Simons Says - Jan. 24, 2013

These are tough days at the office inside Target Center. No question about it. One night after a nice crowd gathered to watch the hometown team lose in a hard fought game against the resurgent Brooklyn Nets, there’s still plenty of wounded bodies and a little over half the season still remaining for the Wolves.

Here’s how SimonsSays sees it. The Wolves are battered and fighting to keep in a “playoff chase” until the injured return. The list is long. Among the wounded, it appears Alexey Shevd will be back soon from turning his ankle. Big Pek, Nikola Pekovic, will likely be another week after suffering that painful quad contusion. The T’wolves are still waiting for Head Coach Rick Adelman to return as he deals with a family matter involving wife Mary Kay. Long term, All Star Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Malcom Lee and Brandon Roy are on the shelf.

It was refreshing to see Budinger at Wolves practice prior to the game against Brooklyn. Not running and gingerly moving on that repaired right knee after surgery, just seeing him shooting around gave me a tough of hope.

You remember what was cooking with the Wolves when Budinger was on the court? Let’s go back to that first game against the Nets back there. Hurricane Sandy had moved through the northeast days before and it was the 4th game of the season for Minnesota.

Chase and the Wolves made up that 22 point deficit to beat Brooklyn. Two games later, Chase would fall to injury as would a number of his teammates and the season would begin to unravel.

Budinger and crew were playing well. Ball movement. Defense. Offensive unselfishness and wins. The Wolves won 5 of their first 7 games and turned heads immediately. They did it without K-Love and Ricky Rubio.

Fast forward to now and Minnesota is scrambling to put healthy bodies on the court and get players on the same page 39 games into the season. All this while the Head Coach is dealing with his own family situations and other teams are taking no mercy on Minnesota.

“It’s tough” said Mickael Gelabale who was just signed from France to come in and give a hand. “I’m here to do my job and hope it helps out. It’s great to be back in the NBA and have a chance. I know I can help”.

The Wolves are doing whatever they can to get it done. “Jelly”, as he’s called, is joined by postman Chris Johnson (LSU) in hopes of making a strong impression and sticking beyond their 10-day contracts.

After watching Chase get through his own workout @ team HQ and hearing players answer the media questions (regarding their current slide with just 2 wins in the past 10 games), you gotta’ feel for ‘em.

GameON! Viewer Deavin from Minneapolis wrote to me and asked “What can the Wolves do to get some help? Can they make a trade to get John Wall (Wash.) or Joe Johnson (Brooklyn) or someone who will help?”

Deavin, thanks but again, no. A front line starter and All Star is out of the Wolves reach. This is the toughest situation a team faces simply because the team has to rally itself and work with the players who are healthy.

It was great to see the effort and win a week ago when Houston came calling. To see Jelly and CJ deliver upon arrival and show they can help is encouraging. Does it solve everything? Not even close. They are helping though with 24 minutes each in the Nets loss.

There is pressure on these guys to get it done and maintain the expectations set so high in the pre-season when good health was the forecast and so was seeing Love and Rubio along with Chase and AK and Pek.

I said it last week in this blog and boy did it bug reader Donald from Shoreview: “You say things like fans should just be patient and we’re fickle. Then you quote Denver’s head coach (George Karl) when he says “when its 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”. Well, this is hard and it’s more fun to root for the hockey team. I think you are the one who’s fickle and can’t figure it out”.

Donald, thanks for taking the time but I’m not fickle, yeh…it’s tough but look at what the team has been dealt! Injury after injury. NO ability to find its rhythm and always playing catch up in terms of personnel and situations. I can only hope it eases and I’ll chalk up your tone to just on overload of frustration. I get it. In fact, I share it.

All that made moving away from the media pack easy at the practice. To watch the healing that Chase Budinger is enjoying was refreshing. I see it as a sign that good things will be forthcoming to our local Team Turnaround. Maybe not this weekend on the road, perhaps not at home next week against the LA visitors from the Clips and Lake Show. But it will be coming.

Cut down on mistakes and fouls. Hang with the opposition team into the fourth quarter and finishing. Getting a win here and perhaps there and then you build so momentum. I’m crazy officially because I refuse to join the pack that has the Wolves out of the playoff chase with 40-plus games to go and just a few games back of the 8th seed. I see the roadblocks before ‘em. I get the daily reports listing what is going against the Wolves. I just continue to lean on the old adage that it’s not supposed to be easy and it’s not. I’ve been saying time and again that this season’s ride is bumpy (extreme turbulence perhaps) but half the season is still left to the played and reinforcements (come one come all) are on the way.

There’s lots of basketball left to be played. Let’s draw up the playoffs as the Twins are packing to leave Ft. Myers, ok?! Sit and listen to those fabulous fans of the Wolves Army if you need inspiration.

Giving up just isn’t an option according to SimonsSays. Let’s get it done and work from there. Cheers to you and see you on TV!

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 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% 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

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, 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

Keep your GameON! See you soon!

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