The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the best teams in basketball right now. They have one of the best records in the harder conference of the two. It's safe to say that everyone is paying attention to the Wolves now, and rightfully so.
At the start of the season, it felt like no one was paying attention, even when they defended Nikola Jokic well in a win over the Denver Nuggets. They beat the Boston Celtics, one of the league's best teams and, at the time, likely the second-best team, and no one batted an eye.
Then they went on a five-game road trip, where three of the games were on the West Coast, and two of them were in the South, and they still went 4-1. So, now people are paying attention. The best part is the Timberwolves have an entirely other gear they have yet to reach. Things are about to get scary for the rest of the league.
"Personally, I feel like we didn't really play as well as we could have these last five games on this road trip," forward Kyle Anderson recently said at an open practice.
"I don't think we've guarded as well as we could. Like offense, we're still trying to figure it out. We haven't necessarily shot the ball well. That's going to come. But defense is what you can control. So I think we've slipped a little bit on it."
The crazy thing is Anderson is right. As we have seen, they are playing good enough defense to beat anyone. They have twice beaten a Warriors team that was mostly healthy. They beat a Spurs team that competes and has a semi-good defense. They beat a Pelicans team that was healthy and won in game-winner fashion. Their one loss came to the Phoenix Suns, where they were blown out.
But that happens on long road trips. This is only more evidence of what Anderson said about the team being able to reach another gear being true. They could have defended better, especially against the Suns, where we saw a team with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant just go bonkers, as they can do on any given night.
The Timberwolves are first in the league in defensive net rating. Now, they sit at 17th in offensive rating. With the players they have on their team - guys like Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, etc, they have the potential to be great on that side of the ball.
The Timberwolves still have another gear they haven't reached on defense, but especially offense. Once they get that going, it can get scary.