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The Canis Predictions Review

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How do our season predictions back in October look now?

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Many of the writers here contributed to The Second Annual Definitely Correct Canis Hoopus Opening Night Predictions back in October. Now it’s time to review those predictions, see what we got right, what we completely whiffed on, and hold ourselves accountable.

This should be an interesting ride.

The Wolves will win their opener in San Antonio.

Narrator: They did not.

“Yeah, we got some stops, but we’ve got to rely on defense a lot more,” Jimmy Butler said after the 107-99 loss. He would go on to say some version of this many more times throughout the season.

0-for-1

They will finish first in Free Throw Rate.

An ambitious prediction, no doubt. The Wolves ended up 5th at .280. A season ago they were 9th at .287.

Top 5 FTR this year:

  1. Hornets: .312
  2. Clippers: .299
  3. Rockets: .298
  4. Bucks: .281
  5. Wolves: .280

0-for-2

The Wolves will finish in the top half of the league defensively as opposed to 27th last season.

Well, would you look at that. They finished 27th again. 111.1 points allowed per 100 possessions, per basketball reference. Last season’s defensive rating was 112.

Removing Jamal Crawford from the equation obviously would have helped boost the DRTG, but the lack of real discernible team-wide defensive improvement is still one of the most frustrating aspects of this past season.

This tweet by PDW is hard to stomach.

Thibodeau was given $40 million to get the Wolves to play defense, regardless, and it’s easy to blame one guy (Jamal) but that doesn’t seem completely fair either. Thibs signed Jamal. Thibs played Jamal all those minutes. Thibs didn’t build lineups around Jamal that could make up for Jamal’s inability to guard anyone.

In any case, fans are still scratching their heads, asking “where’s the defense?” Maybe next season?

0-for-3

Towns will lead the team in 3PA.

Another miss.

Here’s how the top five shook out, along with their percentage:

  1. Andrew Wiggins, 338 three-point attempts, 33.1%
  2. Jamal Crawford, 314, 33.1%
  3. Karl-Anthony Towns, 285, 42.1%
  4. Jeff Teague, 228, 36.8%
  5. Jimmy Butler took 200 (35%) and Nemanja Bjelica shot 183 (41.5%)

I’m sure you can see the issue here.

0-for-4

KAT will make the most threes on the team.

He did. KAT’s 120 threes beat out Wiggins (112) and Crawford (104) for the most treys.

There’s really no way to get around the fact that Thibs and Layden need to prioritize adding legitimate threats from deep this offseason, and the offense needs to adjust to the times. They finished 30th, also known as dead last, in both makes (658) and attempts (1845) despite being 19th in percentage (35.7%). This comes a year after finishing last in makes and attempts from deep.

You think it stops there? Wishful thinking. They were 29th/29th the year before under Sam Mitchell. We’re not finished. Nope. Under Flip Saunders in 2014-15 the Wolves were—yep, you guessed it—dead last in both 3P and 3PA. Rick Adelman had the team at 17th/16th in 2013-14. That was cool. Kevin Love was utilized masterfully.

THIS MUST CHANGE. PLEASE. ADAPT. SHOOT WAY MORE THREES. ACQUIRE THE RIGHT PERSONNEL TO ACHIEVE THIS.

1-for-5

Cole Aldrich will not finish the regular season on the Wolves roster.

Aldrich finished the season exactly where he started it, at the end of the bench with a mouthguard on his ear, cheering along his teammates and talking a little trash to the opposition. Your jumper is broke, Kris Dunn! Cole won’t be around much longer and signing him two summers ago was ridiculous in the first place if the plan was to...was there even a plan with him?

His 2018-19 contract is only partially guaranteed for $2,056,021 and he is set to be waived this offseason (must happen before 6/20/18) to free up a little extra space for Thibsden to work with.

1-for-6

The Wolves trade Aldrich for someone who can play on the wing at some point this season.

That would have been helpful, though we likely need to change our expectations about how much Thibodeau will change things on the fly. Another swing and a miss.

1-for-7

Jimmy G Buckets will average greater than 20p/6r/5a for the second consecutive season.

Close, but no cigar for Sir Buckets.

Final per game totals: 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists.

1-for-8

Butler will also average two or more steals for the first time in his career. The last four seasons he has averaged 1.9, 1.8, 1.6, and 1.9.

Butler finally did it, averaging 2.0 steals per game as one of the best swipe artists in the league.

2-for-9

Nemanja Bjelica will start 15 or more games at PF this season.

Belly didn’t start at power forward but he did start 21 games in place of Jimmy Butler this season and the team went 10-11 in those contests. Thibs played a big front court with him, Taj Gibson, and Towns when Butler couldn’t go.

Maybe we should be more vague next time? I can’t call this correct since it was likely made under the assumption that Belly would log starts over Gibson.

2-for-10

Jamal Crawford will average four assists per game as the primary playmaker on the second unit.

Crawford was the primary shot taker on the second unit at 9.3 chucks per game. Playmaker? Not so much. His 2.3 assists mean...

2-for-11

Andrew Wiggins will have the highest scoring game of the season of any Wolf.

That honor goes to the BIG KAT. His 56 points in a win over the Hawks set a franchise-record. Final line in 41 minutes: 56 points on 19-32 shooting (6-8, 12-15), 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block.

2-for-12

Jeff Teague leads the team in three-point attempts and makes.

Not even close, as we discussed above. Teague was 4th in both attempts and makes.

2-for-13

Butler, Towns, and Wiggins all finish top 10 in minutes played.

Wiggins and Towns both finished top 10. Butler only played 59 games, which kept him his total minutes down, though he still ended up tying the Greek Freak in minutes per game at 36.7 (only behind LeBron).

2-for-14

They will have two All-Stars with Butler and Towns.

Correct! The franchise had two All-Stars for the first time since 2004 (Sam Cassell and Kevin Garnett).

3-for-15

At the end of the year, Nemanja Bjelica is closing out crunch-time games with Teague, Wiggins, Butler, and Towns.

Yeah, so, this didn’t happen. Many of us underestimated how much Gibson was going to play in his first season back with Thibs.

3-for-16

Top five in total rebounding rate.

How does 17th sound? They finished with a rebounding percentage of 50.1.

4th in offensive rebounding percentage (per NBA.com) at 24.4% but 24th in defensive rebounding at 76.4%.

3-for-17

Bottom five in three-pointers taken and made.

Death, taxes, and ... duh.

4-for-18

Gorgui Dieng will see the biggest reduction in minutes of any holdover on the team.

We hit on this one.

Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad, before he was waived, were the two holdovers that saw the largest reduction in playing time. G went from starting every game last season, averaging 32.4 minutes in the process, to starting zero games and getting his minutes cut in half. 2,653 total minutes in 2016-17 down to 1,333 in 2017-18. Muhammad went from 19.4 mpg to 9.4 mpg before asking out of Minnesota. The team obliged, granting his wish to play elsewhere (eventually the Bucks) on March 1.

5-for-19

Tyus Jones will see the biggest increase in minutes.

Oh, how sad it is to read this prediction. Derrick Rose didn’t really cut into Jones’ minutes all that much, so that would be misplaced anger to cite his signing as a big factor here.

The real issue is that Thibs didn’t have any interest in playing two guards together until Rose joined the club and that reluctance limited Jones’ early season opportunities to log more minutes with different lineups. He deserved more run, too. Look no further than how the lineup performed with him starting in place of Teague when he sat out a handful of games throughout the season battling Achilles soreness and a knee injury.

Again, we also underestimated Thibodeau’s plans for Gibson before the season started. He basically ran Mr. Clean into the ground over the course of 82 games and 2,727 minutes—only behind Wiggins, 2,979, and Towns, 2918—and thus, Taj had the biggest increase from last season.

Tyus: 12.9 minutes to 17.9 = +5.0 mpg
Taj: 25.5 to 33.2 = +7.7 mpg

5-for-20

The team will have their first All-Star since Kevin Love.

We’ve been over this one. I can’t think of an easier prediction that we made. Thankfully we lobbed some easy ones into this. We needed to get our True Prediction Percentage up from last season.

6-for-21

Final record: 47-35, 6th seed.

RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

I feel like we should get bonus points.

7-for-22

Jeff Teague will shoot greater than 37 percent from three, while setting a new career-high for threes per game, beating the 1.4 mark he posted in 2015-16.

Nope. Jeff didn’t do either of these things, much to the ire of fans. Chill with the pump-fakes, JFT. Let it rip! The amount of threes that Teague passed up this season is hard to comprehend. My guess is somewhere around 150? Look, I love seeing a deadly floater more than most, but it’s 2018. At some point your PG needs to be cool with launching threes, whether it’s a perfect look or tightly contested. He was too passive in this regard. He made 1.2 threes per game at a 36.8% clip.

7-for-23

Taj Gibson will hit corner threes.

This was downright foolish. Taj is going to work the corner three into his game, they said. Taj has been working on extending his range all offseason, they said. He has great mechanics and will be able to do it, they said.

How in the hell did I buy that garbage?

Gibson finished 7-35 from deep. I don’t feel like looking it up but my guess is most of them were from one of the corners. One or two of his makes probably came from the slots.

7-for-24

Thibs will get fined for swearing or freaking out during a game in some capacity at least once. (The mics are way tooooooo hot.)

Internal Canis Hoopus records indicate Tom Thibodeau was NOT fined this season for his constantly over the top in-game demeanor that often involves screaming [redacted] at the top of his lungs.

7-for-25

KAT will once again lead the team in dunks. Wiggins will finish second, Butler third, and Muhammad fourth.

This was another uncontested transition lay-up of a prediction.

Final dunk totals:

  1. Towns, 96
  2. Gibson, 89
  3. Wiggins, 58 (disturbing imho ... play with some pace and this would be > 100.)
  4. Butler, 41
  5. Dieng, 28
  6. The guy that *allegedly gave up dunking, 9
  7. Muhammad, 9

Sad fact: Tyus, 2, had more dunks than Cole, 1.

*Teague

8-for-26

Towns will also lead the league in double doubles after falling just short a season ago.

Towns led the NBA in double doubles with 68. Drummond came in second with 62.

Yeah, sure, a lot of people don’t care about double doubles but since the Wolves always have guys that are awesome at collecting them, I have decided to embrace them and love them and hold all 68 of these close to my heart.

Everyone else is jealous.

9-for-27

Wiggins will post career-highs in PER, TS%, WS/48.

This has to be the most disappointing prediction of this entire column. Make sure you are in safe place before reading this.

...

I’ll give you a few more seconds to brace yourself.

...

Andrew posted career lows in PER, TS%, and WS/48 (tied).

9-for-28

Aaron Brooks won’t be able to unseat Tyus Jones and gain the backup point guard role.

And to think some voiced concern over this. Brooks only played 189 minutes.

10-for-29

Tyus Jones, also known as Apple Valley’s Finest, will take another step forward in year three.

He certainly did. I often wonder why people want to see him in a bigger role. What do they see in this smart, young, excellent point guard prospect that keeps improving each season?

A real head-scratcher that Tyus Jones is.

11-for-30

Marcus Georges-Hunt will continue to be a Canis favorite.

I want to say the fine people making up this community still believe in Marcus Big Game-Hunting (h/t our long-time friend Poop Hat.) and most folks wanted to see him get a bigger opportunity this season. I’m on the fence with this one. Meh. It’s probably a win. MGH shows up in the comments often enough.

12-for-31

Dieng will lead the team in bank shots and we will argue that he should be looked as a sixth man of the year candidate.

WHOA. This one stings badly. Like, real bad. Remember the days of Iron G? We barely got to see Bankmaster G-Flex. I used to savor every one of those beautiful, soft shots off the glass. I don’t even want to look up how few Dieng made this season. What a disappointing misusage of him.

12-for-32

More people than ever before will put respect on KAT’s name.

I suppose, technically, given his All-Star game debut, his overall numbers, the 56-point Atlanta thrashing, ending the playoff drought in Minnesota, etc. he should have more respect on his name. But the way the Rockets took Towns out of his element in the first round of the playoffs, just as he was tasting the postseason for the first time, didn’t help this prediction.

I can’t say for sure that KAT has more respect on his name today compared to 7 months ago. Maybe a tad more? Give us the benefit of the doubt. We need another make.

13-for-33

Final prediction shooting percentage: 39.4%

That’s almost as good as (40.4%) NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony!