Tank Becoming Real: Timberwolves Nearing Top-5 Spot in Draft Lottery

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves look on against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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While everyone else is wondering how the Minnesota Timberwolves can win more games in early 2020, I am trying to figure out how they can lose more often. I know… it’s a selfless act, one that only the strongest of sports fans can shoulder, but I can be that rock for the state of Minnesota. When you’re one of many Minnesota sports fans that has to get up too early every morning, just to get home too late every night… all you want when you sit back in your recliner with your TV dinner at 8 PM, is to watch your favorite sports team win.

I get it. I live that same life…

But sometimes, it takes less winning to get closer to a championship. While regular season wins might make tomorrow better, they won’t always help end our title drought… which is now going on 30 years. Adding young talent can become more important than winning meaningless regular season games, if your team isn’t playoff or championship caliber. But, cheering for our favorite teams to lose sucks… in fact, it can be nearly impossible for many who aren’t as strong.

I will be the Saint of Minnesota Tanking.

I will be the only “reporter” in the state that’s willing to waive the white flag on a season, long before it’s ever warranted. I’m willing to shoulder this burden for our state because I value seeing the forrest through the trees and I love my fellow Minnesota sports fans.

As you can see from the graphic above, I had a broken smile on my face last week as the inept Wolves tumbled out of the Western Conference playoff race and into the heart of the NBA Draft Lottery,¬†and I’m proud of them for that. They’ve been the hardest tanking team in the entire NBA, over the last 6 games. Most fans haven’t even noticed yet because it happened so quickly, but the Wolves are just 1.5 games out of a top-5 spot in the lottery.

When you start talking top-5 draft picks, we’re talking possible IMMEDIATE help for KAT, if the new Rosas & Co. regime can make the right selection. The sky is the limit if you can sneak into the top-3.

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Next Step in 2020 TWolves Tank:

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– Trade Robert Covington ASAP

There are two players on this basketball team who really help collect victories. Karl-Anthony Towns, who is the only part of the future that matters and isn’t going to fake an injury for the rest of the season (unfortunately), and Robert Covington. According to this morning’s Star Tribune (Chris Hine), RoCo is #9 in the NBA in ESPN’s “Real Plus/Minus” statistic and he is universally known as one of the best defenders in the NBA, especially when matched up on wings. He can hit 3’s at an above-average rate (35% this year) and also brings teams together with his personality and demeanor. He’s an ultimate “team guy”…

….which is exactly why he needs to go.

Out of all the players the Wolves are willing to move (all of them beyond KAT), Covington will bring back the biggest return. On top of all the things mentioned above, he offers a great contract (especially in today’s NBA). The Wolves want to make sure they maximize their return on RoCo but the more games he helps you win, the less it matters what he gets you back…. because it isn’t going to be a top-3 pick. Losing games is more important than splitting hairs on what you get back for Covington.

I do worry about how many losses we can really pile up with KAT on the active roster… but getting rid of RoCo can really help balance that out. The Wolves have gone right back to their terrible defensive ways, since Karl has returned, and it’s already cost them. Trading the glue of this defense, would make the effort on that side of the floor even more abominable.

So, don’t worry about cheering against your local basketball team (even though it’s what is best for them)… because I will always be here to do it for you when it’s needed. While other outlets will have the disappointment you seek when watching losses pile up, I’ll be here to look ahead. And who knows… after your team loses 6-straight, it might make you feel a little better, knowing ultimate good could come out of those losses, especially when you have someone else to shoulder the burden of wanting to lose.

You’re welcome.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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