The Minnesota Timberwolves are off to a hot start and they haven’t even put it all together yet.
It has been 13 years since the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the playoffs. It has been awhile, but the Timberwolves did have a long stretch of making the playoffs before that. The Timberwolves made the playoffs every season from 1996-97 through the 2003-04 season, so while not having a dominating squad more than once, the Timberwolves have had solid teams in their history.
The 2017-18 Wolves looked to be heading towards a playoff berth before the season even began with the various additions the team made and the assumed further maturation of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. It looks like that is still the case.
In fact, the Timberwolves are tied for the best start to a season in franchise history. After 15 games, the Timberwolves stand at a record of 10-5 which has only been done three other times in the franchise’s history according to a tweet from Fox Sports North TV analyst Jim Petersen.
The first two times the Timberwolves got off to a 10-5 record were the 1998-99 season and the 2001-02 season. Minnesota made the playoffs both of those seasons, but failed to get past the first round.
The last time the Wolves got off to a 10-5 it was the 2004-05 season. That season the Wolves had high expectations after making the Western Conference Finals the season before, but faltered with Flip Saunders being replaced as head coach midway through the season by Kevin McHale and the team failed to make the playoffs.
There shouldn’t be much reason to think that this current Timberwolves team will find the same demise as the 2004-05 Wolves. In fact, it is pretty impressive that this current Wolves squad stands at 10-5. The skill is there, no doubt, but the Wolves are still clearly putting all the pieces together.
Just look at Friday night’s game. The Timberwolves found themselves down 55-43 to the Dallas Mavericks at halftime. These Mavericks aren’t your older brother’s Mavericks, this Mavericks team is not good. There is no reason the Timberwolves should have ever found themselves down by double-digits to Dallas, but they did. Minnesota also did find their stride in the second half and went on to an easy victory.
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The Timberwolves really haven’t played a complete game yet. It seems almost every victory for the Timberwolves has been in question going into the last minutes and even the ones that have had a bigger final margin have needed late pushes to make it look more convincing than they’ve really been.
I think that’s a good thing for Minnesota, at the moment. Sometime, hopefully, they will get rolling on all cylinders and put a whole game together. That’s easier said than done, of course. Someday the Timberwolves will dominate from tip to final buzzer and that is when the NBA should be on the lookout.
The Timberwolves are off to a franchise best start, but aren’t even playing close to their best basketball. Ask for Timberwolves stock for Christmas, friends.
Minnesota will continue on their quest for the playoffs on Sunday at Target Center. The Timberwolves welcome the Detroit Pistons into town for a 6:00 Central tip. The two played earlier this season in Detroit with the Pistons destroying a Jimmy Butler-less Wolves team. You can watch Butler and the Wolves look for redemption on Fox Sports North.