To say that this season has been a disappointment is a just argument. At the same time there are other reasons that one could say it hasn't been a complete disaster. Coach Rambis has been unfairly judged and (in my opinion) has been getting too much of the blame for his team's underachieving record this year. Give him credit for trying to teach one of the youngest teams in the league one of the most intricate offenses in the history of the game that requires flawless execution on every single play. Yes, there have been demands for his firing, or to not get into it with your best players at the beginning of the year, but for the most part he is doing a good job given what has happened this year.
Injuries, trades, and shaky defense have been the main culprits for the record this year. It started out with the Flynn and Webster injuries before the season started. These were two guys who were expected to be key contributors this season, but neither has looked the same since returning to the lineup. They should have been brought back along slowly than to throw the guys immediately into the mix of what the team has consistently had (see Duke: Kyrie Irving, who by the way would look very good in a Wolves jersey next year). Next year should be better for both these guys if they stay healthy. Beasley has tweaked his ankle almost every other game. How can a team be dominant without their most versatile scorer playing at 100%? Trading away our best perimeter defender in Corey Brewer also didn't help out our league worst 107 ppg allowed. Although Randolph is an exciting player with way more upside than Brewer, it was devastating to lose a valuable player in Brewer.
On the bright side, we have learned some things about our team that can very well help us in the future. Kevin Love has emerged as an All-Star in this league and has vastly improved his game by adding the 3 ball to his game. He is a virtual lock for most improved player of the year award. At the other forward spot, Michael Beasley has made leaps and bounds when healthy. An overall improvement in scoring, rebounding, defense, and hustle this year has made him a fan favorite. Beasley has also shown us that he can be 'that guy' in clutch situations after two uneventful seasons in Miami. He was the steal of the off-season in my eyes. Wes Johnson has had an up and down season, but there have been a few great moments for him. From his first career basket to a 29 point showing against the Lakers (which was a competitive game). He will be a good contributor for years to come.
Wesley Johnson With Thunderous Slam (via NBA)
It'll be interesting to see how things go down in the stretch. It'd probably be a good time to see if players like Nikola Pekovic and Lazar Hayward are worth keeping on the roster. One thing for sure though is that Rambis' job is not on the line here. His style promotes defensive effort and growth of basketball IQ.
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