Take a good look at this picture. That's former Wolf Chauncey Billups going up for his first dunk of the year. Not only was it his first dunk this season, but he did not dunk last year, the year before that, the year before that, and...well, it appears that he may have attempted one four years ago.
On the TV broadcast, J-Pete and Hanny talked about the possibility of Billups not having attempted a dunk for the past 10 years. While this doesn't appear to be the case, what is obvious is that the Denver Nuggets came to the Target Center yesterday and absolutely clowned the Wolves. It was a YMCA scrimmage between a bunch of old guys who know how to play and the freshman squad. At one point in the game, I'm pretty sure Carmelo Anthony tied his shoes during the action.
In other words, it was a joke. It was a waste of time and, for those of you who went to the game, money.
Last night the Wolves fielded a starting rotation of Mike Miller, Kevin Ollie, Ryan Gomes, Jason Collins, and Rodney Carney. Sebastian Telfair, Brian Cardinal, and Sheldon Williams were the first three players off the bench. A few things about this rotation:
First, can you remember the last time the Wolves played an entire game without a single draft pick? Not a single home-grown Wolf entered the game last night.
Second, the team's 3 best players (Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, and Randy Foye) were unavailable last night. If you throw in Craig Smith and Corey Brewer, the Wolves were down 5 rotation players due to injury or sickness.
I honestly don't know what to write about this club right now. On one hand, I completely get that they have been absolutely depleted by injury and illness. I get that they played well in January and that a coaching change produced a needed change in attitude and on-court performance. On the other hand, each time I see or hear the Papa Glen commercial about effort and energy I twinge a little. Every time PG offers up another statement about Kevin McHale's de facto lifetime deal I get a little jittery. You get the picture.
One of the most interesting things about being a Wolves fan these days is that any given fan can make a pretty damn good argument both for and against the direction the club is headed. For those who think that the team is headed in the right direction, there are the injuries and January. For those who think that the team merely hit a blip on its spiral towards the bottom, there are the unresolved front office and a history of bumbling. Looking forward with this squad is a tough thing to do.
What is not tough is looking backwards. This team trotted out the worst starting lineup in the league last night. It played with minimal energy and was trounced. It was absolutely embarrassing It was the real reason why this franchise is offering up $5 season tickets. Who wants to see that group of players play? Sure there are some yahoos who still cling to the belief that Mark Madsen is somehow earning a paycheck by running around like an idiot for the 5 minutes a month he gets on the court, but we all know what his presence on the court really means: this club has nothing better to offer its fans. It really is quite sad that Madsen has turned into something of a folk hero for this club. Fans want to pay money to see Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. They want to see the team compete and hopefully win. He may be the nicest guy in the world, but Madsen is only cute when he's a human victory cigar not a human surrender flag.
Here's hoping the glass-half-full fans get what they are looking for. The Wolves have two excellent starters in Love and Jefferson. They have 3 excellent bench players/5th starters in Gomes, Foye, and Miller. They have 2 solid bench players in Bassy and Brewer. They have a cache of draft picks and some cap space. Things could get better...which is a good thing because things definitely have been worse, and that's the reason why Papa Glen has to play the used car salesman and offer up $5 tickets during games that probably aren't worth even that much. Of course, the team did happen to compete hard and win against Utah and maybe the glass-half-full's take on last night's effort was that the NBA season is too damn long and you're bound to have a few games like this no matter what. Again, this thing could go any number of ways. It makes for interesting blog talk but a sometimes questionable on-court product.
Speaking of tickets, here's an event that is most definitely worth the money: Hoopus Night!!! It's this Saturday vs. Phoenix and if you haven't already bought your tickets, please contact Britt Carlson at 612-673-8366 or email@example.com. Come hang out with a bunch of basketball geeks for one of the last games of the year. Don't forget that we will give away an autographed ball to one lucky ticket holder. That about does it for now.