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 thirteenth profile feature is 1500ESPN Wolves analyst Derek James.
Name: Derek James
Affiliation: ESPN 1500
Web Address: www.1500ESPN.com
How long have you been covering the Wolves for 1500ESPN?
This will be my third season with 1500ESPN and my sixth season covering the Timberwolves overall.
What sparked your interest in writing and how did you get affiliated with 1500ESPN?
I’ve always loved writing and it’s one of the few things I think I’m good at. A couple years back I went to the Timberwolves training camp opening event “Dunks After Dark” in Mankato and wrote about the play of Andrew Wiggins. It was that piece that caught the eye of my editor, Derek Wetmore, and he asked if I’d like to join the team. It was pretty easy to say yes.
What will viewers find by reading your content?
This is always tricky because how you view yourself is often different than how others perceive you. But I’m gonna do my best here. I like to think that I provide objective, level-headed analysis of the team. I usually try to balance that analysis with numbers, quotes from players and coaches, and what I observe in the game. It’s always important for me to keep it fresh, not only for the reader, but for myself as well.
What keeps you driven and motivated to cover the team with excellence?
More than anything, I would say that I’m a fan of writing and basketball and strive to meet my own expectations with my work. If I do that, I think the reader appreciates that and wants to keep coming back. I also want to put my best foot forward because you never know who’s reading. The biggest challenge with this comes during a 50+ loss season and you’re trying to think of new angles when the story doesn’t change much.
The Wolves are one of the NBA’s best young squads. Why should fans be sure to follow the team next year?
This is a core of great young players and people. They’re a lot of fun to be around. One of the best parts of following a blossoming team is watching them grow and evolve into a playoff team. Will the Timberwolves get their this year? The next two years? Ever? I think that’s where the intrigue lies with this team.
Do you have a favorite Wolves memory in the time you’ve been covering them?
Last night’s home opener tribute to Flip Saunders was memorable but was a very somber occasion. A happier memory would be covering Corey Brewer’s 51-point game. That’s certainly not just another day at the office.
What storyline are you most excited to watch unfold for the 2016/17 season?
I’m interested in seeing how the Warriors follow up a 73-win season with Kevin Durant. I don’t think it’ll be nearly as easy as some expect and watching them come together will be fun.
Which are some of your favorite NBA and Wolves related writers you follow?
There are so many smart and talented people in this community, that I would hate to miss anyone. If someone is following me, chances are they’re following national guys like Zach Lowe, Lee Jenkins, Rob Mahoney, Zach Harper, and Matt Moore. Locally, the Wolves have a ton of talent. There’s Britt Robson, Steve McPherson, Jon Krawczynski as the big names, but a ton of others at Canis Hoopus, Punch Drunk Wolves, and a Wolf Among Wolves. If I didn’t mention anyone, it’s not personal.
Rapid Fire (Flame Emojis)
Favorite sports movie?
Uh, let’s say Remember the Titans
Burgers/Pizza/Sushi depending on the day.
Summer. I’m a terrible Minnesotan.
Favorite TV show?
Breaking Bad for first showing me how great TV can be.
To the people I work with at my day job, I always say writing.
'95-'96 Bulls or '15-'16 Warriors?
Warriors if they can get the Bulls to play their game.
Favorite NBA player of all-time?
Space Jam or Like Mike?
Please, Space Jam.
When do the Wolves finally end the NBA's longest playoff drought?