Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Talkings (NBA Lottery, Morneau, Mbakwe)

-  Will the Wolves ever get lucky in the lottery?  I don't remember them ever even picking in their allotted spot, much less actually moving up, and they moved down again last night in case you missed it.  They should have picked second, but due to the inherent cruelty of a random universe they were booted down to fourth - and it's a two person draft, no matter what David Kahn will try to tell you.

The more interesting question is why do I care?  I was actually excited for the Lottery tonight.  I even set the Tivo and everything in case I was tied up with WonderbabyTM, because for some reason I couldn't possibly miss it.  Reading about it on ESPN even 15 minutes after it happened wouldn't work for me.  I absolutely had to see it.  Which is somewhat ironic, because the twenty minutes of the lottery that I watched was more than all the combined minutes of all the T-Wolves' games I watched last season.

And last season wasn't exactly unusual for me.  I don't remember the last time I watched a full Wolves game, and to be completely honest I don't even remember the last time I watched a half.  So why do I care so much about the lottery?  I was thinking maybe it's because if they got a young stud player I'd start watching again, but then I remembered that they had one of the best players of this generation in KG for like, ten years, and I rarely watched, and actually don't think I've watched at all since that run in the playoffs that one time, and I mostly only watched that because I was in Vegas at the time and slapped some money down on each game.

Maybe I'm just looking for some magic combination that will get me interested in the Wolves, but if Jonny Flynn couldn't do it I'm pretty sure John Wall, who I don't like, isn't going to do it.  Maybe if they had gotten Turner.  I would at least tune in to see how he develops.  Actually, with Wall I might watch because I like watching guys I don't like fail (Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, etc.).  Not that those guys fail all the time, or even often at all, but I still like watching when they do.  Could have been the same with Wall.

Of course, none of that really matters because they fell to fourth and will now end up with someone gross like DeMarcus Cousins or Wes Johnson, or they'll end up reaching for Al-Farouq Aminu.  Still, with three picks in the top 23 you can bet I'll end up watching.  I just won't watch any of the games.

-  Do you realize how good Justin Morneau has been this year?  He's on pace for a .366/.482/.694 season with 46 home runs, 120 RBI, and 125 walks - numbers that would give him a Mauer sweep (#1 in average, on-base, and slugging) and first in walks, third in homers, and 8th in RBI.  Those are insane numbers.

Do you want to know which players in Major League History have hit at least 46 home runs in the same season they hit .366 or better?  Babe Ruth (5 times), Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, and Larry Walker.  That's it.  That's the whole list.  If you restrict it to only those seasons with an OBP over .480 you get just Ruth and Bonds - the two best hitters in history according to pretty much everyone who doesn't have the steroid thing lodged up their butt.

I'm not even close to expecting him to keep this up.  In fact, I'm actually expecting a pretty spectacular collapse and regression to the mean here soon, but watching him hit so far this year has been an absolute pleasure.  Still, he's improved his line drive and fly ball rate, and has improved his plate patience quite a bit.  Even though his BABIP right now is not sustainable (it's 30% higher than his career rate), he could still be heading for a pretty epic season.  Even if his numbers fall to a .330 average, a .450 OBP, and 42 home runs, he'd still only be the 14th player to do that, joining a pretty impressive list of players (Ruth, Gehrig, Walker, Bonds, Jimmie Foxx, Hack Wilson, Mickey Mantle, Jason Giambi, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, and Todd Helton). 

-   Lastly, I suppose I should touch on this Trevor Mbakwe deal.  In case you missed it, Mbakwe asked for and was granted permission to be released from his scholarship and look into transferring to another school if he so chooses.  This all happened not long after he met with Joel Maturi, and now a lot of Gopher fans are up in arms about Maturi.  There are a lot of things not to like about him, but I find it difficult to find too much fault with him for he Mbakwe situation.

You can't play someone who has a felony hanging over their head.  I doubt even Calipari would have tried to pull that one off.  I don't know why his trial has taken so damn long to take place, but I doubt that is Maturi's fault either.  Simply put, Trevor won't be able to play here until the trial is behind him (and he's found innocent), and I'm guessing that Maturi told him exactly that.  I'm also guessing that it wasn't really what he was hoping to hear, and all this is a snap decision based on what has to be an incredibly frustrating time in this young man's life.  Once he realizes that transferring to another school won't solve his problem and he'll have to sit out no matter where he goes until this thing is over (not to mention the possibility of another year sitting out due to transferring again) he'll back down and still be at the U.

And really, that's all I'm going to say on the situation until something more concrete comes down, but I fully expect Mbakwe to be a Gopher when it is all said and done.

Or in prison.  Deebo rides again!


snacks said...

reread what you wrote:

Still, he's improved his line drive and fly ball rate, and has improved his plate patience quite a bit. Even though his BABIP right now is not sustainable (it's 30% higher than his career rate),

Doesn't the first sentence render the second sentence incorrect? His improved BABIP is likely a direct result of his improved approach at the plate (as indicated in the first sentence), which is potentially sustainable, and therefore the improved BABIP is potentially sustainable.

WWWWWW said...

An improvement is sustainable. An improvement from .292 to .414 is not. I should have been more clear.

klinger said...

According to the Strib, the 12 times the Wolves have been in the lottery (now 13 I guess), they've stayed put 6 times, and moved down 6 times. That means they've NEVER had their ping-pong ball come up.

Helton said...

Speaking of Helton, old man river finally limp wristed his first home run of the year yesterday. A tribute to his true excellence. That with his .274 avg and .390 OBP he has truly set the bar high for himself this year. The fact that more than 1 person is actually calling for more Giambi speaks to the decline that is Todd Helton.

J. Kubel said...

I would slice off 40 pounds from my over sized gut to have Heltons numbers this year.