The Minnesota Timberwolves come out of the All-Star Break firmly in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference. Let’s look at where that places them in various power rankings from around the web.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Power rankings round-up, Week 18
At the NBA’s unofficial midway point, the Minnesota Timberwolves are 31-28, three games above the .500 mark and solidly in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference. It’s a good spot to be, as it comes with home-court advantage and the need to only win a single play-in game to get into the real playoff bracket.
The Wolves are two games up on the LA Clippers and just 2.5 games back from the Denver Nuggets for the coveted No. 6 spot, which would allow them to climb out of the play-in tournament altogether.
It would be fair to assume that the no. 7 spot in either conference would virtually guarantee a power rankings slot of No. 13 or No. 14 league-wide. Alas, that is not the case.
NBA.com has the Timberwolves right where they should be
John Schuhmann of NBA.com has been the most consistent with his power rankings all season long, and that continues here.
Schuhmann has the Wolves remaining at No. 14 in his rankings, citing the continued dominance of the Wolves starting lineup: the starters rank second in net rating among the 24 lineups who have played at least 200 minutes together.
He also notes the concerns about the defense, as Minnesota continues to rank No. 29 in defensive rebound rate and No. 30 in opponent free throw attempts per game.
ESPN and CBS Sports have the Timberwolves as solidly middle-of-the-pack
ESPN has generally one of the more pessimistic outlets when it comes to the Timberwolves, and they’ve finally at least come around to placing the Wolves at No. 15.
The write-up at ESPN focuses on Patrick Beverley’s extension, noting how well he’s played over the past few weeks. It’s fair to assume that PatBev’s offensive efficiency will only continue to rise, as he continues to shoot a career-worst from outside the arc. That number has to come up a bit at some point.
CBS Sports also has the Wolves at No. 15, without much context. Curiously, they have Minnesota a spot below the 28-30 Atlanta Hawks.
The Athletic remains skeptical of the Timberwolves
Zach Harper at The Athletic has consistently ranked the Wolves lower than any of the other sites we’ve reviewed throughout the year, and this week is no different.
Harper as the Wolves at No. 16 (subscription required), but, for the first time this season, he’s jumped them out of Tier 4: Play-In Tournament Gives Them Life, to Tier 3: Playoff Hopefuls.
Indeed, Minnesota is only 2.5 games out of ditching the play-in entirely, so it is certainly not out of the realm of realistic possibilities.
If the Wolves can at least split a difficult back-to-back this week against Memphis and Philadelphia, we can expect the Wolves to be in a similar spot in each of these rankings come next week.