Last Week: 12
If Jimmy Butler is available, the Minnesota Timberwolves are a handful. It’s a quick-and-dirty way to approach team evaluation, but since Butler is back (as evidenced by his 31-point, playoff-clinching night against the Nuggets on Wednesday), it feels more realistic to view Minnesota as the team that went 37-21 with him than the one that went 10-14 without him.
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Viewed that way, the Wolves’ “with Butler” winning percentage puts them right there with Philadelphia’s fifth-best figure of 63.4 percent.
The Houston Rockets shouldn’t be concerned, but Minnesota rises in our final week because it has its key difference-maker back.
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Last Week: 6
The Golden State Warriors would be right back at the top of these rankings (or at the least no lower than second) if Stephen Curry’s knee were healthy. But it’s not, and nobody knows for sure when he’ll play again. Just as importantly, nobody knows how close he’ll be to peak form if/when he makes it back from the sprained MCL.wholesale nfl jerseys
Anyone who remembers Curry’s failure to get past Kevin Love in isolation during the 2016 Finals understands a hobbled Curry isn’t enough for the Warriors to get where they want to go.
So in the wake of a mostly disappointing, injury-riddled season, this is where the current version of the Dubs resides: barely in the top 10 and perhaps only that high because of reputation and the belief that, even without Curry, there’s a switch they can flip.
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A 29-point halftime deficit against Utah on Tuesday was the franchise’s largest in more than a decade, leading to a 40-point loss. That result (and a 7-10 finish to the season) highlighted a level of vulnerability we haven’t seen from the Steve Kerr-era Warriors.