MINNEAPOLIS – I feel like every single statistic the Timberwolves put out early this season should be marked with an asterisk: *Did this while fielding approximately one half of a team and with an ever-decreasing number of actual starters.
Really. It would make it so much more impressive.
Think about it: The Timberwolves’ 5-2 start is their second-best record through seven games in franchise history. They’re second in the league in defensive field goal percentage (.408), second in scoring defense (88.4 points per game) and seventh in blocks (7.0 per game). They’ve given up 619 points so far this season, the third-fewest in the first seven games in franchise history.
That’s without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Without J.J. Barea for three and a half games. Without Brandon Roy for two and a half games. Without Chase Budinger for a game and a half. In fact, in the past four games, the Timberwolves have lost a player a game, yet they’ve gone 3-1.
I’m not quite sure what this means. They’re deeper than we imagined? Alexey Shved is better than we anticipated? Injuries are a rallying point? Rick Adelman is more of a genius than anyone realized? All of the above?
Now here’s the part where I’d get all doom and gloom on you, about how this is a fluke or how it’s going to run out. It might be, and it might. But the circumstances, at least for the next eight days, aren’t so terrible for this Lord of the Flies-esque team.
In the next week, the Timberwolves play just two games: one Wednesday against Charlotte and one Friday against Golden State. That’s a 2-3 Bobcats team (although they may very well be 3-3 by Wednesday after playing the Wizards tonight) on the second game of a back-to-back and a Warriors team currently 3-4 (they play Atlanta Wednesday). So the next week will bring plenty of rest and the kind of opponents an ailing team should welcome, although maybe successive games against Washington and Detroit would have been better.
All-Star voting begins: Balloting for this year’s NBA All-Star Game, which will take place in Houston on Feb. 17, begins today. Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Love and Nikola Pekovic are the four Timberwolves on the 120-player ballot.
Kirilenko and Love have both played in the All-Star Game in previous seasons. Rubio played in the BBVA Rising Stars Game during All-Star Weekend in 2012, and Pekovic has never attended the event.
Voting this year can be done via social networks like Facebook and Twitter, on mobile phone apps, via texting and on NBA.com. Voting ends Jan. 14, and starters will be announced Jan. 17 on TNT before the Timberwolves-Clippers game.