Bring on 2016! It’s been a year, hasn’t it?! That one in the rear view is a 12-month timeframe that so many just want to see go far far away. From an NBA worst record of 16-66 to the loss of Team boss Flip Saunders and all things in between, fans have been looking forward to the calendar page turning to ’16.
Well, it has been a heck of a year and it’s understandable. The rollercoaster of rebuilding, the highs and lows of wins one night and consecutive losses to follow with more and more talent on the team’s roster. I’ve said it time and time again, the Minnesota fan is tremendous fan but one who has had real struggles enduring more L’s than W’s. And forget about this being Timberwolves exclusive. I know Twins and Vikings and even Wild fans who can bellyache with the best of them.
Dozens of notes and conversations have hammered this writer during a week that is normally quiet ((By the way, I hope your Christmas or Holiday celebrations were great! Ours were wonderful…it’s been a fabulous time to spend with family and friends)). Wolves fans want better times NOW. That’s what I take from the notes so let’s jump, together, into 2016 with many of your thoughts.
We’ll lead off with a topic from Steve in Brooklyn Park. In my years of writing here, I’ve never gotten as many notes regarding one topic over a two week time frame as this has. And Steve is writing more many fans it appears; I'm a longtime Wolves fan and just started reading your blog. Nice work and thanks for the objectivity of being a fan but also someone who’s watched the game for a long time. I just want to know, WHY are we (The Wolves) not playing Kevin Martin?! You watch the teams that consistently win and they mix veterans and youth. I believe that was what Coach Saunders had in mind and I don’t see it here. I’ve stopped going to games and will periodically check the TV to see games. I don’t have to be an NBA Coach to know that young talent learns more from winning than losing. Sitting Kevin Martin is not good. There’s plenty of time to spread around. I just don’t think Flip would do this. Again, in fairness, a number of fans wrote on this same topic. I selected Steve’s note to cover the topic.
It’s clear that this is a sensitive subject and affects Coach Mitchell, GM Newton and veteran Kevin Martin. Playing time is what appears to be at the root of the issue and a trade is likely. It also affects fans that don’t understand the complicated situation and just see a nightly outcome that frustrates them. What’s clear, in my opinion, is that something, likely a trade, has to happen soon. The “X” factor, if you will, in this situation is that Kevin Martin is a teammate who’s well-liked by fans and his fellow players and that teammates don’t like to see one guy singled out as Martin is right now. Only four Wolves score in double figures and K-Mart is one of them averaging 12 points a game. Martin was also playing 25 minutes a night and that is now being divided out amongst other guards while not sitting well with fans. In the notes and conversations I get from passionate fans, they see Martin as a veteran who can help them win. Winning is their bottom line. And for that reason, there is a disconnect growing and Wolves management knows it. I’m not holding back any high level secrets here. Fans believe a healthy scorer night in and out will help turn around this team.
Davis in St. Paul writes; The Wolves won 16 games last season and we’re not at the All Star break with 12 wins this season. I don’t see us as one of NBA’s “have-nots” as you like to label them. Your thoughts? Keep up the good work!
Davis thanks for the note and I agree. I believe this team has left about a half dozen losses on the table that should be wins. That happens every year but is bothersome when I break it down as you are doing. That said, with so much upside on the Wolves roster, they will continue to improve. However, I see three NBA teams who appear to be very shaky. They are 1.) Sacramento, 2.) Phoenix and 3.) Washington. The Kings have been in turmoil even before the season started with old school Coach George Karl reportedly at odds with Center DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings were handed a loss by the 76ers just the other day. That’s a red flag for any team. The Kings don’t look all in. I think it shows just watching them from afar. By the way, for Philadelphia, that was just their third win on the season. They own the NBA’s worst record of 3-31. Secondly, Phoenix is changing assistant coaches, just lost Eric Bledsoe to season ending injury and all the rebuilding juice gained two years ago has seemingly dried in the Arizona sun. Trouble in the Valley of the Sun. Thirdly, I pick Washington over the LA Lakers because the Lakers are just bad. The Wiz was also on to something special until injuries ripped them in half. No Bradley Beal, no Drew Gooden and no Nene (but Whip may play soon). Lose big time players and it affects your rotations and on court chemistry. It’s true. We’ve lived it here. The Wiz sit in the cellar of the Southwest Division. Great note. Thanks for that Davis.
Lisa in Maple Grove; Give me a break. I want the Wolves to close in the 4th quarter. That’s my New Year’s Resolution.
Lisa, thanks for the note and I do too! Is there a free agent closer we can bring in to make it happen? 3-up, 3-down?! OOPS, wrong sport. Just having a bit of fun. I agree. But I have a different NY resolution. I gotta’ shed some pounds…..Next!
Mark in Osseo has the final thought; I've have to think that all this losing is going to send (Andrew) Wiggins off to another team soon. Can we keep him?! And so it starts. Mark, I appreciate the note but AW is here and not going anywhere. Yes, I’m sure he hates to lose but he can see things are improving. Maybe not as fast as you would like but AW is a franchise player the Wolves will not let walk. Write it down, ain’t happening.
So with the New Year rolls in plenty of opinion and hope mixed with passion and frustration. It also gives us a chance to emotionally wipe the clean and start fresh! I’m going to keep my “list” short. For the Wolves in the New Year, be competitive, stay close and close on teams at the end of 48 minutes. Win at Target Center, carrying on my mantra’ bellowed out to opponents, Not In Our House. There would be nothing better than to “flip” the switch and just flat out go on a roll. Win, win and win games night after night. It’s been done before why not here?! Again, I’ve said it before and stick to it now. If you want to erase the losing years, it’s done by just winning. Bottom line. Find a way to get it done. I know its coming. Why not now?!
Happy New Year to you all. Make it a safe, happy and prosperous 2016. And please don’t forget, I’d love to hear from you. Communication is a two way street so if you have something to run by us, drop me a note at rod@gameONtvMN.com and we’ll check it out. Remember, keep your Game ON! and do not be a “casual” fan. Jump on board and keep the faith! See you on TV!
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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.
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