Minnesota Timberwolves too low in annual League Pass Rankings

D'Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves ranked shockingly low in the annual NBA League Pass Rankings completed by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe completes an annual exercise of ranking all 30 teams in the NBA based on their watchability (subscription required). This year, the Minnesota Timberwolves came in surprisingly low.

There are several factors included in his analysis, to save from them simply being a power ranking of sorts.

The categories considered include highlight potential/star power, playing style (basically, coaching), zeitgeist (do people care about the team), “unintentional comedy”, and League Pass minutiae, which is essentially jerseys, court design, and local announcers.

The Wolves have run the gamut in terms of their ranking over the last several years, including as high as No. 10 in 2017. This season, they checked in surprisingly low.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are too low in annual League Pass Rankings

Believe it or not, Lowe ranked the Wolves No. 21.

Put simply, there is no way that there are 20 teams more watchable than the 2020-21 Minnesota Timberwolves.

Unfortunately, Lowe doesn’t break down his overall ranking into categories, so it’s unclear where they went wrong in his mind.

Everyone knows that the Fox Sports North announcing duo of Dave Benz and Jim Peterson is arguably the best in the business. That isn’t up for debate. Sure, the uniforms are somewhat bland and while they mostly look sharp, they aren’t all too exciting. Ditto for the design of the Target Center floor. That might bring that category down just a bit.

The “zeitgeist” ranking probably takes a hit since the team calls the Twin Cities home, but that category should be tied closely to the “highlight potential/star power” category, should it not?

Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the 20-best players in the league. D’Angelo Russell is one of the more entertaining secondary stars, with his mixture of creative passing and impossibly-accurate chucking from everywhere on the court. Add in No. 1 overall pick and certified bulldozer Anthony Edwards, defensive wizard Josh Okogie, and creative passer Ricky Rubio and it’s hard to see how the Wolves couldn’t rank fairly high in the “star power” category.

Their “style” isn’t all too exciting from a coaching standpoint, but they play at one of the league’s fastest paces and score plenty, both from inside the paint and from beyond the arc.

If the rap on the Wolves is that their defense isn’t any good, then shouldn’t they get some credit for having high-scoring games nearly every night?

The “unintentional comedy” of the Wolves is admittedly not very high, but that’s surely okay with most fans.

Notable teams ranked as more exciting than the Minnesota Timberwolves

Teams ranked ahead of the Wolves include the Washington Wizards (No. 17), Utah Jazz (No. 18), Chicago Bulls (No. 19), and Houston Rockets (No. 20).

Let’s start with the Rockets. Yes, James Harden is great, but is it really more fun to watch him hoist contested step-back 3s for an entire game than it is to see Towns score both inside and out, dominate the glass, and fling cross-court passes out of double-teams?

The shells of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins aren’t going to be much to write home about, either.

The Bulls could be fun, mostly because of Zach LaVine and the way that Billy Donovan-coached teams typically play, but it feels like their ranking is mostly due to the nostalgia surrounding their uniforms and court.

The Jazz are a little too slow and Donovan Mitchell-dependent to be ranked as highly as No. 18. Then again, Quin Snyder is fun to watch roaming the sidelines, even with a mask. We still can enjoy the floppy hair and wild eyes.

The Wizards at No. 17 is perhaps the craziest ranking. Poor Bradley Beal is a joy to watch, but aging Russell Westbrook and a smattering of odd-fitting forwards and big men make the roster … less-than-exciting, to say the least.

Next. The Wolves could use more Jaden McDaniels. dark

At any rate, the Wolves clock in at No. 20. Sitting with a 2-0 record, however, if they can stay healthy and rack up a few more wins, they would certainly rocket up any midseason version of Lowe’s rankings.