GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Monday, October 03, 2005

Good News For Timberwolves Fans!

Well, I've been griping about the Wolves situation for a while now. I've been essentially calling this a rebuilding season and had almost essentially given up on the Wolves before they even started.

I've been starting to crunch some numbers here in my quest for the future evaluation of teams and I've run across some rather interesting numbers. I'm trying to evaluate the addition and subtraction of team points per game by player for players that have changed teams, left the NBA, or players who are likely to see many more or many fewer minutes than they had last year. I won't go to much into my methodology, but it's largely based on the numbers at

Here are my results for the Wolves:

Eddie Griffin Minnesota 0.54 0.02 5.0
Ervin Johnson Minnesota 1.90 -0.47 -9.8
Fred Hoiberg Minnesota -2.89 -0.32 -16.7
Latrell Sprewell Minnesota 3.72 0.12 -30.6
Lionel Chalmers Minnesota 2.08 1.43 15.0
Marko Jaric Minnesota 2.58 -0.57 33.1
Rookies Minnesota -2.00 -1.00 22.8
Sam Cassell Minnesota -0.69 0.69 -25.8
Tskitishvili Minnesota -0.49 -0.36 7.0

This amounts to a net 4.8 points more per game than last season and 0.5 ppg less on defense.

The things you might notice are that Eddie Griffin is included in the list. I figured he'll play a large part in replacing Ervin. The Wolves will lack some depth in the front court as well, and I'm hoping at least that he'll take that role over Kandi.

Next, you'll notice that there is a player called "Rookies". There were quite a few minutes that needed to be filled to make up the void left by Sprewell et al. I figure most of this time will go to rookies and others (Ndudi?) who haven't seen much PT in the past. I just had to guess how much it was worth, so I said -2 on offense and -1 on defense.

If these numbers are correct (and I have the utmost confidence that they aren't) the Wolves will score around 101.5 ppg next year while allowing 95 ppg. If they actually did this, they would probably win around 54 games next season!

But even though the numbers are slightly off, I have some faith that they're not completely meaningless either. I'll try to give some logical interpretation to what the numbers are saying.

Basically, Sprewell and Johnson were terrible offensively last year. Sprewell in particular was extraordinarily bad. With him on the court, the Wolves averaged 6.5 points less per 100 possessions. On defense, he was slightly above average, but not much. We only allowed 0.2 points/100 fewer with him on the court. When I discovered the number, I was a bit surprised but not entirely. It basically confirms what I had suspected all along--that he was sabotaging the team (whether he did it intentionally or not is unclear) when he was on the court.

On the flip side of the coin, we've added a solid PG to our team in Marko Jaric. As you can see, he was an asset both offensively and defensively to the Clippers last season, and I see no reason he won't feel right at home here in Minnesota. Chalmers was a solid offensive player last season, but his defense was pretty bad. I haven't gotten a chance to see him play very much, so it's hard for me to say how bad this problem will be and if it's correctable or not.

Those are sort of the main points in all this. Zoidberg will be missed. Despite his limited minutes, you can really see what an asset he was to the team last year. Tskitishvili will be a below average player, but he won't be as bad as Johnson and he's still young so we might hold out some hope that he'll still turn into something.