clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Known Unknowns, The Players

New, comments

One of the reasons why it's so tough to get a handle on this club is because there are just so many unknowns.  Let's start walking things away from the unknown towards the known.  The first step in this process is to figure out what we know we don't know about the squad and file our findings away under "Questions To Be Answered At A Later Date".  

Do personnel upgrades equal increased production?

It's not exactly a big leap to say that this year's roster has a greater collection of talent compared to last year's squad. That being said, the upgrades themselves exist in the real world and are by no means guaranteed or even probable.  

1- Luke Ridnour's 2009/10 campaign is something of an outlier.  

Season Age Tm Lg G MP PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS WS/48
2003-04 22 SEA NBA 69 1114 13.1 .496 .453 3.7 7.7 5.7 23.9 2.5 0.5 17.2 19.3 101 109 0.9 0.2 1.2 0.051
2004-05 23 SEA NBA 82 2571 14.6 .504 .450 2.6 7.1 4.9 30.6 2.0 0.7 15.4 17.4 112 111 4.3 1.0 5.4 0.100
2005-06 24 SEA NBA 79 2625 16.0 .506 .445 2.1 8.8 5.4 32.3 2.5 0.6 15.3 18.1 112 115 4.4 0.0 4.4 0.081
2006-07 25 SEA NBA 71 2091 13.7 .509 .468 1.6 7.9 4.7 28.2 2.1 0.7 16.9 20.0 103 112 1.4 0.8 2.3 0.052
2007-08 26 SEA NBA 61 1223 11.3 .482 .428 1.2 7.2 4.2 29.5 1.5 0.8 16.4 17.3 101 112 0.3 0.6 0.9 0.035
2008-09 27 MIL NBA 72 2033 12.9 .500 .447 1.8 11.3 6.3 28.2 2.3 0.7 15.7 18.0 105 108 1.2 2.2 3.4 0.081
2009-10 28 MIL NBA 82 1759 17.7 .570 .528 1.5 8.1 4.6 31.9 1.6 0.3 12.4 22.0 116 106 4.0 2.2 6.2 0.168
Career NBA 516 13416 14.5 .512 .463 2.1 8.4 5.1 29.7 2.1 0.6 15.5 18.8 108 111 16.5 7.1 23.7 0.085

Career highs in PER, TS, Ortg, and WS/48.  If he can reproduce his 09/10 numbers in an offense with boatloads of new players, awesome.  However, are the Wolves more likely to get Ridnour's career averages or his high-end performance of last season?  If they are looking at his career averages, will his minutes really be that much of an upgrade over what, say, Jonny Flynn produced in 09/10?  Can Ridnour produce at last year's level? This is our first known unknown. 

2- Can Mike Beasley produce at the 3? 

B-Easy didn't exactly get a lot of run at the small forward down on South Beach, but the small sample size returns are not all that encouraging:

Net 48-Minute Production by Position

Position
FGA
eFG%
FTA
iFG
Reb
Ast
T/O
Blk
PF
Pts
PER*
PG
SG
SF
-82.3  -0.750  +0.0  +0% +0.0  +0.0  +0.0  +0.0  +0.0  -123.4  -50.0  
PF
+6.1  -0.010  -1.1  -11% -1.5  -0.6  -0.8  -0.5  +0.7  +5.0  -0.4  
C
+13.0  -0.422  +5.9  -49% +0.0  +1.2  +2.4  -1.2  -3.5  +8.2  +0.6  

Player Floor Time Stats by Position

Position
Min
Net Pts
Off
Def
Net48
W
L
Win%
PG
SG
SF
  0% -6   0.0   205.7 -205.7 0 1
0%
PF
  49% +21   97.1   96.5 0.5 36 40
47%
C
  1% -10   88.3   98.9 -10.6 5 9
35%

(via 82Games)

09/10:

Net 48-Minute Production by Position

Position
FGA
eFG%
FTA
iFG
Reb
Ast
T/O
Blk
PF
Pts
PER*
PG
SG
SF
3.6  -.101  -.9  4% 2.4  .6  -.9  .0  .7  -1.6  -3.9  
PF
5.4  -.003  .2  -13% -.4  -1.0  .0  -.1  -.9  5.6  1.6  
C
.0  .000  .0  0% .0  .0  .0  .0  .0  .0  .0  

Player Floor Time Stats by Position

Position
Min
Net Pts
Off
Def
Net48
W
L
Win%
PG
SG
SF
  8% -99  80.4  95.0 -14.6 11 25
30%
PF
  50% +108  98.1  95.5 2.6 40 36
52%
C
  0% 0  .0  .0 .0
0%

He was virtually non-existent at the small forward position in his first season.  Only 8% of his 09/10 minutes were at the 3 during his final season in a Heat uniform. 

Again, the point here isn't that a positive can't happen; rather, that there isn't a whole lot in this particular player's record to suggest that it is possible.  Can Mike Beasley produce at a winning level while playing significant minutes at the small forward?  Building on this question, can the team lean on him as the only guy who can create his own shot? This is our second known unknown.  

3- Can Martell Webster and Wes Johnson play the 2 and create off the dribble?  

I know a lot is made of the quasi-Triangle that the team seems to be tinkering with.  Whatever the Wolves end up calling their offense, one of the most interesting things we don't seem to know about this year's action is what player (or players) will step up to the plate when the game slows down and/or in the 1/2 court setting.  Who can create their own shot on the wing?  Who can make the most out of a broken play?  Who can take some of the ball handling pressure off of the point?  Does Webster have a history at the 2?

09/10:

Player Floor Time Stats by Position

Position
Min
Net Pts
Off
Def
Net48
W
L
Win%
PG
SG
  1% +1  93.6  91.6 1.9 6 7
46%
SF
  46% +51  94.7  93.4 1.4 42 39
51%
PF
  2% +57  126.8  103.4 23.5 16 8
66%
C

07/08:

Player Floor Time Stats by Position

Position
Min
Net Pts
Off
Def
Net48
W
L
Win%
PG
SG
  4% +11   98.8   95.7 3.1 10 8
55%
SF
  48% -101   93.2   95.7 -2.5 34 38
47%
PF
  0% +3   118.3   108.9 9.5 4 3
57%
C

Hooray small sample size theater! Again, it's not that Martell Webster can't play at the 2; it's simply that we don't know if he has the skills to do so and it should not be assumed that he is an upgrade over, say, Wayne Ellington.  He certainly looks the part, but his ability to play the two (along with his wing partner Wes Johnson, who doesn't have a pro record at all) is our third known unknown.  

4- How will Nikola Pekovic adjust to the NBA

I don't have any stats to back this one up, but the transition to the NBA seems to be a tricky thing for many European players.  I'm fairly certain that Pekovic is a more talented baller than Ryan Hollins, Brian Cardinal, or whoever else the team ran out as a backup 4/5, but will he be able to produce at an equivalent level right away in the NBA?  Will he be able to produce outside of the pick and roll?  Will he have issues with fouling?   Pek's production is known unkown #4.  

Will the known unknowns work out in favor of Our Beloved Puppies?  We'll have to wait and see.  In terms of past performance for all of these questions, there simply isn't a whole lot of info to suggest an outcome one way or another.