Five numbers to chew on after an interesting sports weekend:
25-12 The margin by which the Wild is outscoring opponents since the All-Star break. The Wild has scored an average of 2.78 goals scored per game in that stretch — right about its season average, which is 2.74. But it gave up 1.33 goals per game during that time — almost half its full-season average of 2.64. Translation, as if you needed further reminder: Goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has started all nine games since the break, has been the main difference-maker for this team. Yes, their overall game has improved as well. But shots that used to go in are no longer going in. Minnesota now has a 52.8 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Hockey Reference’s simulations. Before the break, it was less than 10 percent.
2009 That’s the year in which Steph Curry was drafted by Golden State, after being passed over by the Timberwolves in favor of Jonny Flynn.
That draft never will cease to haunt the Wolves, though we thought of it in a different way over the All-Star weekend when Curry won the three-point contest, Zach LaVine won the dunk contest and Andrew Wiggins was the Rising Stars game MVP. Had the Wolves chosen Curry, they almost certainly would not have Wiggins or LaVine right now. Maybe, eventually, all will be well that ends well.
2006 Much has been made about the fact that the Twins’ Torii Hunter had the worst UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) out of the 16 qualified right fielders in 2014, suggesting he had a poor defensive season. Maybe he did. But if that’s true, then he was a poor defensive outfielder in his prime, too.
Looking back at his UZR in 2006, Hunter was 30 years old and certainly in the prime of his career. He won a Gold Glove that year despite being ranked 18th out of 21 qualified center fielders in that statistical category. But he ranked fourth our of 17 right fielders in UZR in 2012. Translation: UZR might not be the most accurate way to measure Hunter’s true defensive value. (Either that, or he was vastly overrated in his first go-round with the Twins).
6 or 7 ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper and Todd McShay recently released the second versions of their 2015 NFL mock drafts. We’re still 2½ months from the draft, which begs the question: How many times are they going to redo those mocks?
If last year is a guide, the answer is: plenty. Kiper did six versions of his mock draft last year. McShay did seven. Both, by the way, had Teddy Bridgewater going to the Browns at No. 26 in their final versions. If Cleveland could have a do-over …
20 During a two-week stretch from late December to mid-January, the Wild, Timberwolves, Gophers men’s basketball and Gophers men’s hockey teams were a combined 2-20.
In the same general length of time, from late January to mid-February, those same four teams were a combined 20-6-2. It gets even better if we only include the Gophers men’s hockey team and Wild. The last time either one lost was Jan. 24. Since then, they’re a combined 13-0-2.