Minnesota Timberwolves are young, hungry, and playoff ready

Karl-Anthony Towns (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Karl-Anthony Towns (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are young, hungry, and ready for a playoff run. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves have won six of their last seven games. The last time that happened, the year was 2004 and their star player – Kevin Garnett – won league MVP that season. Malik Beasley, one of the stars in the team’s recent winning streak, was eight years old when that happened.

In the T-Wolve’s recent win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, Beasley set a franchise record with 11 3-pointers made on 11-17 shooting. That’s the most 3-pointers made in a game without taking a 2-pointer and the most points scored by a player who scored all his points off 3’s in NBA history, per StatMuse.

Minnesota is now eight games above .500 (39-29) which is good for seventh in the loaded Western Conference. They are just 2.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets for the sixth seed, which is a big deal.

If the Timberwolves can surpass the Nuggets in the standings, they won’t have to be a part of the Play-In Tournament and would safely secure a spot in the playoffs. Plus, Minnesota is three games ahead of the team right below them in the standings: The LA Clippers. So, barring any injuries or extreme drop-off in performance, the Timberwolves should at least finish as the seventh seed in the West.

Per NBA Advanced Stats, Minnesota leads the league in points (114.7), and in 3-pointers made (14.7) and attempted (41.7) per game. They are also third in blocks (5.9), fourth in steals (8.8), seventh in assists (25.6), eighth in free throws attempts (22.6) per game, and ninth in +/- (3.0). They have the seventh-highest offensive rating (112.8) and the tenth highest defensive rating (109.6) in the league. And are also the second-highest-paced team in the league behind only the Houston Rockets.

I point all those numbers out to show that this Timberwolves team plays good all-around basketball.

They play a face-paced offensive system where they like to hoist up a bunch of triples. On defense, they play tough man-to-man defense that leads to steals and blocks which allows them to get out in transition.

Minnesota’s impressive block and steal numbers show that they have bigs able to protect the paint, quick guards with the ability to pick-pocket their opponents, and – more importantly – play great team defense.

Since the start of 2022, the T-Wolves are 22-11. Their big three of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell have all played exceptional basketball during this period. The most encouraging sign for Timberwolves fans though has to be the development of their younger role players.

Jarred Vanderbilt, Jaden McDaniels, Jaylen Nowell, and Naz Reid have all played an important part in the success of the Timberwolves this season.

With that being said, Minnesota will go as far as KAT, Edwards, and Russell take them, but they will need the help of those role players in the playoffs. Fortunately, for the first time in a long time, they have those role players in Vanderbilt, McDaniels, Neid, Nowell, Beasley, and Patrick Beverley.

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Heading into this season, there were murmurs that KAT could be the next superstar to request a trade. Now, with this Timberwolves franchise back in the playoff race and playing their best basketball in years, that’s looking like a long shot.