Bucks Diary

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Wolves Cry: "Win Profiling" the 2007-08 Minnesota Twolves

This is the second stop on my 30 city tour of the NBA, applying the Win Contribution and Half Wins formula to every player and every team in the Association.

Today we evaluate the 22-60 Timberwolves (I temporarily skipped Miami when I noticed they had 22 players on their roster -- I'll come back to them). For frequent readers of Bucks Diary, you will be glad to know I will never, ever explain Win Contribution or Win Score on this blog again. I have now once and for all put up an FAQ page that I will link to every time I use each.

Before I post my Timberwolf results and comments, for those not familiar, here is a lightning quick FAQ on the statistics I use, and what they mean. And for how to read my "Win Profiles" please refer to this link.

Click here for the Win Profile of the 2007-08 Minnesota Timberwolves

Timberwolves of Distinction:

1. Best Overall Win Contribution: Al Jefferson (-0.033)
2. Worst Overall Win Contribution: Sebastian Telfair (-0.285)
3. Best Offensive Win Contribution: Al Jefferson (+0.409)
4. Worst Offensive Win Contribution: Sebastain Telfair (-0.363)
5. Best Defensive Win Contribution: Theo Ratliff (+0.042)
6. Worst Defensive Win Contribution: Al Jefferson (-0.474)


...How bad are the Timberwolves? They don't have a single player who made a positive Overall Win Contribution. I have only done a few teams so far, but one of them was the Bucks and I certainly couldn't say that about them.

...On the other hand, the Timberwolves a couple of functional pieces from the Garnett trade -- Jefferson and Gomes -- if they could just get them to play defense the way they did in Boston. The two were great offensively, but their defense wiped out their offensive contributions. But they can do better. I went back over the pair's Boston numbers and they were both near average. That would be about six or seven wins for the team if they could just coax those numbers back there. Because last year, they were brutal.

...How bad was the Timberwolves defense overall? Two of the three positive defensive win contributors are no longer on the roster (Ratliff, Gerald Green) and the other one I've never heard of (Richards).

... Sebastain Telfair and Rashaad McCants are KILLING the Timberwolves. They are each taking up too many minutes and delivering severely below average offensive and defensive contributions they make. Just getting average players to take their minutes would greatly improve the squad

... One such player is already on the roster. Kirk Snyder should get more run at the 2, less at the 3. His defense at 2 was excellent, and his overall offensive production was above average.

... Jaric may be slow but his better defensive position is the point. That is often the case. Coaches won't play a player at a position if he doesn't think they're quick enough, but often times size and strength can be the equalizers. Athleticism is overrated at every level of basketball. You can defend through strength, balance, and anticipation just as much as you can through quickness and speed.

... If I were the Wolves I would draft for the backcourt. But not Eric Gordon. He will be another McCants. Nor would I draft Bayless. He will be another Telfair. So I guess they hafve to identify someone else.

... Players that are useless: Greg Buckner, Randy Foye, Michael Doleac, Sebastian Telfair, Antoine Walker, Mike Madsen. Is Walker still on the team? He shouldn't be. I already commented on Telfair and McCant. They've had enough time to prove they don't belong. Buckner is a complete waste of time. Stop playing him. And Corey Brewer and Craig Smith are quickly moving toward the same destination as the rest. They are both closer to useless than useful.

... Players that are useful: Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes are nice pieces. I like Kirk Snyder off the bench, or as a defensive specialist at the 2. I like what Jaric brings off the bench as well. Everyone else is merely borderline useful at best or downright harmful at worst.


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