There were some fairly interesting things that came out of the last two games.
More below the fold.
Let's start with the Atlanta tilt.
|Advanced Box Score Statistics|
The league average TS% is 52.4%. In the last 2 games the Wolves have had a grand total of 2 players with a TS% above the league average: Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Luke Ridnour's game against Chicago was the last time a non-Love/Rubio starter made it over the league average with more than 10mpg. Luke was also the only starter above league average against Toronto. You have to go all the way back to the Wizards game to find a non Love/Ridnour/Rubio starter who has had a TS% over the league average (Wayne Ellington).
Poor shooting is something of an early season trend in the NBA. Last year's average TS% was 54.2%. That's just over a 3% difference and it is noticeable from beyond the arc (34.3 vs. 35.9) and at the line (74.4 76.3).
Throw in 2 straight games with no local TV coverage and not only is the NBA delivering a rather shitty product, but they are still essentially locking you out from a decent chunk of the schedule.
OK, venting over. On the somewhat bright side of things, the Wolves as a team were essentially at the league average at the start of the Hawks game. Luke, Anthony Randolph, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and Anthony Tolliver are the only players on the team above the league average TS%. While the team has moved Rubio into the starting lineup, it is still spotting opponents large chunks of below average shooting production at two positions, with Darko being roughly 18% below league average and Wes being about 31% below average.
Wes Johnson currently sports a .382 TS%. Jonny Flynn is currently at .383. Johnson carries the worst TS% for a starting shooting guard in the entire league, and he is 6th worst overall, behind Avery Bradley, Lance Stephenson, Matt Carroll, Marques Daniels, and Larry Hughes.
|Advanced Box Score Statistics|
The number that really jumped out here is the ortg/drtg differences between Rubio, Love, and, say, Ridnour. How on earth can they have such a huge differential with only a few more minutes? To the gameflow! There's a +3 run at the start of the 2nd, and a total of +2 at the end of the 1st. That's about 6 minutes with +5. In a single game or a small sample, that doesn't seem like much, but these last 2 games have been fairly striking examples of just how much of a load Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are carrying, both in terms of minutes and production. With Luke playing well, the team is essentially relying on monster production from 1 guy, awesome production from another, and just above average from one more.
That's it. (AR could earn a spot here if he was a bit more consistent.)
Rebounds, assists, steals, TS%, free throws...while each game will come with a slightly different flavor, the long term trend of this team continues to point in the same direction: They've surrounded Love with 1 other guy. They have a few other players who can play close to average (with Luke becoming fairly consistent at the 2 spot/backup point).
This team still has a positive ortg/drtg ratio. They have a...wait for it...top 10 defensive rating (9th). They have a positive SRS! I don't have month-to-month data going back to 04/05, but that was the last time a Wolves team had a positive SRS. They're close, they're competitive, they're doing it with 3 guys (1 monster, 1 awesome, 1 at or slightly above average) and a good coach. The roster is still imbalanced. They need help to push it over the top.
Here's to some irrational hope for Martell and Malcolm Lee, because I don't think the help is coming from anywhere else.