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Tracking the T’Wolves: They’re not who we thought they were!
This week’s Tumblewolves post is an email exchange between Hornets247′s Mason Ginsberg and Chris Trew. Chris has a little (too much) fun with ESPN’s NBA trade machine, and Mason tries to explain to him as politely as possible why he may be losing his mind.
Chris Trew: (Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 2:36 PM) Mason, I’m trying so hard to make the Tumblewolves worse by wishing bad luck upon them, practicing voodoo rituals and complaining about them a lot. It’s only halfway working though so I’m taking my talents to the NBA Jam of computer programming, the ESPN NBA Trade Machine. What do you think about this trade? How likely is this to go down? Do you think the Wizards or Bobcats would do it?
Mason Ginsberg: (Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM) Did I miss some league-wide memo telling teams that three clones of Timberwolves President David Kahn have been created, and that said clones will be handling the personnel decisions for the Bobcats, Pistons, and Wizards? This a terrible deal for those teams! Kahn’s never manufactured such a strong deal in his entire career.
CT: (3:45 PM) No need to be sarcastic, Mason. I’m being totally serious. Why wouldn’t the Bobcats do this? I think the Wiz would actually really improve with this trade.
MG: (3:55 PM) Okay, you caught me; obviously, this is a fantastic trade for 75% of the teams involved. However, the only way this trade could possibly happen is if each team’s GM – Rich Cho, Joe Dumars, and Ernie Grunfeld – got together and extracted the already-limited executive talent of David Kahn into a basketball (you know, like in Space Jam), leaving him with the personnel-managing capability of, oh I don’t know, Isiah Thomas. Then, and ONLY then, could this trade go down. If it did, the T-Wolves may as well cease basketball operations for the foreseeable future and just stockpile top-5 draft picks until they can realistically compete again.
CT: (4:09 PM) So you’re telling me there’s a chance.
MG: (4:18 PM) Are you telling me that the Monstars were a real team?
CT: (4:21 PM) Well Space Jam was a movie filmed entirely as a cartoon so there was nothing even remotely real about that. Completely unfair that you bought that up. Joe borrowed my copy last year and he refuses to give it back to me and you know that’s a sore spot for me.
MG: (4:55 PM) Sounds like an issue that you need to take up with Mr. Gerrity, not with me. Anyway, I digress. So what do you want to know, exactly?
CT: (6:17 PM) What is stopping the Tumblewolves from making this trade? Wouldn’t it be fun?
MG: (8:08 PM) Fun? Sure! Especially for that fantastic @Tumblewolves twitter handle. Why does Minnesota oh so politely decline? Well, the death of their franchise, for starters. Listen, I know the T’Wolves aren’t used to being anywhere but the bottom of the conference standings, but they actually don’t look terrible this season. The reason for their success is directly correlated to the four players – Love, Rubio, and to a lesser extent Ridnour and Randolph - who leave the team in your proposed trade, but I’m sure you know this.
CT: (8:35 PM) Okay, fine. I’ll play your game. Even so, do you think it’s even remotely possible that they do this trade? Don’t they realize that it would really help out New Orleans basketball? I’ll buy a vintage Laettner jersey, even.
MG: (8:54 PM) Let me put it this way – if they did, we’d know we’re getting the top 2 picks in the lottery, because it’d be obvious that Stern is running everything. Apart from that… sorry (to you and to all Hornets fans), it’s just not possible. The T’Wolves are (and it really pains me to say this) a decent team this season.
It gets worse: according to John Hollinger’s power rankings - derived mathimatically using (among other things) each team’s strength of schedule and scoring margin – Minnesota is actually BETTER than their 10-11 (UPDATE: 10-12 after last night’s game) record states. Though the T’Wolves would miss the playoffs if the season ended today, his formula gives them a 51.6% chance at making the playoffs (UPDATE: after last night’s loss at home to Indiana, this number has fallen all the way to 37.7%; odds are highly volatile this early in the season). So far this season, they have the 8th highest (now 7th highest) opponents’ winning percentage in the NBA, and have a +1.76 (now +1.23) average point differential despite the 10-11 record, good for 14th (now 16th) in the NBA. I guess my point here is this – instead of rooting for Timberwolves to get us a top-5 pick in the draft, we may want to shift our negative energy towards simply keeping them out of the playoffs. Sorry, fellow Hornets fans… Minnesota is not the team that we wanted it to be.
Tracking the T’Wolves is a weekly column that you can find every Thursday only on Hornets247.com. For past articles, click here.