Timberwolves

Russillo Doesn't Believe the Wolves Are A True No. 1 Seed

Photo Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Ryen Russillo went deep on the Minnesota Timberwolves in his opening rant on his latest podcast. He was complimentary of the season Minnesota is having. He just wonders if they’re actually the best team, given their late-game offense and the incentive for teams to get a lower seed in the West.

The breakout video should not be “The Clippers are winning the West,” see you in June. No. Things could change, guys could get hurt, and they have guys who get hurt a lot. So, we’ll see. But you have to look at that in comparison to everything else that’s going on in the West.

So let’s do that.

Best three-point shooting team? The Clippers. The No. 2 three-point shooting team? The Minnesota Timberwolves.

Russillo breaks down the Clippers, Wolves, and Denver Nuggets in this segment, and he did a deep-dive on the Oklahoma City Thunder on his previous podcast. But he starts with an in-depth look at the Wolves.

If you look at where Minnesota is, we could have some late seed hunting where no one is actually gonna want the 1-seed. Or could we have seed hunting where they’re looking for Sacramento more than they are Phoenix? Or would a team rather fall to No. 4 than have to play Phoenix?

Maybe. It all depends on where Phoenix is. Maybe they end up being the 5-seed in all this.

Could a team go, you know what? New Orleans or Luka for just a series? I would still think that New Orleans if they’re right and look good, but who knows? They’re also not the greatest bet to have all their dudes all the time, would a team go, we’d actually rather play the Pelicans, so we’ll take a lesser seed.

So the race for No. 1 may not be about home-court at all, even with Denver. We could see some jockeying there. We saw that before with the Clippers, right?

Russillo isn’t calling the Wolves frauds. He’s just pointing out that there may be less of an incentive to win the West this year.

So Minnesota could have the headline of more days in first place, even though technically being tied, they’re out of it with the tiebreaker. They were 17-4 on December 8. Since then? 18-11.

Minnesota’s offense since December 9, which is where that breakpoint of the second half of their season? 20th on offense, still No. 1 on defense.

Fourth-quarter offensive efficiency? 27th. Since December 9 in the fourth quarter, it’s actually gotten a little bit better, it’s 24th. The defense has slipped, though – 9th.

Since December 9, they are 24th in offense in clutch games. This is not a surprise to anyone who has watched multiple Timberwolves games late. Early on, it was like, Eh, might be an issue. It’s an issue. It’s a real thing.

They shot 5 of 20 in the fourth quarter against Orlando. How about that lineup? Paolo, Franz, Wendell Carter, and Isaac out there wreaking havoc. It’s just a massive, massive group. And Minnesota had a really hard time.

But the problem is, it wasn’t just that matchup. They’re having a hard time figuring out who they want to be on offense late in tight games. I know they destroyed Houston. Congrats.

Russillo is addressing a legitimate issue with the Timberwolves. Their late-game offense has cost them games against inferior opponents, and the coaching staff held a film session to fix it after the Orlando Magic game. Still, the Wolves shouldn’t play with seeding. Target Center is a meaningful home-court advantage, and they should do everything they can to take the 1-seed to try and win their first playoff series since 2004.

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