What is life without lists? Ideas and thoughts just jumbled against each other nonsensically, searching for structure amidst the chaos of topic sentences and closing arguments. Order, after all, is the definition of humanity. How many straight lines have you seen in nature? Am I right or am I right?
NBA Blog posts are nothing but the flowing thoughts of a person (ok, a white 20-something male who spends too much on NBA twitter) to provide some sort of existential meaning to our life. Us bloggers never made it on the basketball court, or that middle-school B team, so the least we can do is savagely critique all-world athletes and tell thousands of readers that we just don’t believe these millionaires are trying hard enough. The tweets, after all, don’t get hearted all by themselves.
- Jimmy Butler
The kid from Tomball. The alpha, the omega, the beginning and the end of the Minnesota Timberwolves. All it took was one season with Jimmy Butler in order to end the depressing playoff drought. The curse of the Timberwolves has been broken with nothing but bright lights ahea—
(I guess this is where I’m supposed to actually do self-editing on an idea that has been gestating in draft mode for over a month. Fake Editors note: What the hell, this is the pre-season edition, no one is paying attention yet)
- (For Real) Karl-Anthony Towns
How many players at age 22 have already made an All-NBA team while putting up one of the best shooting seasons for a big man in NBA history? How many players can truly flirt with a 50-40-90 season while somehow shooting the third most on his own team?
More importantly, how many players can effectively execute a coup d’etat against one of the most controlling and despotic figures in the league? Well, probably a few, but now Karl-Anthony Towns is one of them.
The swift takeover of the Wolves is not yet complete. There is still $24 million sitting in Glen Taylor’s bank account that he would rather not waste on a buyout for Tom Thibodeau. However, Towns’ power move to try to save his future from the clutches of the Timberbulls seems to have worked.
Now, this still has not yet translated itself onto the court. The Wolves offense in game one of the preseason was the same-old, same-old. But it’s a long season and Towns is just beginning.
2. Tom Thibodeau
Thibs is still white-knuckling the soggy, slow as molasses thrill-ride that is the Timberwolves and the country club bureaucracy. You don’t know Minnesota Nice until you purposefully try to get yourself fired, then you will see the real strained politeness as Taylor suddenly regrets all the lasagna leftovers he stocked the team fridge with for those late night video sessions.
This team remains built in Thibs’ visage. They will pound the rock down low and search for those crowded driving lanes. How else will you get those offensive rebounds unless everyone is already in the paint? It’s foolproof.
The Bulls are in town and they are here to stay (at least for this year).
3. Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague you ask? The unassuming point guard who hasn’t seen an open three-pointer that he doesn’t want to pass up? That’s right.
Jeff Teague came to town replacing the beloved Spanish Unicorn. While he could never fill the floppy-haired shoes of his predecessor, he came here to adequately run an NBA offense and he did just that. But then something weird happened. Some fans were clamoring for his backup Tyus Jones to take more of his playing time and he simply agreed with them. Whilst there was a burgeoning locker room divide between the Thibs disciples and the rookies and outcasts, Teague was just hanging out, trying to play some basketball. Now, a year later, there somehow are more former Bulls players hanging around and Jimmy Butler up and demands a trade. Must be a pretty awkward experience for the veteran with no real horse in the race. But here he is, hanging out, playing some decent basketball and cashing his checks. That lands you a spot on the power rankings.
4, Andrew Wiggins
This has been a big summer for Andrew Wiggins. For one, he had a kid. That’s a pretty dope move. Wiggins also had a semi-public feud with Jimmy Butler, or at least his brother was throwing up Hallelujahs at the idea of Butler being traded. That led to Stephen Jackson deciding this was his time to get involved, as it should be, which led to some pretty vicious, passive-aggressive Instagram posts, the slam-poetry of our time.
All that is a good way to get on the power rankings. However, Wiggins is slipping back to his old habits. He refuses to make this fight with Butler or Jackson anything more than a simple misunderstanding. His first preseason game was filled with long-twos and a sad post-up of Klay Thompson. Lean into this Wiggins. Everyone loves when Russel Westbrook throws shade at Kevin Durant. Meaningless public feuds, after all, are the parlance of our time.
When the Wolves host whoever’s team Butler ends up playing for, Wiggins better be wearing a “#1 Luke Bryan Fan” shirt or something if he wants to move up higher in the power rankings.
5. Derrick Rose
Almost a year ago, Derrick Rose was languishing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and it got to the point where he stepped away from the team and was evaluating his future. He came back, but the craziest part is that he did the exact same thing a year before that! At the trade deadline, it was unclear if he was even going to land a roster spot in the NBA after being dumped unceremoniously by the Cavs to be waived by the Jazz.
Now, after Rose shot a miraculous 70 percent on three-pointers in the five playoff games (only 40 percent above his career average) Rose is at best the starting two-guard and at worst the Wolves’ sixth-man. Sometimes loyalty pays off.
6. Plymouth Lifetime
I see you Lifetime, hosting Jimmy Butler and giving him a place to play some pick-up hoops rather than playing with the Timberwolves. That’s a good power move. Hopefully, you are comping Jimmy some free smoothies for the free press he is giving you. Or at least a free towel.
Not Featured - Purposeful three-pointers, a disinterest in long-twos, and Scott Layden’s bluffing skills.