Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 things to be thankful for this Christmas

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Dario Saric
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 21: Dario Saric #36 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had an up-and-down start to the 2018-19 season, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a few things to be thankful for as we head towards the new year.

The 2018-19 season has been a roller coaster for the Minnesota Timberwolves fans, and with a 15-18 record on Christmas, there have certainly been more downs than ups.

That said, the Timberwolves still have a 22-year-old All-Star, a resurgent MVP on a veteran’s minimum contract, an exciting young rookie, and more. There’s always a silver lining, and in Minnesota’s case, there are several.

Let’s go ahead and jump into our countdown of the top 5 things that the Wolves have to be thankful for this holiday season.

5. A packed Western Conference

The Timberwolves are just 15-18 but sit only 2.5 games behind eighth-place Houston. Of course, there are four other teams that stand in between the Rockets at No. 8 and the Wolves at No. 13, but the packed nature of the West this year could ultimately serve to benefit Minnesota.

Last year, the Wolves finished in the No. 8 spot with 47 wins. This year, the teams currently jockeying for playoff position are trending towards victory totals in the low 40s.

While having 14 teams capable of making the postseason isn’t necessarily a good thing on its face, it is allowing the Wolves to stay within striking distance despite a rough start to the season.

Further demonstrating just how close the race is, there are eight teams with point differentials within one point of even. After Golden State, Denver, and Oklahoma City, eight of the next 10 teams are within one point of zero, with only Sacramento (currently No. 7 with a -1.3 differential) and San Antonio (No. 9 with a +1.8 differential) fall outside that range.

There are surprises in the mix (Dallas, Memphis, the Clippers, Sacramento) and disappointments that were in the playoffs last year (Houston, Utah, New Orleans, Minnesota), and with everyone packed so close together it’s fair to assume that things will still change significantly.

At this point, however, Minnesota can be thankful that they’re still more or less in the thick of things in the West.