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Does Kevin Love's absence will affect the T-Wolves' chance for the Playoffs?

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It has been 8 seasons that the Minnesotta Timberwolves failed to advanced to the Playoffs. The last time they competed was during the 2004 NBA Playoffs - Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers which they lost in six games. L.A. Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals vs Detroit Pistons. But it's ok, the Lakers got swept!

The team's poster boy, Kevin Love, is sidelined for 8-10 weeks for a hand surgery after he injured his right hand again vs Nuggets on January 3rd. It's the same hand that he injured during his morning workout after the London Olympics. He was supposed to miss 6-8 weeks but he suited up after 5 weeks and scored 34 pts, 14 rebs, in 35 minutes against the Nuggets which they lost 101-94.

Their franchise player is out, so what are their chances to be in the playoffs now that Kevin Love is out? Before we investigate this, I just want to point out that the T-Wolves are promising their season ticket holders a 10% discount when they renew their tickets next season if the team won't make the playoffs this year. Wowza!

Right now, as of Jan. 11th, the T-Wolves are currently at the 10th place in the Western Conference with the record of 16-16 (.500%), just below the Utah Jazz who has a current record of 19-18 (.514%). They would need to get to the 8th seed inorder to make to the Playoffs. 47.2 wins is the average wins of 8th seed teams in the Western Conference during the last five full NBA seasons.

In theory, the T-Wolves should have a record of at least 47-35 by the end of the season. For the rest of their games, their goal should have at least a 31-19 record (.660%) -- somewhat similar winning pace of the (drum roll...) Denver Nuggets who are currently at 21-16 (.668%).

The question we've been wanting to know... Is Kevin Love's absence going to be a hindrance of winning games?

Aside from the model of NUMB#RS fragrance, the T-Wolves lost another effective player this season: Chase Budinger, a player who had 20.6 pts/48, 8.0 rebs/48 last season. He only played the first 6 games with the T-Wolves then got sidelined for a left knee surgery and expected to miss 3-4 months. Chase had 24.2 pts/48, 7.1 rebs/48, and 60.4 TS% (True Shooting %). The T-Wolves are 4-2 with Chase during the first 6 games.

I don't want to mention Brandon Roy. He ain't effective. Anymore.

The T-Wolves had a 5-4 (.556%) record during the first 9 games when without Love and 10-10 (.500%) record since the night he played on Nov. 21st vs Nuggets until he got injured on Jan. 3rd vs Nuggets.

Here's the T-Wolves players' individual WP48 (Wins Produced per 48 minutes). It's used to evaluate a player's performace and their effectiveness on both ends of the floor. Andrei Kirilenco has .278 in WP48, players who has above .200 in WP48 are typically performing like "stars". Full explanation here . In T-Wolves' case, Kirilenco is their "go-to" guy.

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SOURCE: The NBA Geek - Stats for Minnesota Timberwolves

Players who has above .100 in WP48 are a typical "starters" performers, and based on the chart above, Pekovic and Cunningham are playing like starters. Their starting PG Luke Ridnour and SG Alexey Shved are having below .100 in WP48 but above .050 in WP48. Does that mean since their WP48 are below .100, they are playing like bench players? Whether you like it or not... Yes, they're performing like bench players! Below 0.50 in WP48 are just "practice squad" players.

Let's look at the Advanced Statistical Plus Minus here:

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SOURCE: 2013 ASPM | DStats

Based on the chart above, it suggest that Mr. AK47 is the most effective player on the team offensively and defensively. But if we have to look at their current record, his effectiveness only have the T-Wolves at .500% mark. Not enough to get into the 8th seed.

The T-Wolves are currently 1-2 record without Love and a total of 6-6 record to add the first 9 games. The rest of the players should step their game up if they want to make the playoffs. By the looks of it, I'm not sure how would this team makes the playoffs if they still play mediocre basketball. With or without Kevin Love still makes no difference.

They might probably make the playoffs with a .500-type of record in the Eastern Conference, but Western Conference is hell of a tough competition on that side of the fence.

I just created a Twitter account... @PinoyAnalytics. If you have any questions, suggestions what I should write next, or just want to talk, don't hesitate to contact me there.

Updated 01-12-2013 at 06:56 AM by FAQ



  1. facelessvoid123's Avatar
    kevin love is a player who can perform double double no doubt it will affect his team...
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