The Minnesota Timberwolves did not step onto the basketball court on Sunday, March 5, 2023. At the time, the Timberwolves’ record of 34-32 was good enough to be the seventh-best in the NBA Western Conference. But by the end of the day, the Minnesota Timberwolves found themselves to be the sixth-best team in the NBA Western Conference, and only one-half game behind the fifth-place Golden State Warriors.
That is all thanks to the highly competitive nature of the NBA Western Conference. While the Timberwolves were idle, the Phoenix Suns (36-29) dropped the Dallas Mavericks (33-32) and the LA Lakers (31-34) blew past the Golden State Warriors (34-31). Even the Oklahoma City Thunder (30-34) rolled over the Utah Jazz (31-34).
As long as the Timberwolves’ NBA rivals continue to pick one another off, and the Timberwolves find ways to win, the team has an ever-increasing chance of earning a second consecutive NBA Playoff appearance.
Time for Timberwolves to make a playoff run?
With the Timberwolves at 34-32, the team has just 16 games remaining in their 2022-23 NBA season schedule. Mathematically, the team can do no better than 50-32, and no worse than 34-48.
Let’s split the difference, and project the Minnesota Timberwolves to split the difference with an 8-8 record to finish 42-40. Will that cut it? While it will be a slightly less impressive record than their 2021-22 NBA season, the fact that the Timberwolves are able to compete with nearly an entire season without All-Star PF/C Karl-Anthony Towns is saying quite a bit about this team. And if the Timberwolves do get KAT back into the lineup in time to tune up for the NBA Playoffs, this team could make some noise.
Let’s not fool ourselves. While you can play any fictitious scenario in your estimation, the Minnesota Timberwolves end the 2021-22 NBA season with clear certainty that the team did not have enough on the roster to challenge in the NBA Playoffs. Clearly, the 2022-23 season version has not turned out as well as some may have hoped, but can this team win games in the NBA Playoffs? While that remains to be seen, I think that the Timberwolves have shown that they can compete with the better NBA teams this season, even when they are shorthanded.
The Timberwolves simply have to get to the NBA Playoffs and see what happens once they get there. And with a little help from other NBA teams, the team could be competing in the NBA Playoffs again this season.