The Timberwolves are now a game closer to the last playoff seed in the Western Conference than they were nine games ago. The problem is, even if they maintain that pace there are only 19 games left in the season, so that would leave them 2.5 games back of 8th. And that's not taking into account a ton of other variables.
Personally, while I hold out little hope for a miracle, I would like to see the team fight the good fight, playing to the best of its ability the final quarter of the season.
What honestly has me most concerned is who will coach the Wolves next season. I haven't turned on Rick Adleman, though a fair percentage of the CH commentariat seems to have done so. Yes, I too can't figure out the JJ/Ricky 4th quarter thinking, but most of the other complaints fall into the "no one ever loves their coach's rotation" category. Just like the backup QB is always the most popular player on most NFL teams.
It wasn't that long ago that we were gobsmacked that KAHN!!! pulled off the unthinkable, luring a Hall of Fame caliber coach to Target Center. RA has had to deal with owner/front office inanity, bad rookies, a raft of injuries, and heightened expectations. His team's record will be much better than last season's, there is little to no indication that he has "lost" the team - no grumbling from Love or Ricky or anyone else. He has solid assistants working with him.
Still, this team has not lived up to its potential; playing in a very competitive conference cannot excuse this all away. How much of this is on RA and how much on the players/roster? We'll find out, likely, next season, unless wholesale roster changes are made, which seems unlikely.
Who would you like to see as the 2014-15 Timberwolves head coach?
RA - Under contract, but may feel it's time to retire and/or be nudged that way.
Flip - I don't think he's a horrible coach, but I don't want to gamble that he can adapt his style to today's NBA.
Fred Hoiberg - Would love this, but I agree with TMiss and others that he seems unlikely to leave Ames, Iowa.
Dwane Casey - He'll be staying in Toronto, but of all the ex-Wolves coaches out there, he's the only one that I wish we'd kept.
The Glen/Flip short list - No. Just no.
Beyond that, I don't have any names in mind, just the hope that it's someone who can get the most out of our squad and develop the young guys.
- 9th in differential (3.9)
- 15th in strength of schedule
- 9th in SRS
- 9th in ORtg (108.9) and 11th in DRtg (104.9)
- 4th in pace
- Four Factors (offense): 23rd in eFG%; 2nd in TOV%; 4th in ORB%; 4th in FT/FGA
Since the last milestone, the biggest change is SOS, from 5th to 15th - showing just how easy this last stretch of games has been.
TIMBERWOLVES - 32-31, 10th in the Western Conference (4.5 games out of 8th; they'd be 7th in the Eastern Conference).
LAST 9 GAMES (6-3; I had predicted 5-4)
Projected record: 5-4. The schedule gets a lot more challenging again. They need to win nearly every game if they are going to make a run for the post season, but my projection is based more on what I believe is likely, based on schedule and opponent. And that given the way the season's gone, 5-4 or 4-5 is as close to 50/50 as I can get.
NBA TOP TEN WATCH
PPG - Love #4
RPG - Love #2
APG - Rubio #6
Assists - Rubio #2
SPG - RUBIO #1, Brewer #10
FT - Love #2
FT% - Martin #3
ORs - Pek #7 (note: Love drops out of top ten for the first time this season)
DRs - Love #2
Total RBs - Love #4
Usage - Love #8
Win Shares - Love #2
WS/48 - Love #2
Needed Back ASAP - TURIAF #1
Webster - .122 WS/48
Tolliver - .110 WS/48
Beasley - .102 WS/48
Kirilenko - .091 WS/48
Stiemsma - .081 WS/48
Wayne - .081 WS/48
DWill - .078 WS/48 (.017 w/MN, .085 w/SAC)
Wes - .051 WS/49
Ridnour - -.014 WS/48
Given how things stand with the Wolves through 63 games, I leave you with "Too Much Too Little Too Late":