Predicting how many games will the Minnesota Timberwolves win in 2020-21

Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves,
Minnesota Timberwolves, /

Experts predict the Minnesota Timberwolves’ win total ceiling

There are three expert predictions that are clearly more bullish on the Wolves’ chances in 2020-21 than all of the ESPN projections.

First, a former ESPNer: John Hollinger of The Athletic, the former VP of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies.

As part of his comprehensive season preview series, Hollinger published his season preview on the Wolves (subscription required), including BORG projections for each individual player. He doesn’t provide his method for predicting the final win total, but it’s fair to assume that he relies heavily on his models to spit out the final projection.

His initial final projection had the Wolves at 36-36, breaking even and challenging for the No. 9 and 10 spots in the West. Following the release of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, however, he docked them a whopping three wins, and his projection now sits at 33-39.

Still, Hollinger clearly believes that the offensive upside of the Wolves — and Karl-Anthony Towns in particular — is high enough to sniff the play-in conversation.

FiveThirtyEight’s model has vacillated between 34 and 35 wins for Minnesota and gives them a 31 percent chance to make the playoffs. (Note that Orlando is also projected to win 35 games but has a 62 percent chance of participating in the postseason. Must be nice to be in the Eastern Conference.)

The most positive look at the Wolves’ season comes from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, who uses ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus to assign 35.6 wins to Ryan Saunders’ crew (subscription required). He notes that they’re projected to finish No. 7 in offense league-wide but only No. 28 defensively — sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Okay, now it’s time for a projection from yours truly on a final win total for the Wolves…