Minnesota publishes odd, "honest" open letter to fans. Because nothing sells tickets like letters.


Thumbnail image for timberwolves_logo.gifYou know how if you have to explain a joke you’ve already screwed up the execution of it…

Meet the Minnesota Timberwolves. On Monday they took over the back page of the Star Tribune with a full-page letter to fans, (you can see the text of it here).

The letter is clever in concept in that the goal was to be honest with fans about the team, one we can all agree is in a rebuilding phase (where it is in that phase is up for debate). The goal is to be positive — they are trying to sell tickets after all — but also honest, because the fans are not stupid.

We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year?

No likely.

Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player.

Um, you need more than that one dominant player, but since that would have to be the first thing on the list we will let that go.

The letter is long and rambles and says, “hey we’re not going to be all that good but we will be fun.” However it uses a lot more words to do it. They say that they know there are naysayers out there, but that the team has turned a corner. It makes a joke about Ricky Rubio — “Oh, wait. We forgot to talk about Rubio. Next time.” — that falls flat.

There are naysayers because while you lay out the rebuilding plan, like a bad joke you really need to explain the execution of it so it makes sense. There are countless questions about this team — why spend that much money on Darko, why can Kevin Love play so well with USA Basketball at the World Championships but you guys can’t get him enough key minutes, why if you wanted to run did you go out and get a triangle coach? (Yes, the fast break is one of the key principles of Tex Winter’s philosophy, but you look for the break chance then set up the offense, the Timberwolves did the first part of that last year but not the second part. Mostly because personnel poorly fit the triangle system.)

But like the letter said, it’s time to play. Then we can see how this building plan is going. Because results are the ultimate in honesty.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Can Thunder win 60 games?

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Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?

The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.

I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”