Minnesota Timberwolves Power Rankings Round-Up: Week 2

D'Angelo Russell and the Minnesota Timberwolves had a roller coaster of a first week. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell and the Minnesota Timberwolves had a roller coaster of a first week. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a roller coaster of a first week of the season, and that’s reflected in our first power rankings round-up.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had quite a first week.

The Wolves opened the season with an ugly win over the Detroit Pistons before going on the road and hanging on for an upset victory over the Utah Jazz. But Karl-Anthony Towns was hurt late in the game, and we didn’t find out until late in the day on Sunday that he suffered a dislocated wrist and is week-to-week moving forward.

Following the diagnosis, the Wolves went out and were ran off the court by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Let’s take a look at what NBA analysts are saying about the Wolves’ 2-1 start and how it stacks up to the rest of the league.

An Outlier: The most optimistic ranking of the Minnesota Timberwolves

CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger started the season far too pessimistic on the Wolves, ranking them all the way down at No. 26. As near as we could tell, that was the lowest they were ranked by any site before the season began.

Now, given their 2-1 start, Ward-Henninger has jumped them all the way up to No. 13. That’s right — ahead of the likes of Philadelphia, Utah, Dallas, Boston, Milwaukee, Portland … and the list goes on.

Clearly, CBS has a different … formula (?) to what they’re doing. Here’s the explanation:

"It’s a difficult predicament for the first NBA Power Rankings of the season, because you want to reward the teams that have yet to lose, but you also know that some of the teams they’re ahead of are better. Rather than just put the teams in order by their records (what fun would that be?), we tried to take into account the teams that they beat and/or lost to, and the nature of their performances."

Still, there is no planet on which the Wolves are better than the 76ers, Mavericks, Celtics, or Bucks. Yes, they defeated Utah on Saturday so that argument could at least be made, but No. 13 is far more optimistic than the vast majority of Wolves Nation would be.

Everyone else agrees on where the Minnesota Timberwolves rank

Other than CBS, something of a consensus emerged after Week One regarding where the Wolves should rank league-wide.

The other five sites that released power rankings on Monday of Week Two have the Wolves between No. 19 and No. 21.

The Athletic’s Zach Harper ranked the Wolves at No. 19 (subscription required), with the caveat that “things will come back down to earth”, largely due to Towns’ injury.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has the Wolves at No. 20, and he went deeper than most of the rest of the power rankings. KOC added a video clip of Towns and D’Angelo Russell playing solid defense against the Jazz and notes that it’s really all the duo needs to do to elevate this team to playoff-caliber.

His overall analysis is probably the most spot-on, acknowledging that the Wolves are in big trouble without Towns, but with him and with requisite effort on the defensive end, they should be in the conversation for a play-in spot at the very least.

ESPN, NBA.com, and Bleacher Report are all in agreement that the Timberwolves are the No. 21 team in the league.

In Bleacher Report’s case, the Wolves rose from No. 26 last week with similar analysis to O’Connor, lamenting the Towns injury but still rewarding Minnesota for a 2-1 week. ESPN ranks the Wolves No. 21, up from No. 23.

For NBA.com, the rise was from No. 24. John Schuhmann does an outstanding job deep-diving on these rankings, listing each team’s pace ranking and offensive, defensive, and net ratings. He talks about the Wolves’ messy power forward situation and the encouraging start for Anthony Edwards.

He also notes that the Wolves aren’t going to suddenly tank after losing Towns for at least a few games, mostly because of the higher likelihood of making it to at least the No. 10 seed, and in turn, the play-in games.

Next. Wolves ranked too low in ESPN League Pass rankings. dark

We’ll examine power rankings from around the web each week and follow the trends. This is another difficult week, with games against the Clippers and Denver sandwiching a winnable affair on New Year’s Day against the Washington Wizards.