Ok, I'm really hard at work adding a ton of new features to the site and trying to improve the player comparison engine (which I really need to brand somehow). But in the meantime I'd like to join in the general ridiculous media frenzy of drawing insane conclusions from miniature sample sizes. Yes, I'm talking about that trend that's causing Celtic bloggers to examine lottery picks after starting 0-2, and has the Knicks media inquiring about players' ring sizes after their home opener win. So I'll look at the Timberwolves and draw some ridiculous conclusions.
Let's look at the per-48 numbers so far:
As you can see, much of what I was talking about in the season preview is true so far: Darko Milicic is terrible, but Michael Beasley is by far the worst Timberwolf. I've honestly not seen a player so spectacularly combine chucking frequency with terrible efficiency since Rashad McCants:
Per48 Comparison of raw stats
What's really amazing to me is that he shot about twice as many shots from the field than the average forward, but barely got to the line more often. All while being a turnover machine! It's become truly uncomfortable to watch how selfish he's become; the Bucks commenters on the game last night were literally laughing at how eager he was to call his own number on every play. He's truly awful, and unfortunately the league's managers seem to be catching on -- I agree with Stop-n-Pop over on Canis Hoopus that nobody is going to give up a working part for Beasley at this point. And I am fairly confident that THIS is not a sample-size issue: These were exactly Beasley's problems all of last year. The home-opener loss is fairly squarely the fault of Beasley getting so much burn.
In better news, #RubioFever is looking like it might trend. The guy's been amazing!
Per48 Comparison of raw stats
Mostly, of course, this is do to his shooting efficiency, which is off the charts in this incredibly large sample. But still, he also obvious rebounds well, can pass the rock, and most importantly he's remarkably "safe" with the ball. He didn't turn it over at all in game 1, despite the fact that Russell Westbrook was clearly trying hard to show him up.
And then there's Kevin Love. My only question is this: if he keeps playing like this, are NBA beat writers still going to ignore him when MVP voting starts? Because this shit is crazy:
Per 48 Minutes
And the scary thing? I think Kevin Love actually had bad games by his standards. His three-point shooting is meh (he's trying very hard to get fouled, which is understandable because defenses are really biting) and he's missed quite a few gimmes, and his free-throw shooting has been bad (he shot 85% last year!). If he were playing his usual game, my oh my.
Still, it's been insane how much he's getting to the line. And it's not favoritism from the refs. It's a combination of the fact that he's a smart player who has always been good at drawing fouls (he drew twice as many as the average PF last year, without putting up significantly more FGAs) and the fact he's a lot quicker this year thanks to the 25 pionds he shed (note to NBA coaches: last year's strategy of guarding Love with your plodding center to keep him off the boards, and assuming he's not quick enough to exploit the mismatch? Yeah, you might want to re-think that one this year). And what's truly incredible is that he's doing it all without taking a zillion shots (I'm fairly certain Beasley would never let him get away with that).
Finally, I'll wrap up by saying what Ben Gulker has already said about the Pistons, and what Stop-n-Pop alludes to in his article: So far, Adelman appears to be trying the same lineups that Rambis tried for 2 years, in which he piled up a shitton of lost basketball games and very few wins. And "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the result to change" sounds like a pretty moronic strategy to me. It's time to take away Beasley's, Johnson's and Darko's minutes, and see if the results change.