1 - I didn't see the game
2 - I only heard part of the 4th quarter on the car radio
over the jabbering of while conversing with my wife
3 - Seemingly everything was easy for the Wolves tonight
I am taking the liberty of giving grades for the season to date instead of for the Lakers game. Since the season is in the home stretch, I am also giving everyone a homework assignment for the next 10 or so games.
In descending order of WS/48:
Kevin Love (WS/48: .261) A+
MVP caliber play, avoided knuckle push-ups, handling the PR side well. Homework: What more can we ask? Just keep on keeping on, Kev.
PEK (.171) B+
He is who we (Cynical Jason) thought he was; an offensively gifted, defensively decent center who won't block shots or play 82 games a season. One of the most fun characters in Minnesota sports. Homework: get healthy for next season.
Gorgui Dieng (.136) B
The three Wolves with the best WS/48 are all front court players. I know some are agitating to trade Pek for a good wing, but my vote is to keep this trio around to dominate other teams and find another way to improve the wing play. GD has been one of the few bright spots this season. Homework: prove that the Small Sample Size so far reflects a sustainable level of play.
Kevin Martin (.124) B-
Huh. I am a tad surprised that the best non-big on the team, according to WS/48, is our pricey shooting guard. He's being paid to shoot well, which he's done, even if he doesn't necessarily deliver a whole lot else, at least not obviously. Homework:
Sorry. Okay, where was I?
Oh yeah, K-Mart's homework: just keep up the veteran presence as the season fades to an end - play hard, help the younger guys see how to be professional.
Ricky Rubio (.117) B
No need to retread well-trodden ground: excellent all around game, other than the fact that he can't shoot well. Homework: keep refining your shot selection in favor of threes and at the rim, eliminate the middle ground.
Ronny Turiaf (.99) B/Incomplate
Here we get to the crux of this team's problem: we only have five above average players (and one of them is a rookie who has not played very many minutes). The starters minus Brew are all solid. Then we have Turiaf, who at .99 is essentially a league-average player, which makes him a fine backup center - but he's only been on the court for 480 minutes. After him, it's all below average players, include all our small forwards. Homework: get well soon and mentor Dieng.
Dante Cunningham (.83) B
Mr. Elbow Jumper is a decent bench player but easily replaceable. Homework: prove to the Wolves you are willing to resign at a reasonable price for next season.
Robbie Hummel (.81) C
A rookie with low expectations, he hasn't played a lot, but when called upon hasn't been terrible. Seems to have a good BBIQ. Homework: start hitting shots at the rate we hoped you would.
Corey Brewer (.79) C
It's hard not to like Brew, he hustles, makes some amazing plays, gets steals, has a winning personality and a goat. But he's not a shot down defender, makes some boneheaded moves, and is better suited as a bench player, which he might have been had Budinger been healthy all season. Homework: continue taking fewer, better shots.
JJ Barea (.43) C-
Maybe I'm getting soft, but with JJ being everyone's favorite whipping boy, the personification of the Bench-That-Rapidly-Squanders-Leads, my contrarian nature kicks in. I do love seeing him drive the lane against giants, twist and float and guide the ball through the hoop. But a little of this goes a long way. Again, he is who we thought he was - just shooting at a career low percentage. He's not the solution, but he's not the (entire) problem. Homework: up your trade value.
Chase Budinger (.33) D/incomplete
Perhaps my biggest disappointment of the season. First, the injury. Then, the return, which after allowing a little time for rust, has yet to show us the "real" Bud. Or at least the "old" Bud. Or maybe the "wishful thinking" Bud. But at the start of last season, he looked to be a very nice piece of the T'Wolves puzzle: the SF who can score efficiently and be competent on D. In three seasons with HOU his WS/48 was .100, .95, .111, while playing 74, 78 and 58 games. What we wouldn't give for a league average SF. Homework: Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged.
Alexey Shved (.24) D-
Or maybe Shved was my biggest disappointment. When he's played well for MN or for Russia, I've enjoyed his passing skills and his ability to hit some shots. But he just doesn't seem to be adjusting to the NBA well and after two seasons, it's hard to believe that he will do so. Homework: give me a reason to believe.
Shabazz Muhammad (.24) C
Bazz and Shved had the same WS/48, so I debated who should be placed first; I decided that since Alexey contributed more Win Shares to the team (by playing more minutes) he should get the higher spot. But I thought about doing it the other way, since it means the Russian played more sub-par minutes than did our rookie from UCLA. I ended up giving Bazz a higher grade, too, since our expectations for him were rock bottom and he has exceeded that low bar. He's still not decent, but at least he's not unplayable. Homework: get another assist before the end of the season.
A.J. Price (-.009) D+
An end of the bench guy who played like one. Homework: give your landlord 30 days' notice.
What say you?