1. The Timberwolves lead the league in just about every statistical category. Yet, they team is below .500. Why have the Wolves struggled to put together consecutive wins since early in the season?
There are a couple things that come to mind.
The first is the bench. With Chase Budinger still out with a knee injury, J.J. Barea is really the only player off the Wolves' bench who is capable of putting up a lot of points off the bench. If his shot isn't falling, they're forced to rely completely on the starting lineup. The Wolves' first five is used as a full unit more than any other starting 5 in the NBA, and a lot of that has to do with the bench's ineffectiveness.
The other issue has been their inconsistency defensively. Some nights, like their meeting earlier this year against Dallas, they're active and alert defensively and play well as a collective unit. Still, there have been some games where their defense has completely taken them out of games. Friday night against Denver, they allowed the Nuggets to get to the hoop whenever they wanted. In an ugly loss earlier this year against Washington, transition defense was the culprit. They've definitely had trouble with teams with quick point guards. Of their 9 losses, 7 of them have been at the hands of quick point guards (Irving, CP3 twice, Lawson twice, Brooks, Wall).
Martin has a huge addition this year, and without his contributions, I can't imagine what the Wolves' record would be right now. His ability to work without the ball, complimenting his ability to create is invaluable with a point guard of Ricky Rubio's skill set. Martin and Love have made a pretty good pairing on the perimeter, as well. It's really early, but he really may be the best shooting guard the Wolves have ever had.
3. Kevin Love is having an MVP season thus far. He is averaging a double-double and his passing has been superb. However, he is not shooting all that well from parts of the floor. Are there any areas where he needs to improve or should we just "love" his game?
As much as Kevin Love has improved over the span of his career, the spots you see him succeeding at are probably going to remain the same. He's always had the ability to get points off the offensive glass, and he has a few spots around the three-point line that he loves. He's also added a nice left shoulder hook shot to his arsenal. Love is a fantastic scorer, and there really isn't another player in the league that gets points the same way he does.
4. Speaking of Love's passing, specifically his outlet passes, it seems that the opportunities to make them would be far fewer if Corey Brewer wasn't on the team. Brewer loves to leak out in transition, slipping behind the defense, rewarding his team with a fastbreak opportunity. On offense, he likes to hang around in the left corner, occasionally breaking towards the rim. It really is one of the most fascinating games to watch in the league. How has Brewer's return impacted how Minnesota plays on offense and defense?
Offensively, it really depends on the night for Brewer. When his shot is falling, he's really, really useful and gives the Wolves a much better chance to win. His ability to leak out and capitalize on Love's (and Rubio's) outlet passes was incredibly useful, especially early in the season. Lately, teams have caught onto it and as a result, aren't happening as frequently as they did early in the season.
Defensively, his energy alone brings a ton, but he has also done a good job clamping down on some of the better wing players in the league. He (deservedly) got a lot of the credit for holding Kevin Durant to only 12 points in Minnesota's second game of the year. Sometimes he gambles and pays the price for it, but he's been good at making the right calls defensively for the most part.
5. Just how based is Corey Brewer?
Brewer clearly has a good attitude no matter what the circumstances. As Mavericks fans know, he's incapable of holding a straight face for more than a 30-second period. He needs to smile. It comes naturally to him.
Translation: Brewer is v based. Thanks, Tim! For more on the Minnesota Timberwolves head over to Canis Hoopus.