Simons Says...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The NBA playoffs have been all that and more this spring. Ratings have been strong, games have been good and because of that, many of the series have been compelling and close.

Watching the other day, I got to thinking. Just because you leave a team doesn’t mean, emotionally, you are completely outta’ there. Case in point, current Wolves players and their former teams in the post season dance. It’s gotta’ be killing Wolves Martell Webster to be out of the playoffs while his former ‘mates in Portland are giving Dallas all they can handle.

The Lakers are getting a handful against the Hornets and it has to be hard for Coach Rambis (with so many friends and colleagues still on the Lakers bench) to watch that unfold. Speaking of the Dallas-Portland series, how about former Wolves swingman Corey Brewer and former Coach Dwane Casey, both on the Mavs sideline. For Brewer, he might not be gathering a lot of playoff minutes but he’s there, on the team, reeling in that much needed experience.

There are plenty of tales to be told but it’s clear, this has been a special second season for sure. And in some cases, players (and coaches) are missing what is the best part of their season. A shot at the title.

Playoff Watch:
We’ll remember this post season for good reasons and we’re not even half way through it. Regardless of whether you are a fan of the East or West conferences, games have been sharp.

For starters, its hard to take your eyes off the Bulls. Chicago has good reason to expect big things from this team, the first since the Jordan-era teams to seriously be thrown into title consideration.

Derrick Rose has to be the NBA’s most valuable player. I’ve talked about him before but he continues to impress, especially after bustin’ the boot and kicking Indiana out of the playoffs. Criticize his shoot first, pass second mentality but it’s working there.

Add a seasoned but still youthful cast of Deng, Boozer and Noah to the mix and a nice bench and it could be a long spring run for da’ Bulls.

C’ ya Knicks. I’m a little surprised New York laid an egg against the Celtics but considering how close they were in games one and two, they had their chance and gave in after those two games.

Now that Miami has closed out Philadelphia, the Heat get the C’s. Boston and Miami should be a very dramatic series. I was one of the many who picked Boston to get back to the Finals even knowing that it would likely run through South Beach. I’ll be honest. Right now, I’m not sure this prediction holds. I’m not changing my mind but I am nervous about the pick.

And finally, I have been glued to Memphis-San Antonio. The first OT game of the playoffs last night and it’s clear. Few people, including myself, expected this Griz to take the Spurs to the brink. It’s been outstanding.

Fan feedback:
I’m still hearing from Wolves fans. Nervous about the off-season, anxious about impending change and still wrung from a tough losing season.

Looking through my e-mail, long time fan Josh from Morgan had some thoughts:
“There hasn't been much improvement as far as a win-loss record shows, but I feel like this team is much better than last year's. We’ll end up with another decent draft pick and also the possibility of signing Rubio in the off season. If both those things happen and we keep Beasley and Love (while adding veteran help), we'd have to be contenders again. It's been fun to watch this team forming - I just hope there are no silly setbacks.”


For the Red, White & Blue:
The Lynx will be well represented on the USA Basketball Women's National Team. There’s Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Candice Wiggins among the 22 WNBA players participating in the camp. You know it’s special when the Lynx have more players invited to Team USA’s camp than any other team in the WNBA, with Connecticut (four) being the only other team with more than two players invited.

Kudos KLove!
SimonsSays had already posted last Thursday as T’Wolves forward Kevin Love was named winner of the 2010-11 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award. The honor is given to the player who made the most significant improvement from the previous season. It’s the first for Love as well as the first for a Timberwolves player. There was little doubt too. KLove got 400 of a possible 580 points, including 66 first-place votes, from a panel of 116 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Love averaged career-highs in scoring (20.2 ppg), rebounding (15.2 rpg), assists (2.5 apg), field-goal percentage (.470), three-point percentage (.417) and free-throw percentage (.850) for the Wolves this season en route to earning his first NBA All-Star selection.

Cheers to K-Love and more playoff watch next week. Here’s to warmer weather and maybe seeing spring’s late start and don’t forget, keep your GameON! See you Sunday morning at 11AM on FOX9.

Thanks for the e-mails and the uptick in communication from you out there. I very much enjoy getting those and next week, we’ll share some more of your FAN thoughts in our SimonsSays mailbag. Until then, keep your chin up and see you Sunday on GameON! I’d love to have you out to one of our live GameON! Tapings this next Tuesday at Courtside Bar and Grill in Anoka on Jackson Street. More details and guest listings on our redesigned show website (