Tough Sell? Timberwolves Use Groupon for Season-Opener

The Minnesota Timberwolves kick off their 2010-2011 season next Wednesday, and though many expect this year’s team to double their win total from the previous season, tickets sales are low. Like, really low.

So low that today, the Timberwolves offered a limited number of discounted tickets through Groupon. Fans can get tickets for the Oct. 27 home-opener against the Sacramento Kings or the Oct. 29 tilt against the Milwaukee Bucks for as much as 61 percent off face value. Awesome if you’re a fan, but really, really bad news if you work in the Timberwolves’ front office.

As local sports talk radio personality Dan “Common Man” Cole would say, the Timberwolves are a terrible team with terrible players and terrible coaches and a terrible front office that play in a terrible league in a terrible facility with a terrible fan base in a terrible city. OK, the Twin Cities are cool, but the Timberwolves are trailing at a distant fourth among the local pro sports teams and the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA can’t be far behind them. As for the rest of the tangent:

Terrible team — This isn’t an opinion, but a fact. Let’s look at the team’s recent history. (Note: I feel bad calling the current squad terrible because there’s been so much turnover each season the past five years. Seriously, college programs see more continuity.)

2005-06 – 33 wins, 49 loss (4th in Northwest Division; 14th in Western Conference)
2006-07 – 32-50 (4th in Northwest; T-12th in Western)
2007-08 – 22-60 (4th in Northwest; 13th in Western)
2008-09 – 24-58 (4th in Northwest; 10th in Western)
2009-10 – 15-67 (5th in Northwest; 15th in Western)

Not to knock anyone’s five-year plan, but even if the T-Wolves double last year’s win total as fans and pundits so optimistically hope, they’ll still fall behind the 2005-06 squad. Ouch.

Terrible players – OK, that’s harsh. The T-Wolves will have the league’s youngest team, led by – gulp – former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley. Beasley’s been disciplined for off-the-court behavior and spent time in rehab. I’m hard-pressed to imagine the parent who wants their eight-year-old wearing a Beasley jersey to school.

There’s not a single player with All-Star experience on the roster. However, Darko Milicic and Kevin Love could make up one of the more intriguing front courts in the NBA. Darko, the No. 2 pick in the vaunted 2003 NBA Draft, has one last chance to save his career. Love helped Team USA earn gold at the Pan-Am Games over the summer and has the personality to be loved, Kevin Garnett-style, by the fan base.

Terrible coaches – Great group of coaches … if this was 1988 … and they were still players:

Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis won four NBA titles. As a player.

Assistant coach Bill Laimbeer won two NBA titles. As a player.

Assistant coach Reggie Theus never won an NBA title, but he did wear a bitchin’ mustache. As a player.

Fun fact that won’t necessarily lead to success: All three of the above-listed coaches have extensive comedic acting experience. So, clearly they’re qualified to coach the T-Wolves. Theus was most memorable:

Terrible front office – I hate to throw the whole front office under the bus. So, Terrible general manager. David Kahn’s been comically bad since taking over personnel decisions:

Terrible league – I could go 35 different ways with this one, but I’ll resort to one simple fact: Since 1980, 30 NBA titles have been shared by just eight teams. Seven times, the title has been won by the same team in consecutive years. Compare that the most successful pro sports league, the NFL, where 15 teams have shared the last 30 Super Bowl championships, only four teams have won consecutive titles and no team ever won three in a row. Parity, people. The NFL has it. The NBA does not.

Terrible facility – The Target Center is just 20 years old and its relatively cozy at 20,500 seats. But, sit anywhere outside of the $100 seats and you’d confuse Shaquille O’Neal for Earl Boykins. The place lacks intimacy and it’s way too spread out:

Barring another Groupon deal, that’s probably what the place will look like on game night come February.

Terrible fan base – There’s just one thing you’ve got to realize, devout Timberwolves fans. (That’s you, Eric and Steve.) Minneapolis is cold in the winter. You know that. So, if I’m Big Name Free Agent Guy and I’ve got the choice between South Beach or Minneapolis for roughly the same pay, I’m taking the climate and tax shelter and going to Miami. That we had a player of Kevin Garnett’s ability was a miracle. The fact we conned him (Kahned him?) into a second contract is one of the finest deals a pro sports franchise has ever pulled off.

We drafted Kevin Garnett. We drafted a shit ton of other terrible players before and after that. We’re never going to sign Big Name Free Agent Guys unless they’re getting the chance to play alongside a Kevin Garnett. (Not a Kevin Love.) So, loyal fan base of two, quit your bickering about poor trades and never signing the big catch, because the reality is the Timberwolves will live and die by the NBA Draft as long as Minnesota winters are cold and quit lamenting the Kevin Garnett era. He gone!

Terrible city – Again, that’s not true. Twin Cities, we have every reason to be skeptical of this ball club. We suffer enough heartbreak between the Vikings, Twins and Wild. Maybe that’s all the more reason to jump on the Timberwolves bandwagon. We know to keep our expectations low and hell, it’s one of the cheapest tickets in town.

So, hop on Groupon today and get your Timberwolves tickets on the cheap. And besides, catch game one or two and you might just get the rare chance to see the home team with a winning record. For once.

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