What an NBA return would mean for the Minnesota Timberwolves

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 23: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 23: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves currently sit at 14th in the Western Conference with a 19-45 record. What would a return to action mean for the Wolves?

After a disappointing start to the season, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas made two separate trade deadline moves that essentially reset the entire roster.

The first trade involved four different teams and a total of 12 players. For the Wolves, it meant sending Robert Covington to the Houston Rockets while receiving Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez from the Denver Nuggets and the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round draft selection via the Atlanta Hawks.

In a blockbuster move, Minnesota sent Andrew Wiggins and a 2021 first-round selection to the Golden State Warriors to obtain D’Angelo Russell.

The Timberwolves have had a lot of roster turnover (and may continue to do so this offseason, with both Beasley and Hernangomez being restricted free agents). But before the offseason actually starts, though, the season has to finally end.

The NBA is in limbo — a state at which no one knows what is going on or what is going to happen next. Firstly, should the NBA cancel the remainder of the season, the draft and free agency WILL still happen. Canceling either event would cause a loss in revenue for teams as well as players, nor would it be fair to either side considering teams have made trades based on picks to be used in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The second scenario, which is a likely possibility, is having the NBA skip the final 15-20 games and merely do a playoff bracket with the top eight teams from each conference. An idea that has been circling is one that has the current 7-10 seeds in the East and West have play-in games to decide the final two playoff teams in each bracket, to make up for the loss in the regular-season competition. This, again, likely wouldn’t affect the Wolves in any major way, as they are not in the playoff picture (or even relatively close).

Finally, the NBA could resume the regular season (probably without fans based on their preferred timeline). Nothing is a given nor should anything be assumed should the league decide to resume the season. Most players have not had access to the training facilities, equipment, or personnel offered by NBA-level organizations and almost everyone will likely have a little ‘rust’.

Minnesota, though, will likely have both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell healthy. That is a genuinely big deal, given they have only played one game together.

The Timberwolves are very clearly more talented than the Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls, and Hornets, who all are within four games of Minnesota for the third-best lottery odds. The Wolves likely drop in the lottery if the NBA brings back the remainder of the regular season.

Next. Where each Wolves player lands in a re-draft. dark

There is not a big difference for the Timberwolves this season as to the different scenarios the NBA may take. There also is not much promise for the NBA continuing this season. While at least a return for the playoffs is preferable, it may not be feasible with COVID-19 lingering.