Simons Says - Oct. 25, 2012

Four days until the NBA gets back down to business. Couldn’t come sooner and in my mind, the timing is perfect. Seems every sport is dealing with something that’s soured fans and the public. The NFL’s a great story here at home with the Purple playing well (now go out and beat Tampa Bay please) but “Bounty-gate” is not even close to being resolved and is truly an open wound for the league. The NHL seems destined to lose its entire season because of labor unrest (glad that’s behind the NBA from last year). And baseball, well yes, the World Series is playing out but the hometown-9 seems to be flat-lining when it comes to excitement for the season ahead.

I can’t wait for this one to get under way because I’m convinced this will be a good season for the NBA and I believe a strong year for the Wolves. I see the Miami Heat as the team to beat and I really like the changes made in the Western Conference. I know, I know, that injury to All Star and Olympic Gold Medal winner Kevin Love is a bummer (as I wrote last week) but it shouldn’t starve his team of his talents for too long.

Looking at the start of the season, November will be an interesting month. Not until the Thanksgiving holiday will the Wolves get hammered by the schedule and travel makers. This is a team that can’t take any opponent for granted (especially playing without their best player in Love) so opening up with Sacramento then quickly tripping to Toronto then Brooklyn will be good.

The Wolves will visit Dallas and get the Mavs without Dirk. They’ll host three straight games in which they’ll get two young and beatable teams in Golden State and Charlotte. In fact, over the course of November’s 30 days, Minnesota will play the Warriors and Kings twice. Nice. The best part of the schedule is that it gives us time to get some of the wrinkles out while not forced to play Miami, Boston, the Lakers or OKC. And did you notice, gone with this season’s schedule are those monster road trips of more than 4 games. Only twice, in late November and mid-January do the Wolves have near week long road trips. Players love this after the break-neck schedule they kept last year in the labor shortened season.

Rick Adelman’s team has had a nice preseason. An impressive win 95-76 over Detroit up in Winnipeg in which mixing up the line-up showed success. I like that Chase Budinger came off the bench to drop 21 in 20 minutes. Derrick Williams is stepping up in the preseason and making a strong impression (starting with 18 points in 22 minutes).

By now, you know this hoopaholic likes Andrei Kirilenko, and AK was quiet offensively against the Pistons but had 8 rebounds and 3 dishes in 24 minutes. If you want head turner time for this October run, it’s gotta be Dante Cunningham. 26 minutes, shot 6-for-9 from the field with 14 rebounds (led everyone in that department) and scored 12.

I like that the Wolves got out early with a first quarter lead of 17 points, led at half 52-29 and finished with a strong 4th period. And great to have Luke Ridnour and Brandon Roy both starting at guard for the Wolves.

I can’t wait for Nov. 2. To see Crunch roaming the arena. The place will be buzzing to see all the new players on this Wolves team. To have the day-to-day NBA buzz back. I believe they are ready. Better than last year. Prepared for that next step.

A few notes from the SimonsSays pre-season mailbag @

Why are you so high on (Andrei) Kirilenko? He didn’t even play in the NBA last year and didn’t do much in Utah? Bryan/Brooklyn Center

Thanks for the note and I’ve actually heard this comment a few times. Kirilenko can flat out do a ton for a team, especially with the injury to Love. AK was huge in the Olympics playing for Russia. He’s a 10 year NBA vet who is a players’ player. Guys love to play with him because he makes others around him better. I said it last week and I’ll echo it again…this was a brilliant signing by David Kahn. Pass, score, defend, rebound, steal the ball…you name it, AK does it.

What the Wolves have missed for so many years are veteran players, role players, who’ll compliment the youth and athletism brought along in the draft. AK is a perfect fit.

Next week, I’ll bring in our GameON! TV Fantasy Guru to size up the NBA and we’ll double team our predictions. So, enjoy the NBA ride ahead. It’s going to be a good one. And keep your GameON!

We’re all on MY@29!

You know that GameON! is on FOX’s MY29 and now the Wolves will offer a franchise-record 78 regular-season games will be 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. The 2012-13 Wolves Home Opener vs. Sacramento will be broadcast on WFTC MY29, beginning a string of 36 consecutive televised games to start the season.

See you on TV

Catch your Wolves on this Sunday’s GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! powered by SEVEN Steakhouse Sushi Ultralounge & Skybar this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. Our special guests include numerous Vikings players discussing the NFL season that has reached its hallway point. Also in, T’Wolves quick visits predicting the season ahead and former Twins World Series champion and fan favorite Al Newman. All GameON! 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! powered by SEVEN allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly 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. 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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