The dog days of summer are fast approaching for anyone who considers themselves a hoops head.
If you consider yourself a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, you’re currently watching Andrew Wiggins get double-doubles in NBA finals games, and Nemanja Bjelica play well alongside him in a knotted series.
Tatum when guarded by Bjelica:— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 11, 2022
Nevertheless, we’re now single-digit days away from the NBA Draft; the start of a roster reshaping in the offseason that will hopefully help this team reach another level from its 46 wins the year previous. But I got to thinking - what can they do non-basketball wise to match its efforts on the court of getting things in the right direction, and starting anew from a disappointing past?
1. More Finch
For the first time in roughly 15 years, there’s absolute certainty around the head coaching position for this team. Chris Finch is going to be here for awhile, and that’s a great thing.
But the other side of the coin is that he was hired during a pandemic-ridden season and a disadvantageous situation for fans to know who he is and what he’s about. There’s a rich basketball community in Minnesota, and Chris Finch is a gold mine for said community. He’s coached at nearly every level and is extremely laid back. But I also feel like he’s largely a mysterious person to the community of fans as well.
I would die for Chris Finch.— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) April 27, 2022
Here’s what I’m getting at - Chris Finch needs a monthly, or bi-monthly podcast, “Wolves+” style. There’s a layer to him that doesn’t get peeled back in a conventional media session, where it’s like talking basketball with someone you’re getting a beer with.
The league, year by year, breaks the third wall more and more with player media, commentary, etc. (ahem, Draymond Green). Finch talking about coaching techniques, leading a team, the current state of the team, or analyzing the league overall in a more relaxed setting (that isn’t pre or post-game media sessions) is pretty fun to listen to.
The Wolves pulled a bold move that’s paid dividends so far in hiring him. Exposing a major voice in the organization to the fanbase can only do the same.
I can’t help but laugh when I re-watch the video the Wolves made unveiling its rebrand five years ago.
Ushering in a new era of Zach LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins...just a couple short months before the Jimmy Butler mega-move was made. Between a rebrand geared for Flip’s new era, to the turbulence that occurred under Tom Thibodeau, the the messiness that ensued after one of the bigger player-exec faux pas in franchise history, it just hasn’t been smooth sailing.
Fast forward - KAT and Josh Okogie are literally the two remaining players from that “chapter”, and new ownership is now in the mix to boot. Personally, I look at the current home/away/highlighter green alternates and think of Tom Thibodeau and the talked-about “old Wolves”. I don’t think of a new, exciting, different and sustainable team spearheaded by KAT and Anthony Edwards. I DO think of that when I see this year’s city edition, and return of the trees. How cool would it be to tip the cap to the KG era now that this finally feels like something, and bring the trees back?
Fans have wanted it for the longest time. Let’s pretend the non-tree era didn’t happen and re-boot this thing. Not to mention, I’m just not the biggest fan of the current threads overall.
3. Refrain From Raising Ticket Prices
In February, the team announced they would not be raising ticket prices for season ticket holders in order to retain its base. In my biased opinion, that should hold pat for single game, non-resale tickets as well.
After the sustained dysfunction, heartbreaking lottery picks, a carousel of coaches, and a constant stream of losing, the subtraction of fans’ hope (and attendance) was a long, but effective slow bleed.
I largely am making this semi-facetious point because I found a couple nostalgic pictures earlier this week.
But on a more serious side; Wolves tickets have never really been unreasonable, but I think another season of having them incredibly reasonable (currently hovering around the bottom third of the league) will continue to bring fans out of hibernation and make the product an easy sell, especially when it’s been harder to logistically watch on TV with ongoing Sinclair-Streaming TV negotiations (which seem to have sailed).
For people my age who largely grew up after the KG era and right in the middle of the Kevin Love era, it’s obviously an exciting time because the team has started to win for the first time in a while.
Getting more people in and continuing to showcase an exciting, yet unfinished product bodes well for people to keep coming back after a great first impression in 21-22. It may also help permanently get rid of the 200s level tarps fans came to know and love so well.
After all, who doesn’t want to have a shot at seeing the Anthony Edwards show?