The addition of three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves roster hasn't moved the needle much for those who predict wins/losses, according to preseason projections.
Caesars Sportsbook posted their first over/under win totals for the 2022-23 season and had the Wolves at 48.5, which is behind Phoenix (53.5), Golden State (52.5), the Los Angeles Clippers (51.5), Memphis (50.5) and Denver (49.5) and tied with Dallas in the Western Conference.
That means the oddsmakers see the Wolves as about two wins better than last season when they finished 46-36, in seventh place in the West.
ESPN's NBA Insiders also made early predictions on who will win the Western Conference and found a similar expectation for the Wolves, who finished sixth in voting. The final vote totals looked like this: Golden State (75), L.A. Clippers (44), Phoenix (20), Dallas (12), Denver (10), Timberwolves (6), Memphis (4).
The addition of Gobert — which new Timberwolves President Tim Connelly called "more of a dream than a reality" — figures to bolster a defensive unit that ranked 13th in the NBA last season in defensive efficiency.
After defeating the Clippers in the NBA Play-In Tournament, the Wolves played one of the more competitive series of the NBA Playoffs last season, losing in six games to the Grizzlies, who went on to reach the Western Conference Finals.
But the Wolves were undone by a handful of historical collapses that showed flaws in the team's ability to rebound and defend the paint — an area where Gobert has been historically dominant.
How that will translate to wins and losses is anyone's guess, but so far the prognosticators aren't expecting a game changer.