Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Minnesota Timberwolves fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
Happy almost-Friday! According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, a whopping 80 percent of Timberwolves fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s up from 75 percent last week and 40 percent the week before, which makes sense considering the Wolves’ recent string of strong(er) performances.
While the graph above may not directly correlate to your personal opinions on the team, it is pretty interesting nonetheless. The chart clearly bottoms out in early March, which is right about the time Minnesota suffered it’s ninth straight loss prior to the All-Star break. Since then, the Wolves are 13-17 in the “second half” of the season, and while that record isn’t worthy of hanging a banner at Target Center, it does show modest improvement and a slight glimpse at what this team can look like when fully healthy.
The Wolves, like practically every other team in the league, are working through a fairly brutal stretch to close out this season, with six games in ten nights to close out the schedule. Starting tonight in Miami, Minnesota will partake in their last road trip of the season, with games against the Heat, Magic, and Pistons before returning home for their final three games against the Nuggets, Celtics, and Mavericks.
If you think the 2020-21 NBA season has been crazy compacted, well, you’re not wrong. Prior to their three-day break between games against the Pelicans and Grizzlies, the Wolves hadn’t had three or more consecutive days off since the All-Star break, which took place in early March.
According to the most recent SB Nations Reacts survey, more than two-thirds of fans around the NBA think the league condensed the schedule way too much.
One major reason it’s believed the league was so adamant on finishing this early is because of the expected 2021 Olympics this summer. However, only 44 percent of fans believe that’s a worthy reason for playing games at this pace.
While the schedule is difficult for everyone (bloggers and fans included), some teams are having more success than others. That’s in large part due to the success of star players around the league. This year’s MVP race has seen a changing group of players from start to finish.
As the season nears its end, though, one player has emerged as the front runner for the award. 61 percent of fans nationally think Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokić is the league’s MVP. Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul was the next closest with 17 percent.
In my opinion, giving this year’s MVP award to Jokić is a no-brainer. While a plethora of other MVP candidates have been sidelined at various times this season due to injury and/or COVID-19 related absences, the Joker has played in all 66 games for the Nuggets, which has propelled them to the fourth best record in the league (despite losing Jamal Murray to a season-ending injury last month).
While Jokić appears to be the clear MVP to not only myself but the rest of the survey participants, that doesn’t mean he’s considered the best player in the game right now. That title, according to fans, still goes to Lakers superstar LeBron James.
Back to Chris Paul for a second — CP3’s re-emergence with the Suns has been a game-changer this season and has helped elevate Phoenix from bottom-dwellers in the Western Conference to NBA title contenders. The 36-year old point guard (who is currently celebrating his birthday today) was picked as the player who has made the biggest difference on his new team, far surpassing Brooklyn’s James Harden, who finished in second place.
Apparently the national audience doesn’t believe Timberwolves’ newcomer Ed Davis has made as much of an impact as the guys nominated above, which is just another example of the media’s bias against Minnesota (I’m kidding I’m kidding).
Regardless of all that, let me know what you think of the latest results from this SB Nation Reacts poll. As mentioned before, if you’d like to participate in future voting and want to have your voice heard each week, you can sign up here for free.