ESPN projects 50 wins for the Minnesota Timberwolves

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 28: Karl-Anthony Towns (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 28: Karl-Anthony Towns (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

ESPN’s real-plus minus projects the Minnesota Timberwolves to win 50 games.

A team adds Jimmy Butler and that apparently is worth almost 20 wins. Butler isn’t the only reason for the projected jump from 31 wins to 50.1, but he is a major reason why the Minnesota Timberwolves will be looking to make some noise in the 2017-18 season.

So how did the odd 50.1 win number come about? That comes via ESPN’s real plus-minus stat which was released on Thursday revealing their projections for all the teams in the NBA. An in-depth explanation on the stat can be found on ESPN’s website, but the main story of the stat is that it weighs player’s age and experience and such to try to come up with an accurate projection.

ESPN’s 50.1 win projection for the Timberwolves put the team as the projected fourth best team in the highly contested Western Conference. The Golden State Warriors are projected to have the best record in the West with 62.1 wins. The Houston Rockets came in second with 55.0 wins and the San Antonio Spurs came in third with 52.6 wins.

Here is what ESPN said about the Timberwolves:

"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 Towns and 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."

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The other projected Western Conference playoffs teams are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. The Eastern Conference projected playoff teams are the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be hitting the floor this season with a new look lineup featuring holdovers Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and with the additions of Butler, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague. Maybe by the time the season rolls around Kyrie Irving will join the list with the rumors rolling around. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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