The Wolves are playing two preseason games at the Target Center this year: Friday against Toronto, and next Wednesday versus Chicago. They'll also play four road games, plus host a game in Sioux Falls - but if you're a Twin Cities-area Wolves fan, this week is your only chance to check out the team before the games start counting for real.
Of course, you might not have been paying much attention over the summer. For some casual fans, the last thing they can remember is the team picking Ricky Rubio on draft night, followed by Rubio trying to look happy for the cameras but failing abjectly. (Our theory: he was afraid of going to Minnesota and being eaten by a polar bear. You must admit, this explains a lot.)
But lots has happened since then. Below, a not-necessarily-exhaustive (or informative) guide to Ten Things You Don't Really Need To Know Before Going To See the Wolves' Preseason Games This Week.
- Al Jefferson is still on the team, but trying to learn how to play the triangle offense. Don't yell at him if he starts bricking jump shots like he's Randy Foye. He's trying to learn. A little encouragement would go a long way.
- Also, Al's knees are very fragile and we all have to pitch in to keep them healthy. The slightest thing could set them off. Watch your language.
- Speaking of Randy Foye: he's gone. We are not that sad about it.
- Mike Miller is also gone, part of the same trade that sent Foye away. If you're looking for a 6-10 sharpshooter that a) refuses to shoot and b) keeps on driving the lane wildly and c) acts surly about the whole thing, you'd better hope Brian Cardinal shows up drunk.
- Here's the list of guys who were on the team before the summer started, and are still here: Jefferson, Cardinal, Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love.
- Yes, that's it. And the team made Love stop tweeting, which has given fans a little less joy in their lives.
- Newcomers include Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Sasha Pavlovic, Ramon Sessions, Damien Wilkins, Ryan Hollins, and a cast of thousands that won't be on the roster coming Opening Night. Like a farmer raising chickens, it's best not to get attached to any of these guys, because pretty soon Farmer Kahn will come along holding his Trade Hatchet, and then WHACK it's time for chicken soup!
- Well, Flynn and Ellington are rookies and are therefore probably safe, and Sessions has been called the free-agent "steal of the summer" by John Hollinger, so it's probably okay to get attached to those three. But the rest are still in danger.
- Mark Blount is on the roster. But fear not. He'll never play for the team again. You can come out now. That particular nightmare is over.
- All in all, the team will be young, rambunctious, and unlikely to hit a three-pointer except by accident. It could be fun to watch. Or it might be abjectly painful and full of ridiculous numbers of free throws and defensive breakdowns. It's really hard to say at this point.
Tickets for the two games start at $0 (really), so get out there and cheer on the team.
And watch out for that Farmer Kahn. He will trade you thisquick, and he won't even think about it.no comments
The NBA season is upon us! Here is yet another series of blog previews from around the web, previewing each team by division. Expect the entire series by the end of the month. The Wolves links should arrive around the 17th. Enjoy!
Here's the full list of Atlantic Division Previews:
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks
Toronto Raptorsno comments
Yesterday afternoon, a few friends and I made a trip down to Mankato for the Wolves' pre-season opener against Milwaukee. First of all, it was a nice, picturesque drive. Those of us who trek up north during the summer and fall should appreciate the night and day difference between driving north vs. south in our state.
I had intended to make this into the 2nd portion of last weeks' State of the Wolves: Kahn Edition write-up, but due to the lack of coverage on the game, will go with a recap instead. Part 2 will be posted in the coming weeks as cuts are made, and the roster appears more finalized. Onward to the game recap below the fold:
In my last post (which was far too long ago, I admit), I reflected on several topics of discussion during what has been a very active, exciting, and telling offseason for the pups. Topics ranged from the Big Al/Love affair, potential trades, our financials, and Rubio (how soon we forget). In what will hopefully be a two part post, I'd like to first present a look back at what has been the most entertaining offseason in recent time. Enjoy, comment, critique, and discuss. I will begin and end by discussing the man of the hour himself: David Kahn.
The Kahn Man in Review
At this point in his tenure, and likely for at least another year plus, Kahn has enjoyed a wonderful (local) reception and an over-generous honeymoon period since he made his first move: Firing Kevin McHale. I am firmly convinced, at this point, he could have pawned off a 5-year, Full Mid-Level signing of Forward-Center Oliver Miller as a "veteran leadership, spot duty minutes signing," and half of the 43 Wolves fans in this town would have scheduled a celebratory parade down Nicollet Mall during the Thursday afternoon farmers market (which, sadly, is coming to a close for the winter soon). The man, at this point, can do no wrong. Now, I am not going to argue this by any stretch. In fact, I haven't been this oddly obsessed with the inner workings of the team in, well, ever. And that is in fact thanks to the kahstant maneuvering from David Kahn. My take on his work so far, and an offseason grade, below the fold:
Timberwolves training camp opens in Mankato today, with the first preseason games less than two weeks away. It all seems to be happening so suddenly, and there's no doubt that today will be a whirlwind for everyone involved with the team.
David Kahn, of course, thinks of everything, which is why I'm sure he's scripted today down to the last minute. Below, we take a look at our best guess, as to today's schedule.
8:00 - Breakfast! (Donuts available for everyone but Al Jefferson, who will only be allowed to eat knee-strengthening foods.)
8:15 - Team introductions. Everyone new to the franchise must stand and sing an embarassing song, chosen by a Wolves Veterans Committee consisting entirely of Ryan Gomes.
9:00 - Though we probably won't be done singing by now, Gomes will have run out of songs, and so we'll probably cut this activity off here.
9:00 - All team members must stand in a circle holding hands, and be able to correctly name all of his teammates, going around to the circle to the left. Anyone who fails this exercise must run extra.
9:15 - (This space left blank to allow for running.)
9:30 - First practice. First chance for Kurt Rambis to put his stamp on a young team. (Plenty of time will be allowed for goggle practice and mustache instructions.)
11:30 - Time for a fun team activity! Whole team will be playing musical chairs in center of court. Should be good for some laughs! (First three players out will be traded before the end of practice.)
12:00 - Charity three-point shootout (NOTE TO MEDIA: Given this year's team, the three-point shootout will be conducted about eleven feet from the basket, in the hopes of crowning a winner before dinnertime.)
12:30 - On your own. Please use this time to rest up, or to call Mark Blount and Antonio Daniels, ask how the job search is going, laugh into the phone, and hang up.
2:30 - Second practice. Players will sit in a semicircle around Rambis, as the coach tells stories beginning with, "This one time, Phil Jackson..." (It was great in Rambis's interview, trust us.)
4:30 - Another charity event: Team spelling bee! First player to correctly spell both "Oleg Pecherov" and "Aleksandar Pavlovic" wins. Extra credit for accent marks.
5:15 - Dinner. Players on their own after this. Feel free to get out and sample Mankato's nightlife! There is the Applebee's... and...uh...
OTHER NOTES FOR TEAM PERSONNEL:
- If you are punched by Bill Laimbeer, please stop by HR to fill out form 38-A, "I Just Got Punched By Bill Laimbeer, Now What?"
- Please give Jonny Flynn compliments at every opportunity. (We are hoping this will raise his self-esteem, and then later, his physical height.)
- If Brian Cardinal wears a piece of Purdue apparel, you are contractually required to call him "Kneepads."
- We will be running a "Guess How Old Jason Hart Is" contest throughout the day. Submit your guess to any assistant coach.
I don't know about you, but at this point, I'd believe just about any headline that appeared in one of SG's daily updates. After all, we've already suffered through "Wolves Re-Acquire Mark Blount"; I nearly had a coronary when I read that one. How much worse can it get?
With that in mind, I thought I'd jot down a few possibilities that we might see over the coming weeks.
Wolves Trade for Quentin Richardson Again
"We forgot we already had him," say team execs
Consumer Outcry Forces 20 More Wolves Games off Local TV
Will be replaced with "Real Housewives of Stearns County: Battle for the Last Barstool"
Wikipedia Gives Up, Deletes Wolves Roster
Foundation had to dedicate entire server to handle changes, needs to recapture computing time
Darius Songalia Forced to Admit He'll Actually Play in Minnesota
Forward says he was "pretty sure it was a bad dream"
Mark Madsen Unaware Wolves Did Not Claim Him Off Waivers
Despite his presence on the bench every night, accounting department insists, "We're not paying him"
Mysterious Ricky Rubio Tweets Finally Translated
Language that baffled scholars was Spanish; Minnesota "smells like musty cheese," says update
Wolves' Kahn Writes "Moneyball"-Style Book - About Himself!
Book is subtitled, "Why I'm Super Awesome"
McHale Clotheslines Rambis at First Official Practice
Glen Taylor involved, unrepentant
Don't think it could happen? We've seen weirder already this year...no comments
Incoherent Rambling. Let that be the theme for this post. Incoherent rambling loosely structured in bullet proof form, in a slight effort to sum up several topics surrounding the Wolves these days. In summary, we are in a complete transitional period. We have yet to find a coach, or complete our roster changes, so lets all collectively pipe down with the talk of the Wolves winning 10 games next year. We're not done. Despite the fact that by the time I finish this write up, we could have traded another 20% of the roster for another fat, aging, three point chucker (we did get, perhaps, one of the worst three point chuckers in NBA history not named Antoine Walker (another former Wolf, ironic?), the show must go on.
Besides, it has been a few weeks since I provided material for a solid morning trip to the corner stall. Enjoy.
(NOTE: By the time I did finish this, the Wolves traded for another has-kind of-been.)
- Current Roster
If the Wolves opened the season today, here would be our extremely talented lineup:
PG - Jonny Flynn, Chucky Atkins, Bobby Brown; SG - Quentin Richardson, Damien Wilkins, Wayne Ellington; SF - Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, Brian Cardinal; PF - Kevin Love, Darius Songaila, Oleksiy Pecherov; C - Al Jefferson
You can see here why many think we are going to win between 3 and 6 games next year with that doozy of a lineup. A few basketball-related points of dicsussion for early on in the season, assuming the key guys stick on the roster:
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