Hoping for a Tipping Point

It’s tempting to go down the road of a panic trade post, or some other irrational knee-jerk reaction after tonight’s game, but I’m going to fight that urge since we’re not even halfway through the season and, well, I’m not panicking. Maybe exasperated or discouraged. It’s not just that the Timberwolves lost tonight at home. It’s the  three wins in their last seven games, the four five game losing streak, and seeing yet another injury pile up.

After all, we’re just 36 games into the season and the Wolves had just wrapped up a five game in seven stretch while being shorthanded, and also were playing the Clippers, who have played some of the best basketball I’ve seen this season. I mean, the Timberwolves just need time to get healthy, right?


I’m not one to make excuses, but this team is banged up. You really can’t call it an excuse because it’s so apparent how banged up they are. Every team deals with injuries — they’re a part of the game — but this team seems especially unfortunate. On top of Ricky Rubio trying to re-adapt to playing with his surgically repaired knee we have Malcom Lee, Brandon Roy, Kevin Love, Chase Budinger out for extended periods of time. This goes without mentioning Josh Howard being out for the season or the nagging injuries that have hit Nikola Pekovic, JJ Barea, and now Alexey Shved.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a long season, but this is getting  ridiculous. Much like Malcolm Gladwell talked about in The Tipping Point  with crime, Hush Puppies, and viruses– there has to be one for this insane injury rash, right? Or at least I hope there is one and  that his idea even applies to this situation.

When healthy, this team is a playoff team, and that’s why you can’t just “make a trade” in hopes of solving all of the team’s problems. As unfortunate as the team’s injuries have been this season the solution won’t provide any sort of instant gratification, and that is patience. No, really. This team is missing it’s best player and its second-best player is still trying to regain it’s step.

We’ve still seen them fight through the injuries and play .500 ball with pretty much everyone but Love and Rubio. Love will be back. Budinger will be back. Rubio is getting his legs under him and hopefully we’ll start to see the team we thought would have been. I don’t think anyone penciled this team in for last in the Northwest, but injuries have a way of killing playoff dreams.

Since it’s not too late, I guess we just…wait. We wait and hope that the injuries curb themselves in time for them to still steal a low seed. Even if they don’t stop we still know that we have a very good team that is mostly intact for another season, but it’s not the time to concede the season either. If anything, I suppose the purpose of this post is just vent out some of these frustrations or discouraged feelings.


About Derek James

In addition to writing for Howlin' T-Wolf, Derek James writes about basketball Hardwood Paroxysm in the ESPN TrueHoop Network and covers the Charlotte Bobcats for SB Nation’s Rufus on Fire. Andray Blatche and Isaiah Rider follow him on Twitter.

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