A Timberwolves fan can be forgiven for approaching the past few years of this team with the same attitude that a small child (or an easily frightened adult, like me) takes to horror movies--the covering of one's face with an occasional question: "Is it safe to look yet?"
In the wake of a four game win streak, some fans are perhaps thinking that is safe to look now. But before you think that the team is going to be competent and unpainful to watch from now on, a quick caveat:
This four game winning streak has been put together by defeating (current records): Golden State (10-27); Chicago (15-20), Memphis (11-25), and Oklahoma! City (5-31). The best team that the Wolves have faced during this streak is a team 5 games below .500! It is possible the streak ends when they face the comparitively dangerous Milwaukee Bucks this weekend, who are only 3 games below .500.
The real issue comes in the following weeks, when Wolves fans will see how our team fares against well-run franchises--before January is done we'll see Miami, Phoenix, Clippers ("well-run" may not be the tag of choice for that franchise, admittedly), Utah, and New Orleans. I wouldn't assign any sort of Win/Loss ratio to that run of games to describe success. I think just not looking awful, and being competitive will be a great thing for a team that's just beginning to realize that it doesn't have to lose every game this year.
But is it safe to look yet? The scary music is over for the moment, but this team may just be setting you up with a false sense of security. If you haven't been watching yet, you may just want to avert your gaze for another week or two. We'll tell you when it is safe to look.
PS--Did you know that Brian Cardinal is "scrappy"? Well, did you know it was possible to play him for almost 26 minutes in an actual NBA game? It's true! That factoid alone should be a pretty sobering jolt for any drunkenly optimistic Wolvie fans.