With the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities coming to a close tonight, it is time for teams to get back to business as the final stretch of the season approaches. The Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves with a below .500 (25-28) record with 29 games left in their regular season schedule, which sparks questions regarding the team’s chances of making their first post season appearance since the 2003-2004 NBA season. Is it realistic to think that the Minnesota Timberwolves, a below .500 (25-28) team who plays in the ferociously competitive Western Conference, will find a way to sneak into this year’s NBA post season? Absolutely.
As of today, the Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves as the 10th seed in the Western Conference. Surrounded by teams with similar records such as the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans, the Timbewolves must find something to separate themselves form the pack.
Injuries have been plaguing the Timberwolves as of late. However, with hopes of Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin returning in the next week or two looks promising for the young ball club. The importance of both Pekovic and Martin returning healthy and playing well is imperative to the team’s success to say the least. Pekovic, who has averaged 18 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest to this point of the season, takes much of the rebounding as well as the scoring pressure off of power forward Kevin Love. He also provides the team with a strong inside presence as Love spends a great deal of time spreading the defense with his outside shooting ability. Martin’s offensive production this season has gone somewhat unnoticed. He is averaging 19 points per game and has proven to be a perimeter scoring threat to the opposition. With the expectation of a return from both players in the near future, the Timberwolves should feel confident moving forward.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Timberwolves this season is their offensive production from the bench. It is imperative to have superstar caliber players on your roster to win big games, but a well-balanced and productive bench wins championships. The team finds themselves at the bottom of the league in points per game from their bench players, which has put even more pressure on Love and company to find ways to score the basketball.
However, the Minnesota Timberwolves still have hope and weapon that none of the other potential playoff teams in the Western Conference have to offer: Kevin Love. Even though center Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans has been playing like an all-star as of late, he has not shown signs of willing a team to the playoffs. Love, who is currently fourth in points per game and second in rebounds per game, has the ability to take any given game over on the offensive as well as defensive end of the floor. He is also one of the very few players who is capable of scoring at will while still dominating the glass. Even when key players are injured and the bench is not performing up to their standards, the Timberwolves can always rely on their star player to get them out of a jam.
The Minnesota Timberwolves look to put the first 53 games behind them, and move forward in this year’s NBA season. The team will host the Eastern Conference’s best in the Indiana Pacers this Wednesday and look to make a statement against the physical ball club.
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