Hardwood Compendium

Benjamin Polk —  October 25, 2012 — 7 Comments

Friends, lovers. If you like basketball it is essential for you to check out Hardwood Paroxysm’s ridiculously exhaustive, deeply metricized, lushly illo’d “Hardwood Paroxysm 2012/2013 Season Preview Guide.” This is a season preview I guess, but calling it that is kind of like calling Ulysses a nice, short story about Dublin. It contains: offseason transactions; salary numbers; efficiency stats; mini-essays; esoterically referential categories and categories about categories. It contains awesome sentences like this (under the heading of “Freakish Numbers and I Don’t Mean that Dirty Number 8″): “Just how much worse was Wesley Matthews at attacking the basket than in 2010-2011? 14.4% worse.”

Best of all, from where I sit, it contains much good work from our own Steve McPherson, including a nice little essay on our Wolves on page 77 (!), in which uses Schrodinger’s cat (that’s right) as a metaphor for Wolves’ multiple entangled possible futures. Check that out.

I have but one quibble. In his essay under the brutally appropriate category of “Doomsday vs. Manna From Heaven,” Jordan White has this to say: “It all starts with Ricky Rubio. Kevin Love may be Minnesota’s best player but Ricky Rubio is arguably the most important.” Whiiiich is true in its way, but only if Love avoids, say, breaking his hand doing knuckle pushups, missing the first 20 games of the year and possibly sinking the entire season. Anyway, have a look. I’ll see you in a week when you finally emerge from the wormhole.

Benjamin Polk

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7 responses to Hardwood Compendium

  1. I completely agree Rubio is the most important piece to MIN’s puzzle. All these new guys are great, and so is Pek and Love. But Rubio’s perimeter defense and productive offensive game trump any other guard on this roster. I am really excited to see Shved in Ricky’s absence. Hope Shved gets the playing time he needs to show what he brings to the table.

  2. That’s kind of like saying that James Harden is the most important player on OKC. Sure, his poor play in the Finals might’ve lost them some games but lets not overstate the case: Kevin Durant, the second or third-best player in the league is the most important guy on OKC. You just take him for granted because he’s so synonymous with the team’s identity.

    Similarly, Kevin Love is so far and away the Wolves’ best player that no one else even comes close to touching him in importance. Without Rubio last year, they were mediocre. Without Love, they were a heaving wreck.

  3. Ben: I have to agree.

    Rubio is my favorite Wolf, just because he’s so damn magnetic as both a player and person. I’ve heard people say that “he’s the straw that stirs the drink,” and that seems true, too.

    But we can’t forget there has to be that drank, itself, to start with — or there’s nothing to stir. And Love is definitely the 80-proof stuff that makes the glass worth picking up. Without him, it may look pretty, but it won’t get you drunk, i.e. to the play-offs.

    If there was ever a time to stop over-extending a metaphor, and just have a beverage, it’d be now. But since I haven’t posted before, I just want to add: Thanks for the great site. The analysis is both funny AND knowledgeable, which a pretty great/rare combo.

  4. Thanks RN. And thanks for the drank metaphor, think its right on.

  5. Yes Ben Polk, we all know Love is the BEST player on the team. But if youve been watching MIN the last few years, (and I know you have) youd know that Love’s “game” does not win NBA games, ever, by itself. He could average 30-20 for the season, and they woudl have a lottery pick to show for it…… Buuuuuut, if you add Ricky to Love’s game we get into the play-offs as an 8 seed, Love never brought them close without Ricky. Soooo, one could infer that Ricky is more important to have for this team to WIN. And someone said “Winning is everything” one time. Please respond…..thank you

  6. Here’s how I would respond. Hollinger, Berri and others have shown pretty convincingly that Love’s teammates in past years have been unequivocally awful. You are free to disagree with me here, but I can’t think of another player of Love’s caliber (off the top of my head I’m thinking of Westbrook, Rose, Griffin, Ginobili, Dirk, Carmelo) who could have singlehandedly carried those teams to winning seasons, particularly given how poorly Kurt Rambis coached defense.

    Imagine if Love and Rubio’s roles were reversed. If Rubio had been alone on those previous teams they would surely have lost even more games than they did. If Love and Adelman were then added to the mix and the team suddenly began to win as they did last year, would you then say that Love was the team’s most important player?

  7. I dont completely disagree that Love is the most important player to help the team win. I do have feelings for Ricky (being the most important) simply because he can distribute the ball (something Love doesnt really do much) at a very high level and also play great perimeter defense. In my opinion, you must have great guard play to win at any level. So I vote for Ricky in a close race. Not because he came later (along with Pek (who should get consideration here)), but because he can initiate offense where Kevin cant, and Ricky can play solid perimeter defense which Love cant. But yes, the combinaiton of the two (of the three really) is what allowed them to be successful.

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