This is what a lost season looks like.
The Timberwolves were supposed to be a feisty team this year, one with an improving core of good young players that had a real shot at making the playoffs. Kevin Love was set to be the star, Ricky Rubio was going to breakout, Kevin Martin was going to rain threes, and Nikola Pekovic was going to bring ruckus. But the T-Wolves are 34-35 and seven games back of the eight seed, and Kevin Love is doing postgame interviews with a thousand-yard stare.
It's hard to blame Love for being so distraught, because this team really is better than its record shows. The T-Wolves have a top-10 offensive rating and 12th-best defensive rating in the league according to Basketball Reference, and their Pythagorean record is 41-28. But the T-Wolves have doomed themselves by losing nearly every close game they've been in, racking up a nice collection of crushing defeats.
Another one of those crushing losses came on Sunday night, when the T-Wolves blew a 22-point lead while falling to the Phoenix Suns. They went on to get bullied by the Grizzlies last night, scoring just 15 points in the first quarter and losing 109-92. Two losses like that piled onto a season's worth of disappointment is how you end up with Kevin Love admitting that his team has had its spirit crushed.
Love's despondence is worrisome for the T-Wolves for reasons that go beyond this season, too. He's been in Minnesota for six years, playing like an all-star for four of them, but the T-Wolves have not made the playoffs once during his tenure. Love is a free agent in 2015, and he hasn't been shy about voicing his disappointment with how the team has been built around him. In all likelihood, the T-Wolves have the first half of next season to convince Love that staying in Minnesota is a good idea, otherwise the push for a trade-deadline deal is going to come on strong.
You may already be watching Kevin Love's last days in Minnesota, T-Wolves fans. Try to enjoy them more than he is.