Simons Says - Jan. 17, 2013
















I was always schooled that you never, ever, start a story with a question. So, in an attempt to get around that directive, I’m allowing the last sentence to suffice, and now I ask you, have you ever woke up saying, "This day can’t get any worse than yesterday?!"

It’s what our Wolves gotta be muttering. These have been tough days in a season that has had the Wolves in a full nelson since the opening night tipoff. We spent time kicking it around last week, you know, all that preseason optimism hammered by injuries as soon as the season started. The Wolves trying to stay in the Western Conference race while watching players shuffle in and out of the locker room and fight injury after injury.

This week has been one for the ages and it’s now filtered to the top. We know that the team is missing its bench boss. The T’wolves have been without head coach Rick Adelman who is attending to a family matter involving wife Mary Kay. Assistant Terry Porter is manning the ship and now that illness and flu have visited the Wolves (as has happened to hundreds of fans too, speaking from experience here), Porter is being forced to be creative. Instead of just dishing out the X’s and O’s, some of the assistants are now part of scrimmages with Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shevd and Lazar Hayward all missing due to illness.

Add that to a four game losing streak and injuries already sidelining All Star Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Malcom Lee and Brandon Roy and you get the feeling that players are all thinking, “enough already."

Who’d blame them? In tonight is, get this, the best team in the West in the LA Clippers. Yep. The Clippers (OK, OKC has a slight percentage point lead but it’s small).

If there is any silver lining, this might be it. In the deepest portion of the cold winter here in Minnesota, the Wolves are going to get extended time at home. There’s little doubt that Minnesota has had its hands full this season. Next to Atlanta’s poor performance, the Wolves have been hardest hit by hurts. Take Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder out of the Vikings lineup and see what you get. That scenario works here because the Wolves have been navigating without Love, Ricky Rubio and newcomer Budinger for most of the season.

The rollercoaster that has been these 35-games have left fans frustrated and searching for answers. This long time viewer thinks trades are the answer:

Dear Mr. Simons,
I am a big fan of your blog. I love tuning in and getting an inside perspective of the Timberwolves on your TV show too. I really enjoy the player management aspect of the NBA. Recently, I put together a trade…the first is Love for Cousins, Marcus Thornton, and Tyreke Evans. Trade 2 has Chicago sending Minnesota Kirk Hinrich. Minnesota sends back a loosely protected first round pick and to make the trade work, Luke Ridnour has to be sent somewhere. I don't enjoy the prospect of sending away our most talented player, but I don't know how feasible they actually are. Thank you for your time.

Go Wolves,

David B


David, thanks for the kind words and the time you’ve spent coming up with your trade. Respectfully, no can do. Either suitor will not part with those player packages and quite frankly, the answer for the Wolves is not trading. It’s treading water until reinforcements arrive.

Got to give it up for the guys getting it done right now. Nikola Pekovic continues to play hot. In his past month, he’s shot over 50 percent and averaged nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds a night.

We all know how valuable Ricky Rubio is to team Timberwolves. R2 might not be where he wants to be physically but his flashes remind us he’ll get there. That first game back against Dallas then finishing with eight assists against the Hawks and in OKC, had 7 assists in 21 minutes. I’ve said it before and will continue to shout that Rubio’s value to the team is his ability to find the open players on offense and on defense, he makes the Wolves stronger. Don’t overlook that Rubio logged a season-high 26 minutes at Dallas the other night.

Andrei Kirilenko and Luke Ridnour are my team MVPs. They have been in from the get and make big contributions nightly. Last week, I got kudos from readers who liked my thought that Kirilenko is super glue, doing what he can to hold this injury ravaged team on an even keel. AK’s night against Atlanta was his fifth 20-plus-point game of the season and second in his last five games.

Ridnour is a warrior. He’s averaging nearly 14 points a game over the past half dozen games and he can be counted on this season. All his numbers are better and up from last year.

You know, I love fans but some of you are pretty fickle. As Denver coach George Karl explained it to me years ago, “When it's good and the team is winning, some fans love their seat in the middle of the bus. When we lose or times are tough, they’re off and barking at us.” Man, at times, it ain’t easy to be a true Wolves fan. That fan who can look past the flu, the ACL tears and surgeries, the missing player or coach and tough stretches. It’s knowing that a win at a time gets things better quickly. Yes, the odds are stacked against the Wolves against the Clippers but if there is a team who can tame the Clip, it’s this crew.

Getting better means a few things. Hanging with the team to the fourth quarter and then getting better in those final 12-minutes. The Wolves have been coughing up games in the 4th and they can’t do that. Lock it down, get strong contributions from Dante Cunningham, Ridnour, Rubio and hope for better health from our struggling three (AK, Shevd & Lazar) and we’re in business.

It’s one of the season’s most anticipated match-ups with the Clippers calling. I expect a good night. Call it glass half full or crazy but I’ll stick with it. It ain’t supposed to be easy and it’s not. The ride has certainly been bumpy but half the season is still left to the played and reinforcements are on the way. You e-mail me thanking me for reminding you that “Team turnaround” is not done yet and I’m saying it again.

Let’s get it done and work from there. Cheers to you and see you on TV!

Sadly

There are heavy hearts among Wolves staffers with the passing of longtime colleague Conrad Smith. Our deepest condolences go out to the extended Smith family after losing the Lynx & Wolves C-O-O after a hard fight against cancer. Mr. Smith was a very good man, touching many lives and was so passionate about this family and profession. We're grateful to have known him. God bless his family, friends and colleagues.

Check this out

The T’wolves have launched the team’s season ticket member renewal campaign for next season and it’s an affordable three-prong campaign that features the newly introduced season ticket membership levels, next season’s pricing and a 10% playoff refund.

The Timberwolves, long-recognized as sports industry leaders in fan engagement and interaction, have introduced new membership levels for season ticket members that offer a greater variety of exclusive benefits, perks and programs. These new membership levels (President’s Club, Diamond, Sapphire, Platinum, Gold), which are based on season ticket levels, are only available to members of the Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball Club.

Some of the membership benefits for all levels include: dedicated fan experience specialist; early arena entrance before the public; dedicated concession lines at games; significant savings over single-game prices; discounted parking; 20% discount at Wolves Pro Shop; My Timberwolves account to manage and resell your tickets. Newly enhanced benefits and experiences that are based on specific membership levels include: Meet the Team Tip Off Dinner; Coaches Chalk Talk; Wolves Open Practice; Wolves Viewing Party; Wolves Summer Boat Cruise; Kids Basketball Clinic; Road trip with the team; Exclusive dinner with team owner Glen Taylor; Complimentary parking.

Go to Timberwolves.com or call one of their ticketing specialists for help. They’ll make it happen for you. The Timberwolves finished last season with one of the top renewal percentages in the NBA with more than 95 percent of season ticket members renewing their seats.

We’re all on MY29!

You know that GameON! is on FOX’s MY29! The Wolves offer a franchise-record 78 regular-season games televised locally, including 50 on Fox Sports North and 25 on the Wolves' exclusive over-the-air broadcast home, WFTC My29. For the second consecutive season, every Wolves regular season contest will be carried live on News Radio 830 WCCO-AM.

See you on TV

Catch your Wolves on this Sunday’s GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. Our special guests include former Gophers standout & now rapper Lawrence “Mac Irv” McKenzie and friend Lil’ Crazed, former Vikings LB E.J. Henderson, Boxing belt holder “Golden” Caleb Truax and fight specialist Tony “Tony Time” Grygelko and Taste of the NFL’s Wayne Kostroski. GameON! originates from our new home, across the street from Target Center at Kieran’s Irish Pub and allGameON! shows are broadcast in High Definition and can be found on iTunes, on our new GameON! App (free and available for Apple/Android) and online at www.gameontvmn.com.

GameON! allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly tapings at Kieran’s Irish Pub and its sister locations. 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. Drop me a note, Rod@GameOnTvMn.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 at Timberwolves.com.

Keep your GameON! See you soon!


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