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Two disappointing Timberwolves to miss rest of disappointing season

Apr 7, 2014, 9:26 PM EDT

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shabazz Muhammad Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shabazz Muhammad

The 38-38 Minnesota Timberwolves have already been eliminated from the playoff race. Heck, they can’t even finish ninth in the Western Conference.

On one hand, going .500 in a tough conference is a noble accomplishment. It’s their best record in nine years.

On the other hand, with Kevin Love’s free agency rapidly approaching, relative-but-modest achievements don’t mean much. Minnesota needs to get good and get good quickly to have any chance of retaining its star forward.

The Timberwolves will have a lot to address this offseason. In the meantime? I dunno, I guess they have to play these final games, but it really seems like a waste of time.

Associated Press:

Minnesota Timberwolves forwards Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad will miss the final six games of the season with injuries.

Budinger sprained his ankle in the first minute of play against Orlando on Saturday night and Muhammad sprained the MCL in his right knee on Friday night against Miami.

These injuries don’t even carry any tanking upside. Minnesota will get the No. 13 seed in the lottery, with only the slightest mathematical possibility of splitting the 12/13 odds with the Nuggets.

The shutdowns are just a reminder of how many opportunities the Timberwolves have squandered.

In two seasons with Minnesota – both set back by injury – Budinger has failed to approach the 3-point percentage during his final season with the Rockets (40.2) that convinced the Timberwolves to trade a No. 18 pick for him. He’s shot 32.1 and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc in Minnesota, below-average marks that hardly provide coveted floor spacing.

Muhammad, the No. 14 pick in last year’s draft, has averaged just 3.9 points per game – and scoring is what he does best. There were plenty of pre-draft questions about Muhammad, and he answered none of them this season. It’s unlikely he develops into a quality NBA contributor.

If Budinger and Muhammad come back healthy next season, it’s possible they could help Minnesota. For now, these injuries are –  while less harmful than the Timberwolves’ bigger problems – just more disappointment

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    Wasn’t Shabazz hyped as a potential #1 pick coming out of HS? What a waste.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:31 AM

      Yeah but he dropped very quick after those attitude problems if I recall correctly

    • conjecture101 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      A waste? As is mentioned in later comments, when he played, he scored. If he got any media attention approaching the draft it was negative. Shabazz has always had top 5 pick talent, and still does. Hopefully he will have to the chance to display it next year.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Tanking

    • apkyletexas - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      But still good enough to beat the Heat in Miami last Friday.

  3. zaktmt - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    This article lacks to mention that Shabazz hardly played. But when he did he was actually really effective. There were a handful of games where he would get 8-9 points in about 3-5 minutes. He can score, his problem has been defense and that Adelman hardly ever plays rookies. Budinger however did get paid, and should have performed at a higher level. I am just afraid as a fan that the team won’t either keep Love, or get what they should for him in a trade.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:19 AM

      Yeah, his per-36 scoring numbers are pretty decent for a rookie.

      18 pts on 48% shooting on a per-36 minute basis.

      Of course, that’s no guarantee he’d actually score 20 points per game if given more playing time, but it does show he is productive in the few minutes he does get. Main thing holding him back is lack of playing time, which is a waste given that it’s been clear for awhile that the Wolves were out of the playoff hunt.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        the 48% you cite (.478% is actually just his 2 pt FG%)

        His overall FG% (the combination of his 2 pt and 3 pt percentages) is 46%

        still, not bad

  4. campcouch - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:54 AM

    “On the other hand, with Kevin Love’s free agency rapidly approaching, relative-but-modest achievements don’t mean much. Minnesota needs to get good and get good quickly to have any chance of retaining its star forward.”

    I feel for T-Wolves fans. People have been working to get Kevin Love out of there since his third season. It’s sad when a smaller market team gets bombarded non-stop about their good players.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      You can blame his wanting out partly on the guy that wouldn’t give him the max 5-year extension. You know, the guy that thought Rubio deserved it more. The guy that got canned.

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