As I’m wont to do, I report the obvious things last. First, the Wolves lost to the Spurs last night in double overtime. Second, the nation elected a President for the January 2009-January 2013 term, and some legislative plebes as well.
Back to the Wolves. Was the loss last night disappointing? Yes, although I was very entertainined. Was the loss last night expected? Yes. I never seriously thought we would win that game, even when Al Jefferson hit that jump hook in the first overtime. Being a Wolves fan, I actually expected a three to fall through the hoop, but then Tony Parker couldn’t break Shaq’s Timberwolves’ opponent scoring milestone (on a personal positive, I have Parker and Duncan on my Fantasy Team…I got Parker in round 10 because people don’t want someone whose position in fantasy is limited to just the PG slot).
Anyway, this is actually a positive post for two reasons: Telfair and Turbo (Brewer). I wanted the team to take Turbo with the 2007 pick, and last season I developed serious doubts about his future in the NBA. However, I try not to get too down on rookies in bad situations, and I figured that as far as having an impression about someone I’ve only talked to for about 6 seconds (last year at the “Meet the Players” event at Gameworks) and observed 41 times from a seat that was 150 feet away that he genuinely cared that his game was lacking and that he was losing badly (and being a contributor to the losing) for probably the first time ever. Due to the frustration on his face during games, I trusted that he would work in the off-season. At one point this summer, one of Sonia’s news posts included excerpts from an interview with Turbo. His simple statement was that “we’re (meaning him and former Wolf/Gator Chris Richards) better.” As a fan, I like statements like that. It’s simple, believable, and provable. Through four games, I agree. His handling has improved to the point where I don’t cringe when he dribbles, and his offensive decision making has improved dramatically. In particular, his shot selection, outward confidence, and off-the-ball movement are better. I no longer fear his ability to make it as an NBA player and starter, though there’s plenty of work left.
Unlike Turbo, the other player I had no expectation for (and didn’t even want), but grew to respect and enjoy was Bassy. I even felt compelled to defend him this off season from critics that probably didn’t watch him play last year. My impressions of Bassy as a basketball player are simple: he seems like a young man with immense talent; talent that led to overhype; overhype that led to unnecessary spite and unrealistic expectations. It is in this environment that the mortal prep-to-pro (the non-physical freaks of nature) players have taken two paths from my observation: they either self destruct or become humble, work on their craft, and earn the respect of opponents, teammates, and fans. As a fan, Bassy now has my respect and support. He improved steadily last season in both his individual game and as a decision maker for a team, and even though it was only his first game last night, he showed the same improved decision making, confidence, and desire to be better that I observed at Target Center last season.
My overall observations will be narrower this season than last because my vision is limited to that which the television camera can capture. I am no longer a season ticket holder, the reasons for which I will post another day, but I can say from the three games I’ve watched that this team is, and will continue to be, much more entertaining than the two iterations I’ve seen live. I have only planned on coming to one game live, to pay homage to the King, but I feel it’s going to be money well spent, not just because of the King, but because of the hosts.