3 Reasons the Timberwolves will advance to the NBA Finals

The Minnesota Timberwolves will face the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 Western Conference Finals. Here are three reasons why the Wolves can win the series.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game Seven
Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game Seven / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
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After defeating the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Minnesota Timberwolves are slated to face the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks with home-court advantage in the Western Conference Finals.

The Wolves enter the series as favorites according to Draft Kings. Minnesota is listed at -170 odds (63% implied probability) to win the series and the Mavericks at +145 odds (40.8% implied probability) as of May 21.

Minnesota beat Dallas in three of the four matchups this season. However, all four matchups occurred before the trade deadline when Dallas made the key acquisitions of P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford. Additionally, Luka Doncic only appeared in two of the four matchups, and Kyrie Irving made only one appearance.

Though they enter the series as favorites, Dallas will provide numerous challenges for the Wolves, both offensively and defensively. That said, here are three reasons why the Wolves can beat the Mavericks and move on to the NBA Finals.

3. The Wolves have matchups for Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic

Irving and Doncic are the force behind everything the Mavericks do offensively, and they have played extremely well this postseason. Irving is averaging 21.1 points, and 5.4 assists this postseason, including 44.0 percent from downtown. Meanwhile, Doncic, despite not being 100% healthy, is averaging 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.1 assists through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Since Irving and Doncic are the primary initiators of this offense, their defensive matchups will be key to this series. Fortunately for the Wolves, their perimeter defenders have shown up in a big way this postseason.

One key to defeating Denver was containing Jamal Murray, and the defensive combination of Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jaden McDaniels, and Anthony Edwards was successful for large chunks of the series. Kyle Anderson is also someone who may see more of a role in this series, as the Mavericks have played at a slower pace than the Nuggets this postseason—offering "Slo Mo" more of a role.

Handling a combination of Alexander-Walker, McDaniels, Edwards, and Anderson as primary defenders for 48 minutes should be a significant obstacle for Doncic and Irving, especially in an isolation-heavy offense.