Raise your hand if you predicted the Minnesota Timberwolves would be tied for the NBA’s best record after 25 games.
Don’t feel bad. You aren’t alone. Nobody likely predicted this.
While everyone focuses on the likes of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, or Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns, or the meltdown of Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors, the Timberwolves (20-5) may be the league’s best early story.
Yes, Minnesota has plenty of talented players in their own right — with the likes of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. And none of this started happening until they landed Mike Conley, the consummate point guard, at last season’s trade deadline.
It’s safe to say the Timberwolves are getting it done the old-fashioned way, as a team, and with a defense-first approach.
The latest example came on Monday, when they trailed the Miami Heat by 17 points on the road … then came back to in, anyway.
“It’s all a credit to the guys, their willingness to want to make it work,” coach Chris Finch told reporters.
It helps to have a player as utterly confident as Edwards, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“I told Mike (Conley) when they made the shot to just give me the ball and move out of the way because I work on it every day,” Edwards told reporters of his second-half heroics against the Heat, when he hit a bank shot to put the Wolves up 109-106 with 29.6 seconds to go. “I knew once I got to that spot, I was going glass.”
But again, it almost always boils down to the Wolves’ defense, led by the shot-blocking and shot-altering Gobert, who finally looks comfortable playing alongside Towns, and vice-versa.
“Every time we do the things that we’re supposed to do, especially defensively, we put ourselves in the position to win the game,” Gobert said.
As of today, only the Boston Celtics have a record that matches Minnesota’s. And the Timberwolves’ start is the best in franchise history.
Is it sustainable? Well, you likely didn’t predict that they would be here today, so who knows? Bottom line is these Timberwolves are giving everyone reason to believe in big things.