Bill Simmons had Ringer staff writer Rob Mahoney on his most recent podcast for an NBA “panic watch.” Naturally, they discussed the teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers. Many marquee teams, including some in big markets, have been letdowns. They discussed who is in a slump and who might actually be bad.
I was waiting for the Minnesota Timberwolves to come up the entire time they were talking. The Wolves are 3-2 heading into their game against the 0-4 Lakers. Are they off to a 1-4 start like Philadelphia or the Clippers? No. But they have been a mess at times already this season.
Did Simmons and Mahoney overlook them because they’re a mid-market team? Are their expectations still low for them despite a 46-win season last year and the Rudy Gobert trade? Aren’t all die-hard basketball fans watching Minnesota because of the two-bigs experiment anyway?
Then, at the tail end of the podcast, Simmons mentioned the Wolves.
“You wrote a big piece about Minnesota this week, actually,” Simmons said to Mahoney. “I didn’t want to put them in the panic thing yet, it’s the first week of school, everyone is trying to get to know each other. But the fact that there’s already hints of chemistry stuff with them was probably one of the more predictable things this season. We’ll see how that goes.”
“I’m waiting, too,” concurred Mahoney. “But maybe that’s the third conference room for January. We’ll see where they are by then.”
“It may be a two-day seminar,” joked Simmons.
Ah, there they are.
Maybe you find it insulting that the Wolves got such little mention. Perhaps you’re already in a full-fledged panic after seeing them lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. The chemistry has been off, especially between D’Angelo Russell and Gobert. But Karl-Anthony Towns and Gobert seem to have a vibe, and Jaylen Nowell is going off. It hasn’t all been bad.
If Simmons and Mahoney are cautiously optimistic about the Wolves, you should be too.