Every memory like a dream

Ediz AY
20 KASIM 2007

How to start… First, I would like to present my gratitude to dear Kaan Kural. The weekend we experienced was like a reward of our 12-year passion.

The story begins in March with the news that Timberwolves would visit Turkey. Together with the group members in contact since 2002, we developed nice organizational ideas. Designing a t-shirt came forward among those and we designed it by making discussions together with the group members and it resulted in such a good way (those who want to get those t-shirts could contact me). We were looking forward to presenting those t-shirts to the team some way or another. The team we had been observing through tv or internet would come to us. We couldn't miss the opportunity. Our efforts continued during the period in which the team was in Istanbul and it was concluded positively within the game day. The special t-shirts designed exclusively for the team members and the coaching stuff with their original sizes were delivered directly to Mr. Rob Babcock. Surprised by our presents, he visited us before the game and showed interest with each of us. He also gave us the Timberwolves Preseason Guide for 2007-08 season which contained some info on the players and the team statistics as presents. He expressed that he loved the t-shirts and thanked us for our interest. We had a conversation about the team and the trade of KG. He emphasized that they hadn't desired to trade Garnett but they had to do it. He stressed that some sacrifices had to be done to be reorganized. He added that they were trying to create a new and young roster and they had talented young players to achieve that.

Post-game chat

Mr. Babcock told us not to leave the complex after the game. We began feeling more and more excited as a result of that. We were so excited that we started waiting impatiently for the game to be ended. I'm going to talk about the game later on. As I have mentioned, the things we experienced became more important for us than the game. So I would like share the experience first. The game had ended and we had won 84-81 after a competitive game. We started waiting as Mr. Babcock had told us to. By the way, we took the attention of the broadcasting tv channel, NTV. We told them that we were going to meet some officials of the team and were told to wait for them. Afterwards, Bob, accompanied by Fred and Jim, came and moreover, climbed to the grandstand where we were waiting. It was great to meet Fred; by the way, he autographed the inside of my Timberwolves cap. Meanwhile, McHale was seen on the other side of the court. He also thanked for our gesture. They invited us to Minnesota and said they would be glad to host us. In return for our interest towards them, they also behaved in a very amiable way. When I had chance to talk to Fred, I told that the team needed a shooter like him and he replied that the team held such players. We fare welled each other with the best wishes. After the farewell, NTV interviewed us. Despite being a little bit excited, we did it well. We present our special thanks to NTV. The interview was televised in all the sports news during October 8th (click to watch).

We started to think that the beautiful night was going to be over until we saw the team bus. While waiting, Can discovered the gate where the team would come out from. The best thing was that we had conversations with the players, took pictures and nobody tried to prevent us from doing so. As everybody was aware what we intended to do and both sides were comfortable. We talked to Madsen, he said a few words about his injury. He had had a small problem with his shoulder. We mentioned about Ricky. We witnessed the smile on Babcock and McHale's faces upon seeing us and I regard McHale's mentioning the group's name by saying “TurkishWolves!!!” as the most enchanting event of the night. The players were also so amiable towards us. After all the team got on the bus, we bid farewell with cheers “Go Wolves Go”; the players also joined our cheers joyfully. The night, a dream for us with its aspects, ended that way.

TurkishWolves on timberwolves.com

We are so thankful to the Timberwolves board for their interest. I also would like to thank to my group members for their support to the organization. I believe we had so much in exchange for our deeds. While surfing on the internet yesterday, I realized that they put our photo we took together onto the team's website and, in a paragraph, mentioned the t-shirts we had presented as our gifts. It is evident that we, as TurkisWolves, had a very positive influence on them.

 “Despite the very loud and very pro-Turkish team crowd, the Wolves did have a few fans on their side last night. A group of about 15 teenagers from three cities in Turkey - Istanbul , Izmir and Ankara - attended the game. This Wolves fan section designed their own Wolves t-shirts and brought gifts and cards with them to give to the team. They were all wearing Wolves jersey...creating a neat section of blue in the crowd. Following the game, vice president of basketball operation Kevin McHale and assistant general manager Rob Babcock stopped by and visited with the group.”

Efes-Wolves game

After that night passed like a fairy tale, now it's time to talk about the game and more importantly about the team as I've been so lazy and haven't written down anything lately. How many things happened during that time! For that reason, I apologize from my readers. Now, let's get started with the game. It was a game of tight defenses. That a game played in NBA standards ended with a score around 84 shows that without Efes' last minute fouls as a result of European basketball mentality, the game couldn't have reached even 80s.

We were timid in the first quarter but opened up in the second. However, it is obvious that we still haven't managed to become a team and our players on each position have a lot to do. We should wait for them to improve. Unfortunately, there is not a reliable scoring option while on the court. Wittman seems to have set the rotation almost completely. It should be mentioned that McCants and Craig after being cleared up from injury will be added to the rotation. Jaric wants to leave but it's not clear how to trade him. Madsen's situation is obvious. He's great off the court, but he won't be able to be more then a motivating factor. We had a tight defense while Brewer, Buckner and Richard were on court but the offense was equally bad. In fact, the offense was bad during the whole game. It seems that it's going to cost us much to get better. It looked to me that it was going to take much time to set a team play. Gomes and Jefferson did well around the rim. Our draft pick Brewer is physically weak and it's clear that he's going to spend much time on that. Gerald Green was not seen on the court much. We expected him to play more and to show us some spectacular dunks. It was remarkable he had many long-range shots. Also, I don't know who blocked him but he was slapped really well under the rim.

It is evident that Randy Wittman tries to set a system and a rotation and it is going to take much time. That the team has many young players is good but a reliable one should be added to the team. Not for this season, but for the next one or for the one after it, a player who will help the team move to a higher level is needed, a person who will gather the team and take responsibility. This is a clear deficiency. The team has changed a lot. Nobody was left from the team which played in the conference finals. At this open, it is possible to work on the team and give it a good shape. However, I hope lessons were taken and with a good management, the team will reach to a satisfactory level.

What has happened up to this time?

Let's have a quick look to main points. We picked Corey Brewer in the first and Chris Richard in the second round of the 2007 Drafts. I had expected a trade during the draft day and had prepared myself to Garnett's leave. There was not such a development that day. Afterwards, Garnett announced that he didn't want to leave and was going to stay with the team. After that announcement, in a relieved mood during a hot august day, the news that Garnett was traded to Boston was spread. Thanks to the Lakers 6th man Anıl who didn't lose any time to give me the news. Being awake all night, I read that bad news on web-pages, watched Garnett's videos and got worse emotionally. Me, in an article late last season, who supported the idea that he had to go, felt the great misery when it happened. The most important reason behind that was that we could have had the chance of meeting him, talking to him etc. We traded him to Boston and acquired 5 players in exchange for him: Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and two draft picks. Presumably not any more players could be acquired in exchange for a player. As Rob stated during our conversation, we had tended to get younger and to reconstruct the team. The trades didn't come to an end with these. We acquired Juwan Howard for Mike James. It was an unnecessary trade but there will be new trades also. Except for that while about emplane to Istanbul , We sent Hassell to Dallas and acquired Greg Buckner in return. I can tell that I liked Buckner in the game but as Rob explained to us, the reason why he was traded for Hassell was the possibility that we can buyout his contact the next year in addition to that he's cheaper 1 million USD than Hassell. Marco Jaric is among the displeased also. It may be a little difficult because his contract is a problem but he must be disposed of in some way or another.

Our roster is overmanned now and, as I explained before, it will be loosened by doing some more trades. There is a plenty of players for point guard and shooting guard positions. I think that the coach Randy Wittman is going to have a hard time forming the rotation. For that reason the management should make his work easier.

Now, we're about to enter a new period. We have felt this completely with the game. We are opening a new page. Hope to overtake old achievements and exceed them...

October 24th, 2007

Translated into English by Arda Türkiş
(Hemen yukarıdaki cümle de kendine has uyumuyla gayet neşeli bir kapanış oldu. Fotoğraflar ve Türkçesi yarın. -batuğ)

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