A truly fascinating article on Truehoop written by Ben Polk over at A Wolf Among Wolves has really dissected everything that is right and wrong about these Wolves, and some ways we could fix it by the help of some serious statiticians.
Ben starts off by addressing the general public because they are the ones who often have an off-kilter perception of this franchise and its players. They’re the ones that look at our dismal 6-21 record and assume our team is as bad as last year’s — which they’re clearly not. They’re ultimately the beholders of this conventional wisdom that the Timberwolves have been bad, they’re bad now, and always will be very bad.
But to their untrained eye, — and even their demise — Ben has found some things that have significantly turned around for the better this season. Among those being the clearly positive development of Kevin Love and the resurrection of Mike Beasley, who may turn into one of the league’s most dynamic scorers. But maybe more importantly, the Wolves season entails other characters who have helped mightily along the way and factor into being an integral part in this franchise’s corner-turning season.
A complete 180-change from last year to this season is the level of athleticism each player has. The additions of Wes Johnson and Anthony Tolliver, as well as the on-going development of Corey Brewer, have increased our level of athleticism tenfold compared to last season. They’ve also found some strong veteran leaders to help guide this team when they wander astray. Luke Ridnour and Martell Webster are leaders on the court and use their experience and basketball i.q. to follow through on what they think is best for the team.
As a fan that actually watches this team on a nightly basis, I’m understanding the process it takes to go through a rebuilding phase — And it’s not easy, let me tell you that. Developments and enhancements in areas like athleticism and veteran-savvy are important. That’s why people looking from the outside in, who have a skewed look into who the Timberwolves really are, just ridicule and retort the Wolves because they don’t understand the current nature of this franchise. They fail to grasp what this team has truly overcome already compared to last year’s squad.
But some people, properly dubbed analysts for the most part, look deeper into our fluid situation. Mathmeticians like Wayne Winston and David Berri dive deep into the depths that is world of advanced statistics and configure new ways to harp, or praise, a team. Based on the facts I laid above about the current developments and improvements on this year’s squad, both Winston and Berri believe the Wolves could be substantially better if a few, simple lineup tweaks were to be made.
Let’s go through what those tweaks could be and analyze what Ben, Winston and Berri all had to say: