November 29, 2022

Give Me The Mike

Exploring Minnesota and Beyond

JJ Redick picks the Minnesota Timberwolves to finish 8th in West

Could the Wolves end up with a worse record after the 2022-2023 season?

Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves are now 2-2 after losing to a surprisingly strong San Antonio Spurs side on Monday night, October 24. But the T-Wolves could go on to do big things this season and have shown signs of promise in their first four games of 2022/2023. 

Their latest result leaves them way down at number 11 in the Western Conference, dropping down from third place on the back of the night’s games. Having acquired Rudy Gobert via trade during the offseason, there’s enough talent in this team for them to feature somewhere near the top of the standings in the West at the end of the regular season.

Many have pegged the Wolves to be a top-seeded team this term but, as they must expect, they have some doubters in high places. 

Former NBA player and current NBA analyst for ESPN, JJ Reddick, is one of them. And, speaking on a recent episode of his podcast, The Old Man and the Three, picked Minnesota to finish eighth and barely make it to the playoffs. 

While there are plenty of other detractors where the Timberwolves are concerned, Redick’s prediction is considered odd because an eighth-place finish would actually be worse than where they finished last season. Minnesota finished seventh last term on the back of a 46-36 record and brought Patrick Beverley to tears.

Of course, the Western Conference is stacked with talent, as has always been the case, but number 8 doesn’t seem all that fair for a team that finished one spot above last season and improved its roster.

Redick did give reasons for his pick, pointing out that the Timberwolves will only go as far as Anthony Edwards could take them.

“I think the ceiling is lower maybe this year and could be higher in years to come,” he was quoted as saying. “When we start talking about young players potentially making big jumps like we saw from Ja Morant last year – talking about Anthony Edwards from the T-Wolves, Evan Mobley with the Cavs, Scottie Barnes with the Raptors – those teams’ ceilings, to me, are dependent upon those guys making that Ja Morant Year 2 or Year 3 leap that we saw last year.”

Fair enough, but this is brought about bearing the notion that Edwards won’t make that leap this term. The third-year guard is shooting 49 percent from the field this season and had consecutive 30-point outings against the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The T-Wolves are coming off a loss to the Spurs on October 24. Devin Vassell scored 23, while Jakob Poeltl chipped in with 14 points and 14 rebounds to help fire San Antonio to a 115-106 win.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 27 points along with 11 rebounds for Minnesota but Gobert struggled, scoring just 11 points and hauling down seven rebounds as the Timberwolves starters found themselves outclassed by the Spurs’ starting five.,

The Timberwolves have an interesting schedule ahead and one of the more attractive fixtures will come against the New York Knicks on November 7. It will also be interesting to see how the odds read for this one, with Empire Stakes offering sportsbooks on Caesars.

The New-look Knicks have gotten off to a good start to the season and were in action against the so-far winless Orlando Magic on Monday night, winning 115-102. 

The Knicks missed out on landing Donovan Mitchell during the offseason but managed to snag another major target in Jalen Brunson, who has impressed in his first few games. The Knicks are also enjoying the resurgence of Julius Randle, who was very much off his game last term but seems to be back in pandemic form.

The Knicks could see their young core shaken up soon, however, with Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley said to be targets for a number of other teams. SNY’s Ian Begley explained why New York may have trouble holding on to these players after their rookie contracts expire.

“It’s going to be hard for the Knicks to pay both of those guys because they’ve already committed money to Mitchell Robinson, Derrick Rose is on a long-term deal, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson,” Begley said on The Putback podcast last week (H/T Heavy.com).

“So you do the math and it seems like you can pay Toppin or Quickley but it would be tough to pay both. I think other teams recognize that and they’re keeping an eye on that scenario too.”

Both players were involved in trade talks over the summer, especially when the Knicks were trying to get Mitchell. According to Begley, trades may be approached even before their rookie deals are up.

Minnesota vs. New York could make for a very entertaining spectacle given how different both these teams look this season. Fans of both teams must already be looking forward to it.

This is a contributed post. Give Me The Mike received compensation for this content.