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I honestly considered just skipping the Timberwolves all together and ranking teams 1-29 because who knows what Minnesota's roster will look like by the time someone read's this. Jimmy Butler, for now, remains with the team but The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on the morning of October 9th that the Timberwolves plan on having him with the team on opening night even though Butler reiterated his demands to be traded in a meeting with the front office that same morning. With that being said, I'm going to talk about the Timberwolves rankings assuming Jimmy is not with the team in the near future. So from this point forward no more Jimmy Butler trade talk. If you'd like Jimmy Butler trade talk, feel free to check out this previous article.
The Timberwolves are coming off a 47-35 season which gave them the 8th seed in the Western Conference. The Wolves making the accomplishment in and off itself. Minnesota had the longest active layoff drought before season with 13 straight years of missing the playoffs. Sure, they looked absolutely horrendous against the Rockets in the first round, but one step at a time, right?
Although Minnesota has been the talk of the league for the past month or so, they've actually had a relatively quiet off-season. They resigned Karl-Anthony Towns, Derrick Rose, and Anthony Tolliver, didn't make any major trades, and picked up Luol Deng on waivers. Without Jimmy Butler, the Wolves are a team that could slip out of the playoffs. While Karl-Anthony Towns is a legitimate threat against any team and Andrew Wiggins is pretty good at one half of basketball, we all remember what they looked like before Jimmy Butler's arrival and it's hard to shake that image.
I have serious sympathy for the fans of Minnesota. After struggling for so long they finally drafted a franchise player, a solid number three scoring option, and made a big move for an All-Star they now have to sit through this fiasco and fear losing it all again. Minnesota without Jimmy Butler playing is most likely .500 team at best which may not cut it in the Western Conference. With opening night so close, they need to figure things out fast.