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Power Rankings: Back to Basketball

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The All-Star break is over, the trade deadline has passed, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are back to playing regularly. What are the talking heads around the league saying?

Ricky wanted to know how many different places I got power rankings from this week.
Ricky wanted to know how many different places I got power rankings from this week.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Not much thought in these today, just quick shots. Busy one at work.

CBS Sports: #24 (no change)

(full rankings here)

Matt Moore of CBS continues to have the Wolves relatively high:

Minnesota is pretty good at this point, and Kevin Garnett's return this week is going to be an emotional boost. The talent is there. The hard part, as it has been for the Wolves for 15 years, is building around it.

NBC ProBasketballTalk: #25 (no change)

(full rankings here)

Kurt Helin of NBC, starting a theme, is curious about KG's impact:

Kevin Garnett coming back is a nice story, and the emerging Andrew Wiggins can learn a few things from him about being a star in this league (and in this market). I'm not sure the lessons do much for Anthony Bennett's future.

NBA.com: #25 (up 1)

(full rankings here)

John Schuhmann of NBA.com is thinking about AB + KG:

Minnesota (12-42)
Pace: 97.4 (9) OffRtg: 99.5 (27) DefRtg: 109.2 (30) NetRtg: -9.7 (29)
While 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins looks more and more like a star every week, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett does not. So it will be interesting to see how Bennett, who's out at least two weeks with an ankle sprain, takes to Kevin Garnett's tutelage. Hopefully, Bennett handles it more like Mason Plumlee than Patrick O'Bryant. Do you feel me?
This week: @ HOU, vs. WAS, @ CHI, vs. MEM

ESPN: #23 (up 2)

(full rankings here)

Last quote I got from Marc Stein of ESPN was about tanking. Now it's about how impressive the Wolves have been lately:

It's worth noting, before we get fully immersed in the KG hoopla, that the Wolves are 4-3 in February, with a three-point loss to the No. 1 team on our list. Russell Westbrook is the likely Player of the Month out West, but Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio certainly merit a mention. Agreed?

SBNation: #27 (up 1)

(full rankings here)

Drew Garrison of SBN, as he has been since this article started, is the low man. He's sad about Shabazz:

The Timberwolves have won four of their last six games and are likely going to win their way out of the bottom five before the season is over. It's unfortunate Shabazz Muhammad is out for the season while Anthony Bennett deals with an ankle injury.

Summary

Three moves up, two staying the same. The Wolves are clearly better than their record, and that's starting to be acknowledged around the league. They're also entering an absolute bear of a section of schedule (both literally and figuratively, Grizz later this week). Including Houston last night, the combined record of the Wolves' opponents' (Rockets, Bulls, Wizards, Grizzlies) this week is 148-76, a healthy .661 win percentage (better than all but four teams in the league, and exactly tied with the Raptors, which is the most delightful statistical coincidence I've found in a while. Hooray math!). The return of KG's going to be awesome tomorrow night, but the basketball this week is going to be an experience.

In a completely unrelated note, I'll just drop in here that Tyson Chandler's article about big men at the Players' Tribune was a fascinating read and look at the game from a player's perspective. Enjoyed the read and wanted to share. Hope Tuesday's treating you all well. Go Wolves!