We are still a few months away from the start of the 2016-2017 NBA season. While the East is wide open, you can’t say the same for the West as the competition is very fierce. The teams that are expected to be at the top of the Western Conference are the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzles, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
There is one team that had a bad 2015 season, but with the talent they have could quickly consider them one of the sleeper teams in the Western Conference. The team I am talking about is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have some of the best of the future. During the 2015-2016 season, the Timberwolves were hit with bad news as their head coach Flip Saunders passed away after having a nasty battle with cancer. So Sam Mitchell was made the interim head coach and was put in a terrible situation.
On the court, the Timberwolves would end up going a record of 29-53 and would end up missing the playoffs for 12th straight season. For the Timberwolves they need to play great basketball and mainly play flawlessly. If the Timberwolves were in the East, then I would say they could make the playoffs with no problem. But the West is much harder of a conference than the East. If everything does go the Timberwolves way I could see them possibly getting the 8th seed, but then they would probably get swept by Golden State or San Antonio.
One possible reason for them doing well next season could be because they are bringing in Tom Thibodeau to be the new head coach. He has playoff experience, which is something that very few people on the Timberwolves team even has. Their starting five for next season is not one that should be taken lightly. According to ESPN, their starting five are Karl- Anthony Towns (PF), Zach Levine (SG), Ricky Rubio (PG), Andrew Wiggins (SF), and Gorgui Dieng (Center).
I see the Timberwolves can have as much as 35-38 wins which would be a vast improvement over last season. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, if the Timberwolves were in the East then they would be in the playoffs no questions asked, but they are in the Western Conference.