. I appreciate you taking your time out of your day to do this. Should be fun!
It’s really my pleasure. It still blows my mind a little bit to be included on the same list as some of the other media taking part in this event, so I’m glad to be a part of it.
How long have you been covering the Wolves for Canis Hoopus?
The first piece I wrote for the site was a recap during the preseason of the 2014-15 season. I happened to be attending the game, which was in my hometown in Iowa, and offered to write a recap. I started writing in a regular capacity in January 2015.
What sparked your interest in writing and how did you get affiliated with Canis Hoopus?
I was asked by former Canis Hoopus, current Cold Omaha writer Zach Bennett if I’d be interested in writing on a more regular basis, and I just kind of went with it. I have always loved watching pretty much any kind of sport I can get my hands on, and writing about it felt extremely comfortable once I started. I’m very much still learning the craft, but it’s a fun, remarkable journey.
What will readers find by reading your content on Canis?
I try to cut a line between informative and emotive. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. I’m still learning more about advanced stats and how to integrate them in my writing to serve an accurate purpose, and I’m also trying to figure out how to have a good voice to craft a narrative more regularly in my writing. I feel like some of my best work has been driven by passion, and finding that for every possible thing is tricky. Basically, I try and bring whatever I can find to the table, and hope that readers find something they didn’t know, whether a factual tidbit or a different perspective.
What keeps you driven and motivated to cover the team with excellence?
This is a really good question to think about in the end of the July, perhaps the deadest portion of the entire year as far as the NBA is concerned. I have great respect for the hard work and hours that every member of the team puts in throughout the year, whether players, coaching staff, front office, medical staff, any part of it. Keeping that at the forefront of my mind is the best reminder that I, as someone who covers the team on a regular basis, should do my utmost to reflect that in my own work covering them.
Do you have any interest in possibly moving up in the sports media world to cover the team at a bigger platform?
If the opportunity presents itself, I wouldn’t turn it down. I’m currently halfway through graduate school but have no degrees in journalism or any background in it whatsoever other than my work at CH. I enjoy writing, and now that it’s a major part of my life I don’t want to give it up, but it’s hard to see how I could make a successful, profitable career out of it from where I am now. Never say never, though!
The Wolves are one of the NBA’s best young squads. Why should fans be sure to follow the team next year?
Fans have the opportunity to watch the enormously talented young men playing for this team grow and develop together, not only this coming year but in the years to come. From Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, to the absolutely ridiculous talent of Karl-Anthony Towns, to the fresh face of Kris Dunn, these players are still learning how to best apply their games both individually and as a team, and this journey’s going to be such a fun ride. Why would you not want to see how it ends?
Do you have a favorite Wolves memory in the time you've been covering them?
Obviously a pretty recent game, and not one I was covering live, but Ricky Rubio’s buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder last season felt so good. It was one game, one shot, but for Ricky to throw that right back in all the haters’ faces and beat a team that went on to be absolutely amazing in the following postseason, that was immensely satisfying to watch.
What was the most enjoyable storyline in the past NBA season and why?
The Golden State Warriors’ battle with history, and their ultimate failure to accomplish the title to go with their 73-9 regular season. The Warriors’ development has been incredible to watch, and I really wanted them to finish it all off in the Finals (and predicted they would in five games, which did not work out), but LeBron did what only he could do and took them down. I can’t wait to see what ridiculous things they manage to do this season, and how they embrace the role of villain.
Which are some of your favorite NBA and Wolves related writers you follow?
From the Wolves media, I can’t put any names before Britt Robson (@brittrobson) of MinnPost. If you’re a fan of the team or interested in them at all, Robson’s columns are absolutely necessary reading. After Britt, we are blessed with so many writers, bloggers and journalists that cover the team on a regular basis in Minnesota that it would be hard to make a list that doesn’t leave someone out. Read everyone and everything!
Nationally, Tom Ziller (@teamziller) and Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) of SB Nation are both excellent. Ziller’s Morning Tip newsletter is where I start almost every day to track down the best stories I haven’t found about anything around the NBA. SI’s Lee Jenkins (@SI_LeeJenkins) hits home runs with every story he writes. One other, Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) of SBN’s Denver Stiffs, Vice, Nylon Calculus and Hardwood Paroxysm, understands more about the game of basketball and how it works on the court than I ever will. Follow that man.
Rapid Fire (Flame Emojis)
Favorite sports movie? Space Jam
Favorite food? Macaroni and cheese, all day.
Favorite weather/season? Summer, always.
Favorite TV show? Probably still House, MD although Breaking Bad is very close now.
Hidden talent? I have perfect pitch. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_pitch) It’s basically a cool party trick.
'95-'96 Bulls or '15-'16 Warriors? With both recency bias and the fact that I was 6 in 1996, I’m taking Golden State.
Favorite NBA player of all-time? Steve Nash.
Space Jam or Like Mike? Definitely Space Jam
When do the Wolves finally end the NBA's longest playoff drought? I will be bold and say this season.