The NBA’s second half begins tonight and very few towns are excited as Minneapolis. In fact, it might be safe to say no 11-win city has ever been this pumped to play ball. Ever.
For those of you who still pick up and read a newspaper, the headlines on this fateful NBA Friday said it all. Alpha Wolf Returns. Yes he has.
The excitement, the buzz and the “hope” that fills the basketball air in Minnesota is because of the “Ticket”. Kevin Garnett is back, back “home”. The former prep phenom from Chicago, the player who put MPLS basketball on the NBA map (all due respect to the ‘50’s Lakers) and the player who was traded to go win rings in Boston, is back. Garnett’s decision to come back (and it was his call thanks to a serious contract) was a highlight on an active NBA trading deadline day.
By now, if you follow the NBA or follow the Wolves or know anything about KG, you know that this is big. Like it or not, bitter feelings from his trade years ago or his demeanor on the court or whatever, KG’s return is much like the call made by Twins Gold Glove outfielder Torii Hunter.
To come –back- means something today. LeBron James proved it by returning to Cleveland as well. High profile, established winners like those rarely make this move. In this day and age of players moving via free agency for the money, to go –back- to a place where your career was made means more now than ever.
First and foremost, it’s a character thing. It means that any bad feelings are likely water under the bridge. They are gone or at least resolved. It means that place, in this case Minnesota, DID mean something to you.
Back then, I’ll never forget KG’s returns to Target Center. Yes, those Celtic teams with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Coach “Doc” Rivers were better than most teams but KG was never a Celtic to me. Yes, they won and won Championships. But KG was and always has been a Timberwolves guy. Just as James was a Cav to me.
This is a win-win because little is expected of Garnett on the floor. Really. KG will give more, being here, than he had in Brooklyn. He wasn’t Brooklyn. The legendary KG bravado was Brooklyn’esque but he was not in the picture there. That team is a mess. Their leadership is a mess. KG was needed here and Exec/Coach “Flip” Saunders knew it.
Flip knows the value of KG on the court. KG in the locker room. KG on the team. Kids like Andrew Wiggins, slam dunk winner Zach LaVine, inconsistent Anthony Bennett, to even vets like Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin will feel “it”. “It” is greatness. That one player who has, and at times still, can dominate. Garnett is NBA greatness. Like him or not (and there are those who are grumbling and denouncing the move), Garnett’s impression will be left on Wiggins and team T’Wolves. Just as vital players are returning from injury to contribute and make this team competitive, Garnett’s mere presence will do even more. In the lockerroom, KG gets all the space he needs. No one player is next to Garnett. He has an open stall on both sides of his. Garnett will show, by example and with every step, what works and doesn’t work in his basketball world. A winning world.
This isn’t Ken Griffey Junior returning to Seattle and being unable to deliver. Garnett can do plenty on less than a half tank in his 7-foot-frame (oops, he still insists he’s 6-11). Garnett will look at members of this team and they’ll know the fear of Ticket. KG’s glare is gruesome. His goal, even joining an out-of-the-playoffs-11-victory team is still to win.
As the Wolves improved on the court over the past few weeks, it has made it more fun for Wolves fans and in particular, trade day. I was enjoying the range of emotions on social media and my e-mail on trade day. Joy wrote on Facebook “Wednesday...My butt will be in my seat at Target Center for the return of KG....Benefit of being a season ticket holder; I have my tickets... #BigTicket. Championship boxer Caleb Truax of Minnesota was thrilled and mentioned the KG jersey he carries everywhere. It stays in my gym bag every day in case I forget a shirt... Had to dig it out today! #BigTicket. One of the biggest Wolves fans I know is my colleague on GameON! TV. Jeremy Johnson AKA “The GameON! Guru” says it’s one of the best days in Minnesota basketball in a long time. It will be SO beneficial to the young kids. KG will mentor these young “pups” like no other.
So, as the Wolves continue to evolve with new young players, their small core of veterans and now the returned “Ticket”, enjoy the ride. I continue to insist that these Wolves are starting to get it. And for as much as I’ve insisted that the best thing that could have happened to team Timberwolves was the trade of Kevin Love that brought in Wiggins. This move to bring back KG might just be as important. Wiggins will now be learning from a future hall of famer. KG is basketball elite. He’s back home.
Alpha Wolf IS back. This fan couldn’t be happier.
Fan Jam via e-mail to SIMONSSAYS!
This from FarAwayFan Zak writes:: Just checking in from Derby, England here, massive wolves fan since I first picked up a basketball as a kid. I remember walking into the only american sports shop in derby and picking up my first basketball jersey ever - garnett 21, so as you can imagine (and as we all are!) Im pretty happy/excited about the news of the return of 'the big ticket' but my question to you is who is the future PF for this wolves team? Will AB fulfill his potential or is adriean payne now the answer? As you can imagine I hardly ever get to see any games as they are not broadcast over here much (And when it is its nyk or lal) so I havent seen much of either player at all. Love reading the blog by the way although admittedly its only been since the app was available as you can imagine all things wolves is hard to come by over here so the app is amazing for me and keeps me up to date with all the highlights and news :)
Zak thanks for checking in from across the pond. Great to get your perspective. The roster is in shake-out mode so we’ll watch as Flip bends and builds around Wiggins and Rubio with KG’s help. It is an exciting time for sure…thanks for being on the team and not a “casual”fan!
That’s it for now. Spring’s closing in and until next week, keep your Game ON! and do not be a “casual”. Stay on board. Keep the faith! See you on TV!
What’s on your mind?!
If you are a serious Timberwolves fan (and even the casual fan is allowed), drop me a note with your thoughts. Write me at rod@gameONtvMN.com.
This is cool! The Wolves have launched a new mobile app that gives fans instant access to exclusive Wolves content and live game coverage. Fans can download the free app on iOS and Android devices by visiting Timberwolves.com/mobile.
The official Timberwolves app offers fans the ability to follow live game content including the score, stats, shot charts and related social media conversations via the Game Tracker. The app also allows fans to seamlessly check the team’s schedule, roster and conference standings. Fans on the go can stay engaged and updated with the team by accessing Wolves articles, photo galleries and original videos through the app. New features including ticket sales integrations, fan experience modules, exclusive membership content and more will be added to the app in the near future. The app is another step the Wolves have taken to accommodate the continued growth of mobile web use. Last season, the Wolves launched their re-designed website that is optimized for mobile viewing.
Tune in for Twolves!
Timberwolves games will be on radio for the 2014-15 NBA season and all 82 regular season games can be heard on News Radio 830 WCCO-AM, while La Mera Buena 107.5 and La Neta 95.9 will carry 15 games.
This is the Wolves’ fourth season on their flagship station, News Radio 830 WCCO-AM. Alan Horton returns for his eighth season as the Wolves play-by-play announcer. Horton will team up with studio host John Focke to produce 30-minute pre- and post-game shows that will be featured on-air and streamed online at www.wcco.com for every game.
SimonsSays on TV/PODcast:
GameON! and Rod Simons are winners 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@go963MN.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.com each and every week.
And last but not least, please catch Rod throughout the day on GO96.3 FM. Rod keeps you inside the team with This Is Twins Territory & the signature Prep Playbook which can also be found @ www.go963MN.com.
We talk Wolves. Every day. High’s & lows. We’re there because we’re fans, just like you! Keep your GameON! See you soon!