How many times can Ryan Hollins completely disregard his 7 foot height and be manhandled on the boards in such a way that would make Earl Boykins blush, all of which leaves you longing for Bill Laimbeer to suit up and start throwing some elbows because hell, it can't get any worse, right?
Basketball, when played well, is poetry.
Basketball is an artful combination of speed, power and finesse, that when executed skillfully is both exciting and rhythmic.
Basketball played by two determined and united teams is constant energy, with moments of amazement and inspiration possible at any second.
To me, these statements are fact. These statements are why I love basketball. These statements are why the Timberwolves are practically unwatchable at the moment.
I'm a diehard Wolves fan, evidence by the fact that I blog regularly about a team whose second greatest player of all time might be Wally Szczerbiak. I can't help it, I'm all-Wolves til the end. That being said, I find it more difficult to watch the current assemblage of "talent" than I ever have before. There have been bad Wolves' teams in the past, as recently as last season, but not like this. The 08-09 team, though not to be mistaken with the Lakers, weren't nearly as bad as they were playing early on and were instead largely the victims of coach Randy Wittman and his "bore the shit out of the crowd" offense. Once he was dispatched the team was allowed to play up to their true slightly below average potential.
But the 09-10 Wolves? Oh boy. There is no Randy Wittman to fire, nor a Kevin McHale to throw under the bus. Glen Taylor is still around but he looks just so darned smiley sitting on the sidelines that I doubt anyone has the heart to ruin his day by telling him what exactly is going on. Nope, it's ugly out there. Sam Cassell ugly.
One can justifiably attribute their wretched play to injury and inexperience. Both are relevant factors that any realistic fan knew would be an everpresent problem this year. But knowing that doesn't make the games more enjoyable. It doesn't make playing COD: Modern Warfare 2 less of a better use of your time. It most definitely does not put fans in the seats of the cavernous tomb also known as Target Center.
How many times can you watch Corey Brewer dribble the ball of his knees and grin that unremitting grin of his in disappointment as a fan in the front row picks it up for him?
How many times can you watch Sasha Pavlovic airball a wide open three point attempt and think "Oh, so this is why the Cavs let you go, you miserable sack of Euro shit."
How many times can you watch the Ryan Gomes Special (bricking a wide open mid-range jump shot and then touch fouling a vastly superior player as they are dunking on him in two consecutive possessions) and not wonder if the Lakers would be willing to deal Adam Morrison for him.
Al Jefferson has been particularly brutal in this baker's dozen stretch of losses, very few of which were even competitive. First and foremost, he's clearly not back from his ACL injury. Everything that made him one of the top 3 lost post scorers in the league is missing right now. Secondly, his 30 lb. weight loss was well advertised in the offseason. Perhaps dropping all that extra weight will allow him to stay healthy over the long haul but for now I can't help but notice how he's getting pushed around in the paint on both ends of the court and think that those 30 lbs. could come in handy right about now. Thirdly, which on a sidenote, is most likely due to the first two factors but still worth highlighting, he's just not playing well. In the past I've always found the wrap that he's a defensively flawed ball hog to be blown way out of proportion and more of a generalization that lazy fans were using to pigeonhole the guy. But I call it like it is and right now he is exactly that. He's not passing unless it's to kick it out to the three point line in order to evade a double team. In other words, his passing isn't creating any kind of offense. Quicker big men are exploding past him, which is leading to the types of touch fouls you'd expect out of Ryan Gomes. Most puzzling, the ball just isn't falling through the hoop. He's doing the same types of moves he always used to embarrass opponents in the past. The shots he's taking and missing are the shots that when he used to take them you knew with 99% certainty it was going in. For the sanity of Wolves fans everywhere, he had better get it together soon or this team will be making a run at the all-time record for fewest wins in a season.
Of course, the Nets might beat them to it.