Simons Says - Jan. 23, 2014

It sometimes takes a diversion to turn heads.

As the country is stirred up one way or another and tied into this great debate over post-game antics of Seattle Seahawks outstanding defensive back Richard Sherman, here at home, the Wolves were hard at work getting their collective basketball house in order.

All eyes, for the most part, off the T’Wolves they took care of the woeful Utah Jazz here in the Twin Cities then hit the road for a vital 4-game business trip. Still stuck below -500- with more losses than wins and spinning up and down on the rollercoaster that is an NBA season, the team knew NOW was the time.

Team Timberwolves doesn’t need any prodding. These guys know what’s up. Have you heard Kevin Love mutter, just once this season, anything about the talent surrounding him? Nope. Has this team beaten some of the NBA elite home and on the road? Yes. Have injuries been a serious concern like last season? Nope. What’s the issue then? That “I-word” is. Inconsistency is straining not only fans and the team but it’s making Head Coach Rick Adelman search for new tools to motivate these finely tuned professionals. I know, Coach A put, as my Grandpa use to say, “the screws to ‘em” a few days ago by telling the team “if you think you are a playoff team, you are NOT”.

Call that a motivating tool and call this trip, that started with a nice road win in Utah, important. The Wolves have to go into Oakland and beat the Golden State Warriors. Close losses won’t cut it. Then, head back up I-5 and hand the suddenly mortal Portland Trail Blazers a second loss this season in Rip City.

You see, Peter from Brooklyn Center took issue with me at a recent GameON! taping. He said, “I agree with a lot of things you say about the Wolves but I kinda’ agree with the guys on KFAN that (Ricky) Rubio is not the guy we need at point. He’ll never have a shot and we should trade him now”.

Peter, I remember this conversation and thanks to you for coming to the GameON! taping. I’ll be honest; I love quotes like you gave me that night. Just go ahead and be absolute. You know exactly what is going to happen and you KNOW that Rubio is a bust. I’m smiling when I tell you that I got news for you (and respectfully to those who think Rubio is a bust), you’re going to rue the day you gave up on #9. Write it down…Rubio will not be a bust. Not even close. He’s still a kid. He’s improving with every passing day and he’s just the guard I want on this team. Driving, dishing, defending and I don’t give a d*&^% if he shoots. Plenty of scorers out there but you can bet Rubio’s shot will improve. Already is. In Utah, every starter scored in double figures and in nearly 40-minutes, Rubio handed out 13-assists, dropped 11 points with a 3-for-5 night and 4-for-4 from the line with 5 steals and 5 rebounds.

Is Rubio consistent yet? Nope. But he’s improving and his impact solid on Team Adelman. Good input Peter and get your GameON! by changing your thoughts on this one. It’s not too late.

Another fan interaction to share from a GameON! taping. This from Jannice of MPLS Uptown. She’s new to liking basketball and had a thought that I believe might be shared by many fans. Rod, she said, “I gave up on the Vikings late in the season and have been watching more Wolves basketball. That (Nikola) Pekovic seems like a good player. Why haven’t I heard about him before”?

Jannice was sincere in offering her thoughts and again, I’m sure Pek is coming on the scene to the surprise of many. No surprise to Wolves nation or NBA insiders.

Pek flat out a player and was when he was dominating the Euro courts in his pre-Minnesota days. Players hate to match-up against the man as big as a historic Redwood. The Godfather (as he’s nicknamed by the team marketers) is physical, his play is getting better by the game and aren’t we glad he signed to stay here last summer?!

Pek’s numbers are impressive! He’s scoring over 18 points a night, grabbing nearly 10-rebounds a game (officially @ 9.1 but who’s counting) and he’s officially the “guard at the paint”. That is, you enter the painted lane and you’ll know who’s running the joint. It’s the big bearded 7-footer in a Wolves jersey.

Jannice and everyone else will be happy to watch the NBA all-star game when Pek is named to the Western squad. If he’s not, it will be a crime. I don’t care about the team’s record. Pek has earned his place among the NBA elite and with teammate Kevin Love; they have formed a true dynamic duo.

All good signs. Pedal to the medal now. Let’s keep this road trip on the right foot. 41 games down. 41 left. We’re half way home!! It’s time to get after it. Time is now. Thanks for dropping in and if time permits, check out our audio version of SimonsSays PODcast here along the Wolves Entertainment Network! And don’t forget, keep your GameON!


SimonsSays on TV/PODcast:

You can now get SimonsSays in new PODcast form with insight/input from fans just like you and exclusive player interviews! Keep an eye out for SimonsSays PODcast @ each and every week. And there is always a Wolves update on my TV show, GameON! Don’t miss an episode of the multi-Emmy nominated GameON! @ 10am this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 and throughout the weekend regionally on MidCo Sports Net.

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As we have for years, we talk Wolves. Every day. High’s & lows. We’re there because we are fans, just like you! Keep your GameON! See you soon!

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