Timberwolves win by losing

It was a year ago tomorrow that I wrote this post pointing out that Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is making tons of money by subjecting Minnesota sports fans to an inferior product.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are enduring another wasted season as their fans have been convinced — again — that it’s impossible to build a culture of winning for a young team by actually, you know, emphasizing the importance of winning every now and again.

The team is next-to-last in official NBA attendance figures, which are usually doctored to inflate the number of people who actually go to games. Even by those numbers, however, about 500 fewer people than last year will show up at a Timberwolves game.

Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett continues to tutor his young charges on how to play winning basketball as he did at one point last night.

The outstanding Timberwolves analyst, Britt Robson at Minnpost, notes in his latest must-read essay that the team has regressed this season following early season success.

Since then, the Wolves are 5-21, a record of futility nearly as wretched as last season’s chaotic tanking to 16-66. “Bait-and-switch” feels like an understated description of how hopeful fans have regarded this pratfall back to incompetence. Something more vicious, like “sucker-and-fillet,” better captures their sense of betrayal.

As usual too, Robson’s column is one area of the Internet where you really do want to read the comments.

Meanwhile, it’s renewal time for the team’s season ticket holders. The team has announced it’ll raise ticket prices again.

  • Josh Ruhnke

    I just heard that they also have the worst lifetime winning percentage in the NBA. So we have been getting suckered for 26 years.

  • Kurt O

    Maybe the Washington Generals can relocate to MN to help the T-wolves look better?

    • Jeff

      I’m pretty sure most teams consider them to be the Washington Generals.

  • Kurt O

    Hopefully Glen Taylor uses the Lynx as a model for his new soccer team instead of the T-wolves.

  • Jeff

    I keep watching the same thing expecting a different result.

    I’ll give them another two years. Seems like with all the talent they have they can’t help but rise to mediocrity.

    • Will the talent they have they shouldn’t be losing to the Philadelphia 76ers. But, you know, I remember a few years ago being told “Love, Pekovic, Rubio! They’re all young kids, just wait a few years!” I’d feel better if the team started pricing their tickets based on the product of today rather than on what it might be someday.

      • Jeff

        Maybe they will be able to concentrate more without any screaming fans around to distract them.

      • lindblomeagles

        I never did buy into “the Rubio Phenomenon,” and Kevin Love willed his way out of Minnesota. Part of the problem is the structure of the NBA rewards teams that already have a ton of talent. That’s why very few, if any, NBA Teams go from worse to first, and certainly not from no NBA Title to an NBA Title. When, for instance, was the last time the Milwaukee Bucks challenged for an NBA Title? The Orlando Magic hasn’t been relevant since Dwight Howard left via free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers, and that move seems like eons ago. The NBA has found more FINANCIAL success keeping dynasties intact, while MLB and the NFL have had more success with parity. The parity in these leagues often means, the Kansas City Royals come out of nowhere to win it all, or, as was the case with the Seattle Seahawks, a team of unknowns hands Peyton Manning his worst loss in the Super Bowl.

  • Brian Simon

    This morning I think I heard mention of the New Orleans Pelicans. Huh?

    • The Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana. Isn’t there a soccer team here that named itself after a state bird?

      • Jack

        My buddy from NOLA told me that Pelicans was the original name of their basketball team. That’s why the replacement to the Jazz (that name makes NO sense in Utah – just saying) is named the Pelicans.

        Incidentally the Pelicans were really good last season.

        • The Lakers makes no sense in Los Angeles either.

  • X.A. Smith

    Luckily, with Kobe Bryant retiring, I can go back to being a Lakers fan next year.

    • Vintage59

      There still aren’t any lakes in LA. Try the Warriors.

  • Ryan Anderson deserved that hit. He clearly steps into KG at the :20 second mark of that video. KG isn’t the kind of guy who lets anybody punk him like that. The refs agreed.

    As for the team, our win against the Suns will feel empty when they beat us out for that #4 spot in the draft this year. #Skimmin4Simmons

    • I’m sorry, could you please cite me the NBA rule that allows a retaliatory elbow to the neck because you were punked? Good lord.

      • Oh, it’s definitely NBA vigilantism, no doubt. The refs would have been right to call a double technical and leave it at that. I’m just saying that it wasn’t an unprovoked attack.

      • Mark Gisleson

        Inside of the elbow, please. Not quite the same as getting elbowed. Yeah, KG should have been whistled but that’s true of a lot of players we go up against. We’ll take our superstar calls where we can get them.

  • Mike Worcester

    I attended my first Wolves game ever recently against the Cavaliers. A couple of takeaways:
    1. I was shocked by the number of empty seats despite it being LeBron.
    2. The cost of the nosebleed seat I was in with my party was nearly that of a really decent seat for a Twins game. I found that bothersome.
    3. The pregame was fun and engaging despite the paucity of the crowd; and I did appreciate how they tried to get people interested.
    4. Target Center is not a horrible place to watch a game, but it did show how the facility was built on a cheaper scale, typical of any late-80s designed arena.
    5. I’ll go back at some point, but the product on the floor needs to be improved AND more reasonable ticket prices established.

    Just my proverbial .02.

  • Len

    Bob is a typical cynical sarcastic Minnesota sports fan….These young Wolves are improving despite not winning.

    • You know, if you spend half a season intentionally losing games to get a draft pick, you don’t get to invoke the “we’ve won more games than last year” defense.

      Give them a participation trophy.

      Also, in your description, you left out “season ticket holder.”

      But, seriously, you should read Britt’s piece because he’s a guy who’s forgotten more about NBA basketball than most fans will ever know.

      • Len

        This team is not intentionally trying to lose games….haha…..Tell Ricky Rubio,KAT and Wiggins that and they would believe you are out of your friggin mind.

        • The tanking was last season in order to get KAT. That’s why comparing win totals to last season is invalid.

          • Len

            Yes and I am quite sure all those injuries last year were also in the tank plan….hahahaha

          • Some of those “injuries” were part of the tank plan. In any event, the situation is the same. The ’14-’15 season cannot be used as a barometer by which any other season can be judged. Many of the decisions to end players’ season was based on the fact they needed to win the lottery.

            That was a wise move; we won the lottery. But they weren’t trying to win games.

            There’s a lot of talent on this team and we’re told we just have to wait and that’s good advice. But I also think there isn’t enough focus on the reality that the players not only have to get better individually, they have to develop a chemistry. Reusse did a good job explaining this, I think, in this morning’s column.

            Unquestionably, the team has a bright future IF they can get rid of this culture of losing and IF they can stop developing young players for other teams. We know by experience that just waiting another season for players to get older doesn’t necessarily work because of the factors involved in developing a team in the NBA.

            In the meantime, ticket prices are going up 15-20% — again — as value of the franchise has doubled thanks to the new TV contract.

            It would be nice if the pricing of the tickets would match the team’s acknowledgement that they’re not very good yet.

  • Mark Gisleson

    Nationalize pro sports. The notion that the top teams all MUST be owned is absurd. This is a Minnesota team, it belongs to the state just as every pro team should belong to the city or state it’s in. Private ownership in sports, as in healthcare, stinks. All the incentives are wrong and few of the potential benefits are achieved. A good franchise would pack ’em in every night, win or lose.

  • Mark Gisleson

    Hmm, the joys of being in withdrawal from basketball blogs. Left three comments then noticed this post was two days old….

  • smitty

    Just received my season ticket renewal – increase of 15%. Done.

    • MotoXman

      Sam Mitchell is hands down the worse coach I’ve ever seen….In my own opinion! Now he figures out that playing ricky n zach together is the best option available…Now we have a pure shooter in our line up someone who can get ppl back into the seats by just being a pure scorer… But no let’s ruin him by forcing him to be someone he’s not… Thanks Sam oh n by the way why the heck is tyus Jones sitting on the bench not playing? Thought this was a season for learning….. I love watching the NBA but I never played basketball so I may not be as knowledgeable as most ppl posting comments on here. So am I completely wrong? Help me out here. I don’t understand how long we have to learn before we try to win… it’s no doubt we have the talent. Towns n wiggins are basically tied with Westbrook and durant as the NBA top scoring duo…. it’s no secret when zach is not trying to be a point guard he’s a amazing talent. How long have the Timberwolves been lacking a true shooting gaurd? We finally get a guy with endless talent and we need to force him to be someone he’s not….. idk if I’m completely wrong or don’t understand the concept behind all this madness I just needed to vent as a pure Timberwolves fan.