1. Minnesota Timberwolves
When the Dallas Mavericks dropped back-to-back games in the preseason in Abu-Dhabi versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, many Mavericks fans were panicking because no one really had a grasp of how good Minnesota would be to start the season. Now of course the Timberwolves aren’t a proven commodity as a perennial playoff team, but after 13 games they are sitting atop the Western Conference at 10-3.
It was just announced yesterday that Timberwolves starting power forward Jaden McDaniels will miss some time with a grade-one ankle sprain, but whenever he gets back, an argument can be made that the Timberwolves currently have the best starting five in the NBA.
Anthony Edwards has taken a drastic leap as a leader this year for Minnesota, and is evolving into one of the best point-of-attack defenders in the league. Edward’s ascension on defense has made life easier for the rest of the Timberwolves defenders, and any leakage to the rim is getting swallowed up by Rudy Gobert.
The age-long argument that Gobert can’t be the starting center in a playoff series because of his inability to stretch the floor on offense and guard the perimeter on the other side when teams go smaller, is an argument that is fair to make because of the Jazz’s playoff failures with Gobert manning the middle for them.
However, this Minnesota defense has much more length and quickness than those Jazz teams, and they are excellent at hedging and recovering in pick-and-roll scenarios. We can’t take too much credence to the matchups that the Mavericks had with the Timberwolves in the preseason because both teams weren’t playing their actual rotation.
However, if Edwards continues to play at an MVP level and Karl Anthony-Towns keeps playing to the level of a number two option, then the second-ranked in defensive rating Minnesota Timberwolves will likely blow past the current rendition of this Mavericks roster in a playoff series if the Mavericks don’t make changes to their defense.
Only time will tell how the Mavericks will actually fare against the Timberwolves, but until then we’ll have you covered with the latest news pertaining to the Dallas Mavericks, so stay tuned.