Here are a few numbers of note as we work our way through March:
• 3,000: Owing to a combination of high-usage rates and good health, both Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are on pace to exceed 3,000 minutes played this season. Both are averaging about 37 minutes per game — as was Zach LaVine before he was lost for the season to a torn ACL last month.
So what does that mean? Well, on the one hand it’s a badge of honor and an indicator of how much each of those young players mean to the Wolves. And it’s not a ridiculous workload in the context of history. Michael Jordan topped 3,000 minutes 12 times in his career; LeBron James has done it seven times.
More could be made of it here, though, because part of new coach Tom Thibodeau’s reputation in Chicago — whether it’s fact, fiction or somewhere in between — was for wearing out players.
Among players who have appeared in at least 40 NBA games this season, Wiggins, Towns and LaVine rank in the top five in minutes played per game. Again, that underscores their production and how much they have been relied upon this season — particularly Wiggins and Towns, neither of whom has missed a game all year.
• .394: That’s ByungHo Park’s spring training batting average with the Twins this year, and other numbers such as four (home runs) and slugging percentage (.818) are just as eye-opening.
These are practice games for a reason, of course, as pitchers tinker with new things and long shots serve up fat pitches to willing hitters.
But those big numbers for Park at least make you wonder if he’s going to adjust better to major league pitching in his second season, and if last year’s injuries to his wrist and finger had more to do with his swoon than we thought at the time.
This is a guy, after all, who hit 105 combined home runs in 2014 and 2015 in Korea before coming over to the Twins.
• .899: That’s Devan Dubnyk’s save percentage during the Wild’s recent 10-game swoon during which Minnesota has gone 2-8 and fallen below Chicago in the division race. It’s a continuation of a trend, too, for Dubnyk.
While Dubnyk’s overall numbers this season are still very good — 36 wins, .927 save percentage, 2.18 goals- against average — he’s certainly been more human than he was during a torrid start to the season. In his first 27 games this season, Dubnyk had a .947 save percentage.
That wasn’t going to be sustainable, and here is the result: In his past 31 games, that percentage is just .908 — not terrible, but a notable drop-off. The Wild continued to win until this month even after Dubnyk cooled off, thanks to a terrific offense.
But a slowed-down offense — two goals or fewer in seven of the Wild’s past 10 games — has magnified the downturn in Dubnyk’s numbers.