It was only about a month ago that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets seemed to be in competition for the worst record in the league.
We were asking if the Wolves would end up winning too many games, which seemed like a really silly question!
Suddenly, after winning six of their last 10 games, the Timberwolves could see themselves finish as the sixth-worst team in the league. For most teams, wins aren’t bad, but for a Wolves team that needs to land in the top-three of the lottery to keep their pick, well, the winning vs. tanking talk is a complicated one.
On one side, we’re getting a look at what the team could be. There’s probably something to take away from building the right habits late in the season. On the other hand, the Wolves could go from 40% to keep their pick to just 27% with these wins. While building habits good for the future of this franchise, a better future of the franchise is probably Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, or Jalen Suggs.
Right now, the Wolves are 21-47, tied for the fourth-worst record with the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Wolves have four games to close out the season: at the Detroit Pistons, vs. the Denver Nuggets, vs. the Boston Celtics, and vs. the Dallas Mavericks. The team will be favored to beat the Pistons, and who knows if any of the other teams rest players as playoff seeding starts to solidify.
Normally I’m on the Let’s Just Try to Win Train because most of the time it ends up being the difference of only a few picks. For the Wolves this year, though, it means losing their pick all together. Every percentage counts here. The Rockets, Pistons, Thunder, Magic, and Cavaliers are all in full-tank mode. The Wolves have done the opposite, and while that’s admirable, it could be costly.
NBA Awards Season
We’re nearly at the end of the season, which means that we’ll start to hear plenty of awards banter.
There really isn’t much of a debate for most of the awards.
- Nikola Jokic is a -2,000 Vegas favorite to win MVP
- Julius Randle is a -5,000 favorite to win Most Improved
- Jordan Clarkson is a -1,250 favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year
- Rudy Gobert is a -2,000 favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year
The closest battle is at Rookie of the Year, but even so, LaMelo Ball is a -715 favorite to win the award despite playing in 21 fewer games than Anthony Edwards, who is a +300 to win. If Edwards were to win, it would be a huge upset. The Vegas odds reflect that.
But when you look at the numbers, it feels like it should be closer.
Ball has the edge in most statistical categories, and his Hornets are in the playoffs. Putting up numbers on a playoff team gives Ball a huge boost, but Edwards really has been remarkable lately, averaging 23.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game over the last 11 games while shooting 49.2% from the field and 36.8% from the 3-point line.
The argument for those wanting Edwards to win the award shouldn’t be “Edwards is better!” because he’s not. It should be “Ball has missed a quarter of the season and Edwards hasn’t missed a single game.”
I’m interested to see how the voting shakes out.