Scientists estimate that human cells, on average, are replaced every 7-10 years — a fun fact, particularly for those who choose to interpret it as an impetus for change and escaping the past.
Though the real answer is no, you aren't a new person every seven years because some things don't fundamentally change and different types of cells are replaced at different rates, the symbolism is inescapable.
We can apply a turbo-charged version of this idea to NBA teams — entities that are far more complex than one simple human body. Teams often under go dramatic changes many times even during the course of one season, making them unpredictable and diminishing the value of cumulative results.
This is particularly true of the Timberwolves and the Clippers, their opponent in Tuesday's play-in game at Target Center.
It's a "bad" matchup in a couple basic ways, as Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
The Wolves finished 46-36 this season while the Clippers were 42-40. But head-to-head, the Wolves were 1-3 against the Clippers and lost those three games by a combined 58 points.
Paul George, the Clippers' best healthy player, returned from injury recently to lead a late L.A. surge. He has played in 108 career playoff games and has been part of 51 postseason wins. The Wolves' three best players — Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell — have combined to play in 10 playoff games with two wins in their careers.
George was healthy and played in all three of those Clippers wins over the Wolves. Russell missed two of those three losses.
But the larger idea is this: All three losses were played during an 11-day span in November. After the last meeting, the Wolves were 4-8 and the Clippers were 8-4.
Clearly, Minnesota underwent a dramatic change from there, going 42-28 the rest of the way (including a win over the Clippers in early January). The Clippers, largely because of injuries to George and others, floundered but again were remade before the season ended.
Tuesday comes down to this: Which regenerated team is the strongest over 48 minutes? Betting markets have installed the Wolves as slight favorites, anywhere from 2-3 points.
The reward for winning is avoiding a win-or-go-home game against the winner of the San Antonio vs. New Orleans matchup as well as a shot at Memphis in the playoffs.
The Wolves are 2-2 against the Grizzlies this season. If you view that as a good matchup for the Wolves, you have to view Tuesday as a bad one — even if the real dissection is more complicated than the nature of our cells.