Suns 114, Wolves 90: It’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it

Zach Harper —  April 10, 2012 — 9 Comments

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.

Zach Harper

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9 responses to Suns 114, Wolves 90: It’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it

  1. And so it goes.

    Hard to care about this team when these games aren’t even watchable…

  2. I don’t know if I should be sad or angry. I enjoyed the season up until recently. I had bragging rights against my houston, dallas and san antonio friends. Everyone was congratulating the wolves and it was again fun to be a wolves fan after many dry years. All that time I stuck with them hoping for a real coach, hoping for a turn around. That turnaround came this year but it didn’t even last a whole lockout shortened season. I want to stick by the team thinking that next year will be better. Rubio will be back. Beasley and Randolph will be gone and hopefully Darko as well. Hopefully we’ll have some decent bench players replacing them and we can go for another playoff run. Right now, though, it feels futile. I guess I am more sad than angry. I want to teach my suns to be winners and not losers so I can’t let them watch any more games this season.

  3. It’s especially tough to watch this team when other bad teams seem to be trying harder, even though they have more of an incentive to lose (better draft position). I thought young teams were supposed to play with energy?

  4. pagingstanleyroberts April 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    The defense was bad last night, but if there’s any shot a defense wants to allow, it’s midrange Js for the likes of Morris/Shannon Brown/Sebastian Telfair and hand-in-the-face 3s by those guys. Their effort and defensive rebounding were problematic, but a majority of those shots aren’t going in every night for those players.

    What I have a bigger problem with is the offense. If Brad Miller isn’t playing, there’s no flow and too many contested shots. Pek and Love put 10 fouls on the Suns big men in the first half and they were still down 8. It’s pretty clear that the most important skill for this team is ballhandling and passing; they had as many injuries early in the year as they do know yet were still taking teams down to the wire because they had facilitators at the 1 and 2 (in small lineups). At least we can end any speculation about whether Malcolm Lee can play PG in an Adelman offense.

  5. It looks like the shortened season with the quick schedule of games have finally broken the Wolves. Injury after injury have made them feel like it’s over before it’s over. And how do you get guys to play hard when they know they won’t be here next year or they know they will and have nothing to play for. Once they lost enough people and realized that the playoff’s were out of reach they stoped playing hard. Even the great kevin Love looked like he was just showing up because his contract said he had too. The thing that sucks is the future still looks good but the end to this season leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that it’s hard to even think, little alone say, it will be better next year.

  6. Ivan Kronkvist April 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    The ones who don’t know if they’ll be here or not SHOULD play hard to give themselves a chance to stay on. Here’s the chance to step up and show coach that you want to be part of the future here and not just keep the bench warm for your team mates. C’mon Webster, Wes, Beasley, Tolliver, Randolph, Ellington, you are the ones that have something to prove, not only to the wolves but to the rest of the NBA as well. If not with the wolves, show us that yous till want to be with an NBA team.

  7. Again. Tanking games would be pointless when we dont even have a first round pick in this years draft. That pick was going to the clippers in the sam cassel trade years ago. That pick was traded to New Orleans in the Chris Paul trade. We could possibly get Utah’s pick from the Jefferson trade, but Utah would have to be the 8th seed and lose in the first round. Other wise there will be no 1st round picks.

  8. What happened to the other new commenting, by the way? It was much better.

  9. Yeah, Fxxx Jason Smith. and Fxxx the Wolves effort this month.

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