Hey Wolves fans. I just got back from Thanksgiving in Zumbrota, Minnesota (yes that’s right, the original home of Jacksonville Jaguars coach, Gus Bradley.) As the lead picture shows, I was digging through some of my old prized possessions sitting in my parents’ storage. More on that below.
The Wolves are in Dallas today where tonight they face the Mavs (7:30 CST, FSN North, 830 WCCO Radio). Dallas is 10-7, slightly better than Minnesota’s 8-9, but they boast a home record of 8-1. That’s why I was surprised to see that the Wolves are currently two-point favorites in tonight’s game. I mean, the Wolves are 2-6 on the road and have lost 5 of their last 6 games. Even if they have extra days of rest, I expected Dallas to be favored. Digging deeper, I then noticed that the Mavs might be without starting point guard Jose Calderon, who sprained his ankle last night in Atlanta, in a game the Mavs lost despite leading 70-55 when Calderon left the game.
Through 17 games, the numbers show the Mavs to be a slightly net-positive (+0.9 per 100 possessions) team in the 31.1 minutes that Calderon registers, per game. This is because of how well their offense plays with him. With Jose running the show, the Mavs score 107.8 per 100, and allow 106.8. It’s an offensive game. When he’s off the court, the Mavs score 102.6 per 100, but allow a much-better 98.3. In pretty small sample size, then, the Mavs have been better with Calderon on the bench than with him on the floor playing. I tend to side with Vegas here in believing that rookies Gal Mekel and Shane Larkin will struggle to replace Calderon when faced with greater responsibility and starting-level competition. I guess we’ll find out tonight.
One last thing about the Mavs: Monta Ellis. He’s playing his best ball since the We Believe, pre-moped accident days. Credit probably goes to Rick Carlisle whose reputation for maximizing production from raw talent is well established. Check out Kirk Goldsberry’s Grantland piece for more about Monta’s early-season success. I should add that Ellis shot a combined 8 for 31 in his last two games, perhaps signaling some regression to the mean. If Calderon can’t go tonight, expect a more ball-dominant Monta to replace the missing offense initiation.
Okay, on to more important things like the other jerseys I found when I was home for the holiday. I wasn’t a huge jersey kid, but I found five of them that span from 5th Grade through sophomore year in college. I suppose it only makes sense to do this Jersey Power Rankings style, because all internet lists are to be power ranked.
Without further ado…
#5 – Jalen Rose, Michigan, Champion