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This item in Deadspin caught our eye: The NBA is said to be handing out warning cards to unruly fans telling them to clean up their behavior. They look like this:
As a practical matter, we have to imagine it would be hard to find the same fan behaving poorly at a different game, but within the same game? It seems to be a fairly effective way to keep the cheap shot artists and real loudmouths at bay.
It also makes us wonder how many such cards we might have received in our younger, more heckling-friendly years as a fan of many sports. We're pretty sure Malik Rose wishes we had had been given one during the 1999 playoffs against the Wolves.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
Yes, the Wolves are unveiling their new-look Adidas alternate jerseys tonight. And yes, they have sleeves. Per Timberwolves.com, here is a glimpse. Your thoughts on basketball jerseys with sleeves in the comments?
This always happens, of course.
Things start going well, Minnesota fans start fueling up on optimistic thoughts about their favorite teams, and then the hammer falls -- or at least a brief stretch of rough play tempers that enthusiasm.
What makes the past week so disturbing is that the hammer has fallen on so many teams. Let's take a look:
*Gophers men's basketball: They entered the tourney in Maui knowing it would be their stiffest test of the season to date. They looked capable in playing close against Syracuse and again looked competent in leading Arkansas at halftime on Tuesday. Then all of their flaws were exposed in one half -- soft interior D, questions about ball security, limited depth -- and suddenly we're reminded that they are what we thought they were: a team that should improve but that has many limitations as Richard Pitino attempts to implement his style.
*Gophers football: Not all momentum is lost here by any stretch after a 20-7 loss to Wisconsin. But a week ago there were grandiose thoughts of a major bowl game -- heck, even the possibility of playing Michigan State on Saturday for the right to go to the Big Ten title game.
*Timberwolves: One week ago Tuesday, the Wolves went into Washington with a 7-4 record looking like one of the most-improved teams in the NBA. But a stretch of four losses in five games as the schedule has tightened up leaves the Wolves at .500 and many of us wondering if a squad that blows out bad teams can also win the close ones against better teams.
*Wild: The team is still sitting pretty with its overall record (15-6-4), even after a loss to St. Louis on Monday. But a brutal Western Conference means that playing the next 2-3 weeks without the injured Zach Parise while also figuring out a way to keep its goalies healthy makes this a critical stretch.
*Twins: OK, nothing has really happened here in the last week. But during free agency, with a team that has lost at least 96 games each of the past three seasons, no real news is not good news.
*Vikings: As noted before, the tie against the Packers could be the blow that knocks Green Bay out of the playoffs eventually. So Sunday's 26-26 draw isn't all bad. But they still blew a 23-7 lead and didn't get the satisfaction of beating their rivals ... while still falling in the potential draft positioning. Had they lost, they would hold the tiebreaker and have the No. 1 pick if the season ended today. As it is now, they would pick fourth.
*Gophers men's hockey: It was inevitable with a young team, but the Gophers put up their first real clunker of the season on Sunday, a 6-2 home loss to Minnesota-Duluth.
And so ends the strange journey of Derrick Williams in a Timberwolves uniform.
The forward and No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft has been dealt to the Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute.
For Williams, it means a fresh start, we suppose. He was always miscast in Minnesota -- stuck behind Kevin Love at power forward, his best and most natural position, and constantly in the doghouse with veteran coach Rick Adelman. That said, for whatever offensive gifts D-Will has, his game is startlingly one-dimensional. He does not consistently defend. He doesn't have a good idea of team basketball on offense. Whether he simply failed to develop or the Wolves failed to get through to him can be debated. But he was not a good player here, we don't believe he was ever going to evolve into a key player on a good team, and he needed to move on.
The larger forces at plan in this are these:
*Clearly the Wolves are in "win-now" mode, with Mbah a Moute stepping in as a valuable rotation player who can defend the wing. He will be useful, no doubt, but he's a puzzle piece and not a building block. Part of the mentality is undoubtedly trying to keep Kevin Love happy in hopes that he doesn't opt out of his contract in the summer of 2015. The fact that Mbah a Moute was Love's college teammate at UCLA plays into this.
*We can close the books on a series of drafts by the Wolves that are nothing short of a disaster. In fact, let's start with the No. 6 pick in 2009, right after the Wolves took Ricky Rubio at No. 5. From that point on, here are the players they chose in the first round with the intent of keeping them on their team:
Jonny Flynn, No. 6 in 2009; Wes Johnson, No. 4 in 2010; Williams, No. 2 in 2011; Shabazz Muhammad, No. 14 in 2013; Gorgui Dieng, No. 21 in 2013.
Flynn, Johnson and Williams have been dumped. Muhammad isn't seeing the light of day. Dieng has showed some recent promise, but he's still not a regular rotation player. Add in the fact that Chase Budinger, acquired for the first-round pick in 2012, is injured right now and that is a TON of accumulated assets that are combining to give the Wolves virtually nothing on a nightly basis right now.
At least Mbah a Moute will give them something.
Kevin Garnett is about five months older than we are, which makes the fact that he is in such visible decline as an NBA player rather disturbing.
Yes, we all get to that age athletically.
With Boston, KG was never quite the dominant player he was in Minnesota. He settled into a great veteran niche -- 15 points, eight rebounds, great defense and all the savvy you could want every game.
With the Nets, at least through the first 11 games of a rough 3-8 start, the rug has been pulled out.
KG went from superstar with the Wolves to veteran cog with Boston to looking over the hill in Brooklyn.
His numbers through 11 games: 6.6 points, 7.8 rebounds in about 23 minutes per game. He's playing less, but even if you look at the production per 36 minutes, it's way down -- 18.3 points per 36 minutes during his career in Boston vs. 10.7 with the Nets. He's shooting 34 percent from the field, and he's not getting to the free throw line.
Maybe it's all part of learning a new system and KG's numbers will trend upward as he gets more comfortable. There was some evidence of that the other night in a 16-point, 8-rebound game -- the first time he had cracked double-digits in scoring all season. But he followed that with a game in which he attempted just two shots in 21 minutes. The Nets, by the way, lost both.
We'll see if playing his old team tonight at Target Center rekindles the flame. You never count out someone like Garnett, even if the evidence points to the contrary.