First Carmelo Anthony, now James Harden. The hero-ball worshippers have reason to crow. Latest revelation of the short-handers is — stop the presses, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, wait for it: the Wolves complete and utter lack of go-to wing scoring.
Back-to-back losses — one in the low 90s, one in the mid-80s, and both without one (or both) of your leading scorers at full health? Tear up the roster! Fire up the ESPN trade machine. Trade Love! All of this fantasy football fanspeak is panic-inducing.
Until you realize there are all sorts of things that factor in to make the mess the Wolves have on their hands. And that, in time, the majority of them will improve. Let us put our rose-colored glasses on, first by watching a couple Alexey Shved highlights.
Now I feel better. Where were we? Oh, yeah, trade everything.
First of all, that stretch of murdererer’s row. Losses to Miami, New York and Houston would be bad if the Orlando one hadn’t made them worse. The bright side? The Wolves held 4 of the league’s top 10 offenses below their averages — Houston, significantly so, and in their games against New York and Houston, they were right there in it until the end. Sure, they were right there getting done in by the opposing team’s superstar, but they were holding their own without a working point guard or a their full compliment of rebounding and scoring, all the same.
That roster balancing should be easier once Ricky Rubio makes himself more comfortable on offense. It’s obvious it’ll take a little time for him to get comfortable, but his defense — in particular against JR Smith in the Knicks game — has been looking good. Rubio’s return to health would make it easier to (and every Wolves fan has been repeating this Christmas wish for months) pick one of the smaller guards, Luke Ridnour or JJ Barea, and move them in a package with Derrick Williams for a bigger shooting guard.
But even if that doesn’t happen, and the play for Josh Howard’s unoccupied roster space is used on some D-League detritus or an escaped Euro-leaguer, one has to believe that, even without the rose-colored glasses, Love will eventually get over his injury issues.
And Pek will continue to crush. And Rubio will return to his normal self and add another strong perimeter ball handler to pair with Shved. And Chase Budinger will return and toss corner 3s in like he never left. And Andrei Kirilenko will stay healthy all season.
What are the chances?
OMG! Why haven’t the Wolves traded for JJ Redick already? Why hasn’t Jared Dudley been rumored to be on the move yet? Why isn’t Derrick Williams solving every one of their problems?! Why isn’t Love solving every one of their problems? WHY?!