Column: Looks like it’s time to make a drastic move

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Jeff Budlong, Sports Editor

Over the weekend I had the chance to see a Minnesota Timberwolves game in person.

Liked the Target Center, Liked the atmosphere.

Had a few issues with the product on the basketball court.

The Wolves were playing the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday night which didn’t matter because when I go to games I am more often than not just looking for entertainment value rather than a great matchup.

But this is not like watching the Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey Blazers.

It was a game that ended in a loss for the T’Wolves. Given the fact it was just hours away from Christmas Eve, it’s is not completely surprising the team seemed less than totally focused on the task at hand.

However, there were still plenty of things that were a little concerning to see from a division leader.

Here’s a list of things that stood out to me:

&045; Michael Olowokandi is horrible.

He picked up six fouls including a pair of technicals in what seemed like six minutes.

I have never seen a player run faster towards the locker room to get off the floor after being ejected.

San Antonio’s Tony Parker gives his team more of an inside presence than Olowokandi does.

No rebounding and very little aggressiveness around the basket.

The one time he did move with authority down the line he blew a dunk.

&045; The Wolves are a jump shooting team.

I know this has been the case for years, but because of Olowokandi and players like Eddie Griffin who would rather play on the perimeter the team doesn’t even make a real effort to go into the paint.

&045; Could someone grab a rebound?

&045; I am a Kevin Garnett fan.

Always have been, probably always will be.

But as the Wolves struggled for any kind of points in the fourth quarter and the Trail Blazers started to pull away KG went MIA in the final four minutes.

The NBA is based on a star system &045; if you are a star you get the calls.

Well, KG didn’t give the officials a chance to blow their whistles.

Instead of taking the ball at an already flustered Joel Przybilla (the Minnesota native who was taunted by the crowd every time he touched the ball) the Big Ticket routinely passed the ball to a teammate for &045; surprise &045; a jump shot.

Garnett has to take over in these late game situations.

Too much talent.

Too much skill.

Too big a check not to.

All of this led me to wonder about one thing I didn’t think I ever would.

I wonder what Ron Artest would look like in Wolves colors.

It has been discussed a lot recently and I am convinced it needs to happen.

I know, it could go horribly wrong but this team needs a spark.

It is just going through the motions right now, and even if that is good enough to make the playoffs it isn’t good enough to make a run to a title.

Artest is the ultimate in combustible players right now but the Wolves need to be shaken up.