Happy New Year everybody.
Tonight, the Minnesota Sisypheans begin rolling the rock back up the hill, this time against the New Orleans Pelicans. It will be the first look they get against the Pels and their budding superstar Anthony Davis.
At 20 years old, he is doing a shocking number of things well--shooting efficiently, rebounding at both ends, leading the league in block percentage, all while not turning the ball over. It's a historical season so far for a player of his age.
Despite Davis' brilliance in blocking shots, however, the Pelicans remain one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. Opponents find far too much space against them to get off good looks, which go in a high percentage of the time; meanwhile they struggle to contest without fouling. The Wolves should be able to take advantage of their ability to get to the free throw line tonight.
Offensively, the Pelicans have been excellent, as they generate more opportunities then their opponents by not turning the ball over and are among the league leaders in offensive rebounding, thanks to Davis and their terrific rebounding small forward Al Farouq Aminu. It will be incumbent on the Wolves to control their defensive glass.
The Pelicans have made large investments in the backcourt troika of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans, and thus far it is not paying dividends, as all three of those players--earning all-star level salaries, are playing merely average basketball. They use up a huge number of possessions with limited efficiency while contributing to the terrible play on the defensive end, a combination that isn't going to get the Pelicans anywhere in the Western Conference.
Much like the Timberwolves, a dominant power forward is keeping them around .500, but they are capped out and with limited assets for the foreseeable future, without the necessary quality to move into the real upper echelon of the league. That's a place we are all too familiar with.
The Wolves, meanwhile, seemed to have the rock moving uphill until Monday evening when it tumbled back down again against the Mavericks. Now they will look to get it moving in the right direction again, but in truth, it's looking less and less likely that they ever get it to the top of the mountain and keep it there, whatever that means.
We root for Sisyphus.