It’s been two weeks since we’ve checked in on the league power rankings, and a lot has changed for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On the heels of winning seven of their last eight games, the Wolves have been slowly rising power rankings from around the NBA blogosphere. Let’s take a look at where they sit at the moment.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Power rankings round-up, Week Six
While there is indeed something of a consensus around the Wolves, it’s admittedly weird that they’ve been as streaky as they have been this year despite relative health.
The Wolves, of course, started the year on a high note, then proceeded to lose to New Orleans and Orlando and eventually lose five consecutive games. Now, they’ve won seven out of eight and been competitive nearly every night.
Still, we’re seeing power rankings from around the internet start to agree on the Wolves as a play-in-capable team, ranking them somewhere in the mid-teens at roughly the quarter-pole of the season.
ESPN still lags behind in their belief in the Timberwolves
Of all the power rankings we’ve monitored this season here at Dunking With Wolves, ESPN has been the most guarded when it comes to the Timberwolves.
That’s still the case, as they have the Wolves ranked down at No. 19, which is still a rise of four spots from last week’s spot. Still, a 3-1 week with an impressive win over the Miami Heat and a double-overtime road win over a mostly-healthy Philadelphia 76ers team on the second night of a back-to-back deserves more than the somewhat modest bump.
The Athletic shares concerns about Timberwolves’ legitimacy
Zach Harper of The Athletic has also been reticent to jump aboard the Timberwolves’ bandwagon, but he’s starting to come around just a bit after the recent hot streak.
Harper has the Wolves at No. 18 (subscription required), noting that they are the one team he simply can’t get a handle on this year — yet still is concerned that a downturn is on the horizon, because, well, Wolves.
NBA.com is reasonable about the Timberwolves, per usual
Jon Schuhmann at NBA.com always does a great job, and he has the Wolves ranked at No. 17, which feels perfectly reasonable.
Also per usual, he brings some intriguing statistical analysis to the table. Schumann notes that D’Angelo Russell is legitimately clutch: of the 19 players who have attempted at least 200 “clutch shots” over the past four seasons, he has the best field goal percentage — an impressive 54.3 percent.
Bleacher Report ranks the Timberwolves at No. 16
Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report has been relatively bullish on the Wolves, and has them squarely in the middle of the pack at No. 16.
His ranking was done before the Wolves’ loss at Charlotte and wins against Philadelphia and Indiana, but he noted that heading into last weekend, the Wolves were actually No. 5 in the Western Conference in point differential, suggesting that their record easily could be better than the 9-9 mark it was at the time.
USA Today is all in on the Minnesota Timberwolves
For this week’s dose of optimism, look no further than USA Today’s Bryan Kalbrosky over at For The Win. Kalbrosky has the Wolves all the way up at No. 11, ahead of the Eastern Conference teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers.
He calls out the Wolves’ ideal starting lineup of Russell, Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Karl-Anthony Towns as being a league-best +48.3 points per 100 possessions during their 92 minutes on the floor. Of course, Beverley is out for the foreseeable future, which will keep that lineup from playing together for some time.
Another week, another mini ascension for the Timberwolves. Here’s to a couple more wins before the next round of power rankings are released…