NBA “Experts” Look Stupid Talking Timberwolves

PHOTO: BRANDON DILL - ASSOCIATED PRESS

NBA “experts” across America are looking pretty foolish after the Minnesota Timberwolves handled the Memphis Grizzlies 130-117 in game one or their first round playoff series on Saturday. The miscalculations spread from the sportsbooks in Vegas (and 30 other states), which pinned Memphis as 6.5 point favorites, to just about any media outlet outside of Minnesota and its surrounding states, who mostly forgot the Wolves were in the league.

The Athletic interviewed “expert” coaches and executives, all of whom agreed that the Wolves didn’t have the individual defensive horses to slow Ja Morant (more on that shortly). Shaq and Charles (TNT) still think KAT belongs in the post and shoots too many threes. Takes like these are horribly inaccurate and anybody who even casually pays attention knows that.

Did ESPN Forget They Had Wolves Games This Postseason?

Before the series tipped off, every “expert” at ESPN (all 21 of them) picked the Grizzlies to dispose of the Timberwolves. Only two of those “experts” thought it would take all seven games. Seven “experts” predicted the series would be over in five games.

Richard Jefferson was one of the ESPN “experts” listed above, who predicted this series would be over in just five games. That helps explain why his commentary for ESPN on Saturday didn’t contain any notes on the Wolves. At times, I wasn’t sure he had any idea they were even playing. No matter how the game was going, he couldn’t stop talking about the Grizzlies.

For now, many fans in Minnesota can turn to the Bally Sports North broadcast. But that isn’t an option for everyone and won’t be for the local crowd either, should the Wolves advance to round two.

It’s one thing for these “experts” to get things wrong. The sports world is impossible to predict. What shouldn’t be acceptable is using the term “experts” to describe analysts who have absolutely zero expertise on their subject matter.

These national “experts” haven’t watched a Minnesota Timberwolves game all season and that fact has revealed itself through the two games that were broadcast nationally last week. What’s also become obvious is that these people have zero interest in doing any homework to catch up on what they missed either. “Flyover country” is a real thing. Why worry about being right when nobody really cares?

“Experts” outside media no better

The disrespect goes beyond national media talking heads, though. The Athletic interviewed anonymous NBA scouts, coaches and executives last week about the upcoming Grizzlies vs Timberwolves series. While they said some nice things about the Wolves, all agreed on one thing. Minnesota doesn’t have anyone who can match up with Ja Morant on defense.

Scout: “Dillon Brooks can guard Anthony Edwards. … Who on the Wolves will guard Morant? Generally, there isn’t a good matchup at all. But Edwards? It’s probably not Russell. So I think Memphis has a huge advantage at point guard. … (Steven) Adams or (Jaren) Jackson Jr. — they match up physically against Towns.”

Coach: “The Wolves’ matchups are going to be tough with Morant. I think they’re going to have put size on him, which I think they’ll do. I think they’ll put Edwards on him to start but I don’t know that you put D’Angelo Russell there on Morant.”

Executive: “Once Memphis gets a chance to dig in, I’m not sure Minnesota has a defensive response for Morant, and in the playoffs, one individual player has the ability to lift his team above the opponent.

The Athletic

Ja Morant vs Wolves Defense

The Timberwolves have more options to throw at Ja than most teams in the league. Jaden McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt offer lengthy options who have proven effective covering ball handlers all season. Then, there’s Anthony Edwards and Patrick Beverley, who offer tenacity and like to close games on the opponent’s best guard.

Whatever NBA scout they interviewed should be fired immediately. Not only is he off like the rest of these “experts” on Morant vs the Timberwolves defense, but Karl-Anthony Towns has been a nightmare matchup for Steven Adams for two or three seasons. Yes, KAT once struggled with Adams’ size and intimidation factor but that dissipated a long time ago.

And this isn’t just me playing “Monday Morning QB”. I talked on Minnesota Sports Fan Daily last week about how stupid these hot national takes were. But will these NBA “experts” learn from their mistakes and study up on the Minnesota Timberwolves for game two? Don’t count on it.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan