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):
How does Ricky Rubio tearing his ACL suck? How do I count the ways? Sportscenter highlights are now about 10% less interesting. Attending Timberwolves games (which, admittedly, I almost always do for their away games) now have 50% fewer "Oooooooh!"s and 40% fewer "Aaaaaah"s and 100% fewer "Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!"s. The Timberwolves get about 40% worse at point guard. But, surprisingly, the way it hurts the most is that the Timberwolves get a LOT worse at shooting guard and small forward.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people just spout "conventional" basketball wisdom without bothering to check the most basic facts. Conventional wisdom in just about every field of knowledge is usually riddled with falsehoods and logic traps, and basketball analysis is no exception. Today I am going to tackle one that's really been getting to me: the myth that a player's teammates' shooting percentage plays a large role in the number of assists a player racks up. Whether it's in defense of Kyrie Irving or Deron Williams, or in denegration of Ricky Rubio, I hear it all the time: "player X's assists are only so low because his teammates cannot shoot. If he played with better shooters, he'd have way more, I just know it."
At first I thought I was going to write a Ricky Rubio rant. Recently in a podcast, I called Rubio the rookie of the year. In three games since, He's shot 8-for-33. He's had 29 assists, but also 10 turnovers, and on Monday he really killed the Wolve's chances when all 5 of his turnovers came in the 4th quarter. If he had not hit a game-tying 3 in his 1-for-11 shooting night against the Clippers, we'd probably be crucifying the poor guy right now.
There are several classic blunders. One of them is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia" and another is "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line," but the least known one is probably "Never bet against the San Antonio Spurs in the draft."
As I watched in disbelief as Darko Milicic hit his fourth bucket in the first quarter I thought to myself, "Self, Darko looks better this year. I don't want to stab myself in the eye every time he touches the ball." And since I am a very firm believer that one should almost never believe ones' self in these situations without checking the numbers, I did just that. Caveat: Sample sizes Yadda Yadda Yadda.
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 NBA has played a whole week of basketball, and thanks to the compressed schedule we've had a few games more than we would have in most seasons. It's time for me to pick what I'll call the NBA Geeks of the Week. Sort of the all-geek team. NOTE: I wrote this article before Sunday's games because I want to consider just the games in the first 7 days.
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.