Are Suddenly Streaking Timberwolves For Real?

AP Photo: Craig Lassig

At the end of December, the Minnesota Timberwolves were a complete disaster. They had lost six-straight games and nine of their last twelve. The 2022-23 season was on the verge of collapse, before it ever really got started, and Charles Barkley dubbed the Rudy Gobert trade the worst in NBA history.

But maybe Chris Finch & Co are big Green Day fans because the moment December ended, the Timberwolves woke up. To start the new year, they’ve been a completely different team. Since Jan 1, the Wolves are 11-4. They’re shooting over 50% from the field and 40% from the 3-point line, while holding opponents to 48% and 37%, in those same categories respectively.

Recently, wins have come over quality opponents, too. Minnesota has won three-straight, all of them over western conference foes (Pelicans, Grizzlies and Kings) ranked higher than them in the standings.

Wolves Climbing up the Western Conference Ladder

Speaking of the conference standings, don’t look now but the Wolves are climbing those faster than a hyper 5-year-old at a new playground and now find themselves in 6th place, only two games out of the 3rd.

minnesota timberwolves playoffs standings nba wolves

So are the streaking Minnesota Timberwolves for real? That’s the big question, now. Common sense would tell us that they should only get better. D’Angelo Russell is playing some of the best basketball of his career and it appears Rudy Gobert has finally settled into the lineup on both sides of the floor.

And let’s not forget the eventual return of Karl-Anthony Towns, who should be back in the next month or so. All signs point to an upward-trending squad in the second half of the season.

Not so fast…

But if we know anything about this franchise, it’s that “common sense” isn’t very common. In reality, DLo’s hot streak could turn cold tomorrow and nobody would be surprised. And we do not yet know if Gobert will ever get back to being the same player as what the Wolves thought they traded for when they gave away the farm for him last offseason.

We really have no way of knowing how smoothly KAT reintegrates himself into the lineup, when he gets back. If you’ll remember, the two-big man approach had a rocky start, before his calf injury. Does having less of Naz Reid really equate to better results? We’ll find out.

Wolves will go where Anthony Edwards takes them

What we know for sure, though, is that Anthony Edwards is a rising superstar and he’s proven that during the Wolves recent hot streak. In his last five games, he’s averaging 34.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Minnesota is 4-1 in that stretch. Last night vs Sacramento, Edwards went off in the 3rd quarter, then hit multiple daggers to close it out late.

If the Timberwolves are going to grab a top-four seed in the West, they will do it by riding the superstar ascension of their young phenom. If Ant loses focus and stumbles down the stretch, they’ll be a play-in team again.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan