5 Notable Stats
- .284 = 3-Point Percentage – That’s good for dead last in the NBA. I don’t know if it makes it better or worse that the Wolves are only shooting 15.8 treys a game, which ranks 26th in the league. More than perhaps anything else three-point shooting will improve when Kevin Love returns. (The Wolves are 7th in Rebounding Rate, and 10th in Defensive Rating, so they seem to be doing okay in those areas without Love–at least through six games.)
- 4 = Number of players averaging more than 4 assists per 36 minutes. J.J. Barea leads the way with 7.9, following by the emerging Alexey Shved with 7.3 and Brandon Roy with 6.8. Andrei Kirilenko, a forward, is averaging an impressive 4.5 assists per 36. What does this tell us? Maybe nothing. But it might mean that the team is doing more passing. My eyes tell me that there have been a lot of “hockey assists” with the best pass being the penultimate one, quickly followed by a touch pass to a cutter for a dunk or layup.
- 19.8 & 22.0 = Number of minutes played per game, respectively, for Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham. One cause for optimism is that the team has been able to win 4 out of 6 games despite not playing these two as much as they perhaps should. I completely understand why Adelman has brought Shved on slowly (in his first two games, he was a deer in headlights) and given Derrick Williams a chance to sink or swim. But now that Shved is making a positive difference and Williams is sinking to the bottom of the basketball ocean (made 20 field goals, missed 40 field goal attempts) it’s reasonable to expect more Shved and Cunningham. It’s also reasonable to expect that the change will be beneficial to the Wolves team success.
- 89.2 = Pace, or estimated number of possessions per 48 minutes. This ranks 29th in the league. In other words, the Wolves are playing slowly. Their offensive rating is 102.9 good for 13th in the league and, like I mentioned, the three-pointers haven’t been falling. It seems reasonable to expect pace to increase upon Ricky’s return and, in the short term, with more Shved minutes. Both players thrive in transition or secondary-break situations, it seems.
- .667 = Winning percentage. Soft schedule? Yes. But wins over New Jersey and Indiana were no cupcakes and the team has generally exceeded my expectations through six games.