Vegas Over/Under: 48.5
Fromal’s Record Projection: 44-38 The Bet: Beneath with confidence The Minnesota Timberwolves are likely to be vastly superior to previous iterations this year.
They can count on inner improvement as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins learn how to fill defensive functions more efficiently. They’re bringing Jimmy Butler to the fold after engaging in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bulls.
Replacing Ricky Rubio with Jeff Teague is a lateral movement. Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford are in town to provide greater depth, and some other production from Justin Patton–the group’s first-round choice –would be gravy on top.
But Vegas’ over/under lineup is egregiously significant.
Winning 49 games are 18 more successes than the Timberwolves earned while moving 31-51. That is an astronomical jump for a group that just added a single enduring All-Star during the offseason, forfeited a key contributor in Zach LaVine and can be integrating a fresh starting point guard.
Internal improvement may only do so much, and Minnesota will be dealing with the ill effects of missing roster continuity.
Just 59 teams in NBA history have undergone year-to-year increases of at least 18 games, so the chances aren’t exactly in Minnesota’s favor. But despite casting the Timberwolves to finish significantly below the over/under lineup, exercise caution.
A good deal of talent is present in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and the shooting woes are somewhat overblown because so many different players are better at spot-up scenarios than off the bounce.
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