Suns 114, Wolves 90: It's not what you do, it's the way you do it
Let’s recap the past two games.
Jason Smith had 26 points on 16 shots against the Wolves a couple days ago. They lost to a tanking New Orleans team on the road. Monday night, Markieff Morris had 21 points on 15 shots off the bench. The Suns beat the Wolves IN MINNEAPOLIS by 24 points. There are so many problems with this that I don’t really know where to begin.
The problem is there is no beginning to figuring this out because I don’t really know if there is a point. The Wolves no longer care. They can claim that they care and provide all of the lip service a fan could ever dream of. They talk about coming together as a team and playing for pride and blah blah blah.
None of it really matters. If it matters, this team wouldn’t have lost six straight games the way it did. I don’t even care that they lost six in a row. On some level, I absolutely care because they were in the playoff hunt with a favorable upcoming schedule and managed to throw guano all over the situation. But losing streaks happen to young teams all the time. You can get over that.
What you can’t get over immediately is the way they lost them.
Loss 1. They were distracted by the halftime show of Vanilla Ice and completely let basketball be a second priority. By the time they realized they were in a game and not at a 1991 show, KG had already taken hold of the game and no longer let it be a contest.
Loss 2. Wolves didn’t play any defense in the fourth quarter of this contest against the Blazers and let LaMarcus Aldridge win his grudge match with Kevin Love. They also let JJ Hickson be a +24 in 35 minutes of action, which was either them just being a putrid team on the road or deviously trying to trick Paul Allen into signing Hickson this summer for four years and $40 million.
Loss 3. They made Tyreke Evans look like a genius of a lead guard. They allowed Jimmer Fredette to score 19 points off the bench. They allowed Terrence Williams to get 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. And Luke Ridnour busted his ankle. It was a baffling game all around. By the way, this is a game in which they made 11/21 3-pointers.
Loss 4. THEY BLEW A 20-POINT LEAD TO A TANKING GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS TEAM. THEY ARE TRYING TO LOSE GAMES!
Loss 5. The Jason Smith game and if I write anymore about Jason Smith I’m going to go on a rampage.
Loss 6. This garbage effort we saw tonight.
HoopIdea on ESPN.com is trying to find ways to stop tanking because it’s a deadening feeling for a fan base. It’s supposed to be wrong to want your team to lose and find themselves playing for more ping-pong balls than a Dick’s Sporting Goods store. I agree with it too. If tanking were an advantageous means to a beginning, then it would be foolish for a team to not want a fresh start with a new young franchise player.
However, in an ideal world there wouldn’t be a system that promotes tanking like this NBA system appears to do.
While I agree that it’s weird for fans to root for their team to lose, it’s not a bad feeling in the slightest. If anything, it’s a sense of excitement each night that is new to what you’re used to feeling. You’re rooting for competitive and yet fruitful losses by your team. Us Wolves fans have done that for a few years in a row now, even harkening back to days when Mark Madsen took seven 3-pointers during a tankfest for the Wolves.
Tanking isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a fan base. What’s going on with the Wolves right now is the worst thing that can go on for a fan base. The Wolves have seemed to just check out and they checked out before the playoffs were even realistically out of reach. They just stopped playing and mainly stopped playing defense.
There is no fight. There is no resistance. There is no weak side rotation.
There isn’t anything to be gained from what the Wolves are doing right now. We don’t get a better draft pick if the rest of this season goes the way it’s going. We definitely don’t build any momentum for next season and leave thoughts of progressive grandeur. All we get is the same old feeling we’ve been left with for the last few Aprils.
We lose. We suck. We’re wasting our time.
The problem is we don’t get any consolation prize because of it. We just get to be the laughing stock of the league again. It’s not because we’re losing games; it’s just the way it’s happening.