Wolves Struggles Combination of Bad Luck, Tough Schedule
The Timberwolves have lost six straight games heading into Wednesday's contest with Portland at Target Center. Between a rash of injuries and one of the toughest schedules in the NBA, the Wolves may have trouble climbing out of the cellar anytime soon.
The Wolves are suffering from a rash of injuries to key players, resulting in their current position at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 4-16 record. Starters Ricky Rubio (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (wrist) and Kevin Martin (wrist) are all out of action for an extended time, along with backups Mo Williams (back) and Ronny Turiaf (general malaise).
The injuries have resulted in the Wolves relying on a 19-year-old who only played one season (with limited playing time) of college basketball at point guard in Zach LaVine, another 19-year-old with one year of NCAA experience expected to provide the bulk of points in Andrew Wiggins and a cast of journeymen like Jeff Adrien, Robbie Hummel and Chase Budinger to provide meaningful minutes.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Timberpups have the fifth-hardest schedule in the league and they are in the midst of arguably the toughest portion of the 82 game slate.
Minnesota's strength of schedule currently sits at .522, behind only the Lakers (.560), Kings (.553), Charlotte (.537), Boston (.535) and Utah (.532).
During their recent six game losing streak the Wolves have lost on the road to Portland and the Clippers, and embarrassing loss at home to Philadelphia followed by an overtime loss to Houston at Target Center, a road loss to San Antonio then a home loss to surging Golden State.
Those six teams have a combined record of 83-39, and if you take away the Philadelphia loss with their dismal 2-18 record, the Wolves past five opponents are a combined 81-21.
There are plenty of reasons why the Wolves have struggled- lack of depth a point guard, a failure to protect the basketball (14.6 TPG) and a seeming indifference to playing defense (league-worst 110.2 PA per game)- but there has also been some bad luck involved as well.
(The Timberwolves host the Trail Blazers Wednesday night at Target Center on WJON)