The end of the 2014/15 NBA regular season is now official for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finish the year with a (largely pathetic) 16-66 record. As you likely know, the Oklahoma City Thunder entered the game with a chance to make the playoffs as the 8th seed with a victory and a little help down in New Orleans.
There wasn’t much doubt going into the evening with the plethora of injuries the Timberwolves have amounted over the past few weeks and months, along with a strong desire to have the most ping pong balls in the NBA lottery. The 16 wins on the season equates to the third worst record in the team’s history. You’ll find a bullet point list of things to consider for the Wolves’ offseason below.
The Thunder … well, they have Russell Westbrook. Without Kevin Durant, the Thunder have struggled to hold onto a playoff spot and will retool in the offseason. The Pelicans took care of the Spurs Wednesday night and will take the 8 seed in the Western Conference.
The Pups starting lineup consisted of Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Adreian Payne, and Arinze Onuaku. Interesting stat/number from this season – Wiggins is only one of ten players to start all 82 games this season. That number is extraordinarily low and concerning. “Hello reduced NBA game schedule!”
OKC opened up with Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters, Enes Kanter, and Steven Adams.
The Thunder got off to an 8-0 start and the game was essentially decided at that point, despite several attempts by the Wolves to make it a closer contest. At the end of the 1st quarter, the Thunder held a 47-29 advantage. You read that correctly. Westbrook had 23 points at the end of the first 12 minutes. Did I mention this game was over when the score was 8-0?
Let’s just run through the score at the end of each quarter:
- Halftime: Thunder 76 – Wolves 54
- End of 3rd: Thunder 106 – Wolves 85
- End of game: Thunder 138 – Wolves 113
Rather than say anything else about the season ending loss, here are a number of thoughts on this franchise as it heads into another playoff-less offseason. We’ll look to cover some of this in a lot more detail at the appropriate time.
- I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I truly believe that Andrew Wiggins isn’t getting enough credit for his rookie season. His month to month averages improved as the season progressed, he played in all 82 games, and he never hit the rookie wall. That’s un-freaking-believable!
- Flip Saunders must get off of the sideline as Head Coach. Sorry Flip, but you have to get out of the way of your own self.
- I hope to see Ricky Rubio and Kevin Garnett on the court, fully healthy, next season for this team. I don’t expect early 2000’s KG by any stretch, but their combined passion for basketball would be glorious.
- Speaking of Rubio, we are on the border of hitting the dreaded “injury plagued” rumor with him. If he can’t stay healthy next season, this franchise is in a lot of trouble. A lot.
- While Karl-Anthony Towns (or Jahlil Okafor) is heavily preferred, even without either player on next year’s roster, the Wolves need to find a new home for Nikola Pekovic. That isn’t going to be easy.
- The Wolves would also be better served to find a new home for Kevin Martin.
That’s it for this season’s game recaps folks. What are your thoughts on the forthcoming offseason? Where are, or should, the focus be put on the court, on the sideline, and/or in the front office? Let us know in the comments below.