The Timberwolves finished the regular season at 40-42, the ninth consecutive year the squad didn't win more games than it lost. Now they're without a head coach after Rick Adelman's retirement, and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders is considering a handful of candidates as he starts the search.
One thing the new head coach, whoever it is, might like to see improve: the team's shooting. Check out the Timberwolves' regular season shot chart, broken down into 15 different zones. (Note: Red is below league average, yellow is comparable to league average, green is above league average.)
They shot 44.4 percent overall (eighth-worst in the NBA), and 34.1 percent from 3-point land (fifth-worst).
But who was the main Minnesota culprit?
What can we learn from such visualizations?
Point Guard Play
The team's point guards had trouble finishing around the rim.
Ricky Rubio (pictured, click to enlarge) was a subpar 47 percent shooter around the basket, converting on 149 of 317 attempts down there. Alexey Shved (whose shot chart looks like it's Christmas-themed with all the green and red) hit 48.84 percent inside; J.J. Barea meanwhile was 45.21 percent (a cool 118 for 261). None of the three were particularly consistent from outside either.
The team's sharpshooters – Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger – fared anywhere from decent to bad. Budinger, who was recovering from knee surgery, didn't shoot better than 40 percent from anywhere outside the paint. Martin flashed in a few spots (most notably the left side of the arc, where he took about one-tenth of his shots and hit 41.5 percent) but overall didn't provide much in above average shooting numbers.
As for the team's superstar Kevin Love: He was decent. There was only one area where he shot below average (right at the top of the key), and he shot well in a few spots on the right side. Otherwise, he was around league from average everywhere (pictured, click to enlarge).
What's the reason for that? Love was double-teamed a lot, that surely was a factor. Maybe his shot selection isn't great. But then again, maybe with such poor shooters around him, he had to take those shots for the Wolves to have a chance.
The shot charts tell us a lot. But don't provide us many answers. That's for the new head coach to figure out.
Some other observations:
– Nikola Pekovic only hit about 57 percent of his shots around the rim, right around league average.
– Ronny Turiaf knows his game. Of his 107 field goal attempts, 100 came around the rim (and he hit 62 of them).
– Corey Brewer shot below average from nine areas of the floor, including those corner 3-pointers many people thought he'd sink in Adelman's offense.
– Rookie Shabazz Muhammad came on late in the season, but outside of the area just outside the paint, didn't shoot well. The left-hander seems to like shooting from the left block, too, hitting 19 of 35 shots from that space.
As for that coaching search: According to KFAN host Dan Barreiro, you can cross a couple big names off the list.