With the NBA playoffs rapidly approaching, It has come to that beautiful time of the year. Half of the NBA world no longer has a team to root for, leaving them to geek out on ping pong balls, while the other half will carry their fandom into late spring. So with just 16 teams standings, who is poised to make a Cinderella type run.
Despite just sneaking into the playoffs, the Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the biggest mysterious entering this weekend. Because although some see them as an eighth-seeded afterthought, with Jimmy Butler back, the Timberwolves were (at one point) the third seed in the western conference with this roster. And with Jimmy Butler this season, the Wolves have a better offensive rating, defensive rating, more steals per game, convert more points off turnovers, and have a much better overall record.
However, some believe the Thibodeau effect will haunt the Wolves in the playoffs. It’s no secret that no matter the game or circumstance, Tom Thibodeau will run his players into the ground. Minnesota currently holds three players in the top 15 minutes per game, including Jimmy Butler, who ranks just behind LeBron James. But despite these concerns, let’s not forgot many of Minnesota’s players are under the age of 25. And although the Tibs effect may not bode well late in careers, if there is anyone that can take it, it would be this Wolves team.
Now let’s get into their first-round matchup. Due to their disappointing seeding, the Timberwolves will face off against none other than the red-hot Houston Rockets. Winning a league-best 65 games, the Rockets are considered title favorites by many. However, led by two superstars who are infamously terrible in playoff situations, there is no real assurance that Houston will even be able to handle this Minnesota team.
Although the Bucks have been dubbed by many as the leagues most disappointing team, when any franchise has a player such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, you can’t count them out of a playoff series. Because not only do they have Giannis but with Jabari Parker recently coming back, there is no doubt that Milwaukee will have the star advantage over Boston and possibly even Philadelphia or Miami.
Over the last month and a half, the Bucks have sported an underwhelming record of 11-10. And this inconsistent play hasn’t just sprung up recently if you look at the Bucks schedule throughout the year, there is no part of it where they get red-hot in any way. Their longest win streak extended to just 4 games. So although Milwaukee has all the tools and talent to make a deep playoff run, the concern comes in both their game planning and mental attitude.