The Mayor Comes to Minnesota’s Front Office

Posted on September 16, 2006 by

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Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg has joined the front office of the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is hard to say at this point if he will make a good executive, although as I noted in “The Tragedy of Kevin Garnett”, the Timberwolves need all the help they can get in the front office.

What can be said is that Hoiberg was a surprisingly good NBA player. Hoiberg was taken in the second round by the Indiana Pacers in 1995. After four seasons in Indiana he signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bulls. In 2000-01 he had his most productive season. He played 74 games (starting 37) and averaged thirty minutes per contest. At first glance his numbers did not look impressive. Per game he averaged 9.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. Despite these apparently modest numbers, he produced 11.4 wins and produced 0.244 wins per 48 minutes (WP48). As noted, average WP48 is 0.100.

Hoiberg produced 43 wins during his career (Wins Produced is explained HERE and HERE) and his career WP48 was 0.207. So 2000-01 was not unusual. In fact, as we noted in The Wages of Wins, Hoiberg was one of the better players on the Timberwolves 2003-04 team that posted the best regular season mark in the NBA’s Western Conference.

What made Hoiberg a productive NBA player? His ability to score was not the key. Across his career he only averaged 5.4 points per game, and scored less than three points per ten minutes played. Hoiberg, though, did have several above average aspects to his game. He hit nearly 40% of his shots from beyond the arc in his career, and his overall shooting efficiency was above the NBA average. He also posted above average rebounding numbers while turning the ball over at a rate that was below average. Add all this together and we see that Hoiberg was an above average role player, just the kind of player that good teams need to be successful.

Going forward the challenge facing Hoiberg will be to find players just like himself to complement Kevin Garnett. Last year Garnett had the least productive teammates in the league. What Garnett needs are role players to help him carry the load. Minnesota has now added a great role player to join Kevin McHale in the front office. Can they now find a few great role players to join Garnett on the floor?

– DJ