It’s been such a terrific September that I figured I’d leave the storm cellar, come up for air, step outside and enjoy this amazing fall. This is my time of year! Winter sports are set to launch. Being more of a roundballer than an ice guy, that means that the Wolves howl can be heard in the ol’ house late at night. I “love” the start of camp. And it’s here.
With the start of October, your new look Minnesota Timberwolves will be on the court. My buddy, Hoops, who many of you know from my writings last season, is in heaven. Hoops has been calling and texting me non-stop since the Cleveland trade. He “loves” the deal and the young “runs” as he calls ‘em who were brought in by the deal. Hoops just last night phoned to tell me, “We are going to RUN teams out of the building night in and night out. I’m calling our team the Young Runs, you know, a play off of Young Guns”. As the kids text, I too SMH as I agreed saying to Hoops, “yep, I get it”. “Young runs, cool”. I know there are those who will read this and immediately go a different direction because it can be played differently, especially if you are a first time parent with a baby. Whatever the case. I let Hoops have the floor.
I look up and down this Wolves roster and I agree with my buddy of some 35-years. There’s some talent! We both “love” the trade that shipped out an unhappy All Star only to restock the roster with these young “runs”. Let’s not kid ourselves…new seasons are built on hope and this T’Wolves team offers that to fans of a franchise looking to step back into a post season dance for the first time in a decade. Hoops and I are pumped! It’s cool for us because we have analyzed rosters together and had so much fun doing it for so long, we need some optimism! We started kicking it around in the days of “Downtown” Freddie Brown, Jack Sikma and “Don’t Fuss with” Gus Williams in Seattle and through all the teams of the Wolves for the past 15-years.
It’s a team that Flip built and he’s convinced he can win with these kids. I’ll admit. I’ve done an about-face on how I feel about it. Initially, Hoops and I were dead set against Flip controlling it all but he’s made some serious moves in the off season. Bringing in Mo from Portland, the deal we “love” and even chatting up Eric Bledsoe in Phoenix. “Loved” it! So excited he was, Hoops yelled the other day when he got his “Dunks After Dark” tickets in the mail, “dude, he ain’t done dealing yet”. Hoops is likely right.
When camp opens, there will be 18 players on the court at Bresnan Arena in the Taylor Center on the Minnesota St. campus atMankato.
There is talent and a team that just might surprise a few folks. From our favorite JJ Barea to Chase Budinger, Kmart to Corey Brewer…these vets can make things happen (if they stay injury free). You know Budinger hasn’t had a full season here in Minnesota to show off his game. It’s time.
There’s more. Cool to see Flip bring back the Pride of Purdue sharp shooter Robbie Hummel. Gorgui Dieng is going to stand out in the NBA, just watch. His game on the defensive end is strong and his play in support of big Nikola Pekovic is major.
My buddy Hoops is star struck by Mo Williams being in town and thinks he’s the missing piece. Just give him that. Give me the numbers 15, 9, 22, 24, 1 and 33 as the power ball number and I’ll retire soon. Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad, A-Wigg, G-Robinson3 and Thad Young are hell bent on showing they can stand tall in the West.
I know it’s early. It’s not even pre-season and Hoops and I are going nuts. I get that. I don’t even need Skype to see you shaking your head. But give me this. If you don’t have hope, there’s nothing carrying you into the season. Listen, we get that we’re a bit over the top…but it’s how we feel every year. It’s like JJ Barea told me a few years ago on GameON! TV. The team was struggling and he was taking heat for too many shots and not enough defense. He told us, “I came here to win after winning an NBA title in Dallas. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could win”. Through thick and thin, I’ve “loved” him every day since!
Ok, time for a couple of e-mails and notes as we always do in SimonsSays!
Nicole from Osseo writes, whatever happened to Darko (Milicic). I seem to recall you were a fan of his?
Nicole, great question! I just saw something on Darko the other day. Now that it appears that his playing days are over (have been for 2 years), Darko is now going to own and participate in pro KICKBOXING. True story! The only hitch in his giddy-up will be practice and the 4th quarter.
Kyle in Maple Grove, as a member of the media, what do you prefer to do, watch games in person or on TV?
I like this question and it’s easy! In person. In the house. There’s nothing like a game at Target Center. I don’t watch games at home like normal fans. I zip thru ‘em with my clicker and multi-task my rump off. So, in person is the best.
WNBA GOES INTERNATIONAL FOR TEAM USA:
The WNBA will have a significant presence at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey, tipping off Saturday, Sept. 27. 35-current and former WNBA players will be featured on rosters of 11 of the 16 participating countries, including Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
In all, 21 current WNBA players will be in action, including 11 of the 12 members comprising the USA World Championship Team. The USA squad is led by 3 members of the Lynx, Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus will join Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird, the first four-time USA World Championship Team member, and the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi, the reigning MVP of the 2014 USA’s World Championship squad. Both veterans were members of the USA’s gold-medal-winning teams at the 2002 and 2010 FIBA World Championships.
ZACH TURNS PURPLE!
If you are going to the Vikings game Sunday against Atlanta, get there early! Wolves 2014 first-round pick Zach LaVine will be front and center as he sounds the Gjallarhorn. It’s a gig reserved for the big time guys and it’s going to be great publicity for the Wolves before Sunday’s Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons game. The game will be nationally televised on Fox.
GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! The Wolves have season ticket packages that include 20 home games and offer significant discounts over individual game prices and additional benefits including free tickets to the home opener on October 30, 10 percent off merchandise in the Timberwolves ProShop and invitations to year-round Gold member events. Fans who purchase a half season package also receive priority to purchase tickets to the Wolves vs. Cavaliers game on January 31. A limited number of lower level full-season memberships are also currently available now for as low as $25 per game. Learn more at timberwolves.com.
SimonsSays on TV/PODcast: GameON! host Rod Simons is the winner of a 2014 Emmy award for show host! It’s exciting news as GameON! starts its new season and continues to showcase the Timberwolves like no other broadcast show in the region. GameON!is powered by Budweiser and is broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes, on demand via our new GameON! App (free and available for Apple/Android) and online @ www.gameontvmn.com. There is always a Wolves update on my TV show,GameON! Don’t miss an episode of the Emmy winning GameON! @ 10am this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 and throughout the weekend regionally on MidCo Sports Net.
GameON! offers in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves). We’d love for you to “like” us on Facebook @ GameOnTvMN. Drop me a note, Rod@KTWIN.com
GameON! is also seen in North & South Dakota and Western Minnesota on MidCo SportsNet several times a weekend. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays @ Timberwolves.com. You can now get SimonsSays in new PODcast form with insight/input from fans just like you and exclusive player interviews! Keep an eye out for SimonsSays PODcast @ Timberwolves.comeach and every week.
And last but not least, please catch Rod throughout the day on 96.3 KTWIN-FM. Rod keeps you inside the team with This Is Twins Territory & the signature Prep Playbook which can also be found @ www.KTWIN.com.
We talk Wolves. Every day. High’s & lows. We’re there because we are fans, just like you! Keep your GameON! See you soon!