How about that presidential election?! The Vikings free fall is on Minnesota’s mind, there’s Obamacare, more politics, perfect fall weather and more politics. Just some of the topics grabbing all the attention. So, where are the Timberwolves in this story log?
Well, nowhere to be found and believe it or not, right now, that’s OK by me. Certainly head coach Tom Thibodeau would disagree I expect. This “season of great expectations” is not off to the start that so many Wolves faithful had hoped. But the Wolves are just a few games in and there is plenty of time to get it righted. And they will. And getting that done under “the radar” works for me.
I loved watching the Wolves from the road. Always fun to go into an unknown sports bar and see your team win…and the Wolves looked great against Orlando. For the entire game!
I did it while on a business trip in which I ran into a pack of Houston hoopologists. Fans in that south Texas town have the same hopes for their revamped, up-tempo Rockets. They love their basketball, especially with the subpar season being played by their University of Houston Cougars and the NFL Texans. So, after an earful of James Harden this and Corey Brewer that, I
reminded my colleague that once the Wolves “jell” and take one big next step this season, fans, like him, will watch a Wolves team that turn heads. Nightly.
Night in and night out. Be it the Cavs or Clips, the Spurs or OKC, Golden State or Dwane Casey’s good looking Raptors. The Wolves are not far away and slow to get it together so far. But no worries.
I can’t get enough of the possibilities. In our Houston hot hoops chat, I reminded my buddies of what’s coming down the interstate. Karl-Anthony Towns is as good as any young player to enter the NBA in my lifetime. KAT isn’t even scratching the surface of all the good things to come in his game.
As good as Kevin Garnett was, KAT could surpass KG benchmarks. Talk to those who are constantly around Towns and they’ll intimate details that solidify his greatness. In just his second NBA season!
A hoop “hoarder” I’m not but I do actually save a pack of games. No, not to VCR or reel-to-reel, but DVR’d and all to remind myself of that KAT. Let’s see….saved in the Simons Fan Cave is game-1 from last season. Remember that?! It was played just days after the passing of Flip Saunders. At Staples Center In LA to play Kobe and the Lakers. I also toggle through an impressive win last season in Brooklyn. There are two pre-season games saved from just last month. Games in which KAT killed me! Slicing through the lane with off-balance jump shots, defensive domination and ability that few men his size has to run the court with the best of point guards. KAT is king ya’all. So, clicking that little blue “keep” flag to save the Wolves games is vital for my hoop health. And before I leave this train of thought, also saved (forever I might add) is the stunning win @ Oakland against the Warriors last April.
I’m still “In” on the Wolves and you will be (if you aren’t already there) before long. As the season has started, much is being made about the team’s second half struggles (pick the quarter), inconsistent shooting and yes, the losses. My takeaway from the Brooklyn loss this week is this. The Wolves will wind up winning, not losing, more of those close games
this season. Andrew Wiggins brought me out of my election-coverage-watching chair when he soared for a slam, only to miss. But his aggressiveness, his speed and fearlessness is I want to see. THAT kind play from #22. He’s doing it.
Coach Thibs has made a point with the media, several times during the pre-season, to warn media members to be careful about “judging” a players demeanor. And yes a player like Wiggins. AW is soft spoken, goes about his business and carries himself unlike so many brash and in-your-face athletes. Coach T told the media that Wiggins was as competitive as any player he’d coached. Wiggins is a lion but doesn’t show it off.
My buddies, those hoopologists, were all-ears by this point in our meeting. While talking NBA, our task @ hand had truly moved from why we were there to the Wolves. Houston and most NBA watchers now know what’s percolating here in the land of 10k lakes. They know about KAT. They can see the growth and maturation of Wiggins. They only dream of being able to dunk like Zach LaVine, to have the athleticism and promise of Kris Dunn. Fans in other NBA towns know what’s coming. And we should too. These are also great young men who “get it”. Fans don’t have to lose faith.
Make no mistake, Wolves players hate losing and this “adjustment” period is bothersome. After the Nets loss days ago, LaVine told the media, “it’s really frustrating….we need to hurry up and start getting it together.”
As the new season rolls through its first month, there has been plenty of player movement, teams with new identities and many teams, like Minnesota, with raised hopes and expectations. The early shake out is well underway. Who would have thought that the Thunder would win 6 of the first 7-games without Kevin Durant bolting to Golden State? Utah is much better. So are teams in Charlotte, Atlanta…as well as the LA Clippers.
The Wolves are just a little slow to the party, “fashionably late”, if you will. They’ll get there. Mark my words. And the party to follow will be sweet.
GM’s like these Wolves:
As the season started, NBA General Managers gathered and outlined their thoughts on the best teams, players, coaches, offseason moves for the 2016-17 NBA season. The general managers were not allowed to vote for their own team or personnel.
We discussed and lauded KAT earlier in this blog. Check out the polling below. Timberwolves highlights included the following:
If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be? 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 48.3% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 20.7% 3. LeBron James, Cleveland – 17.2%
Which player is most likely to have a breakout season? 1. Devin Booker, Phoenix – 31.0% 2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 13.8% 3. Myles Turner, Indiana – 10.3% 4. D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers – 6.9% Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota – 6.9%
Which team will be most improved in 2016-17? 1. Minnesota – 56.7% 2. Utah – 23.3% 3. New York – 10.0%
Who will win the 2016-17 Rookie of the Year? 1. Kris Dunn, Minnesota – 46.7% 2. Buddy Hield, New Orleans – 13.3% Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 13.3% 4. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 10.0% Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers – 10.0%
Which rookie was the biggest draft steal? 1. Dejounte Murray (29), San Antonio – 23.3% 2. Kris Dunn (5), Minnesota – 16.7% 3. Patrick McCaw (38), Golden State – 13.3% 4. Henry Ellenson (18), Detroit – 10.0% 5. Marquese Chris (8), Phoenix – 6.7% Skal Labissiere (28), Sacramento – 6.7% Denzel Valentine (14), Chicago – 6.7%
Which new (or relocated) coach will make the biggest impact this season? 1. Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota – 78.3% 2. Frank Vogel, Orlando – 10.0% 3. Mike D'Antoni, Houston – 8.3% 4. Luke Walton, L.A. Lakers – 3.3%
Communication is, as they say, a two-way street. So let me know what you think. I’ve always loved your notes and we’ll be engaged…ready to talk hoops! You can e-mail me your comments, just send it to rod@gameonTVmn.com
As sure as you get tickets to a game, keep the Wolves @ your fingertips 24/7. The Wolves mobile app is a download every fan must have and gives you 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. Redesigned and interactive the official Timberwolves app puts you front and center to game content, scores, 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. Download the app and you can take care of tickets, enjoy exclusive content and so much more.
So all can enjoy!
Congratulations to the Wolves and Lynx for providing closed captioning @ home games. This is important and new closed captioning services will be provided and will appear on Target Center’s new scoreboard. The captions will be displayed on the northeast and southwest corners of the 360-fascia board surrounding the lower bowl. It is estimated that 20 percent of Americans have some form of hearing loss. This service now insures that the deaf and hard-of-hearing Minnesota basketball fans will have an amazing basketball experience.
“We are so glad our new scoreboard has opened up the capability to offer closed captioning for our deaf and hard-of-hearing fans,” said Ethan Casson, Timberwolves & Lynx CEO. “We hope this technology will make our games more accessible to this group and give them an enjoyable in-arena experience.”
Wolves guard Zach LaVine has been very involved with the Metro Deaf school, including his donation in April that helped build a new kitchen. The money was a portion of his Slam Dunk Contest winnings.
"As rabid Minnesota basketball fans, we are so proud to be providing arena captioning for the Timberwolves and Lynx,” said Jan Ballman, president and CEO of Paradigm. “The exciting new scoreboard technology in Target Center makes it possible for all to fully enjoy the in-arena game-day fan experience. We are honored to help bring communication access to the deaf and hard-of-hearing Minnesota basketball fans when playing in our house!"
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