As the Golden State Warriors limp their way to the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, they should be hoping to see the Minnesota Timberwolves matched up across from them.
The Golden State Warriors will be hoping for the Minnesota Timberwolves to finish in sixth place in order to have a favorable first round matchup.
Teams across the league are battling for playoff position as the final regular season games are slotted for April 10. Both the East and West have a moshpit for the final 5-10 seeds and the final weeks of the season will determine everyone’s fate.
The Warriors do not have to worry about moving too much. They’ve essentially forfeited a top-two seed by falling far behind Phoenix and Memphis. Though, they still hold a three-game lead over the Utah Jazz, making it likely they will maintain the third seed with only eight games remaining.
As for their potential first round opponent? It’s complicated.
The Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves are all within 2.5 games of each other.
Golden State will hope to avoid heavy-hitters like the Jazz and Nuggets who will potentially be seeing the return of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. for the playoffs. The Dubs would also prefer to dodge the Mavs as Luka Doncic has been a difficult player to eliminate early in his career.
The Dubs should prefer the Minnesota Timberwolves
That leaves the Timberwolves as the most favorable matchup. While Karl-Anthony Towns will pose a threat to an undermanned Warriors’ frontcourt, the rest of the roster is not strong enough to match the Dubs’ firepower.
Towns is averaging 24.6 points and 9.9 rebounds. Their next leading scorer is sophomore Anthony Edwards, posting 20.9 points in another strong year.
Minnesota has been one of the best teams since the All-Star break with a 12-4 record. Role players such as Patrick Beverly, Jaden McDaniels and Malik Beasley have all helped form a competent two-way team in Minny.
D’Angelo Russell is there, as well. The former Warrior is averaging 18.3 points and 7.1 assists as the Wolve’s lead ball-handler.
With all this being said, the Wolves do not appear to have the necessary star power, or experience, to topple a team like the Warriors. Assuming Stephen Curry is able to return for the playoffs and the rest of the big three is healthy, this would be the easiest matchup to get their rhythm back.