Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
This season was supposed to be different for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Much different. In many ways it has been, which is why the 2013-14 campaign has been so disappointing.
Despite Kevin Love remaining (relatively) healthy and posting video-game stat lines, and despite ranking in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive efficiency, the Timberwolves are one game under .500, motioning toward a 10th straight lottery finish.
That's absurd. And heartbreaking. And annoying.
The Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are the only other three teams registering top-10 efficiency marks on both sides of the floor. Together, they make up three of the Western Conference's four best records.
Minnesota, meanwhile, is 4.5 games back of a playoff spot, lumbering through rumors of Love's inevitable departure, the most recent of which was brought to us by ESPN's Chris Broussard (subscription required), who was told the All-Star power forward is good as gone in 2015.
A bench that ranks 26th in scoring has killed the team. Depth in general is an issue. After Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic (injured) and Love, it's a roster-wide struggle. Ricky Rubio still drops flashy dimes, but he's inconsistent, and his personal scoring acumen is broken.
Extended displays of postseason-worthy basketball have been played, but the Timberwolves are still here, 8-21 against teams above .500, on the outside looking in at everything they wanted this season to represent.