Ben Simmons Dream May Be Dead But Wolves Playoff Hopes Alive and Well
The NBA preseason is coming to a close and Ben Simmons has recently reunited with the Philadelphia 76ers, ending an entire offseason headlined by Simmons drama. Where will he be traded and how much will the 76ers get back? Do the Minnesota Timberwolves have enough to field a competitive offer? Would D’Angelo Russell be part of the package sent back?
All dead… right?
Not necessarily. Simmons could arrive at Sixers camp in the coming days and go James Harden (or worse: Jimmy Butler) on the situation, essentially forcing his way out by constantly stirring up drama that his teammates and coaching staff have to answer regular questions about.
But with less than a week until the Wolves open their 82-game regular season schedule at Target Center vs the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, hope of an imminent trade that lands Ben Simmons in Minnesota is seemingly dead. Philly GM, Daryl Morey, could still seek a trade partner for Simmons but nobody knows what’s going to happen anymore. While the Philly fans remain in limbo, it’s time for Wolves fans to move on.
The Timberwolves can make playoffs without Simmons
The Minnesota Timberwolves have looked incredibly competent during this 2021 preseason. League-wide, they’ve been one of the more fun teams to watch and are exceeding all expectations of anyone paying attention this early. Of course, we’ve all heard this story with the local pro basketball team before, but this team truly feels much different.
The core four of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels is leading a team that might not need Ben Simmons to be successful. As mentioned, expectations for this young Wolves team are low. Their over/under for wins in most sportsbooks is 35 or less.
Minnesota has a talented roster that understands the low expectations from others around the NBA. Instead of succumbing to the negativity, though, they appear to be embracing it. Young cornerstone pieces like Karl Towns and D’Angelo Russell have seen their reputations take hits the last couple seasons and appear ready to shake nagging narratives. To do that, they need to make the playoffs.
Both guys have been dominant all preseason long. They appear locked in from opening tip, which has caught unsuspecting opposing starters off-guard.
Will the Wolves have another perfect first defensive possession tonight?— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) October 9, 2021
– Ant aware on the ball(!), hands without fouling, navigates over screen
– KAT plays at level, doesn’t over-pursue first screen
– DLo nail help + navigates screen
– Okogie calls low man, executes it perfect pic.twitter.com/i1qpftdUO6
Trading for Simmons would crush the Timberwolves’ depth
It’s been a long time since the Timberwolves have had a lineup with this many legitimate NBA players. Once the regular season begins they’re going to have a hard time finding minutes for guys like Jake Layman, Jaylen Nowell and Leandro Bolmaro.
I know, I know… writing about an embarrassment of riches when referencing the Minnesota Timberwolves seems foolish on its face. But look for yourself. In years past, the players mentioned above were all but guaranteed regular minutes.
After watching the first three preseason games, I think head coach Chris Finch deploys an 11-man rotation. That’s right, E-L-E-V-E-N. Put your fingers down. You don’t have enough of them.
No Simmons No Problem
If the Wolves were to trade for Ben Simmons it would likely cost three of Russell, McDaniels, Beasley, Beverley, Prince, plus another depth piece and multiple first-round draft picks, not to mention the earthquake it would throw into a locker room that seems more focused than ever.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in a good spot right now. They have an open window with more talent and determination than we’ve seen since Butler left town. While the Ben Simmons dream might be dead, their playoff dreams are not. Especially with the new play-in tournament, the Wolves should absolutely compete for a ticket to the postseason this winter.
Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan