TimberZombies Has a Whole New Meaning

Remember the days when @CanisHoopus used to call the Timberwolves the 'Zombies'? That nickname might become relevant again, albeit for different reasons. Here are the currently injured Timberwolves' 2011-12 season:

Pekovic PF 1264 .242 4.4 6.4 24.7 6.3 6.9 13.2 1.2 3.3 1.2 1.1 3.7
Love PF 2145 .226 3.9 10.1 32.0 11.4 5.0 16.4 2.5 2.9 0.6 1.1 3.4
Budinger SF 1298 .133 1.1 3.6 20.6 6.6 1.4 8.0 2.7 2.0 0.3 1.1 2.4
Rubio PG 1404 .131 1.0 3.8 14.9 5.1 0.7 5.8 11.5 4.5 0.3 3.1 3.3
Barea SG 1032 .061 -1.2 1.3 21.5 4.7 0.7 5.3 10.8 4.8 0.0 1.0 2.8

The injured wolves accounted for 25.2 wins produced last year. That's right, if you pro-rate it to 82 games, the injured Timberwolves are essentially a 30-win team, more if you pro-rate Rubio to a full season. This is nuts. There's bad injury luck, and then there's just the basketball gods ripping your spleen out, seasoning it with some salt and vinegar, and making you eat it raw.

On the plus side, there's Andrei Kirilenko playing like an MVP. He's essentially saying "Hey, don't worry, I'll carry the team on my back tattoo until you all get back." Again, pundits are not noticing because he's not doing it by scoring 25 points a game, but that does not make his performance any less impressive. The difference when AK is on the bench is amazing; he has a transformative effect on both offense and defense.

On the further plus side...I'm pretty sure this Shved guy can ball. He's surprisingly confident for a rookie -- I liked when AK was about to shoot a T and Shved walked up and tapped him and said "Dude, I got this." He's more trustworthy with the ball than Luke Ridnour, who has a tendency to try too many passes at bad angles (the kind of passes that get picked off at Y pickup games, much less when pro athletes are defending), and he's also much better in the high pick-n-roll; Ridnour is too easy to double and pressure there in late game situations. He hasn't been shooting fantastic but has shown a great knack for getting to the foul line, and he's a good passer. Similarly to Rubio, being a pro is just not new to him, and it shows.

Sadly, all bets on the Wolves being .500 or better until Love returns are off if Pek's ankle is turned badly, but I'll predict that Kirilenko will make most games competitive.