Everyone remembers the Kevin Garnett years in Minnesota. They went to the playoffs for 8 straight seasons, the only years in the teams 29 year history that they got to play in the postseason. But I remember those seasons for someone else, Wally Szczerbiak. This guy was the the true definition of a “3-and-D” wing. He could pull up and hit jumpers on you on the offensive end, then come right down the floor and shut down your team’s best player. He would slap the floor and get under the skin of his opponents simply with his grit and continuous effort from start to finish. I actually remember trying to mimick his style of play when I played youth basketball, I was never the best player on my team but I knew my role. Any good team that wants to win a championship needs a Kevin Garnett, but they also need a Wally.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have gone the opposite way over the years. Not in their play or improvement as a franchise, but with their uniforms. Those are probably some of the worst jerseys I’ve ever seen. But luckily for them, the guys in the jerseys are pretty good. Their season has been a roller coaster, started out shaky, was on a smooth ride for a bit, then an injury to Jimmy Butler has led the team to possibly derail off of the tracks. Yet, they will play for a chance at their first playoff berth since the 2003 season on Wednesday when they match up with the Denver Nuggets for a Win and You’re In situation.
Alright, so let’s say they win that game and find themselves in the 7 seed. They will book a date with the defending champions in the Golden State Warriors, who will be without Steph Curry. The Warriors have not finished the season strongly without their best player, having gone 7-8 since his injury. This series looks to be a favorable matchup in many aspects for the Wolves, as they have the size and scoring ability to go toe-to-toe for 7 games. The biggest factor in this series is Karl-Anthony Towns, as the Warriors will not have an answer for him. Although they do have Draymond Green, it has been his least productive season on the defensive end of his career. KAT will eat all series long, and will stretch the floor with his shooting ability that has led him to 42% from three on 3.6 attempts per game. Jamal Crawford will score big off the bench and will match every three pointer that Klay Thompson splashes. The Wolves will finally have their We’ve Arrived moment that we have all been waiting for when the knock off the hobbled Warriors in 7 games.
Their second round matchup will be a breeze when they face off against the Utah Jazz. KAT and Butler can essentially coast through this series and allow the load to be carried by their veterans. Jeff Teague will look across from him and see barbecue chicken when he matches up with Ricky Rubio. As Teague has 66 playoff games under his belt, he will carry his career playoff field goal percentage of 40% and his 1 steal per game into a series that he will dominate. Taj Gibson will have no trouble using the fundamentals of the game to break down Rudy Gobert and make him look foolish when an old man schools him. Jimmy Butler’s only job will be to shut down Donovan Mitchell, which will be no trouble at all. The Wolves will win the the series in 6 games and advance to the Western Conference Finals in their toughest test.
The Houston Rockets are coming off of a grueling series with the Portland Trail Blazers, where they lost their second leading scorer in Eric Gordon due to injury. This puts an extreme amount of pressure on James Harden and Chris Paul to deliver on the offensive end on almost every possession. These two guys will do what they have always done in the biggest moments, fold. The bench will play a significant role in this series, as guys like Tyus Jones and Shabazz Muhammad will play tough defense on the Rockets other shooters. Gorgei Dieng will accept his matchup with Nene and will play physical all series. With all the talk of the high powered offense, people will forget that the Wolves rank 5th in field goal percentage, while the Rockets are 14th. The Wolves will shoot the lights out and will win a high scoring 7 game series.
The NBA Finals will be a duel of unicorns, as KAT and Joel Embiid will fight for the future of the league when the Wolves play against the Philadelphia 76ers. With health on both teams sides, it will be one of the greatest series in NBA history as every game will be decided by 3 points or less. But there will be one secret weapon for the Wolves that the 76ers will have no answer for, Derrick Rose. His amount of rest throughout the playoffs has allowed for Head Coach Tom Thibadeau to play him at a high volume. Rose will be Prime DRose and will be unstoppable off the bench when facing guys like Markelle Fultz and TJ McConell. On the final play of a tied up score in Game 7, Rose will drive, the defense will crash and leave Andrew Wiggins wide open for the series winning 19 foot jumper. As it will be his only shot he will make all postseason, he will find a way to trick the Wolves into actually believing they got their money’s worth. Derrick Rose will win NBA Finals MVP and get a max contract by the Phoenix Suns, where he will play the first half of the first game of the 2018 season, go missing for three days, then announce his retirement. It’ll be peak Suns.
I’m just here for Prime DRose...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.