Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Bad News Wolves

Last year, the Minnesota Timberwolves had one of the weirdest seasons I have ever seen of any team in any sport.

What started as a season of promise and potential devolved into a season of misery and frustration and left Minnesota without a coach and without a major step forward in the process of winning.

I want to take a look back at some of the unbelievable things which happened to Minnesota last season and contributed heavily to their comic losing.

Sometimes you have to laugh to stop from crying.


Things actually started quite well for them.

They came out in the preseason and jumped out to a 5-1 record, and Martell Webster was looking like Michael Jordan the way he was able to finish difficult layups in traffic.

On top of that, he was on fire, drilling shots from all over the court and establishing himself as a powerful weapon for the team.

Minnesota created a little national sizzle after their fast start.

Then an old back injury flared up and required surgery and required Webster to miss the first six weeks of the season.

Even when he came back, he rarely was able to have the same impact he was having in those few preseason games or that he had at times in Portland.

It was the first sign of many bad things to come.

The Timberwolves played at Orlando in early November.

Orland was scheduled to play in New York the night before, but the game was postponed due to asbestos at Madison Square Garden.

Instead of playing an Orlando team which had flown in and played in New York the night before, they played a team on more than four days rest and which still had the bad taste in their mouths of being blown out by Miami in their last game.

The result was a disaster.

Not saying Minnesota would have won the game or anything, but they probably wouldn't have lost by 42 points.

In what had to be the funniest moment of the season (not the ankle sprain but the timing), Darko Milicic sprained his ankle against Portland on the opening tip.

The opening tip!

How do you sprain your ankle on the opening tip?

And I'm not lying. You can look it up. This is tragic stuff.

And Nikola Pekovic, one of his backups, sprained his ankle in about two minutes in the same game.

Again, tragic stuff.

Minnesota played the early part of the season without the injured Jonny Flynn.

When Flynn finally came back, he was to play a few games in the development league to help his rehab.

At least one more game in the development league was scheduled for Flynn. But he got caught in a snowstorm and couldn't play because the game was canceled.

I swear I'm not making this up.

After losing 11 of 12 games, Minnesota was able to get a breakthrough win in a blowout over Toronto only to see Luke Ridnour have to leave the team for personal reasons before the next game and miss the next six.

And after winning four of eight games in early March it seemed the team was undone by untimely reports that Kurt Rambis would be fired after the season.

They would lose their next 15 games.

And that pretty much sums up the season for the Timberwolves.

It was a disaster movie.

As bad as Kurt Rambis was, and he was bad, you can't blame him entirely for the 17 wins.

And you can't entirely blame the players.

Last season it was like the Timberwolves were riding on the Titanic as the special guests of a man named Murphys and his favorite son Law.

It was that bad.

So as Minnesota looks for a new coach and tries to capitalize on the buzz created by the breakout seasons of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley and the arrivals of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams, we can only hope that next season is better than last.

It can't get any worse.

But that's what I thought last year.

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