Well team, we apologize for the lack of game previews and content. Like you may expect, it is exceedingly difficult to spend time writing original, non-repetitive content about meaningless games when guys continue to sit out long stretches of games. Perhaps this season will become at least slightly interesting when Love and Chase are back likely later in the month, but until then we should expect more losing and more well-deserved apathy from the fanbase.
The Wolves are far and away the worst team in the NBA right now. With the way this team shoots the basketball, there is no discernible way it can beat a single team in the league unless said team is on its 4th game in 5 nights on the road, gassed, somehow shoots worse than the Wolves, commits more turnovers, fails to score off of Wolves turnovers, can't complete a fast break, misses about half of its free throws, loses the rebounding battle, and doesn't score any 2nd chance points. Think that Houston Rockets game a few weeks ago. This is the only way the Wolves can expect to win. Sad.
BUT, I must say, watching Ricky Rubio on a nightly basis somehow continues to be somewhat worth your time in my opinion (aside from watching him deteriorate mentally). And while the playoffs are long an afterthought, you can see what this team could do with dependable, NBA-level scoring added to its roster. But a key question we need to ask ourselves is, will that ever happen? Kirilenko and Pek have proven throughout their careers to rarely be dependable for consistent health. I said last week that re-signing Pek was an absolute must this summer and I still feel the same way, but I think acknowledging the viewpoint of the front office/some fans, that a player of his durability may not be worth re-signing long term, should be considered a very valid POV. This team needs players who can play 75-82 games per season and have proven as such. Signing players who have a documented injury history is not the way to correct these problems. Signing Brandon Roys and taking risks is not the solution. Luckily, Love has no chronic problems and his injuries are mostly flukes (hands and concussions), but guess what? Kirilenko will miss 20 games again next year. Pek will miss 20 games next year. With the way this team seems to be prepared physically for games by its training staff, with a repeat roster of this season I am starting to think we will see similar results from a health standpoint next season. Now, with Love back in the lineup, periodic losses like this will be much easier to sustain, but this season has sort of etched this sad point into stone: this team is a fringe playoff team at its maximum potential. And when that is the case, fan expectations rise and that becomes unacceptable very quickly. As I have said in other write-ups: making the playoffs is not hard. More teams do it than do not. Unless you can compete in the playoffs, it is hardly an accomplishment and only brings about negative long-term events with personnel, more fan apathy and a quick trip back to rebuilding unless the team can add more players and grow.
Which is why hitting a home run in the upcoming draft is critical. This will be the Wolves’ only chance to add an impact player with star potential that can help boost our rankings in the standings. Who this player may be is a subject for future posts, but the Wolves will most certainly have a top 5 pick in this draft barring a series of meaningless wins, and there remains several shooting guard prospects who can fill that hole permanently for years to come. Trading away the pick for anything less than a tier 2-3 player would be a massive mistake. Value your picks.
As for tonight's game against Washington, Randy Wittman and Martell Webster return. The Wizards at full health were always going to be a fairly good team and they are starting to prove as much. Don't let their net record fool you, unless the Wolves put together a high-octane eff-you game after the Miami debacle, they will likely fall short again. The team just cannot win going on 4-5 minute stretches without a field goal in games and relying on inconsistent Dante Cunningham elbow jumpers to run an offense. And the only silver lining we can hope for is excellent draft position and a crack at it again with full health and adding players to the roster with a history of being dependable.
Until then, expect more of the same.