NBA standings based on remaining strength of schedule: Timberwolves in tricky position

Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The NBA regular season is winding down, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have just 21 games remaining on their schedule. As the All-Star break comes to a close, the Wolves will have to lock in for what will be a crucial stretch of games to end the season.

They currently sit at eighth in the Western Conference, tied with New Orleans for the seventh spot and just two games away from the four seed. They are also just three games ahead of the Lakers who occupy the 13th spot in the West. Minnesota’s performance in these final 21 games will absolutely make or break their season.

Health will play a major part in determining where they finish, but so will strength of schedule. We looked at Tankathon’s rankings of each NBA team’s remaining schedule difficulty to determine exactly how tough a challenge the Timberwolves will be up against in their final games.

NBA standings based on remaining strength of schedule:

In these rankings, each team’s remaining schedule is ranked from least to most difficult by conference. Wolves fans may be a bit surprised to see where Minnesota landed.

Western Conference:

Dallas Mavericks (.466 SOS)
New Orleans Pelicans (.473 SOS)
Oklahoma City Thunder (.482 SOS)
Los Angeles Lakers (.483 SOS)
Memphis Grizzlies (.485 SOS)
Utah Jazz (.495 SOS)
Denver Nuggets (.496 SOS)
Golden State Warriors (.502 SOS)
Houston Rockets (.502 SOS)
Portland Trail Blazers (.503 SOS)
San Antonio Spurs (.503 SOS)
Minnesota Timberwolves (.505 SOS)
Phoenix Suns (.517 SOS)
Sacramento Kings (.520 SOS)
Los Angeles Clippers (.523 SOS)

Eastern Conference: 

Detroit Pistons (.472 SOS)
Cleveland Cavaliers (.481 SOS)
Indiana Pacers (.488 SOS)
Charlotte Hornets (.489 SOS)
Chicago Bulls (.496 SOS)
Washington Wizards (.497 SOS)
Orlando Magic (.500 SOS)
Milwaukee Bucks (.508 SOS)
Boston Celtics (.509 SOS)
Miami Heat (.512 SOS)
New York Knicks (.512 SOS)
Brooklyn Nets (.512 SOS)
Toronto Raptors (.520 SOS)
Atlanta Hawks (.523 SOS)
Philadelphia 76ers (.530 SOS)

How the remaining strength of schedule impacts the Timberwolves:

The Timberwolves have the fourth-most difficult remaining schedule in the Western Conference and the 13th toughest remaining schedule overall. This will make their quest to move up in the standings and avoid the play-in that much more challenging.

It could even put their chances of making the playoffs at all in jeopardy. The Warriors, Jazz, Lakers, Pelicans, Thunder, Mavericks, and Trail Blazers are all teams jockeying for position with the Wolves that will have an easier strength of schedule going forward than Minnesota.

With this daunting schedule ahead of them, the Timberwolves will essentially be in a must-win scenario every night from here on out. Every loss they take, they will be at risk of falling out of the playoff picture, or of drawing a much more difficult matchup in the first round.

It is entirely possible the Wolves could end up on the outside of the play-in looking in if they are unable to find consistency over the final 21 games. Conversely, if they put together their best basketball of the season, there is still a chance for them to finish in the top six in the West.

More. Timberwolves have managed young players well. light