After just 15 NBA wins last season, the Timberwolves’ matched their all time low. Fans in the Target Center are definitely hoping for something different this time around. Aside from a couple of strange press releases and some interesting outbursts by the players, things are going fairly well so far—although Darko Milicic hasn’t won the tip-off for the Wolves just yet.
So when I picked up my Yahoo! Sports NBA 2010-2011 preview for $8, I was feeling cautiously optimistic to read what they had to say about my team. I’ve written a satirical article about how well and how badly things can go for the Timberwolves—you can read it here—but Yahoo! have estimated the Timberwolves will do worse than my second worst option, and the worst option was that they would lose all their games!
The Timberwolves are projected to finish in fifth place in the North West—which is fair enough—but they are projected to win just 13 games, an all time low for the franchise. The only team in the league projected to do worse are the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are without their regal go-to guy, LeBron James.
New Jersey, who finished with 12 wins and the worst record last season, have added Derrick Favors with the third pick, and are projected to win a comparatively massive 27 games. So what, in Yahoo!’s opinion, has gone wrong for the Wolves.
The Timberwolves feature can be split up into the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Starting with the good, the one player who Yahoo! do rate highly is Kevin Love. Nephew of Beach Boy Mike Love, Yahoo! commend the way he gets around the court, picking up high numbers of rebounds. He even gets onto the All-Underrated team, where his numbers are “to be proud of…and at age 22, it only gets better”.
He is also described as an “All-Star waiting to happen”. Alongside Love on the team is Andrew Bogut, Kevin Durant, Manu Ginobli and Chris Paul…people are not watching enough basketball if they find any of these guys underrated. In the power forward position, where they talk again about Love and Beasley, the position is given a B+, and considered comfortably their strongest position on the team.
Again, focusing on the grading, the point guard position, occupied by Jonny Flynn and Luke Ridnour is given a C, and this is without taking Ricky Rubio into account. The young Spaniard should hopefully raise their grade when he arrives.
Next, looking at the bad, and for that you might as well go to Borders and read the whole article. Not only are they predicted 13 wins, the team are mocked throughout. The opening line reads: “If anyone reading this has any idea what Minnesota general manager David Kahn is doing with his Timberwolves, please consult the nearest Wolves fan you can find. Because they’re in dire need of some answers.”
Later it says: “His moves—and his endless on-record justification for his moves—defy logic… his work in the summer of 2010 especially was downright embarrassing”. Yahoo! are welcome to their opinion, but Bleacher Report slides like this one show that maybe Yahoo! could have done slightly more research.
Looking at the grades again, the shooting guard and small forward positions are both given a D, and the center position is given a C-. These are positions occupied by two former second picks, and this year’s fourth pick.
And finally, the ugly. Yahoo! could have found a far better image of Kevin Love than the one they have used, his facial contortions make him look likes he’s on a painful roller coaster, not playing basketball. Yahoo! are also not sure about new fourth pick draft signing Wesley Johnson, who they took over DeMarcus Cousins.
In one section he is described as a “superlative two-way talent at Syracuse and should be one of the season’s top rookies…he’s got skills that aren’t duplicated elsewhere on the roster”. And in another, Kahn’s selection of Johnson was “met by derision from most corners”.
These in-house disagreements are perhaps a metaphor for the contrasting opinions that people have when trying to assess how they think the Timberwolves’ season will pan out this year?