10-4 January Record = Epic Fail

The Wolves 10-4 record during the month of January was the worst thing that could have happened to this franchise.
Hindsight is a funny thing.  Because most fans would probably (perhaps rightfully) say that the month of January was the highlight of this pitiful season.  But for those of us diehards that understand how hard building a contending franchise truly is, we know that is far from the case; and things run much deeper than winning a few extra meaningless games in a lost season.

Before I go any further, I would like to point out that I got the idea to do this post from a comment by “Nate” over at Britt Robson’s On The Ball blog.  Granted, what Nate said isn’t exactly some superb and mind-blowing insight, and really, it’s something that I’ve basically thought for the past few patheticly atrocious losing seasons.  But, as any writer will tell you, I don’t want to plagiarize anyone’s thoughts and I do believe in giving credit where credit is due.  So, I’ll mostly quote parts of his comment and further elaborate on them. 

Here’s what Nate said (in italics), and let’s dig a little big deeper while we are at it:

“I’ve never liked or enjoyed January, and now as a Wolves fan I detest January. January makes me vomit.”

–  A solid start to your post.  I’m right there with you Nate.  Get out the buckets.

“If not for January, McHale would definitely be out. If not for January, Stack and Hoiberg would at least have a higher probability of being out. If not for January, Glen Taylor would not be able to see yet another silver lining on the sinking ship.  This club cannot afford to make decisions based on what happened in January. It’s one month, it is not enough data.”

–  I think this is probably the most solid point that he makes.   Somehow, Taylor has been deluded into thinking this team has a ton of promise/skill/ability to compete with the other great teams in the league.  Did anyone else hear Taylor talk during halftime of a game a month or so ago?  Going on and on and on about how much this team has improved, how well they are playing, and how bright the future is?  It almost made me sick.  I’m effing sick of the same old song and dance that they’ve been giving us the past 3-4 years no.  It’s all a bunch of BS, and our front office is either collectively delusional or overly incompetent.  This thought process will never be changed unless someone from outside the organization comes in and takes over.  We (the fans) need someone with fresh blood to step up to Taylor and tell him some real talk about the state of this franchise. Someone (fresh blood) needs to be able to come in, have full control of all operations, and be able to make ANY moves they want/need to make.  (Granted, I am assuming Taylor hires someone that knows what the hell he’s doing, which is not 100% guaranteed.)   McHale/Stack/Hoiberg may or may not always simply toe the company line, but does anyone truly believe that the much-needed change in philosophy and mindset can ever be implemented without someone from outside the “Country Club?”  I know I don’t.  Taylor strikes me as the person that will listen to his “crew” until the bitter end, and unfortunately, I don’t believe anyone from his “crew” is even remotely capable of righting this Titantic on it’s maiden voyage.  Yes, they’ve made a few solid transactions to clean up our salary situation, but they’ve still made a ton of stupid moves and missed blatant opportunities to improve with little to no risk/future financial harm.  To make a long story short, we need someone like a Sam Presti, and the chances of that happening (however slim they may have been), have decreased even further simply because of McHale’s “Coach of the Month-esque” January record.

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“If not for January, Foye would obviously be a bench player, not a potential starter in a slump.”

–  Not to praise my massive genius toot my own horn, but I’ve been saying this the past two years.  Foye’s ideal role is obviously that of a 6th or 7th man (sparkplug) off the bench.  Anyone that knows basketball can obviously see this.  Yet our idiot Front Office keeps trying and trying and trying to sell the fans on “Fourth Quarter Foye’s” greatness.  He’s obviously not a starting-caliber PG in the NBA, because he sucks at playing PG.  He’s clearly better in the 2 guard role, where he doesn’t have to steer the offense, and stats will back this up.  The problem there is that he’s too short to start (and play big minutes) at shooting guard, and his defense is atrocious.  Even if Foye average 20 points per game as our starting shooting guard, he’d give up at least an average of 25-30+ points per game against the likes of Kobe, D-Wade, Roy, Kevin Martin, and basically any other SG that is taller than 6’4″  Yet Foye will continue to start under this administration and it will not lead us anywhere unless we somehow acquire 4 all-stars at the other starting positions.

“January was the worst thing that could have happened to this organization. It was just bad luck, a combination of hot players and a schedule featuring injured stars and NBA dregs.”

–  These two sentences hit the nail on the head as the why the Wolves went 10-4.  It certainly was not because McHale was a “coach of the month” for one month out of his coaching career.  Basically, we got lucky, and had one of the easiest stretches of a schedule in the past few seasons (counting the injured opponents that missed those 14 games against us.)   And just exactly WHY was this the worst thing that could have happened?  Well, look at our record.  We are currently 20-51 and it looks like we’ll probably finish with the 5th worst overall record, which means we will have the 5th best odds for landing the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.  Here’s a breakdown of the approximate odds to land the #1 overall pick (#1 – 25%, #2 – 20%, #3 – 15%, #4 – 12%, #5 – 9%).  Now, I realize it’s a stretch to say that we could have had the number #1 pick with a few more losses, but bare with me.  And keep in mind, with the Wolves history of lottery kicks in the ass luck, we need every. single. percentage. point. that. we. can. get.

The Wolves currently have a 0.282 winning percentage.  Excluding January, the Wolves are playing 0.175 ball.  If you extrapolate that over the 14 January games, that gives us approximately 3 wins (instead of 10.)  If we had won only three games in January (instead of those now painful 10), we’d currently have a record of 13-58.  Yes, that’s right.  If not for the effing month of January, we’d have the worst record in the league.  BUT, we’d also have the BEST chance to win the lottery!  Hell, we could have won only 5 games in January and we’d STILL be currently tied for the worst record in the league.  Yes, I am now repeatedly banging my head against the keyboard.

Most pundits think this will be one of the worst drafts in the past decade.  I know that it’s always early to say something like that until you see the players actually, like play, in the NBA; but I’d tend to agree.  I mean, last year some “experts” thought the draft would be weak, but it looks like it is going to end up being very strong.  Still, during March Madness, guys like Rose, Mayo, Beasley, Love, and Lopez were drawing rave reviews (for the most part.)  Who is getting the same pub from this class?  Blake Griffin is the only player that really compares.  For Wolves fans, I’d also put Ricky Rubio in that category of “future studs” with Griffin (because of our pressing team needs), but we still don’t know if he’ll even declare!  If our Front Office doesn’t do everything in it’s power to come away with Griffin or Rubio, I will consider this draft a failure.  Who cares if we have 4 cruddy first round picks?  We don’t have the roster space or minutes for that many new rookies anyways!  You need quality over quantity in the NBA!  Or maybe our Front Office will trade some of our first rounders this year for future first rounders?  Whoopie-freaking-doopty.  All that does is prolong the “rebuilding/blueprint” for another season or two, and give our Front Office an additional plethora of excuses to draw upon when we continue to lose next season and beyond.  And that, my friends, is why those extra January wins and precious percentage points in the lottery could be so very damaging to this club down the road.

“The massive stench of a front office in way over its collective heads is staring Glen Taylor square in the eyes and he is going to once again look down at his (expensive) shoes, step to the side, and continue walking forward directly into the abyss that is NBA mediocrity. Few will follow him.”

– Word Nate, word.

So what does this all mean?  We should be cheering for the Wolves to lose every game?  If you asked me that earlier this season, I would have said: “No, I would not say that is the answer.  It is never a good thing to cheer for our team to implement a losing atmosphere/mindset.”  All I’ve hoped for this season is that the Wolves play hard each and every game, while showing at least some sort of improvement in our young players.  If they play hard and lose, heck, that’s totally fine with me.  No one should be complaining about that with this squad and the injuries we’ve been dealt.  But lately, the Wolves have been mailing in games and have been so bad and boring that they are basically unwatchable. After this recent stretch of the past 20 or so games, they are leaving us no choice but to cheer for them to lose every remaining game, in the hope that it ays dividends towards improving the future.  It’s truly pathetic, and I feel bad for the casual fans, that what should have been the highlight of this season (going 10-4 in the month of January), could end up becoming a chain that continues to hold us back for more years to come.

For Wolves fans, trying times are indeed ahead.



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