It's The Little Things: Metrics say Love, Rubio awful; Gaborik to miss Olympics


Sure, we’d all like a daily story that reads “Gophers beat buzzer three times to win in three overtimes", or "Twins sign (insert any prospect that worked out here) to massive extension", but as Minnesota sports fans, some days we’re just not that lucky.

As they say, it’s the little things in life that you really have to appreciate, and the same goes for the sports world.

So until we have a Gopher basketball team that scores more than eight points combined in two overtimes or the Twins drop triple-digits on someone not named Joe Mauer, we bring you It’s The Little Things, a semi-daily piece designed to let you know that while we’re not the Yankees or the University of Alabama, we can still find joy in what we do have.

Today, we start with some sabermetrics.

We know what you're thinking: "But wait, baseball wasn't in the headline of this story and it's February, why are you doing this to me?!"

Well, in this case, we're actually talking about basketball.

With the ever-evolving world of statistics, it's only a matter of time before in-depth, painstakingly difficult to understand stats take over every sport, something that may already be happening on the hardwood.

The stat we'll look at in particular today is EPVA, or expected point value added, designed to measure how many points a player brings to a team in comparison to an average NBA player. Think of it as the basketball version of wins above replacement, baseball's popular stat rating how important a player is.

According to a Sloan Sports Conference article found by Michael Rand of the Star Tribune, in 2012-13, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio ranked in last in this category amongst 327 NBA players, posting a -2.38 and -3.33 respectively.

Is it a big deal? Not right now, it's a ridiculously obscure, completely minor stat, but maybe one that in time could help explain that despite both players being fully healthy, the Wolves continue to lose.

Our second item is one that may be a prelude to the same story being written about Wild captain and Finland star Mikko Koivu in the coming days.

For now though, it's about former Wild forward Marian Gaborik, and the fact that he has been ruled out of the Olympics for Slovakia.

"Gabby" has not fully recovered from a broken collarbone, and he stated that not being able to participate in what would've been his third straight Olympics is "extremely disappointing".

Gaborik played for Minnesota the first eight seasons of his career before signing with the Rangers in 2009, and has missed the last month-and-a-half with the injury.

As for Koivu, he is out tonight against the Predators, Minnesota's last game before the Olympic break. According to Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher Wednesday, Koivu would not be cleared to practice Thursday, let alone play in the final contest.

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