Patrick Reusse: Wolves fill scene's personality vacuum

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2012 - 12:00 AM

In addition to winning some games, Rick Adelman's lineup is bringing joy and delight to Twin Cities pro sports.


As David Kahn, right, looked on, Wolves coach Rick Adelman congratulated Luke Ridnour on his game-winning basket Wednesday vs. Utah.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There was some personality on our pro sports scene 25 months ago, when Brett Favre ended his first season in Minnesota with a big effort in an overtime loss at New Orleans.

Sidney Rice had emerged as a star receiver, Percy Harvin was a dynamic rookie and Adrian Peterson -- even with the fumbles -- remained a one-of-a-kind combination of speed and power at running back.

On defense, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams led a front four that could take over games, never more so than in a 34-3 playoff slaughter of Dallas in the Metrodome.

And then for the 2010 season, Favre was as lousy as he had been great, and the Vikings disintegrated on both sides of the ball. As of today, they have little to offer, other than Allen's sack numbers and Harvin's continuing excellence.

The Twins added significant personality to the operation in 2010, both by moving into Target Field and breaking out their own Favre-like character in Jim Thome.

Even with 94 wins and another AL Central title, ballpark paradise showed hints of trouble: a huge drop in Joe Mauer's production and a Justin Morneau concussion at midseason that destroyed a huge year for the first baseman.

Those hints became a disaster in 2011, and today, the Twins have no personality and no prospect for success.

In St. Paul, there were some characters to be found among Jacques Lemaire's heroes of a playoff run, but that was way back in 2003. The Wild has had only dullness to sell for several years.

When your best player is a dour, defense-first center, you're hurting in the personality department.

The current situations at Winter Park, Target Field and Xcel Energy Center have created a vacuum, both in winning and in personality.

And that's where the Timberwolves have arrived out of nowhere to rescue the local pros -- somewhat with victories and more so with an injection of personality.

The Wolves reached the Western Conference finals in 2004 and haven't been in the playoffs since. The hard fall reached bottom over the previous two seasons, when the discordant duo of David Kahn and Kurt Rambis combined to produce a 32-132 record.

It's probable the Wolves will miss the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year. Yet, when you look at a 17-17 record with 32 games remaining in this shortened season, and contrast it to the immediate past, you get this:

The exact same feel as the Twins' revival through the first 90 games of 2001, with a touch of Randy Moss coming to town (in the form of Ricky Rubio) in 1998 and a hint of Lemaire (in the form of Rick Adelman) suddenly popping up with that preshootout, 95-point team in 2003.

The best moment of the pre-All-Star portion of the season came in the final game Wednesday night. And it wasn't so much Luke Ridnour's game-winning runner vs. Utah as the reaction from the sideline.

Rubio was having a bad night, and Adelman finally went to J.J. Barea and Ridnour as his guard combination. The comeback ensued, and throughout, you could see Rubio filled with fire and with delight.

He was in a chair next to Michael Beasley, a player with less reason to be fully engaged than any -- considering his limited minutes these days. Yet, The Beasy seemed to be enjoying it, too, even wincing in feigned agony as Rubio swatted him late in the rally.

Rubio's numbers in Spanish pro ball were so modest that Minnesotans didn't know what we were getting in this kid, either as a player or as a personality. Two months into his NBA career, he's impressive as a player, obviously, and equally impressive as a teammate.

We've seen it repeatedly: Rubio's joy in another player's effort.

Also: The new, skinny Kevin Love has gone from a numbers machine to a genuine ironman of an All-Star on a competitive team. And if you're a Twin Cities sports fan who doesn't already love the Montenegrin mauler, Nikola Pekovic, you're not trying.

Plus, there's the caged lion, rookie Derrick Williams, the mercurial Barea and the unpredictable Beasley.

By several miles, the Wolves have the most intriguing collection of pro athletes in the Twin Cities.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. •

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 6
Toronto 0 FINAL
Detroit 3
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Florida 4 FINAL
Dallas 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arizona 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question