Thursday, March 12, 2015

Timberwolves buy a round-trip Ticket

You ever have a dream where you get back together with your ex? One that’s not even genuinely romantic, but more where you’ve come to understand each other’s flaws and shortcomings and accepted them as indelible and even essential? In this dream, you can move forward into the future together, free from the pressure that broke you in the first place.

This is the dream the
Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to sneak their way into by trading for the greatest former Timberwolf of all time, Kevin Garnett.

Barely a week removed from an impressive showing by the Wolves’ two rookies at All-Star weekend – where
Andrew Wiggins took home MVP honors in the Rising Stars Challenge and Zach LaVine murked the competition at the slam dunk contest -- the Wolves have had the most thrown-back of Throwback Thursdays by moving power forward Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn for the 38-year-old Garnett. Their season-long slogan of “Eyes on the Rise” has been canted toward watching the young players from Wiggins to LaVine to Gorgui Dieng to Shabazz Muhammad develop, growing pains and all. Injuries to starters Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic robbed the team of its early potential, but it gave those first- and second-year players a chance to both stumble and shine under the bright lights. With those injuries healed, the Wolves have shown themselves to be better than their abysmal record, at least.
So why Garnett? And why now?

First of all, this can’t be thought of as a basketball move. There is no way in which Garnett moves the needle for this team on the court, but that’s not where president of basketball operations and coach Flip Saunders’ head is at. Consider: While Rubio was injured, LaVine was given plenty of time at point guard and showed emphatically that whatever the future may hold, he is not ready to play the position at the NBA level. But shortly after Rubio returned, the team traded the only veteran backup point guard they had – Mo Williams
-- to the Charlotte Hornets, opening up more time for LaVine to play point guard. Wiggins is leading the team in minutes per game at 34.5. When it comes to the present, everything must go to make way for the future.

That focus on the future is how the Wolves seem to be making sense of bringing back the past. A few years ago, owner Glen Taylor, who is 73, began to talk about selling the team, but only to investors who would keep the Wolves in Minnesota. Not satisfied with what he found, he instead doubled down, buying out limited partners and bringing in Saunders as a part-owner. Bringing back Saunders was an act of fence-mending. Now this was his chance to bring back Garnett, a player who has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the way things ended for him in Minnesota, but who has also
expressed an interest in buying the team.

That’s the backdrop here, but what this points to on a more primal level is a little harder to say. Those steeped in the history of the franchise can look at this and say it’s simple nostalgia, just more of the good old boys’ club that Taylor runs where he makes the comfortable move instead of the more difficult right one.

But if we can give them a little more benefit of the doubt, what they’re looking for from Garnett is a work ethic and an intensity around which their young players can cluster and gel, drawing power as they grow. For all of Rubio’s highlight-worthy dimes and Kevin Love’s stat-stuffing, there was a kind of hollowness at the heart of the Wolves over the past few years. It might have manifested itself in close losses and an extended playoff drought, but it was more pervasive than that. In spite of a young, exciting team, the Timberwolves are 29th in attendance this season. Whether the return of Garnett can provide that heart again is unknown. It’s a risk, a gamble, but at the very least it will bring eyes that can’t help but also see Wiggins and the rest of their young core.

It’s been reported that the Timberwolves are hoping to sign Garnett to a two-year deal, so it seems likely there will be plenty of nights down the road when he’ll appear as he has for Brooklyn this season: as a shell of his former self, a dim reminder of a player who was once one of the most dominant defensive forces the league has ever seen.

Wolves fans have been hungry for some time for a player who could provide the kind of playoff highlights that Garnett once did, both for the Wolves (especially on their run to the Western Conference finals in 2004) and for the
Boston Celtics when they won a championship that many Minnesotans felt a part of. Maybe one day Wiggins can be that kind of player: bigger on the inside than the outside, more than a giant stat line, a spirit animal for a fan base that rallied behind Garnett’s “get on my back” ethos.

When he first sets foot on the floor at the Target Center as a member of the Timberwolves again, the roar will be deafening. No matter how fleeting, everyone in the building will slip into that dream -- the one where what went wrong hasn’t been erased so much as repaired -- even if only for a moment. That can’t be worth nothing.

Final Analysis
To begin with, we should analyze the author, Steve McPherson. From what I found, he writes for Rolling Stone and other publications. He is a professional journalist and well informed about the subject matter. His article was found on, a website devoted to sports news. The article is primarily draws the attention of the adult sports reader and Minnesota sports enthusiast. McPherson is trying to write about an important event and what it means. So the next logical step is to evaluate the historical facts.
The facts surrounding his article are clear. There is no doubt that in recent times ticket sales for Minnesota basketball events have dropped substantially. Any competent sports fan knows Kevin Garnet is past his prime and only has a couple good years left in the tank. These are the facts. McPherson is writing about these facts and presenting them to us. But what is McPherson's motivation? Perhaps he is writing to ignite a flame. Maybe the Timberwolves organization hired him to write a gossip filled article to get the people talking. If so, it has definitely worked. Kevin Garnett's name embodies what professional basketball means to the state of Minnesota, for better or for worse. The relationship with Kevin Garnett is like the relationship between Aaron Rogers and Wisconsin. McPherson uses this point as his primary argument. At the end of his article, he claims that a relationship such as that “can't be wrong.” Simply based off of this quote, McPherson seems to be in favor of the Timberwolves Organization.
Having evaluated the author, let's evaluate the work itself. The article uses a mix of plain, official, and creative language. In the first paragraph, McPherson uses a lighthearted metaphor to draw connections between a rekindled basketball team and a lost love. He begins by asking a rhetorical question. The effect is that it demands attention from the reader. As the article progresses, McPherson uses more longer and complex sentences.
So why Garnett? And why now? First of all, this can’t be thought of as a basketball move. There is no way in which Garnett moves the needle for this team on the court, but that’s not where president of basketball operations and coach Flip Saunders’ head is at.”

This is a direct quote by McPherson who switches from shorter and simpler sentences to longer and more complex sentences. “There is no way in which” is an infinitive phrase, and can easily be substituted for “Garnett could not...” Another example why this text is becoming increasingly more complex, is the subordinate phrase... “president of basketball operations and coach.” This phrase is used to describe one thing/person, Flip Saunders. These extra words detract from the main thought. The author could have easily written “but that's not where Flip Saunders head is at.” Maybe the author also wrote for people who might be unfamiliar with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In that case, it makes me wonder why McPherson did not go into great lengths describing any other little pieces of information. There are many things mentioned in the article that the “non-Minnesota Timberwolves fan” would not be familiar with. Why choose certain things to describe in more detail than others?

No comments:

Post a Comment