Timberwolves Likely Limp Into Playoffs Where Jimmy Butler Hopes to be Waiting

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 27: Jimmy Butler #23, Karl-Anthony Towns #32, Andrew Wiggins #22, Jeff Teague #0, and Taj Gibson #67 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 27, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 27: Jimmy Butler #23, Karl-Anthony Towns #32, Andrew Wiggins #22, Jeff Teague #0, and Taj Gibson #67 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 27, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)



Don’t mess with Texas.

Apparently, that old saying reigns true when it comes to back-to-back NBA contests. The expression held over the weekend too, with Minnesota’s back-to-back losses to the Spurs and Rockets. Like your body releasing all the St. Patrick’s Day booze, let’s hope the Timberwolves quickly recover from the aggressive unrelenting weekend.

The most important aspect, in the Wolves return to normalcy, is getting Jimmy Butler back. As of Monday, there isn’t a target date for the 4x All-Star’s return. However, per reports, in the event Minnesota reaches the postseason, Jimmy will be ready to rock and roll.

In the interim, Mr. Butler Buckets has taken on the role of cheerleader (Julian Andrews – NBA.com):

“Text messaging, phone calls, [if] they don’t message me back I’m sliding into their DMs if I have to. My guys are going to hear from me, because I care, I want to win,” said Butler. “Even though I’m not out there with them, they know that I’m there. Even though I’m doing rehab, I’m here, I watch every game, I pay attention to every single thing.”

Obviously, it’s not a role he’s taken lightly, which is perfect. When it comes leadership, let the young fellas follow this man’s guidance:

The Marquette alum suffered his knee injury on February 23rd. If you include the night of the injury, the Wolves have gone 4-6 during this meniscus-initiatied mess. With Tom Thibodeau’s team sitting in 8th place of a PACKED Western Conference, where one game might be the difference between a playoff and non-playoff team, shit just go real.

Western Conference Standings:

While Houston and Golden State are in a league of their own, the battle, between the West’s next 8-best teams, is a blood bath. Only 6 of those squads can make the postseason, so the fear from fans that another Wolves’ season will end after game-82, is increasing daily. In trying times like these, I reflect on what America’s 32nd President preached:

While that quote is absolutely genius, using its adage isn’t helping in this situation. As for easing my concerns? That will occur if Minnesota wins on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, we may not be too far away from referencing the often-overused “must win scenario” expression. However, even if the Clip Show dusts us, the Wolves will still have 10 regular season contests remaining. That part of the schedule, to say the least, is a hell of a lot easier than what they’ve had to face over the past month.

Over the Wolves’ final two handful of regular season contests, 6 of them will come against teams with losing records. Out of those; half a dozen games, five will be against some of the lowest levels of NBA competition (Knicks w/o Porzingis, Grizzlies [2], Hawks, and Mavericks). In regards to the matchups against above-.500 franchises, none of those opponents are currently in the top four of their respective conference standings.

Naturally, with Denver currently sitting only 1.5 games behind the Wolves, their April 5th showdown could be huge. Less than a week after that, in their final game of the season, Minnesota will face Nikola Jokic and Co. again. Those two games, alone, could shape the TWolves playoff position (or lack there of…).

A week-and-a-half ago, I predicted that Minnesota would “barely gimp themselves into the post-season.” Outside of a one-seed losing in the first round of March Madness, nothing has changed but the date. Despite the earlier referenced fear, there’s no wavering on this end. To reiterate, the 2017-2018 Minnesota Timberwolves will still end what is currently the NBA’s longest playoff drought.

As the outdoorsman/woman would say, that dog will hunt. Regardless of how you want to phrase it, putting this postseason hiatus to sleep would be a blessing. You know what wouldn’t be a blessing, though? A situation where the entire Rocket or Warrior fan base is rubbing a cleaning tool in our face:

Johnny Minnesota @TheJohnnyMN
Minnesota Sports Fan MinnesotaSportsFan.com