What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for January and and February: 23. Minnesota Timberwolves

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of February 28th) :  20-35 (fifth place, Northwest Division)  

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of February 28th)

  • Points Scored: 95.2 (20th)
  • Points Allowed: 97.7 (16th)
  • Team FG%: .435 (25th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .463 (23rd)
  • Team FT%: .735 (23rd)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .300 (30th)
  • Rebounds per game: 43.2 (9th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 41.2 (8th)
  • Turnovers per game: 15.2 (24th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 15.2 (8th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of February 28th)

  • Scoring (ppg): Nikola Pekovic (15.9)
  • Rebounds per game:  Nikola Pekovic (8.8)
  • Minutes per game: Andrei Kirilenko (33.6)
  • Assists per game: Ricky Rubio (7.0)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Andrei Kirilenko (.511)
  • Free Throw Percentage: Ricky Rubio (.780)
  • Three Point FG Percentage:  JJ Barea (.343)
  • Steals per game: Ricky Rubio (2.1)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Greg Stiemsma (1.2)
Worst Player of the Month: Lady Luck

Thus far Lady Luck has not been kind to the Minnesota T-Wolves; in fact, one can go as far to say that she has been downright cruel.  From the opening tip off, she has thrown a wrench into the gears of what could have been a rather special team and has given the Wolves nothing but grief and heartache.  She snagged the team's top scorer and rebounder, Kevin Love, as early as the preseason and wreaked havoc upon the team the moment the players stepped on the court as injuries simply decimated a once deep and talented roster.  Within the first month of the season, she had already taken way three of the team's key players losing them for the entire season and still was not satisfied, so she went on and finished the job taking away the team's veteran leader and defensive stalwart, Andrei Kirilenko, as the season winds down to a close.  One has to wonder what the Wolves did to upset Lady Luck so much for here to cause so much pain and grief to themselves and their fans; however, give Minnesota credit that despite their predicament, the Wolves still manage to fight on.
First Player of the Month: Nikola Pekovic

Throughout all the chaos and turmoil surrounding his team, Nikola Pekovic has remained the sole bright spot for a team that has been wandering in the darkness. Thus far, he has been the sole starter on that Wolves team that has yet to sidelined for an extended period of time and has been the team's leader on both ends of the floor.  Throughout the months of January and February, Pekovic has posted career highs in scoring averaging close to 16 points per game along with grabbing almost ten rebounds per game as well.  Thus far, he has only missed seven games in total despite having the pressure to carry the entire team on his shoulders.  How unfortunate would it be to lose him too as that would be the final death blow for this much maligned and struggling Minnesota Timberwolves team.

To say that it has been a rough season for the Minnesota Timberwolves would be an understatement--the team came in with so much promise and had potential of making heads turn around the league.   Unfortunately they have been dealt one bad hand after the other as the team has been almost completely decimated due to injuries and they went from up and coming team to down and out in a matter of months.  One has to ask what the Wolves had done which was so terrible for Karma to exact its wrath upon them--they had already suffered to sting of defeat for so long that many believed that Minnesota was finally due.  They had made exceptional roster moves in the offseason acquiring a bevy of high quality players to support the burgeoning dynamic duo of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.  Along with being coached by one of the league's best in Rick Adelman, this season was supposed to be Minnesota's coming out party where the Wolves would finally return to the post season after a seven year long absence; unfortunately, fate would have other plans, however.

Upon setting foot back on the basketball court, the cruel hand of fate dealt the Wolves a devastating blow knocking the team's top scorer, Kevin Love, onto the injured list as early as the preseason.  Added along with the sad fact that the team would be without their star point guard Ricky Rubio for quite sometime as he was nursing an injury of his own from the previous season.  Then it was discovered that one of the team's prized free agent pickups, former NBA All Star Brandon Roy, who many hoped would have a comeback season , would no longer be able to play and would be forced right back into retirement.  The Wolves would then lose Chase Budinger, a player who they sacrificed a first round pick to the Houston Rockets for and was expected to be a key player coming off the bench, after just playing nine games.  From day one, the Wolves had been dealt a rather unlucky hand and the suffering would continue as Minnesota played undermanned and were virtually overpowered by the rest of the league.

Although through most of the season, the Wolves have suffered one bitter defeat after the other only winning a mere 20 games, they have continued to fight tooth and nail regardless, however.  Despite losing much of their offensive firepower, the Wolves were still held up thanks to the veteran leadership of Andrei Kirilenko, who had returned to the NBA after a one season hiatus playing in the Euroleague.  Unfortunately, as it was the case throughout the season, Andrei would also fall victim to the Timberwolves' curse first by missing most of February and later being lost for the rest of the season.  The front office spent much of the season scrambling trying to fill in the immense and noticable gaps in the team's roster and replace to what would add up to a third of the team.   They picked up journeymen Chris Johnson, Mickael Gelabale, and Malcom Lee, and despite unexpectedly impressive performances from younger players such as second year forward Derrick Williams and newcomer Alexey Shved, it was still not enough for the Wolves as the team simply went into freefall.

2013 has certainly not been kind to Minnesota as they went from being a team that was one game over .500 at the end of December to starting the new year losing twelve of fifteen games.  The Wolves started January well enough splitting their first four games beating rather solid teams such as the Denver Nuggets (1/3/2013) and the Atlanta Hawks (1/8/2013); however, that all ended as Minnesota would drop their next five straight by rather impressive margins losing by an average of 16 points in that five game stretch.  They temporarily stopped the bleeding with a hard earned win against the Houston Rockets (1/19/2013), but the glow of that victory would be short lived as the Wolves would finish the month of January losing their next five games.  February would show little mercy for this ailing Minnesota team as they would continually lose yet again dropping ten of thirteen games while grabbing just three wins against equally struggling teams--the New Orleans Hornets (2/2/2013), Cleveland Cavaliers (2/11/2013), and the Philadelphia 76ers (2/20/2013).  Thankfully with the passing of February, comes the welcomed arrival of this dismal season finally being over with the Wolves finally having a chance to lick their wounds and come back stronger the following year.

It is just a sad shame that such bad luck would fall upon a team that has suffered so much hardship to begin with.  For once it looked as if the Minnesota Timberwolves finally had gotten it together after languishing the past five season trying to rebuild post-Kevin Garnett, but once again Wolves fans have had to suffer the indignity of going through another depressing season.  Now the question on everyone's minds will be what is next for the Minnesota Timberwolves?  Do they gamble on next season with their flaming train wreck of a roster hoping that Lady Luck will finally show some love and compassion or do they start right back up back from scratch once again?  Either choice brings great risk and will probably end up badly as the words good luck and prosperity have yet to correlate with the Minnesota Timberwolves as of late.