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A Loss, and the Feeling of Loss

Farewell Transmission, Magnolia Electric Co.

The Timberwolves lost their first Vegas Summer League game on Saturday to the D-League Select team, 83-81. The basketball wasn’t pretty. There was no Ricky Rubio. There was no Kevin Love. There was really no one.

Except Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad played like you would expect most rookies to play in their first ever pro game after just a few practices, with entirely new teammates, and with literally no point guard play. He finished with 7 points on 3-7 from the floor, with 1 assist and 1 rebound. Specifics are here.

What to make of it?

Well, Muhammad, the Wolves’ top first-round pick certainly didn’t play great. But he didn’t necessarily play poorly either. He looks aggressive around the hoop. He will get to the line. He will be a step slower on defense than we would like. He has useful skills. He has imperfections. He’s a #14 pick. He registered an assist. That means he exceeded the expectations of many naysayers who ridiculed the pick on draft night. An assist? That’s more than we expected, right? As Charlie Sheen said, “winning.”

But this post isn’t about Shabazz Muhammad and it isn’t about the Timberwolves. It’s about loss, and losing, in broader context.

Tonight’s loss didn’t matter. It was fake players and fake rules and fake everything.

The cat is out of the bag: Summer League doesn’t really matter.

At all. It’s cotton candy for fans when there’s no other NBA action. You don’t take Summer League losses, or wins, or stats, very seriously, unless you want to end up deluding yourself.

Juxtapose tonight’s loss with one that did matter–at least to me.

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