Thursday, April 18, 2013

Timberwolves Post-Mortem 2012-13


The Wolves shot the ball 45 more times than their opponents and committed 338 fewer fouls while shooting almost the same free throw percentage.  They turned the ball over  92 fewer times than their opponents and were almost exactly even on the boards (-8 rebounds total on the season).  Their assists were slightly more than their opponents', as were their steals.   They played at a top 11 pace of play and were an above average defensive team (13th of 30 in defensive rating at 105.4)


The Wolves blocked almost 100 fewer shots than their opponents and averaged 2.4 points per game less than their opponents.  They won 31 games, although the statistic of "Expected Win-Loss" said they should have won 34 games (so they were a poor team in close games, if the game could go either way, the Wolves lost more often than you would think).  They were last in the league in ticket pricing (good for fans, bad for them), but despite that fact, were only 20th in the league in attendance.


The Wolves had only one player who played over 2000 minutes (which is only a measly 25 minutes a game times 80 games) and who had a PER over the league average of 15 (Kirilenko 2034).  Their two stars, Rubio and Love, had offensive ratings of 99 each (very poor, Luke Ridnour was 107, as a reference point).  JJ Barea, who hogs the ball non-stop, had an Offensive rating of 101.  The Wolves 3 leaders in Usage Rate (Love, Barea, DWill) all had Offensive Ratings of 101 or lower.  Of the top 9 Usage Rate players on the Wolves, only one (Pek) had an Offensive Rating above 102.

The Wolves shot almost 3% lower than their opponents and shot an amazing 6.4% lower from 3 point range!  The Wolves were a terrible offensive team, playing at the 11th best pace of play, yet scoring only the 16th most points, resulting in an Offensive Rating of 102.9 - 25th in a 30-team league.


It does not take a genius to see that the Wolves lack shooting, particularly 3 point shooting.  Rubio, Shved and Ridnour jacked up 592 3s - they made only about 30%.  Derrick Williams (33% on 196 attempts) was a significantly better choice to shoot 3s than the Wolves' 3 smallish point guards.  Ouch.

Kevin Love, in the rare instances when he played, was actually a WORSE shooter than the bricklaying Rubio, either from the floor overall, or from 3 (20 of 92 for Love -- .217).

It is hard to express the shittiness of Kevin Love's 2012-13.  But let me give you a historical note.  No player since the BBR database's 1985 start has EVER shot 5 three-point attempts per game and shot under 28%.  Even some of the game's worst gunners managed to hit 28%.  This year Kevin Love shot 92 threes in 18 games and hit those threes at a rate of......21.7%.  Since 1985, only one other player has ever shot more than 2 3-pointers a game and failed to make 22% -  Charles Barkley in 1988-89.  Barkley shot roughly 2 a game and hit at 21.6%

The poster boy for terrible three-point shooting is Josh Smith, but JSmoove in any one season has NEVER jacked up more than slightly over 2 a game, and his WORST shooting year when he was jacking terrible threes was 25%.  So take Josh Smith's WORST year of gunning, multiply his awful shot attempts by 250% and then reduce his accuracy by one-eighth.  That give you Kevin Love 2012-13.


Of course the best case would be to add two active off guards who could make 3s and block one shot a game.  That would make the Wolves a competitive shooting team and a better shot blocking club. 

It also is difficult to have both Love and Pekovic as your front line.  Neither is a particularly good or willing passer, and neither protects the rim.  Kirilenko was a godsend defensively (one block a game, 2.5 steals plus blocks a game), but he was forced to chase the Kobe's and Rudy Gay's of the world on the perimeter, somewhat negating his presence underneath.

The Wolves' primary need is for Rick Adelman to return.  Budinger and Kirilenko both can come back or leave, and both have stated that they are more likely to stay if Adelmen stays.  Pekovic must be signed, even if it is to deal him - when you are the Wolves, you cannot afford to lose a 20+PER player and a top 10 center for nothing.

Also worthy of note - the Wolves' mark without Adelman actually coaching?  2-9.  Terry Porter's .182 winning percentage was on a pace for 15 wins over a full season.

Of course, the ability to get value out of the draft and to get a Pek sign-and-trade if necessary comes down to the front office.  David Kahn has shown no ability whatsoever to draft players, and his theory on trading appears to be, well, "Don't."  So it will be hard for the Wolves to improve through front office moves unless a good off guard just falls in their lap at #10 or wherever they draft.

My hope would be that Rubio improves as a shooter (warning - it took Jason Kidd 10 years), that Adelman stays, and that the Wolves get lucky and Shabazz Muhammad (age unknown) can become an adequate NBA player and start for the Wolves:

Rubio, backed up by Barea or Luke (Luke or Barea traded for a backup big man)
Muhammad, Budinger, guy picked late first round
Williams backed up by Kirilenko
Love, Cunningham
Pekovic, Stiemsma, backup big man from Ridnour trade

I would be fine with that.

1 comment:

Al Swearengen said...

I appreciate your willingness to capture the shittiness of Kevin Love's season.