Happy Wednesday! I hope you all are staying safe, remaining active, and enjoying your summer the best you can. Remember, it’s been 148 straight days since Jarrett Culver last officially missed a free throw attempt, so things are starting to look up!
As it pertains lately to professional basketball in Minnesota, there’s been some exciting news as of late, despite the Timberwolves continuing their extended hibernation from providing anything meaningful to talk about.
Let’s get right to it...
With most of the NBA’s top teams (and top talent) sequestered down in Orlando, Florida for the NBA’s restart, speculation has been growing over the last month or so about a second bubble for the “Delete Eight” franchises to participate in later this summer/fall.
Well, a report on Tuesday afternoon from Shams Charania and Sam Amick essentially put that speculation to bed, stating that there was a “growing belief” among the Delete Eight teams that “a second bubble site being built for minicamps and intrasquad scrimmages will not happen.” The two writers from The Athletic went on to add that there was “pessimism” about in-market training camps (i.e. group workouts) anytime soon.
This latest report is far from shocking, and given the current state of COVID-19 in the country, is probably the best decision for everyone involved. The simple risk/reward equation here just isn’t worth it, due to the many uncontrollable factors in play (illness, possible injury, motivation for star players, etc.).
Nevertheless, as I’ve written about before, the eight franchises not currently staying at Walt Disney World face a major competitive disadvantage right now, not only because they can’t compete for the playoffs, but also because current NBA protocols for the “Delete Eight” require only a handful of players/personnel on the court at one time. In other words, these eight teams are (currently) prohibited from team practices and/or intrasquad scrimmages against other eliminated franchises, which is a serious deterrent towards overall team development (at least in my opinion).
It remains to be seen what (if anything) the NBA will do to provide a more “even playing field” for these leftover franchises, but for now it appears that these teams will be forced to continue individual workouts for the foreseeable future.
It Nets Better
And now for what you’ve all been waiting for... a Brooklyn Nets update! For those of you not following along, the Timberwolves are scheduled to receive the Nets first-round pick this year as long as Brooklyn makes the playoffs. Coming into this past weekend, the Nets held a sizable lead against their Sunday opponent (the Washington Wizards), but everything gets thrown out the window when Tyler Johnson and Ish Smith step on the court.
As you probably know by now, the Nets held off the Wizards 118-110 on Sunday afternoon, led by my new favorite player
CANIS Caris LeVert, who paced Brooklyn with 34 points. The victory pushed the Nets lead over the Wizards to seven full games, all but ensuring the 2020 first-round pick will be sent to Minnesota.
But wait — as the heading implies — it Nets better! After watching the Wizards fall to the Indiana Pacers on Monday, Brooklyn (+18.5) responded yesterday afternoon against the Milwaukee Bucks by pulling off the biggest NBA upset since 1995. This latest “W” increased the Nets strangle hold on the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference to eight total games, which should be the cherry on top of a draft pick sundae.
With the Nets defeating the Bucks today, the Wizards must win (at least) 4 of their final 5 games AND defeat the Nets twice in play-in games for the Timberwolves to lose BKN's lottery-protected 2020 1st round pick— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) August 4, 2020
Wizards remaining schedule:
Magic #(lol)= 2
As Dane points out in his tweet, the “magic number” for the Nets to make the playoffs (and for the Wolves to officially pop some champagne) is down to TWO. In other words, it is officially safe to sharpie Minnesota in to the 15th spot on your mock drafts (well, as long as Brooklyn doesn’t somehow leap Orlando).
Lynx (remain on) Course
The more successful of Glen Taylor’s two basketball franchises continues to do their thing down in Bradenton, Florida, despite a plethora of bad injury luck. After defeating the Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun (twice), the Lynx find themselves sitting at 3-1 with 18 games to go. The team last played on Sunday, and took Monday off for a well-deserved (and social distance approved) trip to the beach:
The ladies are back in action tonight against the Sabrina-less New York Liberty, with the game scheduled for 6:00pm CST on CBSSN.
Be safe and have a great rest of your week!