If you had to sum up the Timberwolves’ offseason in the least, you would probably say that it was ambitious and filled with good intentions. However, for all of their good intentions, they’ve been forced to implement plan…plan…what number are we on? Despite these setbacks, the Wolves have still had the resolve to keep pushing through these rejections like that one guy at the bar on a Friday night around closing time. No, they didn’t land the 8 or 9 they initially set their sights on, but they upgraded from the 4 they had last season to at least a 6 or a 7.
That’s just the nature of the game, er business: you have to keep pushing on despite your shortcomings. There are still options and fish in the sea.
So what if the team that could be formed with the players they missed out on could probably beat the team of the players they did get. It’s been said before, but the Timberwolves likely had an addition by subtraction type offseason. Is it a plan that really invigorates a fan base? Not really, but for a fringe playoff team, getting better is getting better.
Yet, just for fun, let’s use Win Shares (WS/48 in particular) to see if they really did get better. Admittedly, I haven’t looked at these numbers ahead of time, so I’ll be discovering this as we go, too.
Darko vs. Greg Stiemsma: You need a 3rd center, and you amnesty Darko and his James Bond-esque .007 WS/48 for Stiemsma’s .170. I think you did pretty well. Now, Stiemsma was a 26 year old rookie last season, and at least some of his defensive numbers can be attributed to the Celtics’ system and playing next to KG, but he still should be a vast improvement over Darko.
Michael Beasley vs. Chase Budinger: Although he seemed well-liked by his teammates, Michael Beasley still did too many bad Michael Beasley things to be brought back. Not only does Budinger have experience with Rick Adelman and improves a poor shooting team, but his .111 are a vast improvement over Beasley’s .022 WS/48 even though Bud’s line is just above average.
Anthony Randolph vs. Dante Cunningham: OK, so this hasn’t been officially announced yet (I don’t think) but I’m still counting it. Even though certain advanced metrics love Anthony Randolph, his .099 pales in comparison to .147. And if you watched the games you know there’s no way to consider Randolph as even average.
Martell Webster and Wayne Ellington vs. Alexey Shved and Brandon Roy: This may not be the fairest matchup, since we have no way of putting these matchups on equal footing, but we’ll use what we do know. We know that Webster and Ellington didn’t exactly raise the bar or leave big shoes to fill. All Roy and Shved have to do is top Webster’s .064 WS/48 and Ellington’s .041; that’s barely one average player between the two. If people are correct and Shved could have been a lottery talent and Roy is even serviceable, the Wolves have easily upgraded the shooting guard rotation.
All-in-all, the Wolves have added 0.300 WS/48 from last year’s roster as it is. Does it make swinging and missing on Nic Batum or Courtney Lee any less disappointing? Not entirely, but it’s not as if they’ve come up totally empty, and there are still more moves that can be made. I don’t know if this means that they’ve added 3 wins from last season’s team or not, but they’ve likely taken a step towards being a playoff team already. Perhaps next season the Timberwolves could go home with a 6 or 7…seed in the playoffs.