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Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Outlook
Western Conference Odds: +8500
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +14000
The Minnesota Timberwolves are going to be a work in progress, yet again, but there are pieces that are coming together. Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are the stars but the last two drafts have brought Jarrett Culver and Anthony Edwards, the latter being the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s draft.
Those wings will be key to the team’s development, as will veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, who is back in Minnesota after originally being drafted by the Timberwolves in 2009. Coach Ryan Saunders will have his work cut out keeping everyone happy with minutes and amount of time with the ball.
The Timberwolves are not expected to contend for a playoff berth but we could see improvement.
Timberwolves 2021 Predictions
Regular Season Record: 23-49
Conference Standing: 13th
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Towns must become a leader as he is the team’s best player. The 25-year-old center is coming off a season in which he only played 35 games due to various injuries, though when he was on the court, he averaged 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.2 blocks. With so many wing scorers, Towns’ place may be more in the paint to provide inside scoring and rebounding.
Russell will begin his first full season with the Timberwolves, his fourth different team in six NBA seasons. Russell can score with the best of them, but also has to be a distributor and not monopolize the ball. He averaged 6.6 assists in his short stint with the Timberwolves, and with all the weapons he has around him, he could increase that this season.
Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries
Minnesota Timberwolves Team History
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been part of the NBA since the 1989-90 season, but they are still looking for their first championship or trip to the Finals. Minnesota has one division title in its first 30 years and has advanced to the Western Conference Finals oncel.
The Timberwolves were an expansion team and had their troubles in the first years of the franchise, failing to win 30 games or make the postseason for their first seven years.Things started to change for the franchise when it made a high school player its first-round pick in the 1995 draft.
Kevin Garnett was the selection and 20 games into the 1995-96 season, the Timberwolves named Flip Saunders head coach, replacing Bill Blair after the team got off to a 6-14 start. Saunders was the team’s fifth head coach in its first seven seasons.
After the 1995-96 campaign, the Timberwolves drafted Ray Allen, then traded him to Milwaukee for the rights to guard Stephon Marbury. Garnett and Marbury were already friends, and their chemistry on the court was immediate. Garnett and forward Tom Gugliotta became the first Minnesota players to make the All-Star Team.
The Timberwolves made the playoffs for the first time in 1996-97, starting a string of eight straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, the team’s stay in the playoffs was minimal, with Minnesota being eliminated in the first round in its first seven playoff appearances.
During that string, Gugliotta left as a free agent, and Marbury was dealt in a three-team trade that brought Terrell Brandon to the team. Wally Szczerbiak was drafted in 1999 with a pick that came in the Brandon trade, and the team started to put together the pieces of the team that would be its most successful.
Prior to the 2003-04 season, the team dealt away Brandon in a deal that brought Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell, and suddenly the Timberwolves were a force.The team won its first Midwest Division title and was the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, while Garnett won the NBA’s MVP award.
After defeating the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings to advance to their first Western Conference finals, the Timberwolves ran into a Los Angeles Lakers team that featured Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Minnesota was eliminated in six games.
The next season started slow, and with the Timberwolves sitting at 25-26, Saunders was replaced on the bench by general manager Kevin McHale. Despite a 44-38 record, Minnesota missed the playoffs, beginning a string of 13 straight seasons without postseason basketball for the Timberwolves.
With the team floundering and Garnett unhappy, Minnesota dealt its biggest star to Boston in the 2007 offseason. The package the Timberwolves received in return — five players, two first-round picks and cash considerations — was the largest combination of players and picks traded for one player. The Celtics reaped the benefits, winning the NBA title in Garnett’s first season.
The Timberwolves continued to struggle, despite the presence of All-Star forward Kevin Love. It wasn’t until the 2017-18 season that Minnesota made the playoffs again.
Tom Thibodeau was in his second season as coach, with a group that featured Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler. The Timberwolves had their first winning season since 2004-05, but were eliminated in the first round by Houston.
Butler forced his way out prior to the following season, and Thibodeau was out after 40 games, with Saunders’ son, Ryan, taking over as head coach. Minnesota failed to make the postseason yet again and hasn’t been back since.
In 2020, Garnett was named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, becoming the first player in Timberwolves history to earn the honor.
The Timberwolves’ first full season under Ryan Saunders began well, with the team winning four of their first five games and sitting at 10-8 at the beginning of December. Unfortunately, an 11-game losing streak followed, with Towns injuring his knee in the middle of it, and Minnesota wasn’t able to recover.
After winning five of eight games following Christmas, the Timberwolves went on another losing skid, this one 13 games, and the season was all but lost yet again. On Feb. 6, Minnesota traded Wiggins to Golden State in exchange for three players, including Russell, Towns’ good friend.
Russell averaged 21.7 points in the 12 games he played with the team, though the trade didn’t improve the team enough to pick up more wins. Minnesota was 19-45 and in last place in the Northwest Division when the NBA paused the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. When 22 teams started the season back up in Orlando, the Timberwolves weren’t one of them.
Ryan Saunders has been around the NBA for much of his life, thanks to his father, Flip Saunders, being the coach of the Timberwolves for 10 years in the 1990s and 2000s. Saunders played basketball at the University of Minnesota before starting his coaching career as an assistant with the Washington Wizards in 2009.
When the elder Saunders returned to the Timberwolves as head coach for the 2014-15 season, his son joined him as an assistant on his staff. Flip Saunders’ stint as head coach ended after one season, mostly because of his diagnosis of Hodgins’ lymphoma, which caused his death in October 2015.
Ryan Saunders stayed on as an assistant coach with the Timberwolves until January 2019, when head coach Tom Thibodeau was fired, earning the full-time job that offseason. In one-plus seasons as head coach, the 34-year-old Saunders has a 36-70 record.
Ricky Rubio, guard, Phoenix Suns
Ed Davis, forward, Utah Jazz
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, forward, Toronto Raptors
James Johnson, forward, Oklahoma City Thunder
Anthony Edwards, guard, Georgia
Ashton Hagans, guard, Kentucky
Jaden McDaniels, forward, Washington