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
2 of 3

2. Dallas has potential spacing issues that favor the Wolves

As previously mentioned, Doncic isn’t 100 percent healthy entering the series, and it's reflected in his shooting splits this postseason. A 38.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc in the regular season, Doncic is shooting just 30.1 percent thus far in the postseason from three. Given this trend along with Luka’s usage rate being a sky-high 31.3 percent, it’s likely that this Mavs’ offense will rely less on the 3-point shot than normal.

Additionally, Maxi Kleber, a key stretch big for Dallas, will not be available for at least the beginning of the series. Standing at 6-foot-10 while shooting 36.0 percent from three for his career, Kleber would be a tricky matchup for the Wolves. Kleber would command respect on the perimeter—forcing a big to stay home defensively.

It should be noted that Kleber may return during this series. But with Kleber out, Washington is the only big that Dallas has to stretch the floor, and he is shooting well recently—40.7% percent from three in the playoffs. With that being said, Dallas’ other primary bigs, Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II are non-shooters.

Given Doncic’s shooting trends, if the Wolves can find a way to neutralize Washington’s perimeter shooting, they should be able to cause some spacing issues for the Mavericks’ offense, and the Wolves have the personnel to capitalize on this. Rudy Gobert should be able to have a constant presence in the paint defensively for most of the series, allowing him to help on drives, help wings navigate screens and isolations, and hound the glass as well.