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NBA Regular Season Record Chasing: Minnesota Timberwolves


HOOP BALL PRESENTS…NBA REGULAR SEASON RECORD CHASING, WITH ELY SUSSMAN. THIS NBA SEASON HAS INUNDATED US WITH SOME OF THE SEXIEST STAT LINES IMAGINABLE. YOU CAN STILL GET HYPED FOR AN UPCOMING GAME FOR THE SAME OLD REASONS, BUT IN CASE YOU NEED IT, I’M HERE TO POINT OUT WHAT MAKES YOUR FAVORITE TEAM WORTH WATCHING DOWN THE STRETCH. THIS IS ABOUT SO MUCH MORE THAN TRIPLE-DOUBLES AND UNICORNS. THAT’S JUST WHAT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WANTS YOU TO CARE ABOUT! FOR BETTER OR WORSE, THE UNIQUE PLAYERS AND PLAYING STYLES ACROSS THE NBA ARE THREATENING TO REWRITE EVERY SECTION OF THE RECORD BOOK. ON THIS EPISODE, THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES. THE HIRING OF TOM THIBODEAU THIS PAST SUMMER AS HEAD COACH AND PRESIDENT OF BASKETBALL OPERATIONS WAS WELL RECEIVED. “HE’S GONNA TAKE THIS TALENTED ROSTER AND EARN THEIR RESPECT AND TEACH THEM HOW TO DEFEND AT A HIGH LEVEL,” WE ALL FIGURED. ACTUALLY, THEIR PERFORMANCE ON THAT END HAS BARELY CHANGED YEAR TO YEAR. THE 2016-17 T-WOLVES HAVE INSTEAD BEEN SETTING FRANCHISE RECORDS ON OFFENSE, IN TERMS OF OFFENSIVE RATING AND EFFECTIVE FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE. WHAT’S BEEN THE SECRET BEHIND THAT? SOME GOLD OL’ HOME COOKING DOESN’T HURT. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE EARLY YEARS OF THE FRANCHISE, WHEN THEY BROUGHT IN A FORMER MR. MINNESOTA HIMSELF, RANDY BREUER, THE T-WOLVES HAVE MULTIPLE PLAYERS ON THEIR ROSTER WHO WERE BORN AND RAISED IN STATE! THERE’S BACKUP POINT GUARD TYUS JONES AND COLE ALDRICH, WHO IMPROBABLY LEADS THE ENTIRE TEAM IN INDIVIDUAL OFFENSIVE RATING. BUT LET’S GET REAL—THE MOST EXCITING TAKEAWAY FROM ANOTHER MEDIOCRE SEASON IS THE PROGRESS MADE BY ANDREW WIGGINS AND KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. YOU CLICKED “PLAY” ON THIS VIDEO HOPING TO HEAR ABOUT THEM, AND BOY, DO I HAVE SOME STATS FOR YOU TO DROOL OVER. MAPLE JORDAN IS ALL THE WAY UP TO THIRD PLACE ON THE ALL-TIME CANADIAN SCORING LIST, HAVING PASSED BILL WENNINGTON AND LEAPFROGGED TRISTAN THOMPSON SINCE THE START OF THE SEASON. AND KEEP IN MIND: HE JUST TURNED 22 YEARS OLD LAST MONTH! EXPERIENCING THE MAJORITY OF THIS SEASON BEFORE THAT BIRTHDAY, WIGGINS IS STILL TECHNICALLY IN HIS AGE-21 CAMPAIGN. AND IT’S NOT OFTEN THAT PLAYERS SO EARLY IN THEIR CAREERS TAKE OVER INDIVIDUAL GAMES, BUT WIGGINS HAS ALREADY DROPPED 40 POINTS ON FOUR SEPARATE OCCASIONS. WITH 20 TEAM GAMES REMAINING, HE HAS A LEGITIMATE SHOT AT CATCHING LEBRON JAMES AND KEVIN DURANT FOR MOST SUCH PERFORMANCES AT THIS PARTICULAR AGE. UNDER THIBODEAU’S NEW REGIME, YOU JUST KNEW T-WOLVES STARTERS WOULD BE RELIED UPON FOR HUGE MINUTES. WIGGINS LEADS THE ENTIRE NBA IN THAT CATEGORY, PUTTING HIM ON TRACK TO BE THE YOUNGEST PLAYER SINCE DURANT—AND FOURTH-YOUNGEST EVER —TO RANK FIRST IN WORKLOAD. TOWNS IS FAR AND AWAY THE BUSIEST BIG MAN IN THE LEAGUE THIS SEASON, TRAILING ONLY WIGGINS AND JAMES HARDEN IN MINUTES PLAYED. THIBS WANTS HIM ON THE COURT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, AND TOWNS HAS OBLIGED BY STAYING OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE. HE’S ONE OF JUST A HANDFUL OF BIG MEN WHO HAVE STARTED EVERY TEAM GAME THIS SEASON WITHOUT A SINGLE DISQUALIFICATION. PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY, TOWNS DEMONSTRATES MATURITY FAR BEYOND HIS 21 YEARS. REMEMBER, THIS T-WOLVES FRANCHISE IS THE SAME ONE THAT HANDLED STEPHON MARBURY, KEVIN GARNETT AND KEVIN LOVE DURING THEIR FORMATIVE SEASONS. AND YET, KAT IS ON THE VERGE OF REACHING 3,000 CAREER POINTS QUICKER THAN ANY OF THEM EVER COULD. ON THE NEXT EPISODE, A LONG-AWAITED ROASTING OF MY HOMETOWN NEW YORK KNICKS. IN THE MEANTIME, FIND ME ON TWITTER @REALELY, KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY PODCASTS BY DOWNLOADING THE HOOP BALL RADIO MOBILE APP, AND FIND ALL OF OUR GREAT CONTENT AT HOOP-BALL.COM.

Stephen Childs

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