Yes I know the Timberwolves lost last night, their thirteenth consecutive game overall, and a game where they led into the forth quarter.
But for the first time since their November 4th game against the Boston Celtics, the fifth game of the season mind you, the 1-13 Timberwolves actually looked like they cared, and thus were primed to actually win a game for once.
For that I am proud. For that I can appreciate effort when I see it.
Did they seal the deal? No, they ultimately lost the game 91-87 to the lowly Clippers whom they are already 0-2 against. However, they did prove to me for the first time in those three weeks that they are capable of resembling an NBA team, at times which I questioned as recently as last week.
I want effort. I appreciate good effort even if it ends in a losing note. Not coincidental, Jonny Flynn, had his statistical fourth best game as a pro this season with 17 points.
Yes 10 of these came in the first quarter, and yes 10 of these were the team's first 24 points overall as the Wolves actually led 29-28 on the road in Los Angeles, but for the first time since the November 11th loss to Portland where Flynn scored 15 points and had six assists, he looked like a capable player again.
Sure he scored 20 points two nights prior against at Golden State Warriors in Oakland but not only did that team blow the Wolves out of the water by 41 points making Flynn's "efforts" irrelevant, but Flynn also committed a career-high six turnovers.
This dubious feat would only last a few nights later when on November 14, this young statistic was matched against Memphis in what had to be seen then as a very winnable game, especially when you consider the Allen Iverson turmoil surrounding the team and the fact the Wolves only lost this game by 10 in the battle of putrid teams.
As you can tell, as Flynn goes, so go the Timberwolves, and until Kevin Love comes back, there won't be, and there isn't a whole lot more to look forward to, and he is our face of the franchise, our future, Rubio, notwithstanding.
This is why, if you can't tell, I am hyping up Flynn and hoping for his continued maturity, experience and success. Even the lamest fan has to know what he and his fellow rookies are doing can't be easy.
More Brandon Jennings thoughts
For those of you still pining over the non-drafting of eventual rookie of the year, Brandon Jennings to which I alluded to in my previous article on the Wolves which I have linked above, he is coming off his worst statistical night against the Spurs where he only scored 12 points to go with seven assists.
What's more, finally pitted against an elite team, he shot an Allen Iverson-like 6-21 from the field and had five turnovers with a -8 rating meaning, like hockey, when he was on the court, the Bucks, who lost, were actually outscored by eight points. He's gonna have nights like this. Like O.J. Mayo, who many Wolves fans wanted but I never did cause he's poison, he too is human and will have human nights.
Still, Wolves fans know, and have seen Jennings ability to put up Iverson like scoring nights with 55 against those same pesky Warriors whom they beat. Sure he's averaging 25 ppg now and I predict will finish somewhere around there in route to Rookie of the Year, but he'll also have Mayo shooting nights like last night which ought to make you feel better too.
I haven't heard or read a whole lot of anti-Flynn talk even though there are some Jennings vs. Flynn comparisons , but consider the alternative. It could be worse. In addition to no-show Rubio, this draft could have been a total waste had we drafted eventual bust DeMar Johnson, uh, I mean DeMar DeRozen (5.5 PPG) out of Southern Cal (you can see how I made the error as Johnson was an ineffective 2000 lottery bust).
Instead he's the Raptors problem on a team suddenly struggling despite my predicted success for them. At least we have Flynn, and soon Love, to watch all season-if he doesn't pull a Gilbert Arenas and sit out all year due to the team being so horrible and saving his health. What good did that do them? The Wizards not only got their predicted fifth slot but by not moving up where they wanted to get a real elite player in a perceived weak draft, they ultimately traded the pick to us and the rest is history.
In Flynn we can instantly gravitate to the stat sheet as I do after every game, and thus loss, to at least see how this lone ray of light did each night. I suggest you do the same. In a draft that we are finding out now was surprisingly strong on the point guard side, at least we got two of them, one of which can start now and develop now and another we can stash away and hope he comes by the time we need him when we are better.
The real disappointment and the source of fan frustration should be at first round bust (so far) Wayne Ellington who I held in high esteem. When you consider his lack of playing time and thus meager stats, his slow start is probably justified however.
Sure, its easy to be a Vikings fan now with them 9-1 and all and likely headed for a 15-1 season only to lose home-field thanks to the 16-0 Saints, but the real fans are the ones still following the rebuilding Minnesota Wild and Timberwolves.
Despite all the hard times, unlike the past, I still have yet to hear "The Timberwolves? Why do you still care?" or "Why are you still watching/following them?" and at least that is a good sign.