The All-Star break is upon us, and for the first time this season it isn't merely a four or five day break, but for the Timberwolves it's a full nine days between games. The league and players agreed to this schedule in an effort to provide more of a break to players who so often get worn down by the relentless NBA schedule.
When the league first announced this, I thought it was a good change for the players, and thus for the league as a whole, but thought that I would be frustrated by the break as a fan. I've never liked the All-star break--the game and assorted activities don't interest me. Indications to the contrary, I like fun stuff along with my basketball; what I don't like is pre-packaged ersatz "fun" like what the All-star Weekend activities provide.
Usually, the All-Star break is something of an unwelcome break in routine for me. I get in a rhythm of having NBA basketball every night, and then for a few days it's gone. No games to watch, no box scores to peruse, no highlights to see, not much to write about or debate. And this year it's even longer.
But strangely, I'm happier about it this year, and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it has to do with the state of the Wolves, not that it's too much different than the state we've found ourselves in during previous seasons. But perhaps I got too caught up in the disappointments of the first half of this season and feel the need for a mind cleanse. So much went wrong--the injuries, the losing, the frustrations with Flip's coaching, the feeling like so little was getting better--the Sisyphusian dread that comes along with being a Wolves fan--that the break comes at a welcome time.
Perhaps it will give my brain a chance to re-set, to see the final 29 games as more of a separate entity, and opportunity to look at the team afresh when it finally is the team we thought we would see all year. We saw glimpses over the past few games as the injured players returned and began to get in the swing of things: all of a sudden, the Wolves were competitive and even enjoyable at times.
And this is why I would prefer wins over the final stretch of the year to losses, damn the lottery odds. We need to see that this team is capable of entertaining and competitive basketball. If the team is just as abject as it was over the first half of the season, how can we have confidence they can be better next year? The players need to develop confidence in themselves as a group, that they are capable of winning games--I'm a firm believer that 15-67 doesn't help anyone.
So this 10 day break gives everyone a chance to clear their minds, fans and players alike, to re-focus on what remains of the season and set some goals for what they want to achieve.
- With no more games until after the trade deadline, trade rumors will heat up over the next few days as the league convenes in New York. Goran Dragic on the move? We'll keep you updated with anything Wolves related.
- Some quotes from Ricky Rubio and Gorgui Dieng in this article about international players adjusting to the NBA.
- Yahoo article about Andrew Wiggins and his quiet ways is here. Nothing to exciting except apparently his teammates call him Sleepy.
- We'll be back later with a "game thread" for the Rising Stars game featuring no fewer than four Wolves.
1914: ASCAP is founded in New York
1957: Southern Christian Leadership Conference forms in New Orleans
1959: Barbie Doll goes on sale.