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Power Rankings Roundup Week 4: Potential

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The return of your weekly power rankings roundup comes after a pretty mediocre week of games preceding last night's victory. Only way to go is up!

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the weekly Power Rankings Roundup, starting after the season has had enough time to balance out early season insanity a little bit. Whether or not you take stock in power rankings as a valuable exercise, it is interesting to see where the Timberwolves, as a team with great upside but terrible low points, are ending up so far.

The games covered in last week's power rankings:

Tuesday 11/17: Timberwolves 103, Heat 91 (recap)

Wednesday 11/18: Magic 104, Timberwolves 101 (recap)

Friday 11/20: Pistons 96, Timberwolves 86 (recap)

CBS Sports: #20 (down 2)

(full rankings here)

Matt Moore of CBS starts us off with the most succinct summary of last week's struggles: the Wolves really need Ricky Rubio.

There's still a lot to like about the Wolves, but they're settling back a bit. When Ricky Rubio is out with injury, they have little capacity for running an offense. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are going to be a problem together in this league for a long time. Two years from now they're going to be ruining everyone's night.

NBC ProBasketballTalk: #21 (up 1)

(full rankings here)

Kurt Helin of NBC is on board with the recent change in the Wolves' starting lineup.

Kevin Martin will start and Tayshaun Prince is moving to the bench, to which I say "about time." However, Martin has struggled with his shot this season and if he isn't back on track this will backfire quickly. Mine (sic) should get their first home win Monday against Philly.

NBA.com: #21 (up 3)

(full rankings here)

John Schuhmann of NBA.com, however, disagrees with that change.

Minnesota (5-8)
Pace: 100.0 (9) OffRtg: 100.5 (19) DefRtg: 100.7 (13) NetRtg: -0.2 (17)
The Wolves got another impressive road win (in Miami) on Tuesday, but their inability to shoot (16-for-68 from 3-point range in their last four games) continues to be a problem. There's certainly a lack of floor spacing in their starting lineup, but they've been the league's fourth best team (plus-15.2 NetRtg) in the first six minutes of the first quarter. So a lineup change isn't really called for just yet.
This week: vs. PHI, vs. ATL, @ SAC, @ LAC

USA Today: #22 (down 3)

(full rankings here)

USA Today keeps it short and sweet.

Towns looks like a veteran so far.

SI: #24 (no change)

(full rankings here)

Jeremy Woo of SI's rankings this week assigned each team something to be thankful for, a fun tidbit in light of Turkey Day on Thursday. The Wolves get to be thankful for...

The road ahead, literal and figurative. Minnesota has pulled off road wins at Chicago, Atlanta and Miami but has somehow yet to win at home (luckily, Philly comes to town this week). Meanwhile, the path in front of the Wolves has never looked brighter with Andrew Wiggins (20 years old) and Karl-Anthony Towns (19) just getting their feet wet.

ESPN: #22 (up 4)

(full rankings here)

Fortunately, Marc Stein of ESPN's memory of last year was not repeated.

The Timberwolves still don't have a home win in six tries and will be desperate to put a halt to that drought Monday night when a certain 0-14 outfit from Philadelphia comes to town. I'm guessing Uber-rook Karl-Anthony Towns has by now heard the story of how Philly, at 0-17, came to Minnesota shortly after Thanksgiving last season to find win No. 1.

Summary: High - 20, Low - 24, Average 21.7

For reference, at the end of last season the Wolves averaged almost exactly 29th out of 30 teams from the same set of power rankings. High 20s is probably exactly where this team belongs right now: not the trainwreck of 2014-15, capable of getting quality wins such as the victory in Miami, but also capable of terrible efforts like the loss to Detroit. As it will continue to be for the rest of the year, the key word is "potential".

The games that will be covered in Week 5's power rankings:

Monday 11/23: Timberwolves 100, 76ers 95 (recap)

Wednesday 11/25: Hawks @ Timberwolves

Friday 11/27: Timberwolves @ Kings

Sunday 11/29: Timberwolves @ Clippers