Since the beginning of this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves had their sights set on reaching the Western Conference Playoffs. That’s the goal: cash in the potential of all the failed lottery picks, stay healthy, march right up to the first round and give it a shot.
The schedule has taken its toll on the Wolves thus far and they sit comfortably outside the eighth spot in the West — as comfortable as it can be being on the outside looking in, the Wolves are 15-15 after resounding 20+ point victories over the current Eastern Conference fifth seeded Washington Wizards and league doormat (hey, don’t worry, we’ve been there) Milwaukee Bucks.
The schedule has been hammered on repeatedly as being not only heavy with back-to-backs but also bizarre travel-wise. The road trip which took them from Dallas to Memphis and then to Boston the very next night got more than a few aural head scratches from Wolves play-by-play radio voice Alan Horton and Wolves color commentator Jim Peterson, but the point of all the questioning is that the Wolves can now really benefit from not only the lack of back-to-back situations in January, but the lack of travel overall.
Saturday night’s trip to Milwaukee is a trip the Wolves should be making twice a year same as Chicago, Indiana, Cleveland — even Memphis could be included in this realignment of not only the Central Division, but the Conferences themselves. There is no reason for Oklahoma City, Utah and Portland to be in the same division as Minnesota. This is a tangent that is impossible to avoid when considering the Western Conference Playoff picture — fifteen wins would not only put the Wolves at the top of the Atlantic Division, it would also give them the fourth seed in the East with only one loss behind the third-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
Again, this is a tangential issue which should pop up over and over again from time to time.