The ball seemed to travel in slow motion as J.J Barea watched it leave his hands and make its trek toward the basket. Those inside Target Center immediately knew its fate and like the Wolves season thus far it fell short of the mark. A dejected Kevin Love looked down at his palms almost conversing with them, "I don't know why you didn't shoot either".
Welcome to the 2013-2014 Timberwolves. Scratch that. Welcome to any Timberwolves team ever.
This year was supposed to be different though. This team that was supposed to be better and for the first time in a decade give fans a playoff appearance. Instead, the team has followed the path of every other team in its history and has failed to meet expectations.
Frustration has set in and even someday Hall of Fame coach Rick Adelman has admitted that the sense of urgency has reached defcon levels. With their three-point loss at home to Sacramento, the Wolves dropped their 11th game of the season of four points or less. Making matters worse, they have played 11 games in which the final score has been decided by four points or less.
You can't fall behind Sacramento by double digits, sleepwalking through three quarters of the game.
You can't have your top point guard, a supposed pillar of your future vision spending the entire fourth quarter sitting four chairs down from the coaching staff.
You can't pretend to play defense against anyone in the NBA because even a guy you jettisoned for another guy who isn't leaving the bench will burn you for 16 points.
You can't do any of these things, but yet the Wolves are.
Their head coach appears to have finally had enough as well.
"It's not overlooking, trust me, why are we overlooking anyone? We are below .500," Adelman said. "We talked about that team, they had lost a ton of times early and they've beaten Miami and they've beaten Portland, They've beaten Phoenix twice. What would give us the right to overlook them? It's not even an excuse. If they are then there is something wrong."
As the whispers of Kevin Love moving on after his current contract ends following next season getting louder with each passing lost opportunity, the franchise is once again nearing the nasty ‘r' word that every fan of every team cringes at the mere mention of.
This was supposed to be the season the team took the next step and convinced Love to stay. As the whispers of Kevin Love moving on after his current contract ends following next season getting louder with each passing lost opportunity, the franchise is once again nearing the nasty ‘r' word that every fan of every team cringes at the mere mention of.
From an NBA perspective, the Wolves have owned the phrase start over. In their 25 year history they have made it an almost annual occurrence. They have traded away every first round pick they have ever had (except for the 2013 class) and seem incapable of developing a player or finding any meaningful minutes to help with the cause. The results of every game are determined by the players on the floor. The development of those players falls at the feet of the head coach and while Adelman gets a pass for his x's and o's acumen, he was not able to develop Derrick Williams so the franchise traded him to Sacramento for defensive specialist Luc Mbah a Moute. Adelman said after the loss to the Kings that he thought about putting Luc in the game but didn't because the team was down by 10 points.
So the logic is that the team plays bad defense for three quarters and the one guy who you say specializes in defense can't get on the floor?
Welcome to Wolves logic version 3.0.