Do any of the rumored playoff systems affect the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves currently are second-to-last place in the Western Conference, and with numerous playoff proposals being thrown around the basketball universe, it’s important to take a look at how they could affect the Timberwolves.

The first proposal that has been rumored is a potential play-in tournament. It would feature the seven through ten seeds for each conference and would be either a single game or best-of-three series depending on time constraints. This would give an opportunity to the Pelicans and Trail Blazers to make the playoffs but also give the Grizzlies and Mavericks a possibility of losing their spot.

According to The Ringer, this outcome is seemingly less likely than others being weighed. But even if the league were to have games played prior to a possible play-in tournament, the Timberwolves would not have enough time to obtain a seed high enough to be included, unfortunately.

The only way which it may affect the Wolves is if the Nets fall out of the playoffs, thus qualifying their first-round pick to be protected, deferring the Wolves’ ownership of it to next year (when they will presumably have both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant back from injury).

The next proposed idea is just a standard playoff sequence with a shortened first-round. Again, should the Timberwolves be brought back to play half-a-dozen games, there is still no possible way they could make the playoffs.

Finally, the most interesting idea (popularized by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor) is having a league-wide group stage replace the first round of the playoffs. The idea is that, similar to both the Soccer World Cup and UEFA Champions League, groups of teams compete in a round-robin in order to determine who moves on to the regular knockout-style tournament.

O’Connor puts it best. 

"“One proposal is to replace the first round of the playoffs with a “group stage” in which the 20 teams with the best records would be placed into four groups of five teams. Teams would play two games against each opponent in their own group, and the teams with the two best records from each group would qualify for the second round of the playoffs. Eight teams would advance, and then teams would play seven-game series to determine the champion.”"

This way, the league incorporates most teams while still giving everything a competitive feel. Every single game would be ‘must-win’.

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Unfortunately for the Minnesota Timberwolves, though, they stand eight games behind the 20th-worst team in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs. This means that, even if the NBA did simply go into the regular season with a set amount of games, it is highly unlikely that the Timberwolves would be included in any playoff format, even if it is expanded. There is very little incentive for Minnesota to be motivated to win games once the NBA does, eventually, return.