Timberwolves 2018-19 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds, Record Predictions

Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-anthony Towns plays against the Houston Rockets in the first half during Game 3 of an NBA basketball first round playoff series Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves finally reached the playoffs last season after 13 years of ineptitude. The question now is whether the team can build off this success in 2018-19.

Minnesota earned the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference on the last day of the regular season, but the squad only managed one postseason win in a first-round loss to the Houston Rockets.

While the roster looks very similar heading into next season, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and others make up a core that is as talented as nearly any team in the NBA. Unfortunately, the team has a difficult schedule in arguably the deepest division in the league.

This will make the upcoming year an interesting one for the Timberwolves. 

2018-19 Details

Season Opener: Oct. 17 vs. San Antonio Spurs

Championship Odds: 100-1 (via OddsShark)

Full Schedule: NBA.com 

         

Top Matchups

Milwaukee Bucks: First matchup on Friday, Oct. 26

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball against Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game between the two teams on February 1, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NO

David Sherman/Getty Images

Unlikely most teams in the NBA, the Timberwolves fared better against the Western Conference last season than the Eastern Conference.

The squad had a 38-14 record against Western teams, including a 10-6 record against fellow Northwest division opponents. The Rockets were the only team from the West that produced better results in either of these categories.

The problem was the 13-17 record against the Eastern Conference. This is what needs to change if Minnesota is going to climb up the standings.

That can start against border-state rival Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and company were responsible for one of the more disappointing losses of the season when the Wolves blew a 20-point lead that resulted in a 102-96 December loss. These types of games can’t happen to a real contender.

A quality showing against a top Eastern Conference opponent will go a long way toward having a successful season.

      

New Orleans Pelicans: First matchup on Wednesday, Nov. 14

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 3: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves look on during the game on February 3, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno

David Sherman/Getty Images

With Towns quickly becoming one of the best centers in the NBA, the best measuring stick for him will be to go up against THE best center in the NBA: Anthony Davis.

Towns is coming off an outstanding year where he earned his first All-Star selection and was named third-team All-NBA, but he still has a lot of room to grow. Battling Davis will only make him a better player while also giving fans an exciting one-on-one battle to watch throughout the game.

If the 22-year-old can continue to improve on the defensive end and slow down players like Davis, the Wolves will be an even better team next season.

Considering Andrew Wiggins averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in four wins against this team last year, this game could provide more opportunities for the young guard to show what he can do offensively.

       

Prediction

Jim Mone/Associated Press

This team is too talented to settle for the eighth seed, but a deep division in a loaded conference will make it difficult to climb the standings.

The offense is fine, with Towns, Butler and Wiggins all capable of carrying the team on a given night while Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford provide valuable scoring depth. The bench is a bit of a concern but it will be better if Tyus Jones gets more playing time while rookie scorers Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop reach expectations.

The much bigger concern is defense after the team ranked 27th in the league defensive rating, per Basketball Reference.

Butler staying healthy would go a long way, though, while increased chemistry in the rotation will help as well. This team won’t be one of the top teams in the Western Conference, but the Wolves should be safely in the playoffs with a chance to reach the second round.

Record Prediction: 49-33

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA https://ift.tt/2gMI6gF

August 10, 2018 at 01:33PM

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