The Pack’s Hunt for the Playoffs


Davi Flowers, Editor

As the professional basketball season turns towards the playoffs, many teams are sizing up their chances of advancing. Some, like the New York Knicks are already looking toward next year, as their performance this winter has been disastrous, but others like the Timberwolves still have a slim chance of making it to the next round. The question is, at this point, do they have what it takes to defeat teams like the Bucks, Lakers and Warriors on a regular basis?

The Timberwolves’ season has been about as successful as their ability to negotiate player contracts and trades. There has been some good fortune, but there have also been some setbacks. For many NBA teams, the race against the trade deadline was intense. However, the Minnesota Timberwolves were just trying to win games. They had already made their one transaction of the year when they traded Jimmy Butler, who wanted to leave the franchise. Spartan Scene’s head sports reporter, Quincy Hill did not agree with that move stating, “I would’ve just fired the coach and traded Wiggins.” These two were Butler’s source of friction in Minnesota. Even though many fans also wanted Andrew Wiggins traded before the deadline, acquiring Dario Saric in the Jimmy Butler trade has proven to be a good move for the team. According to, he is averaging around 10 points per game, and he provides much needed defense to their system.

The playoffs will prove to be tough challenge for Minnesota’s team, because they are ankle-deep in injuries. The trade also brought in Robert Covington, who is currently injured, so that isn’t solving any of their issues. Injuries have clearly had an impact on this team in a negative way. Derrick Rose was out with an ankle injury; Tyus Jones was out with an ankle injury, and now ROCO is out with an ankle injury. Hill states “It is hard to win games without a decent point guard who can run an offense.”

For a while, the only guard they had that could actually play was Jerryd Bayless. That may seem bad considering that he hasn’t had any meaningful playing time in quite a long while. However, he really stepped up to the plate, dropping 19 points in two games. The Timberwolves seem to have an eye for underrated point guards. They have decent players that are taking on leadership roles in their time of need. Hill says, “that just isn’t enough to compete with a team like the Golden State Warriors.”

There has been another big change for the Minnesota team, and that involves their new head coach Ryan Saunders. The Timberwolves canned Tom Thibodeau early January, and that put the young assistant coach in charge. The team is currently 8-9 under his coaching. Almost every game has been within ten points, so his system is working better than when they were losing by 30 plus points to the Milwaukee Bucks. Now that the team is starting to overcome injuries and are working with a better system, things are looking up. They are currently 11th in the western conference, but it is a tight race. A few consecutive wins after the all-star break could put them in a very good position to make the playoffs. How they start the second half of the season is pivotal. The Wolves need to gain much more momentum early in the second half of the season if they want to play postseason basketball. “Playoffs or not, just watch out for D-Rose!” says Hill.