He's been cleared to begin light running, shooting and continued ankle strengthening exercises, and his progress will be monitored this week.
No timetable for a return to practice. With point guard Kemba Walker making a second All-Star appearance and veterans Dwight Howard and Nicolas Batum uninterested in building through the draft this late in their careers, expect Charlotte to do everything in its power to close the five-game gap with the HEAT. In the West, although the Clippers moved on from Griffin, the team remains just one game behind the eighth-seed Pelicans with a record in its last 10 games.
The Clippers are another veteran-laden squad with too much pride to play for lottery balls. Utah owns a league-best game win streak and sits a half game behind the Clippers. Honorable mention goes to the Lakers, which sit a dismal eight games behind the Pelicans in the Western Conference standings. The 76ers used the pick with added protections to move up last year and draft Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick.
Additionally, the Nets do not make the list since the Cavaliers own their unprotected first round pick from the Kyrie Irving trade with the Celtics. With Porzingis now sidelined for an extended period, the goal shifts to improving the talent around him. This is a team in naked tank mode, but it has the most games remaining against other teams on this list. Chicago has its tanking work cut out for it, but the recent lineup decisions show that the Bulls are serious about getting the job done.
The Magic have the second-worst record in the East but are matched by the Kings and Mavericks. Counting the Grizzlies, this makes six teams with only 18 wins. This is the heart of the tanking field, and the Magic fully committed when it traded starting point guard Elfrid Payton, a former lottery pick, for a future second-round pick.
Orlando has a six-game stretch against teams in playoff contention that should help, but it also has a large number of games remaining against lottery contenders. Unfortunately, the Kings had a recent stretch of four wins in ten games.
No caveats or disclaimers are needed here since Cuban has gone public with his desire to lose as many games as possible. However, the team is in the last 10 games and lost a ton of close games this year. The Hawks are literally better than the record suggests, and join the Magic and Kings by insisting on shooting themselves in the foot with late-season wins that could poison the lottery well.
Only John Collins and Isaiah Taylor have out-performed this combo among two-man units that have shared at least minutes. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer wisely opted to limit the pair to minutes together this season, but the Hawks seem like a team in danger of tumbling out of position for a top-three pick despite how well-positioned the team is currently.
When it comes to the gold standard in tanking, nobody tops the Suns. The prediction here is that nobody out-tanks the Suns the rest of the way. Your email address will not be published. The Minnesota Timberwolves have an abundance talent, and its share of problems, too. Or will chaos have too great of an influence on the roster? The Timberwolves enter this season with a lot to look forward to, coming off a weirdly successful season. Its franchise player, Karl-Anthony Towns should continue to mature and develop.
Andrew Wiggins has yet to realize his full potential, but still possesses incredible upside. So much so that it entered its February 24th contest against the Rockets in fourth place in the loaded Western Conference — a game in which Butler was injured, forcing him to miss the next 17 games and do serious damage to its playoff standings. The team ended the season with wins and the eighth seed in the playoffs. But problems exist for the Timberwolves.
Can the team overcome the hostility between Butler, Towns and Wiggins? Can Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones continue to lead the team from the point guard position? Will Andrew Wiggins lock in defensively and become the star he was projected to be? And will Thibodeau be able to develop a deeper rotation or will be continue overwhelming his stars with tremendous workloads in the season?
The Minnesota Timberwolves have so much talent and so many issues, unfortunately. If Tom Thibodeau can get his star players on the same page, this team could be one of the better Western Conference teams this season. If things fall apart early on, things could get ugly.
I want to be optimistic and project that the key players on the roster will put the team first and focus on making a deep postseason run. However, I get the sense that this ongoing situation has gone too far and cannot be fully resolved at this point.
I hope I am wrong, but only time will tell. This group clearly has the talent to be a playoff team in the West, and maybe even a top-four seed if everything breaks right and they get some internal development. Whatever optimism there was headed into last fall has gradually faded away a short year later. The Timberwolves are an enigma. Entering the first year of his five-year maximum contract extension signed in October , Andrew Wiggins has to bring forth better production than he did last season.
Chances are after a run with Butler for a full season, he might have a better feel for that role. However, with the Northwest Division in high competition, Minnesota could find itself on the short end of the stick. It might be time to declare that we jumped the gun on the Timberwolves. Once they added Jimmy Butler, it seemed like their potential would finally be tapped. They may have made the playoffs last season, but the red flags definitely manifested themselves.
Nobody appears to be happy. Butler appears ready to skip town. Thibs appears to not have learned his lesson from Chicago. The Timberwolves should be back in the hunt this year, but they are in a very competitive division within an even more competitive conference.
On paper they should emerge as an elite team in the NBA. Too much is being made of the TimberBulls thing because adding quality veterans that the coach knows and trusts is a common thing, regardless of where they played. The real question for the Wolves is can their Big Three play like a Big Three and not three high level guys trying to do their own thing? Especially when egos and contrasting needs and wants factor in.
The Wolves have a number of strong offensive players, but none with as many gifts as Towns. Towns fits the unicorn mold as a seven-footer who can shoot from deep, punish opponents in the post, pass the ball and run the court. Towns is a mismatch for opponents nearly every night. He posted a PER of While his scoring dipped four points per game last season, he saw increased efficiency in his already strong three-point and free throw shooting.
Further, Towns decreased his turnovers per game from 2. The Timberwolves would love to lock Towns up long term, which they can do soon if they agree to a contract extension prior to October Will Towns sign the extension this late in the offseason? Will he and the Wolves agree on a shorter contract, which puts pressure on the team to get creative? Or might he wait until next offseason to make a decision?
Only time will tell. Fortunately for the Wolves, the All-NBA defender is a maniacal worker who is incredibly dedicated to his conditioning and his craft. In fact, Butler led the Wolves in scoring last season with He also tallied a personal best in steals per game 2.
But last season was the first since his rookie year that Butler failed to play in at least 65 games. Butler proved that his knee was healthy following a February meniscus tear, but is the grind of carrying such a heavy workload on both sides of the court beginning to result in unsustainable fatigue? By default, a team with as much infighting as the Wolves must have an effective playmaker to spread the floor and distribute the ball.
Fortunately for the Wolves, Teague is a veteran who is used to sharing the ball with multiple starts. Remember, Teague was the starting point guard for the Atlanta Hawks teams, which featured Al Horford, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson — all of whom were legitimate scoring threats in the early s.
Teague might not be a vocal leader like Chris Paul, but he is capable facilitator. If Teague can continue to play as reliably as he did last season, the point guard position looks to be in good hands for now. While this may seem slightly counterintuitive — after all, the word on Wiggins is that he has developed less through this point of his career than many had hoped — Wiggins actually has the stats to back it up.
Believe it or not, Wiggins is the only member of the Timberwolves to hit a buzzer beater last season. He hit two buzzer beaters in Does this mean he has Mamba blood coursing through his veins? But it does mean that when asked to come through in the clutch, he can do so with the game on the line. The majority of the Wolves roster is easily classifiable as a star, former star, role player or rookie.
And then there is Taj Gibson. Besides, he registered an above average PER of He put up And he even set a single-season team record, shooting percent from the field. Yes, he can score when needed. In fact, he scored 16 or more points in 23 games.
But he was also the Wolves best post defender, and possibly their most versatile one, too. He covered an array of all-star-quality talent from James Harden to Nikola Jokic.
Gibson is a good shot-contester. He was actually the twenty-second bes shot contester in the league last season. He also works his tail off and is a good locker room presence for a team that needs a positive influence. Most importantly, he impacts the game without being featured in the offense. But can Gibson impact remain as strong as he enters his tenth season? If he can, look for Gibson to log heavy minutes and make nightly contributions.
Josh Okogie played two seasons at Georgia Tech, where he developed nicely. He is a leaper who can run the court effectively on both offense and defense. His energy and motor will be a valuable asset for a team that is lacking in both youth and depth. He was rated the second most athletic rookie by the rookie class in their recent survey with NBA.
Okogie would be wise to make nice with Jimmy Butler and study his off-the-court procedures given their similar skill sets. Nabbing an impact player in the second round of the draft is always a cause for celebration. While doubts exist around most second-rounders, most of them are centered on a stress fracture in his left leg. Through the above-mentioned survey, they named Bates-Diop as the biggest steal of the draft after watching him average 8.
Bates-Diop has a relatively polished two-way game. The Big Ten Player of the Year has a good touch. The Timberwolves are thin up front and can benefit greatly from Bates-Diop, especially if he can mature quickly and improve his willingness to engage defensively on the low block. Through 82 games in , Jones averaged only 5. The team played better with Jones on the court in his With Jones, the Timberwolves were 5. Much of this success stems from the fact that Jones had a low usage rate, and Towns, Butler and Wiggins took more shot attempts with Jones stewarding the team instead of Teague.
But those are difficult stats to ignore. Jones opportunities should grow dramatically in the near future, too. The Wolves unofficially parted ways with guard Jamal Crawford after his contract expired following this past season. Crawford accounted for It is unlikely that all of those minutes go to Jones, but the NBA is a production-oriented league. Nerlens is disappointing because I used to think he was easily a future DPotY guy.
That used to be my big NBA prediction years back. Between that Cody Zeller comment and someone else commenting that MKG is a monster, it is just nice to see that people at one point thought we could be good.
Lol at Kenneth Faried though, sometimes I forgot how much hype there was around him when he was younger. I mean I was mad hyped for Leonard, bought his Jersey and declared total fealty to him including spoutings thing like "when it's all said and done, Kawhi will have more Finals MVPs than KD" haha..
Admittedly, due to my job and an extended globetrotting excursion I haven't been watching the NBA as much the last two seasons, so I'd take these picks with a bit more of a grain of salt.
That being said, I do try and keep up as much as I can, so I do have some confidence in these guys. Mind giving me some lottery numbers real quick whilst your looking into the future? Part of me wishes we kept OJ. He was so good, and maybe he could have his life in order in Memphis and had a good career. Maybe things could have been different.
The only thing Roy Hibbert did of value was inform the masses to buy bitcoin in I still didnt do it, but Roy sure tried to tell us. Absolutely no mention of Curry at all. Really very few people saw that one coming; puts his meteoric rise in perspective. Which tells you how little attention people paid to the Warriors at the time. Steph was averaging 23 ppg on efficient splits and most warriors fans were outraged that he was snubbed from the ASG that year and Lee was our all star.
He broke the 3 pointers record for the first time that year. He didn't exactly come from no where, just no one was bothering to watch the warriors. Even warriors fans in wouldn't have told you "Oh in 5 years Steph will have won 2 MVPs, been all NBA every year, won two titles, maybe 3," but most people who watched Curry probably would have known "Okay this guy could be a perennial all star. I remember the 54 point game. I had seen him play sporadically in his previous injury-riddled seasons but that night was when he really put himself on the map and made people start to take note.
He had been good all along, just no one was paying any attention to the warriors. This is why I hate when people use Steph as an example of some unknown guy who rose to stardom, like "See look XYZ young player who had a bad rookie year can still develop! He was hyped the right amount.
He was a top a 10 pick after all, but he didn't have "more" hype because he was projected to go and went to the Warriors, who were a bottom of the barrel team when he came into the Association. He didnt come from nowhere to me. I still remember his tourney run with Davidson and knowing he would be great. To me Curry was just a very good shooter who was underrated by the league.
But nothing special like he is today. I looked at him like I look at Bradley Beal today. Nobody expected Curry to have one of the greatest regular seasons of all time in Damn I know a lot of crazy things were in that thread, but did anyone have a worse prediction than Aquille Carr??? He was that tiny guy from NJ or Maryland that had a couple high school highlight videos that made everybody freak out right?
I mean yeah that's true, there are just some crazy things you watch in these videos and you think "man he might have something special". I mean I remember waiting for the hooplife mixtape on Wiggins because I saw there were some things that just didn't make sense for him to do.
Obviously it's not indicative of a whole lot and that's why I try to watch any of these guys live if the chance ever comes up. I think you get a much better sense then. Back when I was watching him live, kill Calderon, I wanted him to fucking go away, but this is not what I had in mind. I still remember him being like 15 feet away from JLin as Lin rose up to kill us on a buzzer beater at home, on Asian Heritage night, to a fully pumped up crowd cheering against us at the peak of Linsanity.
Times certainly have changed. Yo, as an Asian myself, that shit was heartbreaking. Wtf, stop cheering for the other team assholes. College Football Betting Trends. College Basketball Betting Trends. College Football Betting Consensus. College Basketball Betting Consensus. College Football Game Simulator. College Basketball Game Simulator. CapperTek is not a gambling or sports betting website and does not accept or place wagers of any type.
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