Can the Minnesota Timberwolves reach the playoffs next year?

The Minnesota Timberwolves were incredibly disappointing in the 2015-16 campaign as they finished rock bottom of the NBA’s Northwest Division. In fact, Tom Thibodeau’s men slumped to a 29-53 losing record and Minnesota are now in with a very good chance of winning the lottery and claiming the first overall pick in the NBA Draft on June 23rd. Right now, the Timberwolves need plenty of luck and an excellent draft to challenge for the playoffs next season but stranger things have happened and Minnesota fans will be quietly confident of a much-improved campaign next season.

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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Minnesota Timber” (CC BY 2.0) by  EDrost88 

For the Timberwolves to reach the playoffs, they will have to raise their game and compete with Oklahoma City Thunder – who are the current Northwest Division champions. At the time of writing, the Thunder are still in with a chance of winning the NBA title this year and punters can back Billy Donovan’s men at 11/2 in the Paddy Power NBA odds. Minnesota lost to Oklahoma City three times this season but they managed to earn a 99-96 victory over their divisional rivals in the final head-to-head of the campaign. If nothing else, this should give the Timberwolves confidence ahead of next season.

On paper, Minnesota’s roster is young but hungry for success and that could mean the Timberwolves are one of the most improved sides next year. While they do have NBA legend Kevin Garnett, the majority of players are relatively inexperienced and they will only improve as they gain a greater understanding and insight into the sport. Ricky Rubio and Greg Smith are just two of Minnesota’s upcoming stars and these two players may benefit from added game time on the court, as well as a couple of signings to freshen up the roster.

The Timberwolves could consider moving for free-agent-to-be Jared Dudley this summer. While the small forward has failed to hold down a regular starting berth during his brief spell at the Washington Wizards, he remains a consistent performer and shoots 39.9% beyond the arc. If nothing else, his long-range ability would give Minnesota an additional dimension on offense and Thibodeau’s side would certainly benefit from a more experienced head on their young roster.

Minnesota haven’t featured in the postseason since the 2003-04 campaign, and that’s 12 years too long for what is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s greatest franchises. Most people interested in USA Sport Betting would consider the Wolves to be a long-shot to snap that streak, but a careful observer will realize that things are about to turn around up North. The Timberwolves have plenty of scope for improvement next season and one of the top picks in the 2016 NBA Draft will certainly help their cause as they seek a return to the playoffs. With Garnett firing on all cylinders and Rubio upping his game, Minnesota have enough game-changers to compete for a spot in the postseason – they just have to believe in themselves.

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