Remember: It Could Have Been Worse

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According to some statheads who are much smarter than me, Love may have saved Minnesota from the worst season of all time

So here’s an interesting little stat that could make you want to hit your head on the wall several hundred times.

According to The Wages of Wins blog, Kevin Love lead the NBA in Wins Produced this season. According to their analysis, Love produced 23 team wins. This is mildly confusing, since the T-Wolves only won 17 games this season.

The blog bases their numbers off a team’s efficiency differential, which is the numerical gap between a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency.

Without Love, Minnesota would be expected to have the lowest differential in league history.  Would that actually happen?  Well, there are diminishing returns in the NBA.  So some of Love’s teammates would get a bit better.  But the diminishing returns effect is not so large that Minnesota — without Love — couldn’t challenge the 1972-73 76ers for the worst record in the NBA.

But even this isn’t the aforementioned depressing stat. The depressing stat is this: if their analysis is correct, and Love was replaced with a player of average production, the T-Wolves would have won 2.9 games this season.


Of course, as the writers themselves point out, these statistics aren’t able to measure how much, say, Anthony Randolph would have produced if Love hadn’t been playing, giving Randolph more minutes. And considering Randolph’s performance per 36 minutes (21 points, 9 rebounds, 50% FG) was actually quite efficient, I think it’s safe to say that Minnesota would have won a very few more games than 3.

But the writers weren’t done trying to drive Timberwolves’ fans off the edge of a cliff.

First, Minnesota has done an amazing job of finding the least productive lottery picks in the NBA.  And secondly (a point related to the first observation), Kevin Love should probably try to get out of Minnesota as soon as possible.

Guys. GUYS! You’re killing the committee (of one). Ok, so Jonny Flynn hasn’t exactly panned out. And Wes Johnson is…streaky. (To put it very nicely.) And we all know Love is a threat to leave, even though it’s been rumored he wants to stay. We all know that Minnesota will probably have to overpay him to keep him around. But Rubio is coming! Seriously! It’s for real this time! (We hope. More on this later.) And Love and Beasley get along really well, by all reports! And…well, Minneapolis has a lot of corporations who could sponsor Love! Leave us some hope here. Jeez.

Anyway, despite the Minnesota Haterade these dudes are chugging (seriously, listen to the podcast, it gets worse), it’s definitely an interesting (if Prozac-inducing) stat, and I encourage you to go check out the full list.

About Jonah Steinmeyer

Been a Wolves fan for probably way too long to be considered a sane human anymore. An avid golfer in my free time.


At first i was totally disheartened at everything they had to say about how bad the Wolves were, then they spent 20 minutes arguing over what contracts meant and they had no idea what restricted and unrestricted free agent meant, so they lost credibility in my mind. I think things are looking up for next season as we'll hopefully (please please please!) get Rubio, plus whoever we draft...basically getting two lottery picks in the same year, except one has professional experience already.