The Runner Sports

ESPN Projects Timberwolves To Be Fourth Best Team In The NBA

The hype is real and does not show any desire to be slowed down at all with ESPN now projecting the Minnesota Timberwolves to win 50 games for the 2017/2018 NBA season. This would be only the fourth time that the Wolves would have a 50-win season in their 28-year-long history. If the Wolves do achieve a 50-win season, this would be a marked increase (19 wins) from last season’s abject and disappointing total.

ESPN’s Statistics guru Kevin Pelton used Real Plus-Minus (RPM) to calculate all thirty team’s win total and seemingly RPM loves the additions of Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, and Taj Gibson, as it projects the Wolves to have home court advantage come playoff time. Also, It projects Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to continue to take large strides forward and challenge for All-Star berths next season. This is what Pelton had to say about the Wolves’ projected record

Statistical projections have been known to overrate the Timberwolves by betting on the come, including last season’s seemingly conservative 37-win projection from RPM. (Minnesota won just 31 games, albeit with the point differential of a 38-win team.) With Jimmy Butler joining budding stars Karl-Anthony Townsand Andrew Wiggins, this time feels different. RPM doesn’t even project the Timberwolves to defend particularly well (20th in defensive rating); this projection is largely a testament to the league’s second-best offensive projection.

RPM recognizes that the Timberwolves, as currently constructed, are not a very good defensive team and projects it to be a bottom 10 defense once again for the 2017-18 season. If the Wolves are to win 50 games, then they need to find more three-point shooting to fill the bench to allow the starting unit a rest period without worrying about the imaginative ways the bench unit would blow double-digit leads, which happened far too much last season.

Pelton also acknowledges that RPM did overrate the Timberwolves last season, like many others, and while numbers are great, ultimately it is between the 94 by 50 feet court where the record of teams are decided.  Home court advantage would be nice but the Wolves need to learn how to walk before they run, and a playoff berth, whether starting on the road or at home, would be a sight for those sore eyes in Minneapolis.

Mustafa Noor

Mustafa Noor

Writer at Runner sports
London based writer covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for the runner sports. Mustafa is well aware that the Timberwolves have not made the playoffs for 13 straight years
Mustafa Noor