It’s January 15th, the Wolves are 12th in the Western Conference, having been leapfrogged by teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans, and Karl-Anthony Towns has not played in a month.
It has been difficult not to be pessimistic about the current state of affairs. This Wolves season began with little hope, but the early success made the crash to earth all the more painful. More depressingly, the inexplicable turnaround of Andrew Wiggins seems to have dissipated, leaving us all wondering if we had a collective hallucination in November.
It has been easy to point to all sorts of excuses for what has gone wrong. Towns and Wiggins have both missed time for mysterious injuries and illnesses. The roster has been barren of talent and cap-strapped. There is a new system to put into place which has prioritized future success over current-fit.
All of that has been true, but yet when you look at a team like the Indiana Pacers, it is hard to wonder if there is something else. Something specific to the malaise brought on by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After all, the Pacers have been without their star Victor Oladipo all season long. Their secondary star, Malcolm Brogdon, has missed a significant number of games. Their next two best players, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, have overlapping skillsets to the point that most pundits across the league are simply waiting for the Pacers to trade one of them. That leaves the Pacers reliant on players like T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb, and the Holiday brothers. Not exactly murderer’s row.
But yet, the Pacers are 25-15 and 5th in the Eastern Conference. While the Wolves are 12th and headed towards another season in the lottery.
Tonight will certainly be an exciting affair on this cold January evening. Our most pressing questions will be addressed. Like, how many threes will Naz Reid take? Will Andrew Wiggins continue to cede playmaking duties to Shabazz Napier? Who will Jarrett Culver try to dunk on? Will Karl-Anthony Towns finally make his return? Magic 8 Ball says Questionable at best. (Towns has been ruled out).
Projected Starting Lineups
Our blogging friends are over at Indy Cornrows. Have fun everyone.