The Minnesota Lynx were a much needed source of inspiration for the disenfranchised Minnesota sports fan. Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore showed their state how basketball is supposed to be played.
The Lynx showed that leadership and heart are necessary parts of playing basketball.
With 32 wins in two seasons, a plethora of punchlines about their general manager, and a lot of question marks surrounding the upcoming season, the Timberwolves should be taking copious notes on how the Lynx won their championship.
Here are a few things the T-Wolves should put in their notebooks right away.
This is for you, David Kahn.
Every offseason, the team seems content to make mediocre deals. To his credit, Kahn did get Michael Beasley for almost nothing, and Ricky Rubio will be suiting up in a Wolves jersey this season.
However, Beasley is not playing at a No. 2 overall pick level. And Rubio holds many question marks after his dismal European league performances. The Wolves gave huge contacts to Luke Ridnour and Darko Milicic. These are not exactly championship building moves.
The Lynx made a huge splash by trading for former Gopher Lindsay Whalen. This gave the Lynx some much-needed publicity and improved the team tremendously. The squad turned from a 13-21 team to a 27-7 team in one season.
Drafting well was also a huge part of the team's success. Rebekkah Brunson, their pick from the 2011 dispersal draft, provided a solid boost on defense for the Lynx. Maya Moore was a positive addition as well.
The Lynx showed that with a good drafting, a little luck and the right moves, a team can go from pretended to contender. Or in the Lynx's case, champion.
Seimone Augustus could teach the Wolves a thing or two about playing with heart.
She came back from a debilitating series of injuries in 2009 to lead the team to a championship. The former LSU standout stepped into the playoffs, averaging over 22 points a game for the postseason.
She went toe to toe with Atlanta Dream superstar Angel McCoughtry. In Game 2 of the finals, Augustus nearly matched McCoughtry's record-breaking 38-point performance, with 36 points of her own.
In 2011, the Wolves' superstars usually faded when they faced a big name like LeBron or Kobe.
Augustus showed ferocity and meddle, which the Wolves have been sorely lacking. She was the teams' emotional leader and helped improve her teammates when it mattered most.
The Wolves need a player to step up, inspire and demand excellence from their teammates.
The Lynx came back in Games 2 and 3 of the NBA finals. Wolves fans are far too acclimated to seeing the team stop playing five minutes into the third quarter.
The Wolves need to quit rolling over and keep their heads in every game.
Right now, Wolves basketball can be defined as something like "run real fast, throw up wild shots, have Kevin Love get the rebound, hope Michael Beasley doesn't go for a crazy shot and forget to play defense."
To put it more succinctly, it's a mess.
The Lynx played a brand of basketball that was fast paced, defensive minded, and ruthless. Lynx basketball is a recipe for success. Timberwolves basketball is a recipe for a mess and maybe 20 wins.
It seemed like the Wolves didn't care to associate with each other once they got off the court. I may be completely wrong, but it didn't seem like the Wolves were a family.
The Lynx relished the fact that they were fighting for a championship. Nobody's ego overshadowed the team celebration. Their championship was a team effort, and the team kept talking about how they were "sisters".
I never heard Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, or any player for that matter, say that any of their teammates were "brothers."
Perhaps I was too hard on this Wolves team. To be fair, the team made the right choice by hiring Rick Adelman.
However, with only 32 wins in the past two seasons, there isn't too much else to celebrate.
The Wolves can learn a thing or two from their sister team. Play big, play with heart and get the right attitude.
Talent can take you far, but it takes heart, dedication, teamwork to win when it counts.
Congratulations, Minnesota Lynx. Thank you for showing us how basketball should be played.