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.

Kevin Love's prepared for a lockout

LAST YEAR, AFTER MY second season, I felt we were going to have a lockout, so I started thinking, How much do I have to put away if we miss a whole year?

I don’t have the most to worry about, but losing a whole year of pay is a lot of money for anybody.

Who knows how long we’ll be out. But I’ve got a Plan B, two of them actually. I’d like to pursue my broadcasting career. I’ll probably go back to UCLA and finish my communications degree. Obviously there wouldn’t be NBA games to call, but maybe I could work some college games. Or I might do a little Ochocinco route and go play another sport. When I was little, I wanted to be a pitcher. Maybe I’ll go try out for the Twins. I still think I can do it. I last pitched when I was 15 and had a fastball [reportedly clocked at 90 mph], curve and changeup. I really thought that was going to be my sport. I’m sure I could still throw the ball around for a living if it came to that.

Check out the whole article here.

Wolf Track: Kevin Love's status upgraded


Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love has been upgraded to questionable for Minnesota’s game against Boston after improvement in his strained left groin.

Love participated in a light practice Saturday after missing Minnesota’s last two games. The Timberwolves host the Celtics on Sunday, and Love said if he wakes up feeling good he’ll “probably try to give it a go.” He said most of the pain is gone, but the muscle is still tight.

Love was hurt on March 16 against Utah. He played in two more games, but left in the second quarter against Sacramento last Sunday and missed games this week against Dallas and Oklahoma City.

In Love’s absence, newly acquired Anthony Randolph totaled 55 points and 26 rebounds in the last two games.

That last line just about sums it all up. Is it wrong to question the Wolves’ ability and winning chances without their superstar in the lineup? Maybe the Big Al vs. K-Love debate was a bit more heated than we all originally thought, because there’s something about this team with Anthony Randolph in that makes Kahn’s vision a bit more believable

Wolf Track: Rubio Update

Via ESPN Insider:

According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, Wolves president David Kahn still expects Rubio to play in Minnesota next season.

Kevin Love is friends with Rubio and stays in contact with the young point guard.

“I still text him every now and then,” Love said. “Not too often, once or twice a month. I’ve always said I hope he comes over sooner rather than later so we can get this thing started.”

Love thinks Rubio can make an impact in the NBA.

#52; Wolves blowout Pacers 101-75

  Kevin Love #42 Of The Minnesota Timberwolves Greets

Congrats, Kevin.

As you all surely know by now, Kevin Love accomplished a marvelous milestone tonight in a blowout win against the Indiana Pacers. Sadly I’m running behind on some last-minute studying, so take in what you can from this recap.

The Wolves and Pacers came out firing on all cylinders. Only problem is the Wolves were the only team actually making their shots. In both the third and fourth quarters, I feared for the Pacers in their quest to score a minimal 10 points in the quarter! Granted the Wolves were playing solid defense, more so than usual, but it really was a matter of the Pacers never finding a fluid rhythm on offense. Both Paul George and Roy Hibbert got into early foul trouble and Danny Granger couldn’t toss pebble into the ocean if he tried. A team will never win a game shooting under 30-percent (Don’t mark my words on that, though.)

Our offense, however, looked good all night; good, not great. Some guys, namely Michael Beasley and Wayne Ellington, forced a ton of shots and never got into a true flow throughout the game. You can tell Beasley has been struggling with the mental side of the game. His passes aren’t crisp and he forces shots all over the court. I heard someone rumble around me that he’s shooting 17-percent in the past 15 games, or something like that. Whatever the actual number, it’s clearly obvious his stroke isn’t on and neither is his mind.

But on the other hand, Anthony Randolph, Luke Ridnour and Love all had good games on the offensive end. Toss in 12 points from Anthony Tolliver and you have a solid set of reserves that helped contribute to a good win.

Enough of the game though — we all understand it was a blowout — let’s put this phenomenal streak into perspective. We’ve been tracking Kevin Love’s double doubles since November 22nd. The last game that Love failed to obtain a double double was against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 19th, which could very well have been his worst game of his career. But since the start of his double double streak, Love has managed to score 1,109 points, has grabbed 852 rebounds and logged a total of 2,011 minutes. Average all that out and you get 21.3 ppg, 16.4 rpg in 38.7 mpg. That’s extraordinary for player in today’s day and age and style of basketball.

Next up is the Utah Jazz, Friday night. Big Al returns to the Target Center, should be a good time.

Until then, ciao!

Joey Crawford: The legend? ; Wolves lose 108-105

There’s nothing better than a smash-mouth style, Western Conference battle. That is if the refs called the game equally for both sides.

Now I’m not usually the writer to bash the refs for a bad game or even go so far as to blame them directly for a loss, but tonight was ludicrous. Not to pick on Joey Crawford individually, but he headed up one of the worst referring jobs I’ve witnessed this year.

Ticky-tack fouls here, no whistle there, all of this from an officiating crew bearing the infamous Crawford, one of the NBA’s most renowned officials. The game lacked a consistent fluidity of calls and no-calls that utterly ruined the game for myself and, I’m sure, most of you. For instance, Michael Beasley was missing shots. You could see the frustration on his face that shots were falling in his favor. Eventually he started attacking the rim, not getting any calls and had a few words to say about it. For the rest of the game there on out, Crawford and his crew seemingly refused to make the call and ate their whistles instead.

Sometimes that’s understandable; referees aren’t there to make everyone happy. If a player acts up whining or bitching, they have the right to turn their heads at the opportune moment just to establish seniority. But when it happens every trip up the floor, we have a problem.

There’s also a problem when the game lacks a fair amount of calls on both sides. There was one play where Dirk Nowitzki was handling the ball on the arc, took one dribble forward and Kevin Love lowered his shoulder into him a bit and guess who was there hawking the whole situation? Crawford himself. Nowitzki goes to the line, an automatic two points with him there, and the Wolves’ deficit lengthens yet again.

Again, I’m not the guy who needs to find something to blame for every single loss, especially with a team as bad as the Wolves, but tonight’s officiating had to be addressed.

Outside of shoddy officiating, I thought the Wolves played yet another cohesive game tonight. Love led the charge against a surging Mavs team and continued his hot play as of late. It was rewarded big time in the third quarter, too. Love already ripped his 11th rebound of the night down and was just two points shy of tying the NBA record held by Moses Malone of 51 consecutive games with a double-double. The crowd was anxiously waiting to see him tie the record because we all knew it would happen. He got his bucket, and so the “MVP” chants commenced. If you take the entire streak into perspective, what Kevin Love has done this season goes beyond expectations. We knew he could rebound, we knew he could shoot. But did anyone see him tying one of the All-time greats for a historic record? Give this man a trophy and a raise.

Ultimately, the Wolves were close but could use more consistent wing-play and levelheaded referees to win. Next up are the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. I highly suggest you grasp onto a pair of tickets for this one. History WILL be made…

Wolf Track: Kevin Love talks recruitment

Kevin Love, during his time in L.A. for the All-Star break, says there was a lot of “recruiting” talk going on.

“A lot of it was (about) OKC,” Love said. “A lot of it was a few other teams that just need that one more guy. And a lot of it was circulating around the Lakers, ’cause we were out there as well. There was a lot of pressure and a lot of questions were circulating, and I almost felt like, ‘Damn, I have to take a step back and, not assess the situation, but kind of look at things from a broad horizon.’

“As far as right now, I love the city of Minneapolis. I like Minnesota as a state. I love the people here. Our team is very young. We have a lot of stuff going for us when you look past the win column. I think I just have to look at that come contract time.”

So although the dilemma of players recruiting friends has clouded the game in a big way and its free agency, Love doesn’t seem to be fazed by al the talk. He enjoys Minnesota, and he enjoys the team — We hope. Once it comes time to offer him a max deal, given all the circumstances remain the same, there should be no reason to turn it down. Right?

A complete 180; Wolves win 116-105

Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Randolph (15) Is

Just for tonight, Randolph fulfilled his potential

The 180 I’m referring to doesn’t just relate to the result. Tonight’s tilt offered a number of different aspects that the Wolves were unable to pull off last night against the Lakers.

Let’s start with Kevin Love. Against the Lakers’ heavy-hitting frontline, Love had a tough time getting anything going inside. Sure the refs ate their whistles a lot of the time, but they did indeed match his intensity and hustle — he couldn’t make shots either — which is required to do against such a beastly presence inside. It’s pretty adamant that the Pistons lack the depth inside to contain such a large mass of manliness and tonight only proved that. Chalk up yet another 20-20 for Senor Amor, as he was the driving force to tonight’s victory.

Another reason for tonight’s complete 180 comes from the point guard play. Last night, neither Luke Ridnour or Jonny Flynn came to play; they looked flat and just out there in the emotion of the game. Tonight, they made plays, simply put. Ridnour was firing the ball at a perfect clip, going 5-of-5 from the field for 15 points. He only dished out one assist, but that’s where Flynn comes in. If I told you that Flynn had 14 assists and only two turnovers, would you believe me? If I would’ve told you this 1-2 months ago, would you have tried to hunt me down with a vengeance? Flynn played one of the best games I’ve ever seen in his young career. And although some may think he still looks like a blind squirrel out there, he looks more comfortable in the offense and understands that his role isn’t to score; it’s to set teammates up and make the best decision possible. He did that tonight.

Along with Flynn’s exquisite play, the reserves made a complete turnaround. Anthony Randolph, Lazar Hayward and Anthony Tolliver stepped into their roles and commanded this game. In the second quarter, Randolph took matters into his own hands, charging the lane and drawing all sorts of contact. His defense is still suspect but when you nearly put up a 20-10 line off the bench, who cares? Especially in the flow of this type of game. What I particularly love about Randolph’s game is his aggressiveness. He attacks loose balls and then puts that thing on the floor and flies down court like some quick-handling guard. If his jumper starts to develop and he doesn’t look so bewildered on defense, we could’ve pulled off the trade of the century.

With Flynn and Randolph anchoring the reserve squad, Tolliver and Hayward both fit in well. They both played to the flow of the game and never showed any real weakness, or ever tried to force anything to happen. They sat back, let Flynn and Randolph work their games and were there if all else broke down.

Nearly everything was different about this game. Nearly. It’s obvious that our very own Michael Beasley is seriously struggling. He’s reminding me an awful lot of a black hole; whenever the ball swings his way, no one should count on getting it back. Usually the remedy to a cold shooting touch would be putting yourself in better positions to make high-percentage shots. Instead, Beasley’s been fixing to settle for off-balanced jumpers from beyond the arc. Even when he attacks the hoop it hasn’t looked nearly as smooth as it was earlier this year. There’s no doubt that the man has some maturing to do but there’s also no doubt that he needs to produce at a more efficient rate if he indeed is the scoring threat we thought he was.

This was a big win. Road wins are damn-near impossible to come by, so this was a real treat. (Quick side note: The Detroit Pistons are nearly a more forsaken team than the Wolves. Outside of Greg Monroe and possible Rodney Stuckey, this team has no real core to ride into a new era. A disgruntled Rip Hamilton, an injury-riddled Tayshaun Prince and a severely overweight Charlie Villanueva are no where close to an answer in D-Town. It’s truly a shame that the city, and it’s sports teams, are crumbling before our eyes.)

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