Love boats, poor draft selections, inept coaches, owners that don't perform their due diligence when hiring new coaches, terrible pass defense, predictable offense, ear-bleeding noise at home games, drunken dome fans, lame free agent signings, overpriced tickets, D-IA quarterbacks, and possible player drug use got you down? Do yourself and your blood pressure a favor and ditch the Purple for the Wolves and the NBA. Who needs to watch a bunch of steroid/HGH-injected lugs run into each other at full speed anyway?
Tomorrow the Wolves open up the regular season against the Sacramento Kings. If you are a Vikes fan who has turned his or her back on the Wolves in recent years, or if you are someone who has never really given the NBA a chance, here are a few things you need to know about the 2008-09 Wolves:
Kevin Garnett is gone and this is a good thing: Like any bad breakup both parties eventually have to move on with their lives. KG went on to Boston and won a championship. The Wolves bottomed out and have turned KG into Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Mike Miller, Kevin Love, and 4 possible 1st round picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Wolves were never going to win it all with KG on the squad and the trade allowed them to rebuild as fast and as thoroughly as possible.
Britt and Jerry: While you may be used to wall-to-wall coverage on KFAN, all 4 major TV stations, and both major papers, Wolves coverage is, for the most part, thin and outdated. For columnists like Reusseeeeeee and radio hosts like Dan Barreiro, the Wolves are forever stuck in the Glen Taylor/Kevin McHale Country Club; blowing draft picks, making questionable trades, signing terrible free agents, and so on and so forth. If you want excellent, up-to-date analysis of the squad ( < shameless plug > and you have already read Hoopus < / shameless plug > ) there are two places you need to go: Britt Robson's On the Ball and Jerry Zgoda's On the Wolves blog at the Strib's website. If you want to hear or read coverage of the team that is current as of 4 years ago, by all means, read Reussseeeeee and listen to Barreiro. However, if you want to read solid and current media commentary on the team, Britt and Jerry are your guys.
It's not just McHale: While I do not deny that McHale's all-around boobery is most certainly a part of the Wolves' past, the team has instituted a culture change in the last year and they have strung together a fairly respectable series of front office decisions. Granted, McHale's approach to basketball is encased in the amber of the 87 Celtics, and his approach to player selection appears to be geared towards ticket sales rather than winning basketball, but from the KG trade to clearing cap space to the Love trade to picking up Rodney Carney and a 1st rounder for almost nothing, the team is making solid, professional front office decisions.
Al Jefferson: Big Al is a low post throwback who can pull in 20 points and 10 rebounds on an almost nightly basis. He needs to prove himself on defense but he may be the Association's premier low-post scoring threat.
It's not all rosy; this is a growing team with some pretty substantial flaws: Prior to Love, the team's previous 3 draft picks have yet to really pan out. Rashad McCants has the talent to be a 2nd tier top scorer, but he just can't seem to find the right balance between team playing and getting his own. Randy Foye is learning to play the point in the toughest league on the planet. Corey Brewer's rookie season gave fans the impression that he could neither shoot or handle the ball at an NBA level. As for Love, he is a tad undersized for the 5 and while he may have measured out similar to Al Horford, he still has to prove his worth over the course of a long NBA season.
These are the five things that new or returning fans should know about the current squad. If you want to go a bit more in depth, you can read our season preview by clicking here. I invite our readers to add their own ideas to the list in the comments section.
The bottom line here is that the Vikes are a crappy team that will do nothing more than break your heart, increase your blood pressure, and eventually numb your mind. They'll probably meander around .500 for a few more years before moving to LA. Do yourself a favor and get on the Wolves bandwagon.