Mar 27, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) hangs on the rim after dunking the ball against the Sacramento Kings in the second quarter at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota is firmly in the playoff hunt, but as the season winds down the Timberwolves look to avoid a play-in scenario and make it into the top six.

The site has Minnesota’s best chance as ending up the No. 6 seed, at 24%. Of course, the No. 7 seed – which means the play-in – is at 23%. This is followed by No. 8 (19%), No. 5 (16%), No. 9 (11%), No. 10 (5%), and No. 4 and no playoffs (1% each).

There is some good news for the Wolves as well. While Minnesota only has five games remaining, the Wolves have the weakest strength of schedule in the Western Conference. They also own the tiebreaker against every team but Phoenix (chance there of a tie is extremely minimal) and New Orleans, which has yet to be decided.

The bad news is the team will be without center Naz Reid, who has been playing well in his limited minutes, who reportedly broke his wrist and will be sidelined for a while.

With fourth the highest Minnesota can finish, we’re going to limit our look at playoff contenders from the Suns (who are currently fourth) down to the Jazz (10th and 2 1/2 games in back of the Wolves).

Here’s how things look with the Wolves' Western Conference contenders as we’re down to the season’s home stretch:

Western Conference Standings (Note: Through 3/30)
Team W L
Suns 41 35
Clippers 41 36
Warriors 40 37
Pelicans 39 38
Wolves 39 38
Lakers 38 38
Thunder 38 39
Mavericks 37 40
Jazz 36 40

Let’s look at the upcoming schedule in the next week for Minnesota and its playoff competitors (in order of current standings).


Games left: 6 (four home, two away)

Remaining SOS: .520 (T9th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – vs. Nuggets; April 2 – at Thunder; April 4 – vs. Spurs; April 6 – vs. Nuggets

Skinny: As Minnesota knows all too well, Kevin Durant is back for the Suns. It’s likely a pipedream for Minnesota to catch and pass Phoenix, especially since the Suns hold the tiebreaker. Games for the Suns against woeful San Antonio and sub-.500 Oklahoma City should seal the Wolves’ fate in this regard.


Games left: 5 (two home, three away)

Remaining SOS: .520 (T9th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – at Grizzlies; April 1 – at Pelicans; April 5 – vs. Lakers

Skinny: The Clippers play more on the road in their final stretch but L.A. has nearly identical records away and home. Four of the Clippers’ final five games are against likely playoff or play-in teams. Los Angeles is 8-3 over its last 11 games although Paul George is out with a sprained right knee.


Games left: 5 (two home, three away)

Remaining SOS: .488 (17th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – vs. Spurs; April 2 – at Nuggets; April 4 – vs. Thunder

Skinny: The Warriors have been something of a streaky team lately. They lost three straight, won back-to-back, lost three in a row again then reeled off three consecutive victories before splitting their next two games. Golden State has one of the worst road records in the NBA (9-29) and will have to face Denver and Sacramento away from home in the final couple weeks (and also Portland in the season finale).


Games left: 5 (four home, one away)

Remaining SOS: .569 (3rd)

Schedule this week: April 1 – vs. Clippers; April 4 – vs. Kings; April 5 – vs. Grizzlies

Skinny: New Orleans has the advantage of playing most of its remaining games at home, where it is 24-13 this season. However, this week the Pelicans have to face the current Nos. 2, 3 and 5 seeds. Getting Zion Williamson back would be a boon, of course, but will it be too late for New Orleans to move up the standings?


Games left: 5 (three home, two away)

Remaining SOS: .444 (T26th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – vs. Lakers; April 2 – vs. Blazers; April 4 – at Nets

Skinny: Minnesota is technically behind New Orleans in the standings thanks to a second tiebreaker, but the teams have split the season series with one game remaining – with the Wolves hosting the season finale. This will be a big week for Minnesota if it wants to get out of the play-in. The Lakers game might be the toughest remaining on the schedule (even with LeBron James listed as questionable, L.A. has won four of its last five). Brooklyn might be the 6 seed in the East but are 2-6 over its last eight games. Portland is sitting Damian Lillard for the rest of the season. Did we say this is a big week for the Wolves?


Games left: 6 (two home, four away)

Remaining SOS: .460 (25th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – at Wolves; April 2 – at Rockets; April 4 – at Jazz; April 5 – at Clippers

Skinny: As mentioned, the Lakers are coming on strong at the end but are still likely staring at a play-in spot. Los Angeles has a pretty favorable schedule, despite playing mostly on the road, with two games against Utah and another vs. Houston.


Games left: 5 (two home, three away)

Remaining SOS: .518 (11th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – at Pacers; April 2 – vs. Suns; April 4 – at Warriors

Skinny: Leading scorer Shea Gilgeous-Alexander is listed out for Friday’s game in Indiana, which would be the third straight he’ll miss. Without him, OKC is in trouble, especially with a pair of tough games looming. Of course, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Thunder to slip into the lottery instead of a play-in …


Games left: 5 (three home, two away)

Remaining SOS: .470 (22nd)

Schedule this week: April 1 – at Heat; April 2 – at Hawks; April 5 – vs. Kings

Skinny: Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly since the Mavs acquired Kyrie Irving. Dallas has lost five of its last six games and is 3-8 in its last 11. In the midst of a five-game road trip, Dallas has to finish up with a couple of Eastern teams trying to get out of the play-in and into the No. 6 seed. Dallas seems like it should be a dangerous team, yet …


Games left: 6 (three home, three away)

Remaining SOS: .566 (4th)

Schedule this week: March 31 – at Boston; April 2 – at Nets; April 4 – vs. Lakers; April 6 – vs. Thunder

Skinny: Utah has a number of players hurt, including top scorer Lauri Markkanen. The Jazz are 2 1/2 games in back of the Wolves and likely won’t catch Minnesota. In fact, like Dallas, the Jazz probably would prefer to be in the lottery (wink, wink). A tough final stretch and a rash of injuries will help that cause.

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