The Timberwolves will win 55 games and host a playoff series if …

It is unhealthy to be positive in regards to the Timberwolves, however it’s no amusing to be pessimistic even if that frequently proves to be prudent.

This 12 months, there may be as a lot explanation why for optimism as at any level since Kevin Garnett was once enjoying at an MVP stage. Nothing will be given to the Wolves, who get started their season Wednesday night time at Target Center in opposition to Oklahoma City, however the trail is there for them to win kind of two out of each and every 3 games.

As I see it, those are the 5 keys to the Wolves successful 55 games, getting a top-four seed within the Western Conference and being a professional playoff danger:

  • Defensive consistency: The Wolves completed a decent No. 13 in defensive score ultimate season, a primary key of their bounce to 46 wins and a playoff berth. (*55*) that forged appearing, although, there was once inconsistency on every occasion the Wolves strayed from their scramble and recuperate taste of protection. They additionally have been bludgeoned by way of offensive rebounds and 2d likelihood issues all the way through the 12 months — and most importantly in shedding to Memphis within the playoffs. The acquisition of defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert will clearly assist, in particular at the rebounding aspect, however we nonetheless wish to see if the Wolves can play the kinds of more than one coverages that will be required of them in opposition to height warring parties.
  • Chemistry and roles clicking previous quite than later: Let’s no longer put out of your mind, this group began 4-9 a season in the past. That way they have been 42-27 the remainder of the best way, however scrambling like that may be laborious. The agenda this 12 months units up favorably for a faster get started, with 9 of the primary 12 games at house. But as was once mentioned on Wednesday’s Daily Delivery podcast, early-season function definition, in particular for gamers like Anthony Edwards, may just lead to a couple clunky moments. How temporarily issues come in combination will be a key to attaining the mid-50s in wins; the games in October and November, finally, depend simply the similar within the standings as all of the leisure.
  • Contract 12 months D’Angelo Russell: As Chris Hine and I additionally mentioned at the podcast, Russell remains to be right here. He was once an All-Star with the Nets the ultimate time he went into a season looking for a giant new contract, and he nonetheless has the possible to be the X-factor in a lot of games for the Wolves. He will make the offense float or bathroom down, and he may have some other defensive obligations this season as smartly. A motivated, wholesome and productive D-Lo is very important for luck.
  • The Karl-Anthony Towns and Gobert experiment: This is going with out pronouncing and has been explored in a lot better element than you will in finding right here, however pairing two gifted however other seven-foot facilities in the similar lineup goes to require some flexibility and some magic from head trainer Chris Finch. Will it paintings in opposition to smaller ultimate time lineups? Can Towns modify to a lot of mins at energy ahead? We did not get a lot of a preseason pattern measurement, so there will be kinks to figure out alongside the best way. But they’re two of the Wolves’ 3 very best gamers, so maximizing their strengths is significant.
  • Role gamers being a web certain: The Wolves did not deal away any stars to get Gobert, however they traded 3 gamers with necessary outlined roles in Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley. All 3 ranked within the height seven at the group in mins performed ultimate season. Expanded roles for Jaylen Nowell and Taurean Prince, plus contributions from newbies Kyle Anderson, Austin Rivers and Bryn Forbes (amongst others) will inform a giant tale within the heart quarters of games.

Perhaps the largest distinction this season in comparison to earlier years is none of those 5 elements appear in particular outlandish. The trail to being a actual contender within the West is apparent and doable. Now we need to see if the Wolves can get there.

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