With Jimmy Butler sidelined for what will likely be the rest of the regular season, what do the rest of the Timberwolves need to do to ensure a playoff spot?
It’s a thought that is just as scary as it is true: the Timberwolves may not qualify for the playoffs this season. Just the thought of the 13-year postseason drought coming to an end started to become surreal, and, at least for now, fans are forced to watch every game tensely.
The Wolves played like the new team everyone pictured they would be for much of the season with Jimmy Butler in the lineup. In fact, they exceeded some expectations by hanging around third and fourth-place in the West for most of the season.
Then came the Wolves first game after the All-Star break, when Butler tore his meniscus. Since then, the Wolves are 3-3 and had dropped all the way to sixth in the West prior to beating Golden State on Sunday.
Although the playoffs are not far-fetched by any means, the Wolves’ path became much harder after Butler went down. The gap between third and tenth is just four games. And for the Wolves, the gap between No. 6 and No. 10 is just one-and-a-half games. Clearly, there is not much room for error.
Without Butler being the on-floor general for the Wolves final 15 games, other guys will need to step up. For the Wolves to qualify for the playoffs these are some things that will need to be done.