Simons Says - Jan. 3, 2013
Happy New Year to you as the basketball drops to ring in 2013! Wolves fans might not be as excited (after a road loss to Utah) as they were a day or two before ringing in the new year but there’s reason for optimism!
Ok, I get it. In the upper Midwest, it’s cold. There’s lots of snow. January is just hours old and it’s already shaping up to be a bruiser of a month for the home team. We’re 14-14. We’re .500 while playing without a steady dose of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love is still trying to find his “A” game, there’s no Budinger or B-Roy or Malcolm for that matter. It’s a month of too many back-to-backs and just to show you the Earth just might be off its axis, the Clippers are on a tear. This is not the way I’d choose to ring in the New Year but since it’s what we’re dealt, let’s get after it.
If the playoffs were to start tonight, the Wolves would be one of the teams on the outside looking in at the postseason. I believe they’ll get that fixed. In fact, games like the Wolves struggled through in Salt Lake City will serve as reminders to this young team. Are they ready to challenge for the title? Watch last night, even watch the home game against Houston and you’d certainly say no.
But Utah will be bulletin board material for the Wolves. The Jazz out-agressived the normally more aggressive Wolves. The Jazz were dominate in fact. Yes, they have some players. Love Derrick Favors. I’ve always been a fan of Big Al (Jefferson). From Kantor to Millsap, that coaching staff is in a similar position as Minnesota. Always working to make the talent stretch farther than the opponent.
The Wolves get it. On game night, Minnesota has to shoot better that 12 percent from the land of 3 (just 2 of 17 vs. the Jazz), can’t be outshot 49-to-34 percent, can’t get outhustled to the tune of 25-to-9 on fast break points and can’t get outmuscled in the paint while being outscored by 20 points there.
This is going to be a vital period for the Wolves. I look at it a bit like I did with the Vikings when so much excitement was generated after their fast start in this past season. The Purple came to that Thursday night in the schedule (against Tampa Bay at Mall of America Field) and flat out laid an egg. They knew it. Fans really knew it. Worst of all, all of America saw it.
Now, the Wolves are kind of there and in their own way. They owned the defending Western Conference Champions on National TV, beating OKC while leading from start to finish. They’ve been mediocre since. All the roadblocks and problems they are facing duly noted, it’s time for someone to step up.
There’s not a lot of time to lose. Just look at the teams in front. ALL are on fire. OKC at 24-7, the Spurs at 26-8. Memphis is 20-9, The Clippers are the toast of LA at 25-8 (just 3 losses at home) and look at Golden State at 22-10. Cooling off can be expected among the bunch but a complete meltdown is unrealistic.
Compounding the problem for the Wolves is their schedule is rough this month. That means less time on the practice floor. Rick Adelman has been here before and is looking for a few things to happen. First and foremost, he needs the All-Star and Olympian K-Love to emerge. Then and in around the same time, if Rubio can log longer minutes and make a stronger contribution, this team begins to take a much better shape. You’ll see stronger production from Big Pek, AK-47, more consistency at guard between JJ Barea, Luke Ridnour and Alexey Shevd. Is there a ripple effect from the Wolves dynamic duo? You bet there is.
It’s on the minds of GameON! Watchers and e-mailers:
From Danny in Golden Valley:
“I am getting nervous about the Wolves. Games they have to win in the conference are turning into losses. And they have huge games against the better teams ahead. Please tell me if I’m going overboard.” Danny, thanks and I hope not. You are right though. Heck the Clippers look to be for real after running off that major winning streak (that Denver just snapped) and look at where the Nuggets are in the conference. I haven’t even brought up the Mile Higher’s but look at Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Andre Miller. George Karl is coaching his tail off on this run and gun tandem that is dangerous on any night. Worry not but let’s hope the Wolves can find their groove soon. They have proven they can run with any of these teams on any night. They just need to find some consistency in their game.
Michelle in Mahtomedi:
I love your show and I’m trying to get into basketball. I love hockey and I’m heartbroken by the NHL lockout. Any suggestions? Thanks for the question and this does have an “Oprah” feel about it, doesn’t it?! Thanks for the show love. And as for the lockout, who knows what the NHL will do. I suggest you bring your gal pals out for a game and catch Rubio fever much like all the other women I know have. Unlike the NHL, there’s still a whole exciting season ahead and plenty of good games from which to choose. I’ll even set you up. Thanks for watching and don’t waste any more emotional cargo on that lockout.
Conner in Edina didn’t like my take on the Christmas uni’s sported by the various teams. I wrote: As for the “Made for TV” uniforms sported by all the teams? I liked the Brooklyn black & white uni’s but didn’t care for the Bulls, Rockets, Knicks, LAL, Clips or Nugget uniforms. Nicely done though NBA. A pretty good buzz was kicked up in twitter land and we couldn’t resist the mention.
Conner quipped, “You need to get into the new styles. Those uniforms were dope. The Lakers whities were amazing.” Hmm. “Dope”?! Yeah, the Lake Show togs were OK I guess. But “dope”? What’s that? Thanks for watching and taking the time to check in.
See you soon and thanks for a great 2012! Happy Holidays and the merriest of Season’s greetings to you all!
Coats! Coats! Coats!
Just delivered and in time for the brutal cold, the Kevin Love coat drive ended its successful run to help those in need this winter. It was inspiring to see all those coats, more than a thousand, be delivered for distribution to those who desperately need them. I’m told that if you missed the drop and still want to donate, you can do it. If you’d like to get your donation in, the Salvation Army will still take the coats. Get to them via their website www.salvationarmynorth.org.
Remember, the goal is to make sure no one goes cold. Let’s help out!
We’re all on MY29!
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Keep your GameON! See you soon!