He was something of the nervous type, jumpy but polite. I never really gathered exactly what said package entailed, but in brief: He worked for a local marketing firm that works with the 'Wolves to get more butts in the seats by pairing "free" tix with affordable meal packages at establishments around town.
Despite the earnest pitch, I watched my eggs cool as the exchange concluded amicably. I gathered from the respective body languages of fellow patrons that further declinations were in this young man's future. And while I didn't buy, I did in fact appreciate the grass-roots effort. There's something to be said for getting out on the street, even if your team sucks.
Despite the low hum of some preseason positivity surrounding the lowly Timberwolves, the onset of the NBA season quickly finds them at a league-worst (tied with the Clippers) 1-6 entering tonight's game with the Lakers. Entering the week, the collective record of Minnesota opponents is 24-21, with four of their first seven opponents sporting a record of .500 or better. No drastic turnaround should be anticipated anytime soon, as seven of their remaining nine November opponents offer records of .500 or better including a pair of games against two-time defending champs L.A.
While there are a few injury considerations here (Jonny Flynn and Martell Webster) to mesh with the sound play of Kevin Love (16.9 ppg, 11.7 rpg.), Michael Beasley (14.3 ppg.) and rookie Wes Johnson (10.6 ppg.), these dudes continue to give up points at a frightening pace and have yet to evidence any signs of finishing above the Western Conference cellar for which they were readily predicted. Transition defense has been a special problem for this crew en route to allowing a league-worst 114.4 point per game.
And winter looms. If previous losing seasons serve as an indicator: the more the 'Wolves lose as the temps drop toward the teens, the harder it becomes to get folks to downtown Minneapolis on any icy eve and fill Target Center beyond embarrassingly-low proportions. Again: I give the Timberwolves credit for their affordable flex packages and gorilla marketing techniques, but I wholly understand why this is such a tough sell.
That said -- I'm curious what it may take you, gentle reader, to take a trip to Target Centerthis season, should you not have any hoop plans in your future. Below, I offer a few handfuls of (namely earnest) considerations, but I'll no doubt be enthused to see suggestions of your own, however strange, unusual, unrealistic, or ridiculous they may be. For a team that's won just 16 of their past 89 games, no net is too low.
Could any of these happenings get you to Target Center?
- Oppose a superstar player like LeBron, Kobe, etc.
- Get Ricky Rubio here
- Free dinner
- Go on a win streak of three games or better
- Sign Zev Yerslves (more on him later)
- Free Parking
- Lose 20 straight
- New head coach and or team President
- Resort to gimmicks (i.e., play five men the entire game; sign Kevin McHale for one game; sign Dennis Rodman for one game; sign Charles Barkley for one game; start a lineup of all centers or guards . . .)
- A return to animated form for Kurt Rambis and/or Bill Laimbeer
- More aggresive dancing gals and/or guys
- Acquire talented troublemaker (i.e., Charlotte's Steven Jackson) or stud from team looking to dump salary (i.e., Atlanta's Josh Smith)
- Bring in local connections (i.e., Pryzbilla, Humphries, Aldrich, George or draft Rodney Williams from U)
- Slowly rebuild with youth toward a .500 team and playoff contender while the rest of the Western Conference ages
- Cocktail, social, or networking promotions
- Scintillating halftime performances
- Team bands together with matching tats and hairstyles
- Violent outburst of frustration
- Threaten contraction in earnest
- Free ticket
- Get No. 1 draft pick and nab Iowa-native and North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes
- Or: Nothing. I'm done.