Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Continued Lament as a Timberwolves Fan

The Wolves just sent me a bill for season tickets next year -- an extra $600.  One would think that such a request from a 14-35 club would at least come with a handwritten apology from the owner.  Something like, "Geez, I am sorry that we have completely fucked you over since May of 2004, but you see, I am only worth around $2 billion, so I need to make you pay more while you put three kids through school."  You know, something like that.

The last time the Timberwolves made the playoffs, I had just turned 40 and my kids were 10-8-6.  It is now 12 years later and they are still sending me bills and explaining from time to time that they are rebuilding and really have a solid young nucleus for the future.   And we are 14-35.

Who is the Timberwolves' General Manager/VP of Basketball Operations?  Milt Newton.  The number of front offices that Milt Newton has run pre-2015?  Zero.   His hiring announcement for the Wolves says he was the Wizards' Vice President of Player Personnel for.......10 years.  During that time in Washington he was the front office.........third in charge.  What this resume would suggest is that the Wiz had two guys who they thought were better equipped for the job, and, no one in the NBA believed that Newton was worth looking at, even as a second banana.  Now that may not be true, but that is what it looks like -- Newton was a third stringer for a mediocre D.C. organization and moved up to second string by going to a far worse organization.

Who is our coach?  Sam Mitchell -- career record before this year?  156-189.    After being fired by the Toronto Raptors, Sam was hired and then demoted as an assistant coach for the Nets.  Sam's last head coaching task before the Wolves was to coach the US Select team in the 2012 William Jones Cup in Taiwan.  The U.S. took....third place.

So, that is our coach and GM.  But you know what?  Hey, a mediocre coach like Doc Rivers had Tom Thibodeau as and assistant and reached the NBA finals, winning in 2008.  So you can win with good, say, Sidney Lowe?  Ryan Saunders?  Rick Adelman -- oh wait, it is David Adelman.  Look, my son has a lot of skills and he is far superior to me in a lot of ways.  If I retired or died tomorrow, however, I would recommend hiring him as your attorney on the basis that I am/was his father.  Call me crazy, but I wouldn't do that.

The lack of quality on the basketball side of the operation can be seen in the season thus far.  Andrew Wiggins has talent -- he has declined as a player.  Karl-Anthony Towns is the best rookie the Wolves have ever had (and we have had Garnett and Marbury) by a lot.  I despise how Zach LaVine plays, but he has had a nice 4 game stretch here.  And we are.....14-35.  We may be headed for another 60 loss season.  

OK, so we are having YET ANOTHER rebuilding year.  But that is OK, because we are giving minutes to young guys like Tyus Jones.........oh, wait, we just played Andre Miller 12 minutes and Tyus Jones 0.  And Tayshaun Prince over 30 minutes.

My mom will turn 80 on March 19.  That same day, Andre Miller will be half as old as my mom.  If we are 14-35, we do not want someone playing who is half as old as my mom.  Tayshaun Prince is a professional, and he is willing to play as long as you ask him to play, but he will soon be 36 years old.  He has a 6.3 PER (league average is 15) and he plays starter minutes for us.  Why?  What possible reason could there be for this?  

If the reason that we are playing Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince is that we are trying to win games, then why are we not REALLY trying to win games?  If you were coaching this team and someone told you, "OK, you are going to be shot and killed if you do not win 35 games" what would you do?  1) You'd play Towns 40 minutes a night -- he is so obviously your best player on both ends of the floor.  2) you would run plays so that every time down you would have Towns touch the ball at least twice. 3) you'd play Shabazz 30 minutes a night.  4) you would play Rubio 40 minutes a night.  5) You'd tell Wiggins that he needs to get 2 blocks and 3 offensive rebounds a night to justify starter minutes.  If you cannot do that, you go down to 24 minutes a night and we will play Tayshaun more.

You would probably also try to find the best advice you could get from folks who are currently out of work (Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau maybe) and say, "how do I run an offense?  how do I run a defense?"   I mean, you have to win 35 games, you cannot be proud.  Just ask.  Hell, beg.

But the problem with the Timberwolves is that there is no accountability, no sense of urgency. Kurt Rambis was allowed to go 32-132.  Think about that.  David Kahn was allowed to pass on Steph Curry twice, once for Jonny Flynn.  Kept his job for three years.  

Rick Adelman was +9, +5 +9 in his three years as the Wolves coach, going from 17-65 (Rambis) to 40-42.  Then after Adelman left the Wolves went 16-66 under Flip.  

The Wolves after going 16-66 got Karl-Anthony Towns, who may put up 7 Win Shares.  Yet the Wolves appear ready to completely squander his effort (LeBron as a rookie had 5.1 WS but the Cavs won 18 more games than the prior year).

Anyway, just another long lament to note how awful I feel and how the Wolves continue to kick me in the balls and then send me a bill for the privilege.  As a Timberwolves fane, I am..........the gambler from "Let It Ride" where the main character asks the gambler why, instead of betting $200, the gambler  doesn't just give the main character $100 and let the main character kick him in the balls -- it would be quicker and cheaper.


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