Path to playoffs a little easier for Minnesota?


 (Photo credit to blogsohardsports.com)
(Photo credit to blogsohardsports.com)

Can you believe that the state of Texas just got bigger with the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan?

What does this mean for the Minnesota Timberwolves? Well, the road to the playoffs got a little easier.

Here’s why I think that.The San Antonio Spurs landed the biggest free agent prize of the summer by adding Aldridge on Saturday. This addition will re-solidify the Spurs as the favorite to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals in 2016. In losing Aldridge, it also hurt the Portland Trail Blazers, who traded Nicolas Batum to Charlotte in June. Add the signing of Wesley Matthews with the Dallas Mavericks, and Portland is searching for answers.

The Mavericks also added Jordan, an elite rim-protector, on Friday, scrapping the Los Angeles Clippers of their last remaining center and leaving them with no defensive presence in the middle.

All teams previously mentioned – Dallas, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Portland – were playoff teams last season. I believe that Los Angeles will still be a playoff team because it still has Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Portland, from how it looks now, will be on the outside looking in, because it has lost three significant pieces. The Blazers still have a solid roster, but its been weakened.

I have divided up the Western Conference into tiers. In the elite tier, I have Golden State and San Antonio. In my second tier, I have Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City, and Memphis. The third tier includes the Clippers, New Orleans, and Phoenix. In the fourth tier, I have Minnesota, Utah, and Portland. In the fifth and final tier, I have the remaining teams – Sacramento, the Lakers, and Denver.

So, how does this help Minnesota? I’m going bold on this prediction. I think the eighth-seed will have to win no more than 45 games this coming season. Once the schedule comes out, I will have a good estimate. For any team, winning 30 more games from one season to the next is darn-near impossible for any team, much less a young, inexperienced team like Minnesota.

The best thing is, some teams in the West, that were already good, got better and some teams, that were good, got a little worse. And some teams stayed the same.

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