Apr 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) passes behind his head at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
USA Today has spoken. Apparently, there will be 12 teams during the 2014-2015 NBA season more watchable than the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The slowly unfolding USA Today NBA Watchability Rankings is counting down the 30 teams in the league in terms of how entertaining their play on the court is, and according to them, the new-look Wolves are right in the middle of the pack.
CHECKING IN AROUND THE LEAGUE
The countdown began on Sept. 8 with “shocker”, the Philadelphia 76ers ranking dead last, and will conclude on Monday, which is the the first day of preseason games. While the list does not necessarily directly correlate with how good the teams are projected to be, you can make a good argument for that being the case.
As of Friday night, the top four have yet to be revealed and the only teams left are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and defending-champion San Antonio Spurs. I don’t think many of us would be surprised if that group of teams finished with the four strongest overall regular season records.
There are a couple of instances where the team’s entertainment level may not directly reflect just how good they are expected to be though.
For example, the Orlando Magic are at #26, but I think with their young core of Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic, they could push for a low playoff seed in the still inferior Eastern Conference.
Additionally, the Milwaukee Bucks come in at #21 – certainly not a great placement, but I would be surprised if there were nine teams who finish worse in the standings than last year’s worst team. I guess when you draft a potential superstar in Jabari Parker at number two you’re bound to garner some attention. The addition of drink spillage-prone Jason Kidd as their new head coach may also contribute to their somewhat generous watchability ranking.
ANALYZING THE WOLVES AT NUMBER 13
I believe the T-Wolves are one of the most obvious examples of sky-high on-court entertainment expectations, saddled with relatively low overall success expectations. With that being said, I think they should have cracked the top 10 in the watchability rankings.
I mean the trio of Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach LaVine should definitely get them into the top-tier – certainly not ahead of Lob City in LA and the rest of the final four. I also freely admit that the Splash Brothers in Golden State, the quickly improving New Orleans Pelicans, and maybe the Rockets and Wizards deserve their spots above Minnesota.
September 29, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) and guard Stephen Curry (30) pose for photos during media day at the Warriors Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
If I were counting down the most watchable teams in the league for this upcoming season, I’d feel good about placing the Wolves at number nine.
Those who finished ahead of the Wolves included the Miami Heat at #12 and the Chicago Bulls at #6. With the loss of a certain superstar in the offseason, why are the Heat still ranked in the upper half of the league?
Dwyane Wade is no longer “Flash” and Chris Bosh is most entertaining in his post-game video bombs. Assuming Derrick Rose is healthy this season, the Bulls certainly become a heck of a lot more fun to watch, but unless you have an obsession with defense-oriented basketball, I’d rather watch a Wolves game on NBATV (that’s my attempt at an unbiased opinion).