Blogtable: Minny A Playoff Team?




Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Week 4: What do you do with Pau? | T-Wolves a playoff team? | Pick one: Rondo or CP3?


Love is back, Rubio’s getting there, but is Minnesota really a playoff team?

Steve Aschburner: As I write this, the gap between the fourth-place and 12th-place teams in the Western Conference is just 1.5 games. And Minnesota is getting healthier — Kevin Love is back to his old 20-20 self and the noise in the Twin Cities is that Ricky Rubio will be back sooner than expected, as in early Christmas gift. Chase Budinger‘s activity and accuracy are missed and, even though we all knew it was a flyer, the hopes the Wolves had for Brandon Roy look like they’ll be dashed. Still, Andrei Kirilenko is playing well enough that some folks are wondering what Jerry Sloan‘s problem was in Utah. And Alexey Shved, a great unknown when training camp opened, has given what Roy might have. Then there’s Rick Adelman‘s coaching … duh, yeah, Minnesota definitely is a playoff team.

Fran Blinebury: Love has barely returned. Rubio is not back yet. They had lost five in a row until last night’s win. And still they’re only a game out of the eighth spot in the West and it’s still only November. When Rubio gets back on the court, the Jazz and Warriors can start looking over their shoulders.

Jeff Caplan: Yes. The number of injuries all at once finally caught up to them, even in Love’s return. The team was fatigued and reeling, I’m sure, from the shock of it all. Give this time. Hopefully reports are accurate that Rubio is getting close to playing. He’ll bring renewed energy and enthusiasm to the club and allow Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea to fall back into more-suited support roles. This club has the ingredients to be very good and I expect that, barring anymore catastrophic injuries, they will.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I’m the wrong person to ask because I didn’t have them as a playoff team in the first place, under the premise that the early injuries would drop them in too deep of a hole. I will say this, though: the Timberwolves hung in there better than I expected with a roster held together by tape and hope. And there is still plenty of time to get back on the playoff track.

John Schuhmann: I think there are six locks in the West: Denver, L.A. x 2, Memphis, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, with the last two spots going to Dallas, Golden State, Minnesota or Utah. Honestly, I think it’s a toss-up among the teams in that group. The Mavs have survived without Dirk. The Warriors have played the toughest schedule of the group and can still get better (if Andrew Bogut gets healthy and Klay Thompson starts making some shots). The Jazz have a chance to make improvements via trade. And the Wolves could obviously be a solid team with Rubio, Kirilenko, Love and Pekovic all on the floor at the same time. So I guess my answer is … maybe. And I can’t wait to find out.

Sekou Smith: They weren’t a playoff team based on the first eight to 10 games of the season, so it feels a bit foolish to go projecting anything more for this team after 13 games. The Timberwolves entered this season with the same puncher’s chance at the playoffs that the rest of their lottery brethren did. Even if things went right for them in almost every capacity (no injuries, newcomers overachieve, Rubio returns from injury better than before, etc.), they were still going to be a playoff longshot in the Western Conference. The road they have to travel to the postseason comes with just too many potholes for a team still trying to solidify its foundation. Love has picked up right where he left off and they’re in a decent position to battle their way into the postseason mix, but that’s only if Rubio delivers on his end when he returns.

14 Comments

  1. patrickmarc says:

    I expect a beautiful game when Rubio will be back. If no more injuries, Wolves will be a serious team not easy to beat.
    A lot of clever players, the great show sure for soon.

  2. Deo says:

    wolves playoff bound? that may not be a far prediction. But it may depend on the kind of Ricky Rubio they will be getting, Love is playing the way he should be playing, if Rubio continues the way he played last year then my bet would be they will be somewhere in 6th or 7th in the west, but having Roy and Budinger back would be a big help…

  3. Jacob says:

    These are based on where I feel each team will finish in the standings…

    1)Spurs
    2)Thunder
    3)Grizzlies
    4)Clippers
    5)Lakers
    6)Timberwolves
    7)Nuggets
    8)Warriors

    Spurs Vs Warriors: Spurs 4-1
    Thunder Vs Nuggets: Thunder 4-2
    Grizzlies vs Timberwolves: Wolves 4-3
    Clippers Vs Lakers: Clippers 4-2

    Spurs vs Clippers: Spurs 4-2
    Thunder vs Wolves; Thunder 4-3

    Spurs vs Thunder: Spurs 4-2

    (Warriors fan here by the way)

  4. yoblob says:

    T-wolves where 21-20 with Rubio and Love last season, so as long as they can play well and stay around .500 they should be make the playoffs when Rubio returns.

  5. Puwit says:

    The western conference is really a tough one. I agree with the locks and the teams that might be competing for the last 2 spots. Im still feeling Minny can make it either 6th 7th or 8th. They have a good roster. They lost their last games via meltdowns, which usually happens to teams that do not have good chemistry yet. They’ll figure it out eventually and will start to win convincingly. The biggest “?” to the recipe will be Ricky. He went out last year and the wolves were basically done. This year it will be the same I think. If Ricky can be the player he was last year, Minny definitely will be in the playoffs.

  6. steppx says:

    Sorry, not charlotte…..that was a mind glitch. I meant suns. Its a longshot I admit. But houston and phoenix both could make a move…..nobody likes the Suns and i understand why. But Dragic and Gortat are great…….and if beasley were to wake up, then its not impossible I like gentry. The thing is, clips, GS,, and utah all have problems, and certainly Dallas does. Anyone of them coule implode.

  7. steppx says:

    Im not sure lakers are a lock at all. And i can see them coming in around the 6th seed. Denver, Memphis and OKC seem the best right now, Spurs close behind. After that it gets cloudier. Clips are showing some of the problems I had expected. Dallas seems a bit of wreck. The might sneak in, they might not. Utah will make the playoffs, despite how clueless corbin is. That size is tough as the season wears on….same as the Bucks in the east. Minnesota might…..they have to figure ahead of dallas in my mind, and even golden state….which has over achieved………but dont count out portland. And certainly dont count out Houston or charlotte.

    Honestly, I can see clippers falling apart. I really can. They have played way over their head….dont see jamal crawford doing this all year and age can catch them a bit. CP3 is gimpy. Odom a dead loss. They gave up reggie and martin….for Odem and Hollins….oouf. So….i say Twolves have a shot at 8. Utah at 7. But beware houston and charlotte. And maybe even portland.

  8. Game Time says:

    They look like one so far. I think with Rubio back in the mix they’ll be in the top 6 somewhere.

  9. jfk says:

    @SekouSmith Obviously didn’t watch “The first eight to ten games” the T-wolves played. The Wolves went 5-3, with nice wins over Brooklyn, Indianapolis and Dallas. Great job Sekou, the next time you decide to write a piece about a team you obviously never watch, at least google their schedule bro.

    • Raf says:

      By that logic, watching Charlotte go 7-5 in their first 12 games you should think Charlotte is going to be a playoff team. Just because they won a few games doesn’t mean he should think they’re a playoff team (even if, FWIW, I think that Minnesota’s performance without Love and Rubio was surprisingly good and they’re a real chance once Rubio returns).

  10. ko0kie says:

    @john wouldn’t be so sure that the lakers are a lock ;)
    and houston played very well during stretches even though they had no training camp with harden, so I wouldn’t count them out..

    • dattebayo says:

      I don’t like the Lakers, but they are a lock for the playoffs. You can’t tell me that Kobe, Nash and Howard won’t win you games. On the other hand, if they keep losing and stay around .500 (which is out of the playoffs in the West) until the middle of the season, they might be crazy enough to fire the Pringles guy and bring in PJ.