Saturday, April 19, 2003

Bad News, Good News

Bad news: The Timberwolves play the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Despite playing above expectations all season, setting a franchise records for wins, drawing the 4th seed in the Western Conference, and securing home court advantage - they draw the Kobe and Shaq-fueled juggernaut that is the resurgent, three time defending NBA champion Lakers. In terms of personnel match-ups, this is the worst possible opponent for the Wolves. Thus, they seemed destined to extend their NBA record for first round playoff losses to a spirit killing SEVEN years in a row.

This could have drastic implications for the future of the team, with bored fans staying away in droves next year and a frustrated superstar (Kevin Garnett) resigning himself to finding greener pastures elsewhere after his current contract expires. After that, expect years of recurrent front office management purges and the chronic rebuilding of the on court talent (except Joe Smith - whose 8 points and 6 rebounds a game are locked up for the next decade or so).

Attendance will fall to record low numbers and with the Target Center already being characterized as falling apart and hopelessly obsolete, a push for a new revenue enhancing arena will commence. After facing determined resistance from the state legislature, who by that time will already have allocated many, many billions for two football stadiums and one roof retracting ball yard, the Wolves will begin to court various outside investors with an eye on moving them to a city offering a more hospitable fiscal environment. Commissioner David Stern, feeling spurned by the Twin Cities’ continued failure to sustain the team, despite his repeated efforts to intervene on their behalf, allows them to go.

In short, the Wolves bad luck in drawing the Lakers in round 1 of the playoffs probably means the end of professional basketball in Minnesota forever.

Good news: Tony Pierce is a Lakers fan and promises extensive coverage of this series.

All things considered, I think it’s a fair trade off.

(By the way, I recommend his “lakers girls” photo essay, for the latest coverage of developments in the world of satin shorts, Seal, and the highest use of the MGD logo I've ever seen.)