Okay, so I reviewed on December where the Minnesota Timberwolves stood after one month into the season. Sitting at 4-13, they didn't look so bad, but I had mentioned the fact that they were giving up late leads, and lo and behold even that has not changed.
Last month in a poll I asked you all how you though the Timberwolves would finish this season. 164 votes later, nearly 50 percent of voters decided the team would win between 25 and 35 games this season. Interestingly enough, only three percent thought the club would do worse than its 15-win season a year ago. Less than a percent thought that Minnesota's team would win more than 45 of its 82 possible.
At the moment (Jan. 2nd at 2:00 A.M.) the 'Wolves sit at nine wins and 25 losses. They have won three of four over the Cavaliers, Hornets and Nets. This is officially the best four-game stretch of the season, and it may be extended only if the 'Wolves can beat the Celtics in Boston on Monday.
Now for the players. Kevin Love is hands down the MVP of the crew right now, putting up an average of 20.8 points, 17th in the league, and 15.5 boards, still tops in the NBA. He is trying to become the first player in 28 years (Moses Malone) to average 20 and 15 a contest. The only player to start every game for the 'Wolves, Love is bringing leadership at 22 and energy that this club needs in order to become electric. He will be an All-Star come February, and if he is somehow not, expect an angry note from me to David Stern expressing my anger.
Who needs to step up in January for the Timberwolves?
Michael Beasley is the team's leading scorer at 22.2 per and is quickly becoming the guy who you want the ball in the hands of when pressure is on.
Martell Webster has been solid in his nine games back from an injury that sidelined him and Jonny Flynn for the first 25 games of the season. Martell is averaging 14 a game while shooting nearly 49 percent from the floor.
Luke Ridnour leads the bunch in assists per game with 5.4.
Darko Milicic is averaging nearly 2.5 blocks a game and shows no signs of slowing down.
It is all business in the locker room, and during halftime of Saturday's victory Kurt Rambis went off on his club for not playing defense. Maybe it was Kim Kardashian in the crowd; maybe it was the fact that Kevin Love was being outplayed by Kardashian's boyfriend, New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries, a native of Hopkins, Minnesota.
"If I had $100 for every four-letter word he said, I'd be a rich man," Love said of the halftime speech.
The Wolves followed up Rambis' pep talk by holding to the Nets to a paltry nine points in the third quarter before ultimately winning the game by 15.
It has been a grim but uplifting month for the team. They continue to show their talents even though the season is nearly in despair, and hope is being displayed on the court.
Grading the 'Wolves Through Jan. 1st
Record (9-25): C
The record has changed to (including a New Year's Day victory over the Nets) to 9-25. This means that the Timberwolves are on pace for 23 wins, an eight-game improvement over the 2009-10 season. The grade on this probably should be lower, but granted the expectations for this club were not all that high, this is fitting.
Night after night the 'Wolves put up points, averaging 103 a contest, good for eighth in the league. It is hard to argue with how good of a scoring team they have become, especially at home where they are 7-8, much better than the 2-17 they sport on the road.
The only thing saving "Snowta" from receiving a failing grade in this class are the hands of Darko Milicic and Kevin Love. Darko uses his paws for blocking; Love's are made for rebounding.
Overall: C (Last: C-)