You heard it here first. But in case you need to have it confirmed: Hit the over on the Minnesota Timberwolves this year. Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo are! In Part 1 of Simmons’ NBA Over/Under mega preview, he and Russillo said the Wolves will end up over 48.5 wins.
Even though they disliked the Gobert trade, they still see the Timberwolves as a 50-win team.
“Minnesota, their over-under is 48.5,” Simmons said, setting up the segment. “I didn’t realize they won 46 games last year until I looked it up. I was surprised. It feels like they should be three games better, but again, the West is way better. +155 for the division. +145 for the play-in.
This looks like a 50-win team because of Gobert and because Edwards is a year older. And you could come up with nine other smaller reasons. But just those two,” he continued before taking a brief pause, “49-33 feels realistic to me.
I do think Gobert, as much as we all hated that trade, and I still feel like it was one of the biggest overpays in the history of the league, they do have him for this year. They have Rudy Gobert on their team. They’re gonna be really good defensively.
So, I’d be surprised if they’re 49 to 52. What do you think, Russillo?
“Yeah,” Russillo concurred, “the 46 wins from last year, and then you look at some of the offensive rankings, especially after the All-Star Break, I think they were the third-best offense in the league after the break – which, again, the break is between 23 and 25 games, depending on which team.
I am with you. Because I knew once we all trashed the Gobert thing, I was like, I cannot wait until they get off to a really good start in the regular season, and then people start doing victory laps, ‘Everybody was wrong about the Gobert trade.’
And you’re like, ‘No, the Gobert trade is how much you still owe him, it’s the price that you paid, and it’s the playoff part of this,’ where why is it all of a sudden going to get better?
“It was your owner frantically asking people in his life, ‘Wait a second, I think we fucked this Gobert trade up,’” joked Simmons.
“Yeah, I mean, Edwards is gonna get better,” added Russillo. “Maybe that phases out Russell a little bit. The Beverley thing, I’m indifferent. I still like McDaniels, who turned into, what, a top-20 player this summer because he wasn’t in the trade?”
“Top-20?” joked Simmons. “I have him in the top 16.”
“I do like him, though,” admitted Russillo. “I do like him.”
“I have him one spot ahead of Anthony Davis,” Simmons said, continuing his bit.”
“Kyle Anderson, I like him,” said Russillo sincerely. “You add him to the mix. I like it. I like Minnesota as an over, and I think there’s gonna be a lot –”
“I like their bench guys,” Simmons said sincerely.
“I like their bench guys,” echoed Russillo. “And I just think that Edwards is probably the guy I’d continue to buy the most stock in as a player moving forward. Like somebody who could actually crack into that. You know, all that time we spent on all those top six, eight guys, he actually has a chance. Where other guys, I don’t even want to hear it.”
The Timberwolves improved dramatically this year. However, the question was never how they’d do in the regular season – Gobert raises that floor. It’s what they’d do in the playoffs. Simmons and Russillo are right in that regard.
However, they continue to miss the mark on McDaniels. He didn’t have to be a top-20 player for the Timberwolves to want to retain him. And everyone has a different opinion on Patrick Beverley. Even if he helped, he wasn’t so integral that you couldn’t include him in the trade.
Regardless, two of the best NBA experts are on board with the Timberwolves. A good sign for the beleaguered franchise.