Where will the Timberwolves finish in 2015-16?


It has been said (and quite frankly, overstated) that the Minnesota Timberwolves are a team built to contend in the future. The hype for this team is at an all-time high and expectations will be rather lofty in the seasons to come.

Most analysts and NBA fans think that the 2015-16 season will be another sub-par season for the Timberwolves as the young players adjust to the NBA. However, what are the chances the Wolves can actually compete for a playoff spot in the upcoming season? It might be higher than some may think, we have seen young, raw teams make the playoffs in the not-so-distant past — the Milwaukee Bucks of last season would be a good example.

And while this prediction should be taken seriously, if the Timberwolves were in the Eastern Conference they would have a significantly higher chance of making the playoffs. The Western Conference is tough, but I do not think it is out of the question to say the Wolves could get a seven or an eight-seed.

Let’s think about about it: the only true locks in the Western Conference for me would be Golden State, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and maybe Houston. That’s only four out of the eight seeds. The other four could be wide open.

Memphis is a team that is getting up there in age and we have seen in the past that they can be stagnant on offense and have terrible offensive droughts from time to time. Portland lost three of their top four players from last season in LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews. Damian Lillard is very good, but can he carry a team to the playoffs?

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Dallas is always a wild card, they have had a few topsy-turvy seasons and who knows what will come out of there. New Orleans has finally made the playoffs on the heels of Anthony Davis. They may not have a strong enough roster outside of Davis to consistently be in the playoffs, however.

The way I see it, there are five teams that can make a case for those finals four spots in the west this coming season, those teams being: Memphis, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Utah, and Minnesota. Oklahoma City should be a lock, but the health of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has been up in the air for some time now.

Utah reminds me of the Timberwolves in terms of their development. They have a ton of young guys and are an under the radar team defensively. If they would have put together a full season of basketball they would have been the eighth seed this past season.

The Timberwolves are a team full of uber-athletes that can win games on both ends of the floor with their pure athleticism. They have the chance to become an elite defensive team, anchored by underrated defenders like Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, and Gorgui Dieng. They have players like Zach LaVine, Adreian Payne, and Shabazz Muhammad who have the ability to surprise people with their combination of skill and athleticism.

So here is the question: why not? Why can’t the Timberwolves make the playoffs?

With the bottom half of the Western Conference aging, this a prime opportunity for the Wolves to put the NBA on alert. Everyone is expecting the Timberwolves to be bottom-feeders yet again, this is the time for them to prove their worth. Now let me be clear, I’m not saying the Wolves will win a championship or anything like that, but do not be surprised if they wiggle their way into the seventh or eighth seed.

2015-16 could really be the Timberwolves’ coming out party. Why wait for the future when it can start right now?

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