A 5-1 start has us giddy. We're clearly better than a year ago, when it took us 27 games to win our 5th, as we started 5-22. Does anyone think we'll have the same start this year? Methinks not. If we can win our last two games, the pundits could be in for a rude awakening. After looking at the charts below, has anybodies opinion of this team changed?
Utah Jazz undefeated Wolves only one loss: What's in a preseason?
By Vincent Heck on October 18, 2010
I repeat, the Memphis…Grizzlies…and the Minnesota…Timberwolves.
“But Vince,” you say, “it’s only preseason.”
I’d say, you’re correct. But history, while it can be rewritten, is a tool that rarely fails us.
To briefly illustrate: If a particular family member comes to your house on holidays or for specific family functions, and there is always something valuable that goes missing, but always seems to miraculously reappear in his/her possession; rightfully, you’d use history to teach you a lesson for the next time.
Can that family member change? Yes. But, until you can be sure, you’ve gotta at least consider it.
So with that in mind, let’s consider the past. How have past teams done in their regular seasons, as opposed to their preseasons? The results my shock you.
I found these charts on a blog website named, 82games.com, the author, Roland Beech, explored the results making comparisons.
He compiled these statistics from seasons ’01-02 to ’05-06; a total of four years.
This is what he found:
BEST preseason records (’01-02 to ’05-06)
The teams with the better preseason record, for the most part, produced winning regular season records. As a matter of fact, if you look at the above chart, you’ll notice everyone who won 5 or more games in the preseason, went on to the playoffs that year.
What’s more, if you look at the leading teams leading in the preseason this year, a lot of the favorites are leading the pack as we’d expect. (Orlando’s 5-0, Boston’s 6-1, Utah, 6-0, Cleveland 4-1)
So as non-meaningful as these games are, you have to take into consideration that this isn’t the NFL, where it’s much easier to sit starters for longer periods of time. In the NBA there are less players dressed than the NFL, so you see, more true than football, what the team may look like.
Not convinced? Well, I’m not trying to convince you, truth be told. I’m just saying. But, for kicks, look at this next chart of the opposite results. These are the teams with the worst records in that stretch:
WORST preseason records
Now, there are a handful of teams on here with winning records, even an NBA champion. But, look at the averages at the bottom. Overall, these teams have faired more poorly than the pool with the winning preseason records.
The Utah Jazz of 2010-’11 are serious, there’s no doubt about that. The question remains, though, what to make of these Wolves?
With my first regular season Three in the Key column approaching seven days from now, I will have the daunting task of determining my early preseason picks to enter the season firing. Are the Wolves real? Or are they pretenders, perhaps like those ’03-’04 Seattle Supersonics, or the ’05-’06 Houston Rockets?
To further support the legitimacy of this research, Beech looked into teams who came off of losing seasons, and had a very good preseason the next season, as is the case with the Timberwolves.
This is what he found:
Teams with winning preseason records off a 30 win season
|Year||Team||Preseason||Regular Season||Prior Yr|
This chart shows a 19 win average improvement. Which would put the Wolves at…34 wins this season. That’s reasonable to say right? Being that the new Timberwolves are comprised of 67% or so new staff, we don’t know what we’re going to see. All we’ve got is this preseason that tells us these boys are pretty talented.
So, we’ll go with that. What do you think? Are you taking the over or under on 34 wins? I’m, personally taking the — you’ll have to check back in on October 25, when I give my official season opening Northwest Division power rankings, and predictions in Three in the Key.
The only place to get all your Northwest Division news is by following Sports Haze’s Vincent Heck @SH_NBANorthwest on Twitter