I don't often do game recaps, but since last night's Wolves-Rockets game was the first time in years that I had seen the team in the home arena (the team seems to always be on road trips when I visit home), I have a few comments on last night's game.
I don't really have a lot to write about this weekend, but the geeky elves and I are working hard at awesome new features on the site (which is also hampering the writing). In the meantime, I wish everyone happy holidays. Check out the holiday wish list of all NBA bloggers over at Hickory High. Mine was pretty simple:
Remember the days when @CanisHoopus used to call the Timberwolves the 'Zombies'? That nickname might become relevant again, albeit for different reasons. Here are the currently injured Timberwolves' 2011-12 season:
The Timberwolves, who are "without their two best players," are now 4-1. Indiana is the only playoff team they have faced, so there's that. And tonight they play the Bulls. Still, a lof of folks are...surprised. Like this guy at Yahoo (h/t CanisHoopus):
Man, ESPN is driving me nuts lately. I love a lot of the discussion about how to make the game better but it sure would be nice if we could talk about how to fix things that are, you know, broken, instead of turning the blogosphere into shit-storms of articles on the current meme of what's wrong with basketball. The latest craze is OH MY GOD HOW DO WE STOP THE TANKING And, as I have written before, tanking doesn't need to be fixed because tanking is basically a moronic strategy.
If you are on Twitter, and follow any NBA people at all, you heard lots of opinions yesterday about Kevin Love's near-max contract extension, for 4 years, with the fourth year having a player option. So, let's be frank: barring injury or huge dropoffs in production, there is nearly zero chance that Love exercises that option (regardless of whether he wants to remain a Timberwolf, since he'd make more money by opting out and signing a new contract), so this was a three-year extension. It's truly hard to imagine how a management team could screw up while signing the team's best player, but somehow, Taylor and/or Kahn managed to do it.
I've talked about this before, but Kevin Love has been showing a disturbing trend of bitching at referees when he should be playing basketball. As Zach Harper (@talkhoops) pointed out on Twitter, at what point does Rick Adelman call him out for bitching instead of running back on defense, or hustling for a loose ball? He's clearly the only one on the team with the "moral authority" to do so (although soon, Ricky Rubio will be in that category).
Last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves rolled over the San Antonio Spurs 106-96, in a game that wasn't really even that close. According to the Spurs' announcing team, It was their first victory over the Spurs since the Garnett era, and certainly not a potential victory that I would have pencilled in on the Schedule.
The ridiculous lack of respect that Kevin Love gets is amazing. And, you know, it's one thing to say "player X is better than Love" if you have reasons that make even a lick of sense. For example, I once said that LeBron James is better than Love because one of the reasons Love is so good is his 3-point shooting, and if you know anything about variance in basketball, you know that shooting percentages is one of the areas with the most volatility; take away Love's 3-point shooting and he goes from fantastic to good. But the things that LBJ does to get extremely high-percentage buckets (mainly being bigger, stronger, and faster than his defenders) aren't going away anytime soon and are not very subject to variance, barring injury. I realize few people are going to disagree with saying LBJ is better than Love. The point is that even though both have similar WP48s, I don't just blindly follow "the numbers" (my critics love to tell me to "open my eyes" and that I should "get my head out of the stats and watch some games". Turns out, that's pretty much exactly what I do). But if you are going to convince me to ignore "the numbers", you should offer up some compelling reasons that the numbers "are lying".
Ok, I'm really hard at work adding a ton of new features to the site and trying to improve the player comparison engine (which I really need to brand somehow). But in the meantime I'd like to join in the general ridiculous media frenzy of drawing insane conclusions from miniature sample sizes. Yes, I'm talking about that trend that's causing Celtic bloggers to examine lottery picks after starting 0-2, and has the Knicks media inquiring about players' ring sizes after their home opener win. So I'll look at the Timberwolves and draw some ridiculous conclusions.
The NBA Season is ready to start on Christmas Day, the last couple of preseason games are being played as I write this up, and it's time for me to cater to every serious NBA fans love of season previews! The 2011 Geektastic Preview is going to be way too large for one article, so I'm dividing it up into divisions (and even so, it's going to be long, so get a cup of coffee!). In this article I'm going to tackle my hometown team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Over on the Wages of Wins today, Andres Alvarez claims that the Orlando Magic had the worst management in the NBA last year. And I agree, the Magic were bad. But...
I can't tell you how much I wish the book How to Lie with Statistics was never written. Sure, it contains a ton of useful information and a lot of tools for the layperson to actually think critically about the way data is presented. Unfortunately, it has also introduced a meme that somehow translates to "every claim ever made that is backed up by a statistics must be a lie." Yes, clearly, THAT is what the author was trying to say. If I had a nickel for every time I've had a basketball argument with somebody that basically said "Your stats are meaningless; watch the game and you'll see the truth," I'd own an NBA team, and I'd hire the Wages of Wins network to run it, and we'd win several championships while having a lower-than-average payroll (thus making me even richer).
This is a concept that I quote so often that I feel like it is worth its own post. I suspect I'll be linking to it a lot here at the NBA Geek. The premise is simple: I think most casual fans place far too much weight on whether or not a player looks good, and ignore the fact there are no style points in the NBA, and scoring 20 points on spectacular dunks won't win you any more games than scoring 20 points on 4 3s and a few layups will.
So I've been meaning to start an NBA blog for a while now, and I've been a big fan of the Wages of Wins Network for quite some time. Here, for your amusement (or ridicule, or amazement), I present the NBA Geek. In the articles section I plan to post daily or semi-daily with keen, nay, brilliant, insights into the NBA. In the players section you'll find the statistics from the latest NBA season (multi-season functionality is in a future release, I promise) and the FAQ and About sections offer a little more info about what I'm trying to accomplish here. What better day to launch an NBA blog than on draft day? After all, we're all going to be terribly excited about the NBA for a few days, right before we forget it about it completely for the next 3-4 months. And that's if there's no lockout.