NBA Expansion is back. But is that a good thing? A bad thing? What might an NBA expansion involve? How long would it take to implement? There is no end to the number of questions that arise on the topic. Still, there are questions that matter for the NBA as a whole, and then there are questions about how an NBA Expansion might impact individual teams.
If the NBA does ultimately expand the league from 30 to 32 teams, what does that mean for the Minnesota Timberwolves? Should Timberwolves fans worry about what that might mean for their team? We posed that question recently, and the fans who have responded so far seemed to be overwhelmingly confident that the Timberwolves roster could handle anything that the NBA/NBPA can throw at them.
But there is the flip side of the coin. Could there be a silver lining for the Minnesota Timberwolves tucked away in the details of what an NBA expansion could bring? I think so, yes.
So long platinum flying status?
In terms of travel miles (which also equate to hours spent flying from point A to point B), the Minnesota Timberwolves generally end up atop the NBA. In this table written in 2019, the Timberwolves traveled the most miles in the NBA, more than 15,000 miles more than the least traveled NBA teams. That takes its toll on the Timberwolves players.
You see, it’s not just the miles, but the hours spent flying, the constant shift from one US time zone to another, and the fatigue and wear-and-tear on the body in the process. That has an impact on how ‘game ready’ a frequent flyer NBA roster can be over the span of 82 games. And yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the NBAs top travelers.
Would less travel help the Minnesota Timberwolves? How could it not? A Timberwolves team that can hop into a puddle jumper to travel to their new NBA Division rivals would be welcome indeed. And the Timberwolves competing most frequently with the nearby Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls simply adds plenty of local rivalries to the mix.
NBA Expansion only makes sense if the endgame includes a far better job of reorganizing the NBA into geographically logical NBA Divisions. In that type of expansion scenario, the Minnesota Timberwolves could be huge winners.