The facts of the matter lead us to the conclusion that the Wolves' early struggles should be no surprise. They have a new GM, an overhauled roster, a new coach and a complicated new offensive system. They are playing young players to see what they can do. Their best player is coming back from a major knee injury. Another key starter hasn't played a game yet because of an injury.
But in all of that, there is this: we didn't expect the Wolves to be this bad this season. As in, a 1-11 record with that victory coming on a furious opening night comeback at Target Center against a New Jersey team that is still winless. As in, dead last in the Hollinger Power Rankings (and not even really close to 29th, where that winless New Jersey squad resides). As in, the coach and players have a hard time agreeing on just what the offense is.
There is really no shame in bottoming out -- in winning 15 games instead of 25 -- as long as it leads to an honest evaluation and plan of how to turn 15 into 30, into 45, into 55. Everyone knew all along that this was not the year the Wolves would start to be competitive. But perhaps what we didn't know is how far they would have to fall in order to try to bounce back up. When Kevin Love returns, it will help. How much is unknown. Al Jefferson will continue to work back to his pre-injury form. Jonny Flynn will gain experience and has already shown flashes of the player he can become.
For the time being, though? Sweet mercy, this is some frighteningly bad basketball -- even worse than expected, which is saying a lot for this franchise.