At 33-32, the Wolves' season is nearly done, and the .500 mark has been a frequent visitor since the season began. Fittingly, the Wolves have been placed in the middle of the league in terms of power rankings as a result.
They play Dallas, Memphis and Phoenix in 3 of their next 4 games (the fourth game being Houston). This stretch will likely either be the final nail in the coffin, a new shot at the playoffs, or something in between that frustrates everybody.
In the meantime, here are this week's rankings:
Average Ranking: 16.86 (Last week: 15.85)
No. 16 (Last Week: 16):: Jason Patt, SB Nation
Gorgui Dieng has had a quiet rookie season, but he took advantage of a starting spot on Sunday with Nikola Pekovic out, putting up 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in 37 minutes.
No. 17 (Last Week: 16): Marc Stein, ESPN
They've won nine of 13. They're still No. 9 in the league in terms of average nightly point margin at +3.6. But Kevin Love and Co. seem to be getting no closer to halting that nine-season playoff drought, thanks to the injuries and that fatal 3-12 record in games decided by four points or less.
No. 15 (Last Week: 15):: Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports
The T'wolves are 5½ games out of the West playoff race. If they want to make up ground, they need to do well in their next four games against Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Memphis.
No. 19 (Last Week: 16): Matt Moore, CBS Sports
It's ridiculous that this team won't make the playoffs.
No. 17 (Last Week: 15): USA Today Writers' Poll
Holding on to their .500 record, as their No. 13 draft pick already seems set in stone.
No. 17 (Last Week: 17):: Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated
In his first start, rookie center Gorgui Dieng had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in Sunday's win over Sacramento. Starting center Nikola Pekovic will return to his rightful spot in the lineup once he's healthy, but for a team that averages a league-low 3.5 blocks, Dieng's ability to protect the rim could earn him more minutes.
No. 17 (Last Week: 16): John Schuhmann, NBA.com
If there's a vet on a non-playoff team who could use this last month to rediscover his game, it's Chase Budinger. He's played just 53 games over the last two years, hasn't found much of a rhythm since returning in January, and went scoreless in just four minutes in Sunday's win over the Kings. Budinger's not a big difference maker, but the Wolves can't afford another empty season from him next year. .