Stephen A. Smith Crowns Timberwolves as NBA Champs After Dominating Nuggets in Game 2

Stephen A. Smith, Minnesota Timberwolves
Timberwolves Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

How good have the Minnesota Timberwolves been through six games of the 2024 NBA Playoffs? They’ve been so dominant that the national media talking heads are reaching for some of the most extreme comparisons in the history of the sport, to try and explain what they are watching.

Anthony Edwards is the next Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or [input your favorite NBA backcourt great here]. The Wolves’ lineup is the deeper than any 60’s or 70’s Lakers/Celtics teams; their defense is more suffocating than the 80’s ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons or 90’s MJ/Rodman-led Bulls defenses… or the 2000’s Boston defense, which Kendrick Perkins played on.

But what made all of those teams memorable? Because it wasn’t their star players or deep lineups or suffocating defenses. All those squads won championships, and lots of them.

So far, the Minnesota Timberwolves have won nothing. But there is no doubt, and clearly everyone else sees it too, that this team has all the qualities of a team that is worthy of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy later this summer.

Stephen A. Smith picks Minnesota Timberwolves to win NBA Championship

On Tuesday morning, though, Stephen A. Smith (ESPN) put his championship vote into the Minnesota Timberwolves’ basket. Monday, he crowned Anthony Edwards as the next Michael Jordan. Today, he crowned the Wolves as the next NBA champions.

“I think that the Denver Nuggets are on the verge of getting swept. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be able to say that. I think the Denver Nuggets are on the verge of getting swept and I believe that the Minnesota Timberwolves are gonna win the world championship. I think they gonna win it all. I think they gonna win it all…”

“I’m looking at Anthony Edwards, I’m not saying he’s Jordan, he’s got a lot to prove. But when you saw Jordan and you saw Kobe, that’s what you’re seeing right now, with that killer instinct. I’m looking at a Karl- Anthony Towns. The brother was averaging 19 PPG. He’s dropping 27, he’s sitting there shooting threes and posing. Jamal Murray trying to elbow him, he pulling up from the right corner, then looking at him. Getting stuff thrown on the court that he damn near tripped over and he’s still draining more threes!

I’m watching Naz Reid! I’m watching Alexander-Walker, I’m watching the leadership of [Mike] Conley. I’m watching a coach with a cracked Patella on crutches, OK, with his assistant running the damn show! And these brothers are just putting it on folks!”

Stephen A. Smith on the Minnesota Timberwolves winning it all (First Take – ESPN)

Normally, I would call this hyperbole out as click-bait propaganda. Even up 2-0 and heading back home, it should be a huge mistake to count the Denver Nuggets out of this series, and maybe it is.

Related: Anthony Edwards is Over the Michael Jordan Talk

That’s before we even get to the Western Conference Finals, where the Luka Doncic + Kyrie Irving led Dallas Mavericks or No. 1 seed OKC Thunder will be waiting. But if you watched the performance that the Timberwolves put on last night, without their best defender, Rudy Gobert, it’s impossible not to walk away feeling the same exact way as Stephen A. does.

I have not seen a defense like that, like what I saw in the first half last night. As great as Boston is defensively, it’s gonna require every bit of greatness from the Boston Celtics. Dallas or OKC, good luck! Because I’m looking at this team, without Rudy Gobert… WITHOUT RUDY GOBERT… force them into 35% shooting, 30% shooting from three-point range.

Jamal Murray couldn’t get off, Aaron Gordon couldn’t get off… Nikola Jokic couldn’t get off, and he looked exhausted. Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Mr. Model Citizen, arguing with officials! I mean, Mike Malone getting in officials’ face — could have been ejected, could have been ejected! Mad love and respect to the Denver Nuggets, they’re the reigning defending champions, they’re legit. But something special has developed in Minnesota. I got the Minnesota Timberwolves winning it all, man. I gotta them winning it all, right now. That’s what I’m seeing

Stephen A. Smith on the Minnesota Timberwolves winning it all (First Take – ESPN)

They have possibly the best player in the NBA on their team, in Anthony Edwards. And one of only a few players you could argue is better than Ant, Nikola Jokic, has absolutely no help down low against one of the deepest and most talented front court combinations the NBA has seen since Tim Duncan and David Robinson played together in San Antonio.

Related: Nikola Jokic Already Sounds Exhausted by Timberwolves’ Defense, Depth

And even those teams may not have had the additional depth that Minnesota does with Naz Reid and Kyle Anderson. And if the Nuggets can’t hang with the Wolves… who can?

Mentioned in this article:

More About: