Last month, the Wolves and Knicks played a game in New York that I figured could very well determine which team would wind up with the most ping pong balls in the NBA draft lottery.
Both teams were well along the losing path by then, be it by circumstance or extra effort. I was so sure it would be a crucial game in the draft race that I wrote a preview story for it, dubbing the game “The Battle of Who Could Care Less,” and making other references to Ben Folds Five songs to prove that I have a finger on the pulse of 1990s piano rock music, which is surely what the kids these days are listening to.
Both teams were 14-53 going into that game, tied for the league’s worst record, so it stood to reason that the winner could very well be the draft loser, and vice-versa. While it’s only a matter of a few percentage points difference (25 to 20) in the chances of landing the top pick, having the No. 1 spot going into the draft also ensures falling no further than No. 4; being No. 2 means you could fall all the way to No. 5. In a top-heavy draft, that means something.
In any event, I figured the Knicks had the upper hand in winning that game against the Wolves. It was in New York, after all, and the Wolves were playing the second night of a back-to-back.
But I underestimated New York’s will to lose. Despite a combined 12-for-43 shooting night from Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Martin, The Wolves prevailed in overtime. It pushed their record one-game better than New York’s — 15-53 to 14-54.
Both teams have gone exactly 1-9 since then, keeping the Wolves one game ahead of New York with four to play. The Knicks do have winnable remaining games against the Bucks, Magic and Pistons left. Wolves at Lakers tonight is probably their best bet at getting a win before the year is out.
It wouldn’t be altogether surprising, though, to see both squads lose all of them the rest of the way. It would set up an interesting night on May 19 when the NBA draft lottery is held. That Battle of Who Could Care Less could determine the fate of both franchises.
Cornerback Jabari Price, who was arrested for suspicion of driving while impaired in the hours after the regular-season finale in December, had his charge reduced to careless driving Wednesday.
During a court appearance, Price agreed to do 30 days of electronic home monitoring, according to his attorney, David Valentini. Price, who passed all drug tests leading up to the court date, has also entered into a substance abuse education program and paid a $300 fine, Valentini said.
In the early hours of Dec. 29, a state trooper observed Price speeding while driving southbound on Interstate 35W and pulled Price over. The trooper “detected impairment in the driver,” according to the incident report, and administered a breathalyzer test. Price had a blood alcohol level of 0.13 percent, was arrested on suspicion of DWI at the scene and booked in Hennepin County jail.
While the 22-year-old was able to get the charge reduced to careless driving Wednesday, he is still subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy and could face a fine or a suspension from the league.
Price, a Florida native who played college football at North Carolina, was a seventh-round pick last May. Price played 14 games for the Vikings as a rookie. He was mostly used on special teams but also played 46 defensive snaps as a reserve. He had 10 tackles in his first season.
Historically speaking, what does it mean when a major league team starts 0-3? David Schoenfield from ESPN crunched the numbers, which are of course relevant to your 2015 Twins:
Per his research: I checked all 0-3 and 3-0 teams over the previous 10 seasons. Twenty-seven teams started 0-3 and they had a final win-loss average of 78-84. Twenty-nine teams started 3-0 and they averaged 84-78. So if you knew nothing about the teams above other than the records from the first three games, you would project the teams that started 3-0 to fare better by the end of the season.
There are exceptions; last year’s Angels started 0-3 but won 98 games. The 2012 Giants started 0-3 and won the World Series. Seven of the 27 teams who started 0-3 made the postseason.
Of particular note, though, is just how badly the Twins were knocked around in Detroit. It’s one thing to start 0-3; it’s quite another to get outscored 22-1 in the process, while looking almost completely listless at the plate and in the field.
As such, Schoenfield concludes, “If I’m a Twins fans, maybe I do start worrying already (not that expectations were high).”
Can’t say I blame him for coming to that conclusion. The Twins went conservative in pretty much every offseason move, and that — plus the big Ervin Santana blow — is costing them dearly so far.