Simons Says - Aug. 16, 2012
It’s great to be back with you talking hoops. I don’t know about you but it seems like such a short time since the Wolves ended their season after a wild ride. Remember what it was like a year ago at this time, two sides fighting in a labor disagreement. The season didn’t start on time and when it did, a lot of basketball in a short amount of time with a severely condensed schedule, sometimes three or four games in a week with practices in between, travel on top of that and through it all, injuries and rosters ready to be reshuffled.
In my own Hoopaholic Head, I’ve been satisfied to share a summer of baseball with, what I believe, has been a terrific off-season. One with a great NBA season-ender, an Olympic games that left me wanting more and prep work for the upcoming season that should have Wolves fans anxious. Let’s recap, shall we.
- NBA Finals: I thought it was the best NBA playoff run in years. We entered believing that San Antonio was going to run the table then the Spurs ran into an OKC buzz-saw. Boston came to play and showed off what an aging KG can do. But it was Miami and OKC who truly made it worth watching.
I tip my hat to LeBron James. James stepped up and finally out of debate and criticism with a great season and a monster postseason that saw him simply take over the Finals when he had to do it. As much as I pick on the Heat for its “Big 3” this and “Big 3” that, I gotta’ give it to ‘em. After stumbling out of the gate in the Finals, they took control and beat a VERY good basketball team that was on a roll of its own.
The bad news for the Wolves when reliving the Finals is that they play in the same neck of the woods as OKC. Yikes. The Thunder will be a Western Conference bully for years to come so it seems. As good of a team as OKC is on the floor, they are equally well run upstairs so the pieces to that team, built around MVP-to-be Kevin Durant and sidekick Russell Westbrook, should be in place.
- Olympics: Simply one of the best parts of my summer. Team USA had to win Gold. They simply had to. But the way they did it with a talented roster (Dream Team is still safe as the best of all time, thank you), with a few close games that showed how much the world has improved since 1992 and showcasing the work of James & Durant, it was outstanding. Hey, and it’s not just the men that get a SimonsSays nod, the women were flat out amazing too! Those Gold medal games drew huge audiences, the men at over 12 million and the Women at 10 million plus. Congrats to our Gold medal Lynx too, Whalen, Seimone and Maya! In a word, dominant. Oh, two words. Dominant and GOLDEN.
- Lynx: Our GameON! headline guest this week is long time WNBA & basketball standout Taj McWilliams-Franklin. I had the best seat in the house at our show taping, listening to her talk about how proud she was of her Lynx Olympic teammates and in particular, Lindsay Whalen. “Mama” Taj & No. 13 came up in the WNBA together and have a pretty special bond developed by years of work and friendship. Taj has been in the game longer than some of the coaches and she’s perhaps seen it all. She’s gracious, personable and a competitor like few others. Taj insists that back to back Lynx titles are theirs “if we play for it” and she likes the Lynx make-up as they head into the stretch post-Olympics run. Let’s face it, the Lynx are loaded with an All-Star roster. On the heels of their Olympic shine, I can see them stretching it into a second championship.
- New Look Wolves: Next week, I’ll talk at length about my excitement surrounding the changes to the Wolves roster. The possibilities with AK, Roy, Budinger, Shved & Stiemsma teamed with Olympian and All Star K-Love, Rubio, D-Will, JJ and Big Pek are the most promising since the Western Conference Finals team of nine years ago. I’ll share GameON! viewer thoughts, e-mails and my own scribbling from each of the moves. A nice bit of work by Mr. Kahn, but as he even admits, “It’s far from finished.
- Looking Ahead: We’ll also kick around the competition in the next few weeks including what the off-season did to restock the Western Conference. Hard not to notice what happened in LA with the Lakers getting retooled with Dwight Howard & Steve Nash while keeping Pau Gasol and Kobe. The East is still a beast and got tougher but in my mind, yes that Hoopaholic Head, it’s still the West that rules. Drop me your thoughts…I’d love to add ‘em to the Hoops Hotdish that we’ll serve up next week.
See you on TV:
You don’t want to miss GameON! powered by SEVEN Steakhouse/Sushi/Ultralounge & Skybar this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. We’re talking hoops in this half hour with our special guest “Mama” Taj McWilliams-Franklin and former Gophers basketball standout Lawrence McKenzie aka Mac Irv. All GameON! shows are broadcast in High Definition and by now you know we’ve hosted shows with Wolves’ Coach Adelman, JJ Barea, Derrick Williams, Jack Sikma and can be found on ITunes & online at www.gameontvmn.com. GameON! powered by SEVEN allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly Tuesday tapings next door to Target Center at SEVEN (7th and Hennepin). GameON! offers in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves). You can friend us on Facebook at GameOnTvMN and drop me a note, Rod@GameOnTvMn.com. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays at Timberwolves.com.
See you soon! Keep your GameON!