Mail Bag 3
Editor's Note: We're back with more answers to selected inquiries from you the fans. We appreciate you taking the time to write in, and while we may not get to each question, we certainly read all of them. We're at http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/fans/mail_bag.html waiting for more feedback from you.
Before we get started, we have a correction from a Mail Bag 2 answer:
We mistakenly implied that all NBA teams have an alternate road jersey in the last Mail Bag, but a source close to the team clarified the uniform situation for us. In fact, 22 out of 30 teams have second road jerseys. Teams are required to wear their alternate a minimum of six times and a maximum of 15 times. The Wolves have worn their alternate (black) more than the maximum after getting approval from the NBA. Minnesota has won only once in road blue (1-10).
Several other e-mailers suggested that we wear throwback jerseys, but this year the NBA created only seven "Hardwood Classics" throwbacks for the 30 teams. Those teams are required to wear those throwbacks twice at minimum, and can sport them no more than 10 times. Next year, nine NBA teams will have throwbacks made by Hardwood Classics.
On to your e-mails...
Q: Hi, Wolves! My name's Michael and I'm a true fan of your team. But, unfortunately I have no chance to watch the games of my favorite team this season! It is so because our TV doesn't have rights for transmission this year. Moreover, I have no opportunity to buy anything in your shop! Are there any chances for me to order something in your shop? Yours faithfully.
-- Michael Gusiev, Kiev, Ukraine
A: Thanks for the inquiry, Michael. You can check http://twolves.teamfanshop.com for Wolves gear. Also, check this link: http://www.nba.com/broadband/league_pass.jsp to find out how to order the NBA League Pass, which allows you to watch every NBA game -- including all of the Wolves games -- live on the Internet from anywhere in the world. Pretty cool stuff.
Q: Hey Wolves, what's up? I was arguing with my friend about the best possible lineup from the teams on our five-game West Coast road trip. Can you help me out? Thanks!
-- Brian, St. Paul, MN
A: Try this squad, Brian: Steve Nash (Phoenix) running the point; Kobe Bryant (Lakers) at the two spot; Rashard Lewis (Seattle) at the three; Zach Randolph (Portland) at the four; and Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix) at center. Feel free to substitute Shawn Marion (Phoenix), Ray Allen (Seattle), Ron Artest (Sacramento), or Baron Davis (Golden State) into that mix. We would have started Marion, but Randolph is a bit bigger and we don't want to just straight up take Phoenix's squad...though that wouldn't be a terrible idea.
Q: I heard a couple weeks ago that the Wolves would be in Turkey sometime this October. What are they going for? How can I get tickets if I'll be in Europe?
-- Shannon, Blaine, MN
A: You heard right. The Wolves were selected as one of the NBA's four teams that will be holding training camps and playing games in Europe during the 2007 preseason. Minnesota will be holding training camp in Istanbul, Turkey, and playing games both in Turkey against Efes Pilsen Istanbul and in London against the Boston Celtics. Here's the news release: http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/wolves_go_to_europe_070217.html.
Q: I've been a Timberwolves fan for all my life despite what everyone else thinks. In Michigan, I get a lot of crap for not cheering for the Pistons. What I want to know is what position do we need the most help at, and who would be the best player to fill that position that the T-wolves would be likely to trade for?
-- Matthew, Saginaw, Michigan
A: Hey Matthew...we threw your question to assistant GM Rob Babcock: "There are several areas that we need to address on our team. Our biggest needs are to add size and shooting. It is against NBA regulations to discuss trade interest of players under contract to other teams. We constantly evaluate all the players in the NBA and from our evaluations we target the players that we will pursue in trades."
Q: Who is the Wolves superfan that has floor seats, and is constantly sitting on the floor and banging paper on the ground during the games?
-- Amy, Inver Grove Heights, MN
A: That's Prince. He looks different these days, doesn't he? Just kidding. We asked our Publications Coordinator, Dan Bell, to double check this information for you: His name is Bill Beise, and he's known by fans, players and coaches as "Coach" or "Superfan." He's been a season-ticket holder since 1989 when the Wolves came to Minnesota, and he's missed only a handful of games in franchise history. The "paper" you mentioned is actually a rolled-up game program. The Wolves actually distributed 1,500 Beise "Superfan" bobbleheads on April 13, 2003.
Q: Hi, I am a big Timberwolves fan from Nebraska. I finally got a chance to see the Wolves play in person when they played a preseason game against the Pistons in Omaha, Nebraska. That was a great experience for me and I was wondering how Mark Madsen liked it, and if he heard me rooting for him and constantly chatting his name behind him up in the stands? If you could answer this and tell me what Mad Dog says that would be great!
-- Wade, Columbus, Nebraska
A: Mad Dog told us that he had a great time playing in that preseason game, and was really impressed that the Wolves have some loyal fans in Omaha. He did mention hearing someone giving him constant support, so perhaps that was you? As you know, Madsen is probably the nicest guy in the whole league, and always pays special attention to his fans.
Q: I've been fascinated with sports since I was a child. I've also supported your team ever since. Of course, I always watch all your matches on TV and from the Internet get all the important events concerning your team. I dream of seeing at least one of your gorgeous matches live. Unfortunately, I can't afford visiting country at present, so for the time being I can only watch your play on TV and surf the Internet. However, I strongly believe I'll manage to make my dream come true some day.
-- Marcin Kosiorek, Poland
A: We hope so too, Marcin. Thanks for holding it down in Poland for us. Perhaps you can make it down to Turkey or swim the English Channel when we're in Europe this coming October? We'll have plenty of web features detailing game times, dates and the like, so make sure to check us out.
Q: I saw a Myspace page that said it was the Official Timberwolves page? www.myspace.com/nbatwolves. Is that your official page?
-- Annie, Plymouth, MN
A: That is in fact our official page, Annie. Make sure to add us as a friend, and check us every day for exclusive written content, videos, wallpapers, bling and more!
Q: What prospects intrigue you in the upcoming draft?
-- Joshua, Fosston, MN
A: We'll refer you to Rob Babcock's scouting piece that he does for our site: http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/wolves_scouting_2007__the_series_070309.html. According to Babcock: "As we go through this draft process you will notice that I will not be talking about specific players. This is because we have an NBA rule that prohibits us from discussing players that are not eligible for this year's draft. Being that the majority of players enter the draft early, this means that we can't discuss most draft prospects. The reason for this rule is that the NBA does not want to say anything that might entice a player to enter the draft early. Contrary to what many people think, the NBA does not want players to enter the draft early. Players entering the draft before they are ready to play hurts the level of play in our league and it hurts the level of play in college."
Q: Hey, I just would like to know how to get one of those baseline photographer jobs?
-- Josh, Blaeser, MN
A: All of those photographers are employed by varying media outlets, aside from Wolves team photographer David Sherman. Accordingly, they're all professionals, who apply for media credentials to the Wolves public relations staff.
Q: Who do think is going to win the NCAA March Madness Tourney? P.S. I am 6'2'' and I play center and I can dunk and I'm only 13. Go Wolves.
-- Zach, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
A: First of all, we're glad that you can dunk. That must go over well with the middle school girls. As far as the NCAA Tourney goes, we asked several of our players what they thought: http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/bracket_busting_nba_style_070314.html. We'll stick with Florida, our pre-tourney prediction.
Q: I'm a Timberwolves fan, I love this team, and I listen to every game I can, here in Brazil! Please, tell the guys on the team they are very important to me! Doesn't matter the final result of a game. I'm just happy to see how dedicated you are! Tell them that our home, is where our heart is! So, my heart is in each Timberwolf in this team!
-- Diego Junges, Capanema, Brazil
A: Hey Diego, are all fans in Brazil this cool and supportive of their teams? We certainly appreciate your loyalty, and we love Pele and Ronaldinho. Did you see him hit the post in the Champions League for Barcelona? Heart-breaking. We digress. Keep listening to us, and check the link we referred to earlier if you want to watch the games online.
Q: While watching my favorite team, the Timberwolves, I cannot help but wonder how in the world the referees can get by with some of the calls they make. How is it that some players can do the same thing and one player will get fouled called and the other won't. I am really having a hard time wrapping my 51-year-old mind around that one. I have only become an avid fan in the past few years, but maybe you can explain why referees either cannot, will not, or do not change some of these calls.
-- Linda, Apple Valley, MN
A: Linda, that's a great question, and unfortunately one that does not have a good answer. Here are a few thoughts: The bottom line is that refs have an extremely difficult job given the speed and intensity with which the game is played, and it's simply impossible to make every call correctly. Keep an eye out for "make-up calls," when refs know they may have gotten a call wrong, and give the team a break on the next possession. That's the only real way to even things out, as it were. As far as changing calls, refs will do this occasionally, but they don't want to show each other up or take too much time away from the action.
Q: Most teams have players that liven up the locker room by being funny, etc. Which Wolf is the comedian in the locker room? Loudest? Quietest? Timberwolf fan 4 ever!
-- Jayd, Thief River Falls, MN
A: What's up Jayd? While this is a question that has no real right answer, here are a few thoughts for you...all of the players joke around with each other constantly, though some are more outgoing with staffers, media and such than others. Randy Foye is on the quieter side, though he's pretty funny if you sit down and speak with him. Craig Smith generally has something funny to say, and all of the players get a kick out of Mad Dog. Mike James always has an opinion on whatever you're saying, and Justin Reed isn't one to back down from a chance to verbally spar. Of course, the guy that gets that most respect regardless of what he says is Kevin Garnett.
Q: I'm a huge Wolves fan and I hear all of these rumors that Kevin Garnett is going to Atlanta, the Lakers, or Boston and I'm just wondering if that is true or not. All of my friends keep saying that Garnett is going somewhere.
-- Nicholas, Baker, Louisianna
A: Those are exactly what you said they were: rumors. Among the favorite things for media members or just normal sports fans to do is to speculate about "potential" trades. There has been nothing from the Wolves' end on this issue. Kevin Garnett is a Timberwolf.